Low-Cost Cow/Calf Production School Coming to Swift Current

Source: Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food

In these days of tight budgets, cattle producers are compelled to reduce costs wherever they can. Beef cattle nutritionist Dick Diven has a solution he will be sharing with members of the industry from February 13 to 16 in Swift Current.

His Low-Cost Cow/Calf Production School is a four-day program based on one simple principle:

“We try to "seasonalize" the cattle with the forage,” he explains. “The key point of a successful or profitable cow-calf business is conception. You have to get the cows bred. In order to facilitate conception, the cows have to be in good body condition at the time they calve, and that is based on location factors, like the time of the year and other aspects.”

Diven argues that “The reason for conditioning is that birth is a tremendous strain. The endocrine system—the hormones—are pumping in one direction, so to speak. However, as soon as the cow calves, her system has to reverse and pump in the other direction in order that she’ll have a shorter post-partum interval.

“Therefore,” he goes on, “to come into heat early and to have a calf next year, she has to be bred within 85 days post calving, and we want the shortest post calving interval that we can possibly have. So she should cycle a couple of times and then be exposed to a bull in her third cycle when she is more fertile.”

Diven puts this guidance in a low cost framework for producers by using forage instead of hay as feed.

“This means that she is going to have to calve after a period of very good forage, which is different from what we usually do in North America. We feed a lot of feed hay mostly, but also grains and so on. We have her calve early—in February-March—something like that, so that the calf will have a heavy weaning weight in the fall.

“The reason for the heavy feed is so that she is in good body condition at the time she calves in order for her to rebreed. We want to get away from that feeding. That is why we calve them in a period of lush growth. In Saskatchewan, we would look at a period of late June at about the earliest.”

Diven suggests giving cows a month and a half of good forage as the direction low cost producers should adopt.

The Arizona-based consultant has given presentations to various groups in Saskatchewan before. He has spent the last 30 years working with the cattle industry on nutrition and reproductive physiology.

“We gave a couple of talks last year in Weyburn and Swift Current. We had a good response on the part of the audience and we have been encouraged to come up for a full school. We just opened it for registration a little while ago. We limit the school to 30 participants.”

Diven says ranchers in Canada are very progressive.

“BSE has made them more so, I think. They are trying to cut costs. Challenging situations will happen again. We don’t know what is going to happen. Beef cattle producers just want to be ready for it,” he concludes.

To find out more about the school or to register, call 1-800-575-0864 or visit: http://www.lowcostcowcalf.com/

For more information, contact:

Dick Diven, PhD
Agri-Concepts, Inc.


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