Minimizing Calving Difficulty in Beef Cattle

Minimizing Calving Difficulty in Beef Cattle

Pete Anderson

University of Minnesota

Calving difficulty (dystocia) contributes heavily to production losses in beef cow/calf herds. A Nebraska study estimated that calving difficulty results in annual losses of $25 million in that state alone. The obvious losses are due to calves or cows that die at or soon after calving. Less noticeable losses are due to delayed rebreeding, more open females, an extended calving season and increased labor costs. While occasional dystocia is almost unavoidable, cattlemen can minimize dystocia through proper management. Control of both genetics and environment (nutrition) is necessary to minimize dystocia.

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