Today I want to mention items that beef and forage producers need to consider at this time of year.
Spring Calving Herds
• Cow herd performance is an opportunity to use production data to aid in replacement heifer selection or cull cows due to poor performance. A herd performance test involves weighing cows and calves, frame and muscle scoring calves and body condition cows.
• Walk through your cattle working facilities and take note of repairs and maintenance before fall weaning. Test all weak spots. These are supposed to be “working” facilities not “work-out” facilities. Facilities should be maintained for your safety as well as safety for your cattle.
• Start making plans for weaning calves. Retained ownership can often increase gross income, but to be profitable, cost of feed cannot be too excessive. Hay and supplement based programs are more costly than pasture and supplement programs, so good fall pasture management is important.
• Consider fence line weaning suckling calves. This reduces stress on the cows and calves. In addition calves continue to gain weight and respiratory disease is greatly reduced compared to conventional weaning. Training cattle to respect electric fencing prior to weaning can facilitate the weaning process. Fenceline weaning also allows high-quality pastures to be used as weaning facilities in place of dusty drylots.
• Implement a precondition program. Precondition programs include weaning calves at least 45 days to sale or according to the requirements of the specific preconditioning program, castrating bull…
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