Autumn calving?

Slowcow

Member
As above really, considering going from a sort of Ayr pattern to autumn block.
I'd like eventually to start calving end sept/October, looking at my current pattern, a third or so already fit, just over a third are in January and February and the rest are sort of littered about the rest of the year!

What's the best way? Stop serving today and start again around Christmas? Was thinking then serve 3 weeks to sexed then put a bull in.

How well will the empties milk this summer? Am building numbers at the moment so reluctant to cull to much.

Anyone who's gone down this route, what do you reckon it costs in the first year?
How soon do you see a benefit.
I can see lots of plusses, what are the down sides?

Cows are fat British Friesian mostly, how long a block do most have?
Is it practical to make the block earlier each year? By how much?

I've a bunch of heifers I'm serving at the moment, assume it's best to carry on serving them now, then run them around while there milking rather than leave serving the rest til Christmas.

Thanks!
 

Dragon

Member
Location
Cornwall
Don't do it all in one year, seen to many disasters. Big hit on cash flow when pd and find +30% empty


Shorten your spring block next year too 6-7 weeks. Autumn 12 weeks max.

Breed with beef all cows in the spring service period I.e calved and empty autumn's cows.

Try to generate max heifers calving in autumn.

Only breed bulling heifers to calve in the autumn

Once built up enough cows & heifers calving in the autumn, then decide what to do with the the spring group.

Do this over 3 Yr period.
 

Conrod96

Member
Livestock Farmer
Is your calf shed and rearing setup up to calving everything in 12 weeks?
Ours isn’t so we calve 350 of the herd between September and December the other 70 then calve over the next 3 months means also some milk over the summer
 

Slowcow

Member
Thanks for all the replies ,
No calf rearing setup isn't up to it at the moment! I'm planning on addressing that this autumn if I can as it needs doing anyway.

We are a closed herd, I'm not against buying a few but don't fancy a wholesale swap around, clear of johnes at the moment as much as can ever say you are!

One vote for doing it in one go and one for a gradual approach 🤔, could always serve a lateish spring group if tha autumn serving be a disaster?
 

Jdunn55

Member
I bought part of a herd that was switching from autumn to spring. Pure friesians, 50% were fine, 50% became fat and struggled to get in calf.
Might be different with holsteisn or even jerseys/crossbreed
But imo friesians will get fat and struggle to get in-calf. Instead of moving them 6 months, if I did it again I would move them 2-3 over the course of 2 years ie: calving in September, then December then February (obviously vice versa for you moving to autumn)
 

jimmer

Member
Location
East Devon
Genuine run arounds get back in calf as well if not better
Trying to shorten anything over a 12 week block will mean trying to get low dim cows back in calf resulting in more empties more run arounds and several years of this
Blocking up in one year just means adjusting feed rate and maybe running 2 groups for one season to ease cash flow, and if on manufacturing contract the rise in solids ought soften the transition
Shanty Town straw bale pens and selling beef calves ought to solve calf housing
 

Carlowmann

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Carlow Ireland
Going the same route myself, block autumn calving. I was thinking of March April calving next year then August September the following year and any late calvers this year let slip around
Might sell some and buy some to help
 

Slowcow

Member
Genuine question, would they get too fat if they milking?! We burn up a bit in the summer so grass tiny bit scarce anyway.

Do favour the idea of doing it in one go, I need things simple!

Wouldn't be planning on rearing them outside anyway, I've a friend who's always after my beef calf's so as long as not down with TB be mostly heifers rearing.
 

Jdunn55

Member
Genuine question, would they get too fat if they milking?! We burn up a bit in the summer so grass tiny bit scarce anyway.

Do favour the idea of doing it in one go, I need things simple!

Wouldn't be planning on rearing them outside anyway, I've a friend who's always after my beef calf's so as long as not down with TB be mostly heifers rearing.
Some would get too fat if they're proper friesians. They will also dry themselves off after 12 months milking.
 
Location
East Mids
Thanks for all the replies ,
No calf rearing setup isn't up to it at the moment! I'm planning on addressing that this autumn if I can as it needs doing anyway.

We are a closed herd, I'm not against buying a few but don't fancy a wholesale swap around, clear of johnes at the moment as much as can ever say you are!

One vote for doing it in one go and one for a gradual approach 🤔, could always serve a lateish spring group if tha autumn serving be a disaster?
When we had to buy in because we lost so many to TB, I found buying into our previously closed herd almost as stressful as losing cows, when you've achieved good health status there is so much at stake - Johnes, Crypto, Mycoplasma, neospora, on top of the more obvious TB, BVD, IBR etc. It was only because we were meticulous in our biosecurity that we avoided buying in some IBR antigen + animals.

A suckler chap I knew bought a new bull and it died 2 months later of malignant catarrhal fever!
 

crashbox

Member
Livestock Farmer
@Slowcow we are doing the same, due to a dry farm making spring/summer grass challenging. TB makes buying and selling difficult.
Here's my approach...

- For cows already in the correct block (say calving Aug to Oct) breed hard to sexed, then stragglers to beef.
- Stop serving Feb/March before turnout, so we get a xmas break.
- Serve all spring calvers to beef only (or in my case beef bulls) for 12 weeks (May to July), then have a Summer break.
- Weigh and target-feed heifer calves to push them on or hold them back to fit the Autumn and Spring blocks, again using sexed semen for Autumn and beef for Spring.

Means running split block for a couple of years and by year 3 I'll have something resembling a main autumn block and small spring block.

I'm year 2 now, no calvings in July/Aug this year, calving profile becoming quite "peaky".

Good luck.
 

Slowcow

Member
Thanks for all the input, yesterday I wasn't going to call the ai for cows until next year, then like someone try to quit fags it's one more time as the last of my 1st calvers came bulling last night!
So after today.......
 

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HSENI names new farm safety champions

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Written by William Kellett from Agriland

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The Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) alongside the Farm Safety Partnership (FSP), has named new farm safety champions and commended the outstanding work on farm safety that has been carried out in the farming community in the last 20 years.

Two of these champions are Malcom Downey, retired principal inspector for the Agri/Food team in HSENI and Harry Sinclair, current chair of the Farm Safety Partnership and former president of the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU).

Improving farm safety is the key aim of HSENI’s and the FSP’s work and...
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