Date of this Version



© 1981, The Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska on behalf of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension. All rights reserved.


This publication acquaints cattle producers with calving management principles to minimize calf loss. The objective is to deliver a live calf from every cow. Six to ten percent of all calves born in beef cow herds in the U.S. die at or soon after birth. Approximately half of those deaths are due to calving difficulty (dystocia). This multi-million dollar annual loss is second only to losses from cows failing to conceive. Calving difficulty has received much more attention in recent years, primarily because of the mating of larger European breeds of bulls to British breeds of cows. Increased calving problems are also being encountered within purebred breeds, as genetically large bulls are often mated to cows of only average size.