Oklahoma's Latest Farm
And Ranch News
Wednesday, August 17, 2022
Paul Beck Talks Early Weaning Calves Strategy and Benefits
Weekly, Oklahoma State University Extension Beef Cattle Nutrition Specialist Paul Beck offers his expertise on the beef cattle industry. This is a part of the weekly series known as the "Cow-Calf Corner" published electronically by Beck. Today, he talks about weaning calves early due to low forage inventory.

Pasture conditions are deteriorating and hay inventory is short, if you’re out of grass and about to start feeding hay it’s time to take drastic action to maintain your cowherd and prevent further injury to pastures. Many areas in the West and Southern Great Plains have seen high culling rates with cows going to town in droves. Once all the old, open, or non-productive cows are culled the next step for many producers is to wean calves early.

Research shows that calves can be weaned as early as 45-days of age, and these calves grown to similar or heavier weights by normal weaning time. Spring born calves in mid to late August are currently 3 to 5 months of age and likely weight 300 to 400 pounds. Even though they are much lighter than our normal calf weights at weaning, it is still relatively simple to feed these light weight calves grower diets in dry lot to maintain targeted sales weights by normal marketing time. Early weaned calves can be grown in dry lot very efficiently with feed-to-gain expected to be 4.5 to 5 pounds of feed per pound of gain.

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KC Sheperd visits with Dakota Moss of Livestock Risk Services. When the pandemic hit in 2020 the cattle markets along with the rest of the world suffered. Many farmers and ranchers altered their marketing plans on crops and livestock to try and prevent a loss in the down Covid markets. This led to cattle being held months longer than planned hoping for a better market. Unfortunately for many farmers and ranchers they had no choice but to sell much heavier cattle into a down market. Resulting in a lower $/cwt price and profits lost. Sheperd and Moss discuss some alternative options for producers with the Livestock Risk Protection program.

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Tim West
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Rural Oklahoma Networks



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KC Sheperd
Farm Director
Radio Oklahoma Ag Network

Ron Hays
Senior Farm/Ranch Broadcaster
Radio Oklahoma Ag Network