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Climate affects calf birth weights and calving difficulty

By Gene H. Deutscher, Dave Colburn, Rex Davis

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A six-year study was conducted to investigate effects of winter temperatures on two-year-old cows (n=285) and their subsequent calf birth weights and calving difficulty in the spring. The winter of 1992-93 (coldest) was 11 degrees F colder than the winter of 1994-95 (warmest). The coldest winter was followed by calf birth weights that were 11 pounds heavier with 29 percent greater calving difficulty compared to the warmest winter. Our results indicated that as average winter temperatures decreased 1 degree F, subsequent calf birth weights increased 1 pound and calving difficulty 2.6 percentage points. When blankets were placed on cows before calving, hide temperatures increased slightly, but calf birth weights were unchanged.


Megan Kendall

Purdue University

Date 1999
Series Title Nebraska Beef Cattle Reports
Pages 7-9
Publisher Animal Science Department at University of Nebraska - Lincoln
Language English
Notes This report was found at Digital Commons @ the University of Nebraska-Lincoln:
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal roles
  2. Animal welfare
  3. Body condition
  4. Calves
  5. Cattle
  6. Environmental research
  7. Farm animals
  8. Health
  9. Physical environment
  10. temperatures
  11. winter