Cow Calf: What’s The Cost Of A Missed Breeding Cycle?

Cow Calf: What’s The Cost Of A Missed Breeding Cycle?

This time of year, many Extension beef cattle educators like to talk about the importance of short breeding seasons where most of the cows and heifers conceive on the first service.

Certainly a number of issues can affect how long it takes to get the entire herd settled. Regardless, one obvious advantage of a tight breeding season is the opportunity to manage and market the resulting calves as one consistent group. However, have you ever considered the direct ‘economic’ benefit of cows that conceive on the first cycle?

Assuming adequate nutrition is available, a good calf is likely gaining about 2.25+/- pounds a day at weaning time. As a result, if he was born 21 days later than his counterpart, he could easily weigh 40 to 50 pounds less when he goes to market as a feeder calf in the fall of 2008. If feeder calves are worth $1.20 per pound next Fall, one missed breeding cycle could cost $50 to $60 for each calf that is born only one cycle late. For a cow that’s two cycles late, you need to double those numbers!


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