Cyclone Beef Day: Calving Time Management

Dennis L. DeWitt, livestock field specialist
Dr. Donald Lewis, extension ag and natural resources director

Early calf losses can mean hundreds, sometimes thousands, of dollars in lost revenue for cow-calf producers. How can producers avoid calf losses without sacrificing hours of time making management changes?

A meeting through the Iowa Beef Center in cooperation with Fort Dodge Animal Health was presented to 36 beef producers to evaluate their management practices based on research and in-the-field experience.


Eighteen out of 36 producer evaluations were collected and summarized. The 18 producers represented 881 beef cows. Fourteen producers reported little to no prior knowledge about preventing PI BVD females. Following the meeting 14 producers indicated quite a lot of knowledge gained. Before the meeting 15 producers indicated little to no prior knowledge about Johnes Disease in beef cows. Following the meeting 16 producers indicated quite a lot in knowledge gained about Johnes. Only nine producers had good to high knowledge before the meeting about reducing neonatal calf losses. After the meeting the number increased to 14 producers or 5 more. 13 producers had good to high prior knowledge of critical nutrient needs of the beef cow; however, there were 12 producers that stated they learned quite a lot more about critical beef cow nutrition. Half of the producers had fairly high prior knowledge about ways of saving calves at birth. After viewing the videotape over half of the producers indicated a lot or quite a lot of benefit was gained in saving more calves at parturition.

The use of birth weight EPDs has been around for 30 years and yet eight producers indicated little to no prior knowledge of how to use EPDs. After the meeting 11 producers indicated quite a lot of benefit gained about EPDs. Sixteen out of 18 producers indicated that the general discussion provided a benefit to them. All 18 responded very positively about the benefits gained.

Country of origin labeling (COOL) begins October 1, 2004 and all of these cow-calf producers are identifying their calves at birth with an ear tag and are keeping a calving book with trace back to dam. When the producers apply the knowledge gained from this meeting the estimated production operational value is $6,250.

Page last updated: July 8, 2006
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