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April 24, 2013

Shorten breeding season to increase calf value

McALESTER —  This may be the summer to finally do something about that long breeding and calving season in your cow herd.

Shortening the breeding season should still result in a high percentage of cows bred and identify those that are difficult to get bred so they may be removed from the herd next fall.

If forage and hay supplies are short, culling the late-calvers will be an aid in the long-term efficiency of the herd.  

Early weaning (at about 6 to 8 months of age) can also help some late calving cows rebreed earlier than if they continue to nurse a calf.

Shortening the breeding and calving seasons will pay off in heavier and more uniform groups of calves to sell at weaning time. If a cow operation can market a sizeable number of calves together in one lot, they will realize a greater price per pound (on the average) than similar calves sold in singles or small lots.

A premium for uniform, multiple head lots is generally attributed to the convenience of filling orders for cattle of a specified description on the part of an order buyer. Also, larger, uniform lots may indicate a single point of origin for the cattle leading to less stress and fewer health problems as may be associated with pens of “put-together” cattle.

David Cantrell is the agriculture Extension educator for Pittsburg County. Contact him at 918-423-4120.

For more on this story, see the print or electronic editions of the McAlester News-Capital. Click here for print edition home delivery or click here to see the Smart Edition for your computer, tablet, e-reader or smartphone.

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