Every couple of years the good Lord gives us perfect weather for the spring calving season. This year was that season. While there was a little bit of cold weather at the middle of February, the end of the month and all of March was dryer than normal with mild temperatures.
The first calf heifers started calving on February 17th. We breed them one week ahead of the mature cows, which started calving six days later on February 23rd. So far, we have had 92 calves born (and only 3 more to go).
Once the cows started calving it was as though the flood gates had been opened. We had more cows bred in the first two heat cycles than ever before. 56% of the calf crop was born in the first 21 days, and 89% of the calves were born in a 45 day window! I still believe that the greatest benefit to the AI process is synchronizing the cows and getting them bred early in the calving season.
Our AI conception rate was down this year from what it has been in the past. Our first calf heifers only had an AI conception rate of 46%. They are usually much higher around 60%. The cows where down a little from normal as well, but not all that much. They had an AI conception rate of 52%, only down about 3-5% from normal.
I’m not sure what caused the lower conception rate in the heifers, but they did breed good with the cleanup bull. The heifers had a total conception rate of 90%, while the cows did even better with a total conception rate of 95%.
This year’s calf crop is going to have a lot of uniformity in both size and color, with most of the calves being black or black baldies. There are a couple of red baldie calves too, but overall there is less variation in color than in years past. And with the uniformity in both age and size, this group should make a nice package come time to market them in the fall.