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Why September Calve?

25 November 2014

Ohio State University

An Ohio Cattleman explains why his operation looks to calve down on September 1, meaning now is the time to address rising energy needs.

For me, the next week or so is "breeding season" at our place, writes Stan Smith, Ohio State University Beef Extension.

Yes, we maintain cows with the intention of having them calve in the fall in a perfect world, that means September 1.

Why you ask? There are several reasons.

Calves typically are born in pretty nice weather, they tend to be a little smaller with few calving difficulties, fall born calves that are ready for grass in April have tended to be a little more valuable over the years, the cull cows that we get to market shortly after the first of the year also seem to hit a better market, and the weather during breeding is typically a lot nicer than early summer heat.

Needless to say, this will be the first time we've danced around a November polar vortex during breeding!

That being said, while it's much earlier than normal to have this conversation, it merits mentioning that in order to maintain condition, the energy intake of a cow needs to increase about 1 per cent daily for each degree of temperature below her "lower critical temperature" (LCT).

For a cow that has barely grown her winter coat yet, that might mean today she's slipping into a declining nutritional plane at 32 degree F.

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