What are the downsides to fall calving?

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cowgirl8
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Re: What are the downsides to fall calving?

Postby cowgirl8 » Sat Jun 03, 2017 8:50 am

Anyone who wants to see for themselves in past years pertaining to what calves sale for at peek times, fall and spring, the internet has made it easy to compare.. Most sale barns post years of tickets. You can see for yourself if fall vs spring sales are higher or lower, or visa versa...
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Waterway65
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Re: What are the downsides to fall calving?

Postby Waterway65 » Sat Jun 03, 2017 11:18 pm

I have had a fall calving herd for about ten years in western SD. We calve mid August through September. A friend once told me it wasn't a sin to check cows in a air conditioned cab. We have little calving trouble having only pulled two calves in the last ten years on a 100 cow herd.
Are land is nearly all hay and crop so I want the dry cows out on someone else's pasture as early as possible in the spring so I can concentrate on the land. We usually bring them home about August 1st and go on sorghum. They will stay on sorghum and crop residue hopefully until some time in December. This is a critical time for cow management because I want top milk production and I want them bred back quickly.
About the first of the year the cows will be on silage and haulage for three months. The calves will be given a portable feeder panel a a large corral. They will have their own silage, my best hay, and a coupl pounds of oats. They learn to like having their own space where they don't have th compete with the cow herd.
We wean at the end of February which mostly amounts to taking out the creep panel and shutting a gate on them. Calves are given second shots and back grounded for about a month before being sold. From weaning to pasture my cows are fed poorer roughage that I have.
Spring prices are usually higher for my calves but not always. I have had at least one year this didn't happen. My brothers spring calves sold for about $35 a hundred less than mine but part of this is is where we happen to be in the cattle cycle.
One problem that has given me trouble has been pneumonia in 200-300 lb. calves in early Nov. on previously unstressed calves.
I have plenty of time in the winter to spend with my cows and I enjoy it.
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Jeanne - Simme Valley
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Re: What are the downsides to fall calving?

Postby Jeanne - Simme Valley » Sun Jun 04, 2017 12:30 pm

WW65 - that sounds like a great system for you. Like I try to tell everyone that visits me, even if you live in the same area, every farm is different. You have to do things that FIT your timing & farm land and resources.
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Nesikep
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Re: What are the downsides to fall calving?

Postby Nesikep » Sun Jun 04, 2017 1:42 pm

Waterway, you found what works for you, and that's great...

For me, my main deterrent (that has been mentioned already) is the increased feed requirement of the cows through the winter.. hay is more expensive than grass when they need to eat to produce. My second big concern would be if *I* had them calf out mid august or around there they'd die of heat exposure around here when it's over 100F in the shade.. if I'd delay it much more than that breeding season would start to fall in a time when the grass has quit growing and I'd be feeding hay way earlier than I feel like.

As it stands, I'm trying to fine tune exactly when the right time to start calving is... previously we were starting around Mar 10th, meaning May 25th turnout for the bulls.. problem is that the spring grass has made a big push by then, and they aren't keeping up eating it, so it turns stale and doesn't regrow that great.. This year I turned out a week earlier, which pushes the limits on how early I want the first calf to drop since we have very little sun in Feb, and there's nothing like sun for them little guys!
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Waterway65
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Re: What are the downsides to fall calving?

Postby Waterway65 » Sun Jun 04, 2017 2:33 pm

Nesikep your weather is a little colder but very similar to ours. And what I do isn't necessarily workable for my own neighbors. I had a dairy for many years and still have machinery and equipment that most people don't have access to. Also I am trying to market hay and crops through the cows. One of my goals is providing more grazing rather than machine harvesting. If you have pasture available in this area, guys will line up to deal for it at $65/AUM. I think I could dry lot for that price.
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