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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Spring Calving Matches a Cow's Demand with Nature's Supply

Authors
item Ingram, Roger - UNIV OF CAL. EXTENSION
item Carpinelli, Michael

Submitted to: Society for Range Management Meeting Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: December 1, 2003
Publication Date: January 24, 2004
Citation: Ingram, R.S., Carpinelli, M.F. 2004. Spring calving matches a cow's demand with nature's supply. In: Society for Range Management Meeting Proceedings, 57th Annual Meeting. 2004 CDROM.

Interpretive Summary: In California's annual rangeland, calving is traditionally done in the fall. In this project, calving season was switched to spring to match the season of a cow's greatest energy demand with peak availability of quality forage, thus reducing the need for feeding hay. As a result of the switch to spring calving and controlled grazing, stocking rate increased, calving period and calving interval were shortened, body condition score at calving increased, direct costs decreased, and gross margin increased.

Technical Abstract: The University of California Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (UC SAREP) and Western Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (WSARE) provided funding for a 3-year project investigating controlled grazing and spring calving in cow/calf operations on California's annual rangeland. In this area, calving is traditionally done in the fall. Calving season was switched to spring to match the season of a cow's greatest energy demand with peak availability of quality forage, thus reducing the need for feeding hay. A 250-acre ranch was divided into 23 paddocks and stocked with 20 cows and heifers. Grazing periods varied from 1-2 days during periods of fast plant growth to 5-8 days during periods of slow plant growth or plant dormancy, with grazing return intervals of 30-45 days and 90-120 days, respectively. As a result of the switch to spring calving and controlled grazing, stocking rate increased, calving period and calving interval were shortened, body condition score at calving increased, direct costs decreased, and gross margin increased.

Last Modified: 12/22/2014
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