Department of Animal Science


Date of this Version

January 1999


Published in 1999 Nebraska Beef Cattle Report. Published by Agricultural Research Division & University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension , Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


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° 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° F, subsequent calf birth weights increased 1 pound and calving difficulties increased 2.6 percentage points. When blankets were placed on cows before calving, hide temperatures increased slightly, but calf birth weights were unchanged.