With the new year just upon us, it might seem a bit early to be thinking about calving if you are a beef farmer. However, if you are an early calving farm starting the calving season in February, now may be the time to adjust your feeding schedule to get more of your calves born during the day. This may be an important adjustment to make, especially if you have a large heifer herd due to calve, as heifers are often the animals that need the most assistance giving birth.

Over the years there have been several research studies investigating how the timing of feeding affects the number of nighttime calving situations. One of the initial studies was completed to “ground-truth” anecdotal observation that more calves were born during the day when the herd was fed in the evening. Gus Konefal was the Canadian farmer that made the initial observation known in the 1970s.

The Konefal method fed the herd twice daily, a late morning feeding at 11 a.m. and a night feeding at about 9:30 p.m. These feeding times were started a month prior to calving, continuing through the whole calving season. Konefal reported that approximately 80 percent of the herd calved between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. with this feeding schedule.

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