Calf standing in the shade by a fenceCalves born in late winter instead of spring in the Western U.S. typically see better growth, according to USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS). The reason? Access to higher-quality forage when it is most needed. The study, which analyzed 80+ years of data from 39,000 calves, found that early-March-born calves average 13% increase in weight at 180 days than May-born calves.

The payoff? Ranchers can use this information to maximize forage efficiency, particularly as widespread drought continues to impact Western producers. Additionally, since the 1940s the risk of cold weather mortality has declined due to warming winter temperatures, a trend expected to continue according to client models.

Read more on early calving and calf weight here.