Beef producers considering rebuilding their cattle herds have a good opportunity to shorten the breeding and calving season now.
Calves that arrive in the first 21 days of the breeding season generally have heavier weights, says Sandy Johnson, beef cattle specialist for K-State Research and Extension -- all the more reason for beef producers to consider shortening the breeding season for more uniform, heavier calves.
But weights aren’t the only advantage beef producers may see as a result of a shorter breeding season – producers may also be able to more accurately time vaccinations, such as a scours prevention vaccination, which needs to be given at a specific interval prior to calving, Johnson says.
Tightening the season also reduces the variation in nutritional requirements within the herd at any one point in time. All of this could help producers save time and money on herd inputs.
Johnson says as producers consider keeping back replacement heifers and rebuilding their herd numbers, they should use the opportunity to shorten the breeding and calving season by considering four quick tips: controlling the duration of bull exposure to the herd, breeding first-calf heifers earlier than mature cows, matching herd genetics to the environment and making committed culling decisions.
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