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Controlled Calving 

A controlled calving season is a 60-90 day period when all calves are born.  It allows improved nutrient, health, and marketing management due to animal similarity all year.

Winter Calving

Calves born late December to early March

  • Cows bred mid March to mid May; calves weaned September/early October


  • Calves older at traditional time of sale

  • Older, bigger bulls to sell for purebred operations

  • Avoids breeding during hottest part of year

  • Little problem with mud at calving


  • Calving in coldest part of the year--longer time from calving to pasture

  • High cow costs due to more need for stored feed

  • Cows take longer to recycle

  • Calves grazed during summer forage slump

  • Commercial calves marketed when prices are low

Spring Calving

Calves born March-May-65-75% of herds in Virginia

  • Cows bred in June and July; calves weaned from October to December


  • Favorable weather for calving

  • Lactating cows fed primarily on pasture-costs lower (dry cows over winter)

  • Calves marketed before winter begins


  • Can be muddy at calving

  • Calves grazed through the summer forage slump

  • Calbes sold when prices are low

Fall Calving

Calves born September to earl November-20-30% of herds

Cows bred in December and January; calves weaned late spring/early summer


  • Weather favorable for calving​

  • Cows usually dry during summer forage slump

  • Cows cycle back quickly after calving

  • Avoid breeding during hottest part of the year

  • Calves marketed during year's highest prices


  • Lactating cows and calves fed during winter--cow costs are increased

  • Calf health may suffer in western Virginia

  • Breeding during shortest days of the year

  • If weaned early spring, calf weight might be light

  • Need to keep calves longer to make up for winter

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