Ideally, calves should be aged and a predicted calving date established. By knowing these dates, a producer can target higher-priced hay appropriately and avoid feeding cows that will not return as many dollars next year.
If one needs to further reduce cow numbers, select cows to keep that are going to calve during the desired calving time rather than late. Granted, for early calves, such as those who calve in February, the cows are starting their last third of their gestation, so very little can be done.
However, for the more typical late March and April calving herds, November is a good time to sort and cull cows. There is nothing better than to have one eye on the cow in the chute during the pregnancy examination and one eye on the hay pile. If that hay pile is small, the later the cow is bred, the more likely that she should go to the bred cow sale.
At least for the Dickinson Research Extension Center, the cows seem to be coming in bred and bred early. Even the second set of cows was bred well, even though one of the bulls hurt his hip early in the breeding season. In this case, 68 percent of the 38 cows were projected to calve in the first 21 days of the calving season, which is slightly lower than the first set. However, given the known bull difficulties, a feeling of relief was felt as the cows were called pregnant.
With two sets of cows checked and several sets still scheduled for pregnancy evaluation, there is always a good feeling when cows come home pregnant. All the hard work that goes into developing a functional and environmentally fit cow herd is acknowledged in the fall with pregnant cows.
Cows that are not adapted are noted as they go through the chutes at weaning.
Making exceptions for open cows is not a wise managerial thought.
May you find all your ear tags.