Page 9 - MWC 08-19-2021s
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Fall Calving, Is It Profitable?                                                   The Midwest Cattleman · August 19, 2021 · P9

                         By Garth Ruff, Beef Cattle Field Specialist, OSU Extension
         Fall is my favorite time of  heifer calves captured by fall- ed that fall
      the year, hay making is done,  born calves were able to cover  calving culls
      the feeder cattle are being  the higher feed expenses and  sold  in April
      marketed, and college foot- lighter weaning weights by  and                    May
      ball is in full swing. Last win- the fall-born calves.                were  valued
      ter  in  a  cow-calf  webinar,  I     In the fall of the year, when  on average
      briefly mentioned the virtues  most of  the weaned spring- $8-9                 cwt
      of a fall calving system here  born calves are marketed,  higher  than
      in the Eastern Corn Belt. In  supply  is plentiful for order  spring  calv-            While fall calving may offer some unique challenges with regard
      this article we’ll look at how  buyers to fill their feedlot or- ing culls sold        to herd nutrition, there’s no arguing the cattle price seasonality
      fall  calving  can  be  a  viable  ders.  This increased supply  in  September  benefit it affords!
      and profitable system.             contributes to our annual  or October.
         Seasonality of Cattle  low in feeder cattle prices.                  Mud –As rainfall patterns  quate body condition, Nickles
      Prices  – As with most things         During the spring when  shift here in Ohio and the  et al, 2020.
      in  agriculture,  supply  and  there  is demand  for calves  rest of the eastern Cornbelt,                 Not  only does  mud  have
      demand has a great impact  to graze wheat in the plains,  indications are that our  an impact on cow body condi-
      on prices. Griffiths et al,  and grass here locally, prices  springs are going to be  tion, management and feed-
      2017 from the University of  on a per cwt basis are signifi- warmer and wetter over  ing also become a challenge
      Tennessee analyzed several  cantly higher due to a tighter  time. I think we can attest to  when excessive muddy con-
      studies comparing spring and  supply of calves.  That tight  that if recent memory serves  ditions persist. Fall calving
      fall calving systems.  After  supply of fall born calves con- us well.                                  in September to mid-Octo-
      comparing the systems on  tributes to seasonality of the                As mud becomes more of  ber, when soil conditions are,
      a 205-day weaning age and  markets and our annual high  an issue, especially in the  on average drier, can be one
      two separate feed resource  for stocker calves and feeder  last trimester of gestation for  method to reduce the impacts
      scenarios they concluded that  cattle.                                a beef cow, research conduct- of mud on cow performance.
      even though spring-calving            Don’t forget that the cull  ed at the Ohio State Univer-             Management           Consid-
      cows had heavier calves at  markets are seasonal as well.  sity  suggests  that  a  cow  in  erations – Historically, one
      weaning and lower feed costs  Griffiths et al, also looking  muddy conditions requires  of the  biggest drawbacks to
      than the fall-calving cows,  at Tennessee cull cow prices  an additional 1.8 Mcal Net  fall calving has been the in-
      the higher prices of steer and  from 1990-2013 demonstrat- Energy/day to maintain ade-                                continued on page 23


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