Not many ranchers have an opportunity to see the benefits and disadvantages of spring calving in comparison to fall calving, without investing a significant amount of money. However, under a new program offered at the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture at Curtis, NE, students have an opportunity to receive hands-on experience in both fall and spring-calving so they can make their own decisions.

According to Dave Smith, division coordinator for agriculture production systems at the college, the livestock program received a grant last year from Heifer International for $20,000. “We had been considering adding a fall calving program for awhile now, but we just didn't have the resources to do that. This grant provided us with enough money to buy a small herd of heifers.”

The college has had a spring-calving herd of primarily black cattle that calve in February. Smith wanted to start a fall-calving herd so students could see the way the two herds can be managed differently during calving season, as well as the feeding and marketing options available.

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