Producers looking to rebuild and recover after many years of drought are expected to calve down heifers as two year olds this joining period but it comes with some important advice.
Northern Tablelands Local Land Services land services officer for livestock, Max Newsome, has received a number of calls from producers looking for optimum joining results when bulls are let out in the coming months.
Mr Newsome had seen some good results across the Northern Tablelands from producers who had thought about the process.
They had put plans in place to get their heifers to critical joining weights and sourced appropriate bulls, which would set them up for a successful joining.
"The skills learnt and refined along with the infrastructure put in place throughout the drought has allowed graziers to be prepared and better equipped at strategically supplementary feeding," he said.
When calving down two-year-old heifers it was critical to consider the weight of the females at joining.
As a guide, 14 to 15 month old females should be around 280 to 320 kilograms for British breeds and 300 to 340 kilograms for European breeds, dependent on the mature weight of the cows.
With the tightened supply of females forcing producers to restock with smaller lines, Mr Newsome said it was even more important to keep these production targets in mind.
"The aim is to increase conception level while providing adequate nutrition for continued growth throughout pregnancy," he said.
"There is no down time for a female once she is joined - she is either pregnant, lactating or pregnant and lactating.
"A break in the breeding cycle will have impacts on the bottom line of breeding enterprises. It is also important to plan joining so that they calve down when there is the highest chance of having feed in the paddock."
Ensuring these females reached a fat score of three and being at an adequate liveweight at calving was critical.
"A guide is 80 to 85 per cent of mature body weight," he said.
"This means having heifers growing at approximately 500g/day between joining and calving.
"Giving heifers post-calving high quality feed can ensure they re-join. In addition, the fat score of the heifer at calving has a direct impact on their return to oestrus."
To help ensure a condensed calving he encouraged joining for six weeks or two cycles. Joining should also be planned around when the best feed bank will be on offer.
He argued producers should consider the costs associated with having more calves on the ground in 2021 or holding them back to the following year.
"There are several different factors that vary between enterprises when making this decision, for example the pasture quality and the level of supplementary feeds that may go into meeting set reproduction targets," he said.