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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-10-2019, 10:32 AM
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Originally Posted by LittleMountain View Post
Sure wish they'd tell me exactly when its gunna get cold every year so I can breed them around it, a guy can dream cant he.
November until March?


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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-10-2019, 02:03 PM
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Still not sure there is an ideal season.

We calved in March for years. The worst of both worlds, cold, snow, need to check at night, and warm up calves, plus mud, wet, sick calves.

April even worse for mud and sick calves.

May conflicts with seeding.

June, July, August, is less effort and stress, calves spread out stay healthier, but have a completely different set of problems. We move cows every few days, and have to find every baby calf and make sure they move. If a calf is sick and lays down in tall grass or trees, they aren't noticed until too late. Calving or sucking trouble can mean hours of effort moving them to facilities. Never had trouble with twins calving confined, always have trouble with accepting twins calving on grass. Predators are much more of a problem with baby calves spread out on grass. We had a run of sick baby calves in late May last year out on grass, while seeding. trying to check multiple times, treating, electrolyting, hauling them home was not much fun.

Fall calving conflicts with harvest, and weather can be all over the map, cows usually far from home and moving often. That said we had 4 accidental fall calves this year(kept some open cows over, then the neighbors bull broke in). Went out in Early November and found 3 baby calves in one day, one cold day too, one more just before New Years.

Winter calving is just a lot of work and requires a lot of facilities. If set up for it, and have enough people that sleep is still possible, probably not so bad.

Back to April May calving now, after doing May June for recent years. Trying to be mostly done before seeding. Check twice a day, except in bad weather at peak season, cut back to once a day for the stragglers.

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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-13-2019, 10:45 PM
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Did late summer calving the last 8 years I had cattle. Worked well for me. Lost more to cold feb-Mar days than I did to predators in aug. Cows are in better shape due to more exercise on pasture. Definitely brings new set of problems. Harder on cows with calves sucking all winter, need lots of bedding and go through more feed for cows but calves eat less feed. Hard on teats. Different weight calves than used to at market time. Easy weaning, cut the calves out when loading to take cows to pasture in spring. Cattle was the secondary enterprise on our operation so I made the cattle fit the grain side of things.
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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-14-2019, 02:30 AM
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I guess I've always calved april-may, but they seem to start March 20ish no matter what.

Summer calving the neighbor tried to do and seem to fight with heat issues, fall doesn't work any way you put it and before March seems too cold

I guess it works for me as mine are up on high ground, so not really mud issues, more ice issues with all the bedding.

Now trying to ship in this weather is a pain, delayed twice now and hope not again due to the cold
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-14-2019, 02:41 PM Thread Starter
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I wont do summer calving for the fact of the heat and dehydration, I think that's just as much of a battle trying to get them to drink sometimes. Also dont like the idea of calving on pasture, like to keep my eye on them all the time. I still think end of sept/Oct would work out nice. Done harvest, not to hot, not to cold, hopefully fairly dry.

Jan/Feb is getting to f'in cold. Mar/apr is usually a sloppy mess, fight with disease. May/June is seeding spraying. July/August is haying, harvest and hot. Sept/Oct is post harvest work, fall fert. Nov/dec gets cold again. Really there is no nice time when I spell it out like that haha.

Last edited by LittleMountain; 02-14-2019 at 02:44 PM.
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post #16 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-14-2019, 11:23 PM
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Originally Posted by LittleMountain View Post
Also dont like the idea of calving on pasture, like to keep my eye on them all the time
The old fella around here said the hardest part of calving on grass was trusting the cows to do it. Do your part with bull selection, give them clean dry ground, and leave them alone! Once a day checks to count the new calves was normal as he approached retirement.

I’d like to emulate the same, start April 15, get 2 cycles before they go to pasture on June 1. Handful of lates can stay home for the summer or go out when the bulls go.
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post #17 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-15-2019, 12:10 AM
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Years ago in the "Grain News" paper they had 10 livestock ranchers give their calving tips. One extreme was to have them confined until they looked ready, then they went into loose housing. They would pull the calves when needed and vaccinate and wash the navels off. The other extreme was to calve on pasture and check once a day. I chose the latter. Last year I lost 1 calf, the year before 2 out of 160. Bull selection and a lot of exercise make a difference. I calve on a 1/4 section.

I have had bad luck when buying bred heifers. 4 years ago I would like to forget.


Last edited by NVW; 02-15-2019 at 12:27 AM.
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