Profit Tips: Reproduction - Early-calving heifers earn more

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Delivering her first calf early in the calving season sets a heifer up for long-term productivity. Eric Mousel, PhD, an animal scientist at Northwest Missouri State University, says a heifer that calves during the first 45 days of the season will, over her life in the herd, earn an average of $1,100 over salvage value, double the earnings of a later-calving heifer. Early calving offers a number of economic benefits, the first being that an early calf likely will weigh more than late calves at sale time. Also, a heifer that calves early is able to cycle and conceive early in subsequent seasons, while late calvers remain late calvers. Research also has shown heifers that conceive early and calve early have greater longevity in the breeding herd, and their offspring produce higher-value carcasses compared with those from late-calving heifers. Mousel notes that today’s high market value for bred females provides an opportunity for producers to cull and sell heifers and cows that conceive later in the breeding season.



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