Don't know where you are located, but remember, a cow needs lots of nourishment in the last tri-mester of pregnancy. And even more when she calves. If she calves on green grass, it will save you a lot in feed and she should cycle and breed back easier. Calves will do good and should stop lots of sickness problems. Look at when deer have fawns. Nature probably has it figured out pretty good.
I moved my calving date back almost a month one year, from first of March to first of April. I sweated and worried all that next year, worrying that I would have smaller, lighter calves. Ended up selling the most even set and heaviest calves of my life, that next fall.
Many people in our area with all kinds of sized herds (10-200) are switching to April 1st breeding. We switched last year. Our nearby neighbours run about 150 commercial Hereford cows. They used to calve end of February and into March, but the cold weather now bothers the father (about 67-70 years) and he now vacations in Arizona to escape the cold. With him being gone for the 'snow' months, the boy has decided to calve in April from now on.
You will be just fine. When those calves don't have to go through the stress of the bad weather, they never slow down, just keep on gaining. And if you do lose a little weight, I bet you will find you made more money calving later. In our country you can calve that late and still have calves knocking on 600 lbs. We calve March 25 and sell Oct. 10. Those calves aren't very old and they have averaged 620# over the last 5 years.
We would never go back to calving earlier and in fact we put the bulls out four days later this year.
The feed issue that was brought up is true as well. Kit Pharo says you aren't doing it right until you calve in May. Don't know as I quite believe that, but April calving seems to work well. Another thing Kit Pharo says that I do think he is right on: Ranchers are performance driven, not profit driven. Sometimes bigger calves aren't better~profit wise.
Yep, I'd bet you are gonna be happy with your decision.
You should be fine! The only potential problem I can see is, depending on your location (how much rain you get, temperatures/late snowstorms), you may have to treat for scours more with April calving. Otherwise you should be fine! Hope everything goes great for you!
My bulls celibrate " Independance Day" on the 4th of July like the rest of us. I would guess that your conseption rate will be much better the first time around - - - I am having a 45 day calving period with 85% or better in 30 days.
As for the "late calves" they hit the ground with spring time vigor and seem to never look back - - - and uniform - - - Yes I am kind of set in my ways but until someone can show me how I can possibly take more work off myself and still have the best calves within 100 miles my bulls will still look forward to the 4th of July. Keep you cows on a good year round mineral program and you will start having more sets of twins as well - - and they will do well.
I suppose that thurning out early is a matter of where you live - - - My calves coming in April are born on fresh grass - - - March here is quite often muddy and can have several bad storms. April has several rainy days but they are isolated and great sunshine in between. I'm assuming that your spring is very different.
I have a neighbor that I share bulls with that loves to calve indoors so the bulls go to his cows the first of April and get his cattle settled for January calves. He has about 35 head and puts them up each night in January and Feburary and has good results - - -just much to labor intensive for my taste. Then he has to feed his cows much better feed to keep them milking.
Bubba would love this set-up going back and forth. With the 35 over there then basicly a 45 day recovery period and then my 45 to 50 we get good use of good bulls. We always turn out a yearling bull with a mature bull. I feel the young bull keeps the older bull working. He will search out the cows in heat and the old bull will take over - - - The young bull learns good habits and then we will sell him for breeding as a two year old and he will go out and do a good job with out falling in love and following the same female all over.
Thanks for your support!! I'm only two weeks later than I used to be, last steers we sold in a bunch had April 4 ave calving date, and weighed 704# on Dec 4 at the sale in Rushville. But I'm starting over with heifers, hope they breed fast. The points mentioned of profit versus weaning weight are right on, in my opinion; and calving when the grass is greening up has worked well here for several years. If they get too scattered on calving, I'll switch from Father's day (for luck), to Independence Day!!!
"Little John" ( 1720# at three years old - - - registered Angus) is so glad Independence day finnally got here - - - Sorry "Bubba" Little John and a yearling Charlois will have to handle the girls this year. They just came from 90 days with 35 Angus cows. With the split breeding they handle about 80 cows each year. I will sell the earling next year as a herd sire - - -I always do this so that the person I sell to gets a bull that will go to work and not scatter calves for ever. Some of my neighbors are glad to let my yearlings run with their herds for a year and keep rotating - - - I only allow if the herd sife is a different breed so that it is easy to tell if they get calves from my bulls - - - It is good for them as they will get a couple of great smokey calves and keeps their herd sire working. I also give them a discount if they decide to buy from me. And even if they don't they talk about the bulls so they are always sold quickly.
I haven't turned the bulls out yet. Got'em shut in the corral feeding them hay to make them behave until July 10! Since heart surgery a couple years ago I have had really good luck with late April-May calving.
As JB and others said mother nature knows best about the weather and nutrition requirements. I'm getting old enough I don't want to fight the weather. Did run in to a heavy late April snow/rain event which we needed desperately. At any rate any storm that late shouldn't last long and should be no need to keep the snow shovel at hand very long.
Another thing, my cattle numbers are still down due to the drought. I plan to do the same as I did last year. Sell a group of matched steers and keep the smaller and not so well matched to make yearlings out of. Still keeping all my heifers trying to build my numbers back.