Beef: Pasture calving wins out over barn calving, study shows

A five-year research project shows that margins were higher, calves healthier and labour requirements less for pasture calving than for its barn equivalent. But a changeover will delay cash flow in the first year

by Susan Mann

Ten years ago, after a nasty outbreak of scours among his new born calves, cow-calf farmer Amos Brielmann decided to change his calving methods.

Brielmann recalls his snowsuit pockets being full of antibiotic bottles and needles as he and three full-time employees worked night and day to treat the calves at Pine River Ranch, near Rainy River in northwestern Ontario. At that time, his 300-cow herd was calving in late March, early April. 

“I decided we couldn’t do this,” he says. “It was way too hard on everyone.”

Better Farming - June/July 2008