Read Alistair Raynor’s views on short gestation and fat cover.
Ian is always banging on about short gestation and the importance of rib and rump fat to a cow throughout her life. We calve at 2 years here (joining at 14-15 months) and the first calvers are the most vulnerable when times are tough. We have increased our rib and rump fat and decreased the gestation length and have found the recovery time for a first calver is certainly not an issue any more.
The benefit of positive fat is felt right through our program, calves tend to be early maturing and therefore can be joined earlier and sold earlier. The profitability in just these two advantages is huge. The flow on effect with fertility and ease of calving because the cows have maintained condition is an important factor also.
Feed efficiency has increased as animals are not always on the catch up when times are tough and they definitely handle the harsh conditions better. What better year to test that out!