Shortening calving season to add efficiency, profit

A University of Missouri Extension cow/calf specialist says shortening the calving season as much as possible creates more efficient and profitable cattle production.

Jordan Thomas said longer calving seasons mean low weaning weights for calves born at the end of the season and makes it harder for late bred cows to be bred on time next season.  But he tells Brownfield producers shouldn’t shorten their calving seasons too drastically in a single year…

“Because what they would do to get there is either cull a tremendous proportion of the cow herd or they would use a very, very short breeding season and then end up with a lot of non-pregnant cows,” he said.

Thomas said producers should shorten the season in 15 to 20 day increments yearly for multiple years to increase efficiency. He says doing so will make producers rethink about their cattle’s production in terms of producing calves with high weaning weights than just producing a calf every year.

“Sometimes we use the word ‘cull’ almost like an animal has to be broken down and not able to show up for work, we sort of make that the culling criteria,” Thomas said. “So really, we ought to think of ourselves as strategic marketers of animals.”

Thomas said he encourages producers to think about implementing estrous synchronization or other tools to help shorten calving season.

Jordan Thomas Interview

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