Cows calve during the daylight

Producer Question from 2014

Q.  Are there any management practices that will make more cows calve during the daylight when I have extra labor available? (Jan 24, 2014)

A.  The easiest and most practical method of inhibiting nighttime calving at present is by feeding cows at dusk/night instead of feeding them in the morning. The physiological mechanism is unknown, but some hormonal effect may be involved.

There are some nice data sets that support that feeding pregnant cows at dusk will increase the number of cows calving during the day time. The most convincing study to date, 1331 cows on 15 farms in Iowa were fed once daily at dusk, 85% of the calves were born between 6:00 am and 6:00 pm.

Whether cows were started on the night feeding the week before calving started in the herd or 2 to 3 weeks earlier made no apparent difference in calving time.

Rick Rasby
UNL Beef Extension Specialist
University of Nebraska