Of buying autumn born calves
cons hard to get a batch of calves in a short period of time to fill a shed.
Depending on the breed and sex of animal that you want to buy, some autumn born calves can fit very well into a system.
For example, an October/ November born Angus/ Hereford heifer calf will be 19/20 months of age at slaughter in May/June when you have the traditionally higher beef price, although you may lose out on substantial breed bonuses at this time of year.
If you are producing an under 16-month old bull, the animal will have a long season making maximum use of grazed grass and they can then be housed in September for finishing over the winter when they would naturally be indoors any way.
In contrast, Friesian steers that under-perform and are not slaughtered by 24 months of age end up having a third winter period putting them a higher cost production system.
Many calf to beef producers have substantially increased the numbers of calves reared on their farm over the last number of years. In most cases adequate calf rearing facilities in terms of shed space, labour, feeding stations are not available on farm so splitting the calf rearing over an autumn and spring period makes sense to increases the numbers of calves reared.
The down side to this is, you are rearing calves for close on six months of the year.
A well reared calf in the autumn is well weaned and ready to make maximum use of grazed grass for a long grazing season in year one, whereas a late spring reared calf may only be off milk by early July when a lot of the best grass producing months are behind us.