This is the time of the year that a lot of new calves are born on local cattle farms. One of the most important management decisions in a beef operation is to establish a controlled calving season. Many producers have one in place, but this is not always the case. A recent survey conducted by the University of Georgia reported that 65% of producers surveyed utilize a controlled breeding season, but only 36% of these producers are on a 60- to 90-day breeding season.

If you are interested in going from a year-round calving season to a 90-day season, you may want to make this change over a period of two to three years. An example is a 180-day breeding season at first, following by a 120-day breeding season and finally, a 90-day breeding season.

The time of the year when calving occurs should be dictated by the available forage supply, labor and market for the calves. Cows that calve about 30 to 60 days before the most abundant grass production will usually wean heavier calves annually than cows that calve during other seasons of the year. If good-quality winter grazing is available, calving during the late fall may be an alternative. Cows wintered on hay and short pasture will have better success with late winter or early spring calving.

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