Factors Affecting Timing and Intensity of Calving Season of Beef Cow-Calf Producers in the Midwest
Despite demonstrated market incentives to adopt controlled calving seasons, many producers still have herds that calve somewhat broadly throughout the year. Primarydata, collected through a coordinated survey effort withUSDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, were usedto quantify factors that affect producers’ decisions regardingtiming and intensity of calving season. Ninety-seven, 50, 33,and 26% of farms calve in the spring (Mar, Apr, May),summer (Jun, Jul, Aug), fall (Sep, Oct, Nov), and winter(Dec, Jan, Feb), respectively. Twenty-two percent observeda calving season exclusively in the spring. Sixty-six percentof respondents indicated calving season was dictated byweather, 34% because of labor availability, and 31%because of tradition. Least often reasons for calving seasonwere market timing (16%), feed availability (8%), and other(4%). Producer stated reasons for calving season explained62% of the variation in timing and intensity of calving on anoperation, whereas a model of producer demographic andoperation characteristics explained 83% of the variation.These results highlight the importance of evaluatingproducer and operation characteristics in addition toproducer input when making recommendations to enhanceproduction efficiency and profitability. Furthermore,understanding the factors which impact calving seasonprovides opportunities for improved extension and research programming.