What Are The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Calving

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Calving Around the World

Have you ever wondered why some farms calve in the spring while others calve in the fall? Or why some farms calve all year long? If you happen to ask one of those farmers why, you might have received an answer along the lines of “We’ve always done it this way around here” or something equally as vague. The calving system employed varies greatly between countries and regions based on the climate as well as the milk pricing system, but can also vary within smaller areas based on management decisions and goals, feeding systems and housing. There are advantages and disadvantages to every system, but if the right one is chosen the benefits will outweigh the costs.
Seasonal Calving
The basic premise of seasonal calving
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Cows may calve at any point in the year. This system may be the result of a conscious management decision or the effect of poor management in a block calving system.
Year Round Calving
Advantages Health/Fertility
• Bulls can be used for throughout the year
Production
• There are cows at peak lactation point and all points throughout the year resulting in a consistent bulk tank volume
Disadvantages Economics
• Usually incurs higher machinery/labor costs
Labor
• Labor intensive throughout the year
Table 4: Advantages & Disadvantages of a Year Round Calving System

Changing the System
There are many important factors to take into account when think about changing your calving system. Is there labor availability if the new system will require high workloads during harvest season? Capital and production costs such as machinery must be considered, as well as the extra investment required if additional stock needs to be purchased. Extra buildings may be required for more calving and isolation boxes, a second bulk tank may need to be installed in order to handle higher production levels at certain points in the year and extra bedding materials may be required if a larger percentage of the herd will be housed indoors at the same

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