In livestock production, timing is everything

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In livestock management, timing is everything. Even the smallest off-tempo step can ripple into a larger effect on performance, and ultimately, the bottom line.

Take, for example, a defined breeding season. Imagine how many things are affected by that one season, and the opportunities it presents. To start with, all of the cows would be calving in that 60- to 90-day window. All calves could be processed at one time. All bull calves castrated and implanted, heifers could be implanted if they are not being kept for replacements. Cows would all get pre-breeding shots as open cows at the same time.

Since all cows and calves are the same stage of reproduction and calves are essentially the same age, grazing considerations and decisions become much easier. Fertilizer needs and pasture rotations are streamlined. Everybody in the herd has the same requirements, growth and weight gain for the calves, and reproduction for the cows.

Weaning becomes much easier. All calves can receive vaccinations, de-wormer and be separated from their dams at the same time. Cows can be checked for pregnancy and culling decisions can be made on all cows. The time and labor involved in multiple cow handling events is reduced to three to four times per year. Whether you “wean and hold” to pre-condition, or “strip and ship,” you should have a uniform size and shape to offer buyers in a larger grouping that will work out to more dollars in your pocket.

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