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Agricultural News

Early-Born Calves are Better Later, Research Shows

Tue, 25 Jun 2013 11:10:33 CDT

Early-Born Calves are Better Later, Research Shows
Rick Funston, University of Nebraska, says the earlier a calf is born in the season, the better its potential.

"We've looked at a lot of historical looking at the influence of calving period on subsequent steer feedlot performance. Obviously, older calves are heavier at weaning. They're heavier going into the feedlot and they're heavier at harvest. But also one interesting thing that we found is that those calves born in the first cycle actually grade better."

It's not just feedlot success that matters, the cow herd stands to benefit from these early-born calves, too.

"The other thing we've seen on the female side is those calves, the heifer calves that are born in the first cycle, they are obviously heavier at weaning, they're heavier at breeding, there's more cycling prior to the breeding season. They conceive earlier. They calve earlier their first time and they also breed back better.

"So this event of having a lot of animals born in the early part of your calving season drives the whole system."

Synchronization systems can help females move up in the calving season, but Funston says a solid heifer development program is pivotal.

"Our recommendations have been to keep more heifers than you would need, expose them for a short period of time couple with synchronization. You start that animal off on a very good production environment in the cow herd."



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