Engaging Agriculture: Calving Workshops Scheduled in Sidney and Curtis


By Aaron Berger, Beef Educator, Nebraska Extension, and Chabella Guzman, PREEC Communications

Spring calving Red Angus beef cattle in the Sandhills of Nebraska. Photo by Natalie Jones/IANR Communications.

The Nebraska Extension is hosting two hands-on Calving Workshops on Jan. 18 at 6 p.m. MT at the South Platte NRD Building in Sidney and Jan. 19 at 1 p.m. CT at the NCTA Livestock Teaching Center in Curtis.

The workshops will be led by Becky Funk, DVM and Extension Specialist, and Lindsay Waechter-Mead, DVM and Extension Educator. Topics covered will include calving equipment and proper use, techniques for managing dystocia, when to call for help, and hands-on demonstration and training using a life-size model cow and calf.

Preparing for the calving season can help minimize calf loss and reduce stress on those caring for the cowherd. These hands-on workshops will cover how to correct common malpresentations and approach handling difficult births.

“Pay attention to the nutrition needs of bred heifers and cows prior to calving. Adequate body condition at calving is important as it impacts cow stamina during delivery of the calf, colostrum quality, calf vigor, and subsequent rebreeding,” said Aaron Berger, Nebraska Extension beef educator. 

Producers should discuss their herd health plan with their veterinarian. To manage where they can reduce risk and address ways to prevent health problems that have been an issue before. Other aspects of preparation include examining calving facilities, checking gates, pens, alleys, and head catches, and fixing or replacing broken items. Check lights and have replacement bulbs on hand.

“You should also make sure you have a good supply of plastic sleeves, obstetrical lube, obstetrical chains or straps, esophageal feeders, and calf feeding bottles. Make sure your fetal extractor (calf puller) is clean and working properly,” he said.

It’s also good to have colostrum or colostrum replacement products on hand. The calf’s ability to absorb immunoglobulin antibodies across the intestine decreases rapidly six to 12 hours after birth. “It is critical the calf receives colostrum during this time. If the quality or quantity of the colostrum is a concern, consult your veterinarian as to which replacement products are best,” Berger said. 

Weather is another consideration, and producers should be aware calves born during cold, wet conditions can quickly succumb to hypothermia. For mild hypothermia (body temperature between 94 and 100°F), giving a calf warm, body temperature colostrum or colostrum replacement products and drying the calf off with towels and warm air can quickly bring a calf’s temperature back to normal. Providing wind protection and a clean, dry environment will keep stress and disease occurrence low.

The cost to attend is $30. Students attend for free. To register for the Sidney workshop, call Aaron Berger at 308-235-3122 or email To register for the Curtis workshop, call Erin Laborie at 308-268-3105 or email