Compact Calving Periods in Suckler Herds to Help Boost Margins

UK - Compact calving periods in suckler herds could help boost producers’ net margins by up to £130 per cow, according to EBLEX.
calendar icon 10 December 2012
clock icon 2 minute read

It is among a range of management factors that can increase system profitability, helping top producers generate £100 to £130 per cow more net margin, excluding non-cash costs, than average producers.

EBLEX calculations also show that calving periods that extend beyond 12 weeks cost producers in the region of £3.35 per day in feed costs for the empty cow and lost income from calf growth. It would equate to £187 per cow for a 20-week calving period.

In addition producers could also enhance productivity by reducing the calving interval from 422 days to the target interval of one year for all cows in the herd, potentially generating 21 per cent more calves from the same number of cows.

Dr Mary Vickers, EBLEX senior beef and sheep scientist, said: “There is considerable potential to increase the productivity of the national suckler herd, although how that is achieved will differ between farms.

“For example, extended calving periods are a common feature of English suckler herds yet there is a lot of evidence for the benefits of compact calving periods of 12 weeks or less. Not only do they make life easier in terms of management of the herd and labour requirements at calving time, but there are many performance and health benefits for the cows and the calves.

“Proactive herd health planning with a vet is also fundamental for producers getting the best out of their herds. Ultimately, calves reared per cow plays a key role in business output, relative to variable costs. As such, it is positively related to profit.”

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