A short calving season is the first herd management practice that a cow-calf producer should either have in place or work to develop, says Jim Neel, University of Tennessee Extension beef specialist and professor of animal science.

“Without a short calving season, it will be difficult for a producer to realize a profit from the cow herd. Producers should also work to have as many cows as possible drop their calves early in the season,” Neel said.

Neel says the best practice is to manage replacement heifers so they calve early. “If they calve late, they will always calve late, and there is the strong likelihood they will eventually move out of the calving season. Research done at Texas A&M reported that heifers that calved early the first time produced a positive return on investment.”

Basically, Neel says heifers that calve the first time within a “strung-out” calving season will only get worse throughout the years. “There is no ‘silver bullet’ that replaces basic management of the cow herd,” he adds. “Managing heifers to calve early is one of those basics.”

For more information about best practices for beef cattle management, contact your local county UT Extension office or visit the UT Extension publications web page: https://utextension.tennessee.edu/publications.

Additional information may also be available online at the national eXtension website. eXtension delivers knowledge from land-grant university experts across America, including the University of Tennessee. Visit http://www.eXtension.org.