Positive trends in reproductive performance are apparent in the Angus breed, based on calving records collected by the American Angus Association (AAA). First-calf Angus females are calving earlier than in years past and are also breeding back quicker to maintain a shorter interval between their first and second calves. Purebred Angus cows born in 1995 and 1996 produced their first calf at an average age of 24 months and 5 days. Among females born from 1999 through 2001, the age at first calving averaged 24 months and 1 day--a decrease of 4 days. This latest birth group of females born 1999-2001 showed a 3 percent increase of females that produced their first-calf by 25 months of age. During the same five-year time frame, the average first-to-second-calf interval declined by 2.5 days. Average breed-back time was reduced to generate this positive change.

When combined, these two improvements shaved almost a week off the average Angus female's age at the time she produced her second calf. "These are meaningful improvements that speak well for what U.S. Angus breeders are accomplishing. Positive shifts have taken place in the entire breed population," says Jim Shirley, vice president of industry relations for AAA.

"Commercial cow-calf producers understand the importance of getting young cows to calve early and re-breed on time," Shirley says. "The economic benefit associated with getting a higher percent of the cowherd calved out early in the calving season is very real, especially when calves are bringing well over $1 a pound."

The American Angus Association, with headquarters in St. Joseph, Mo., provides programs and services to more than 34,000 members and thousands of commercial producers who use Angus genetics. For more information visit www.angus.org.

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