By Jessica Crabtree and Dr. Jered Harlan
Weaning for cow/calf producers is a time of gratification, when all the hours of work finally pay off and the majority of their income is made.
However, the trend is changing and more producers are keeping their weaned calves and administering a preconditioning program.
This equals value added to their recently weaned calf crop. This method seems to be a more progressive piece of management to pay in dividends when managing their herd. Weaning is critical in areas such as breeding efficiency and feed utilization as well as feedlot performance, carcass merit and marketing of cattle.
However, for the calves weaning time is a stressful period in their lives, second to birth. Traditionally calves are weaned at six to eight months, early at three to five. At six to eight the calf is exposed to less stress, is more marketable and requires fewer days to finish, equaling lower input cost.
At three to five months, producers can conserve forage and cow condition if under a drought, accelerate finishing time and elevate marbling and better feed to gain. To read more pick up a copy of the May 2016 issue of NTFR.