Re: Calfing in extreme cold can be tough going. Looks
Years ago we had a grazing school here in central Missouri with a couple of New Zealanders in the crowd. One producer was talking about all the hardships of calving when it occurs during a blizzard and so on. One of the Kiwis said, "We don't have blizzards, but if we did we certainly wouldn't calve during one."
While what he said certainly made sense, there's a lot more to it than meets the eye. Most of my ewes lambed in Jaunary and early February and here in north central Missouri, it appears the weather was better then than it is/will be the rest of this month. I've done the late spring lambing and it's great when you come home and find new lambs stuck in the mud, unable to extricate themselves. You clean them up, but never well enough for momma to accept them and you then have a bottle lamb. It's easy to run 1-1.5 bags of milk replacer through each bottle lamb and if you want to know what a bottle lamb will be worth come fall, multiply the price of a bag of milk replacer by 1-1.5 and you've got it.
In addition, I know from weighing lambs that those born in late winter or very early spring will have an average daily gain 2-3 times of those born in late spring. The early lambs start grazing on new, highly nutritious spring grown before the pastures become loaded up with internal parasite larvae whereas the late lambs start grazing on lower quality summer pastures in hot weather that are crawling with larvae.
Several years ago a number of Kiwi dairymen moved into the Joplin, MO area where my sister milks. Most had the attitude that they were going to show the locals how to milk cows and manage pastures. At the end of the first winter, most had dead calves stacked up like firewood. By the end of the first summer, most also realized there was a big difference between grazing ryegrass during the moderate summers of New Zealand and grazing tall fescue during the hot, dry Missouri summers. It's interesting how the Kiwis' management style now closely resembles that of the locals. Maybe the locals knew what they were doing after all.....