Body Condition Scoring Helps Producers Plan Ahead for Cow NeedsMon, 13 Oct 2014 11:24:57 CDT
Body condition is one of the best determinants of a cow's reproductive potential. When producers try to add body condition to their can cowherd, it can be difficult and expensive to do so. As a result it's important producers know their body condition scores of their herd. Kansas State University Extension Livestock Specialist Sandy Johnson says by recording body conditions scores now that can save producers in the long term.
"It's often when we are closest to things that you don't see some of the changes that are occurring and the changes typically will be rather slow," Johnson said. "If we make a concerted effort to just take a few moments, score those cows when we're checking them."
Radio Oklahoma Network Farm News Director Ron Hays featured Johnson on Monday's Beef Buzz. You can listen to the feature by Clicking on the LISTEN BAR below.
Body condition is typically scored on a scale of one to nine. A score of a one means the cow exhibits very little fat deposits or muscling. A score of a nine means the cow is very fat to the point that animal mobility can be impaired by excessive fat. An ideal score is a score of five or six where the cow has good balance of muscling and fat. By regularly recording body condition scores of your individual mamma cows that can help producers plan for needed changes in nutritional requirements for both that individual cow and the total mamma cowherd. Johnson recommends checking cows often enough so producers can track body condition changes over time.
"Intentionally writing it down and tracking it over time will help you know what's going on and might help you plan and really that's what we want to be about is planning for known changes in cow's nutritional requirements and not getting caught short and needing more feed than we really have," Johnson said.
Producers will want to measure a cow's body condition to insure she is receiving the correct nutrient intake. Johnson said there are times when a cow's nutritional requirements go up, such as 90 days prior to calving and at calving when a cow begins lactation. Johnson recommends scoring cows at breeding to evaluate pre-breeding and pre-calving nutrition programs. She also recommends checking body condition at weaning to determine if additional supplementation will be needed before her nutritional requirement increase during her third trimester of pregnancy.
With the ongoing drought across the southern plains, Johnson recommends producers body condition score their cows every couple months. She said that will give producers a good indication of the quality and quantity of grass available to the cowherd.
The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Network- but is also a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR below for today's show- and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.
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