Shorter calving periods could boost profitability, finds Eblex

According to Eblex, compact calving periods in suckler herds could help boost producers’ net margins by up to £130 per cow.

The revelation has come from a range of management factors aimed at increasing system profitability and helping top producers generate £100-£130 more net margin per cow (excluding non-cash costs, than average producers).

Eblex’s calculations also showed that calving periods that go beyond 12 weeks can cost producers about £3.35 a day in feed for the empty cow and lost income from calf growth. Eblex said these would equate to £187 per cow for a 20-week calving period.

Additionally, 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, which could potentially generate 21% more calves from the same number of cows.

Eblex senior beef and sheep scientist Dr Mary Vickers explained there was potential to increase productivity of the national suckler herd through these means, but she added that achievement would differ between farms.

Vickers said: “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 play a key role in business output, relative to variable costs. As such, it is positively related to profit.”

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