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Agricultural News

Make Time to Body Condition Score Cows

Fri, 12 Dec 2014 11:34:09 CST

Make Time to Body Condition Score Cows

Are you cows ready for colder weather? Making sure your cowherd has adequate body condition is one of the best ways for your cow's to be ready for weather changes. Kansas State University Extension Beef Specialist Dr. Sandy Johnson said trying to add body condition to a cow in this day and age can be increasingly difficult and expensive. That's why she said it's important producers know their cow's body condition score. She said recording condition changes in a cow can save a producer big time in the long term.

"It's often when you are closest to things that you don't see some of the changes that are occurring and the changes typically will be rather slow and if we make a concerted effort to just take a few moments score those cows when we are checking them," Johnson said.

A body condition score describes the relative fatness or body condition of a cow. Cows are given a body condition score from one to nine. A score of one means a cow is very thin and a score of nine indicates that cow is extremely fat and obese. Johnson hopes producers don't have many cows that are given a score of 1, 2, 8, or 9. The ideal score is a five, which indicates the cow is in average flesh.

Radio Oklahoma Network Farm Director Ron Hays featured Johnson on the Beef Buzz feature. Click or tap on the LISTEN BAR below to listen to today's Beef Buzz.

Johnson recommends checking body condition often enough so changes can be tracked over time.   She said when you regularly record those body condition scores of your individual mamma cows that will help you plan for needed changes in nutritional requirements of both that individual cow and the total mamma cow herd.

"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.

There are routine times that a producer will want to evaluate a cow's body condition score to ensure she is receiving adequate nutrition. Johnson recommends scoring cows when a cow's nutritional requirements increase 90 days prior to calving as a cow's nutrient demands increase for her calf. At calving a cow's nutrient requirement's increase even more as she begins lactation. Additionally, Johnson said producers should not forget about boosting nutrition levels at weaning to get that cow into better condition before her nutrition demands increase through the gestation cycle. She also recommends scoring cows at breeding to evaluate how well pre-breeding and pre-calving nutrition programs. Overall Johnson recommends producers score their cowherd every month or two as she thinks it gives producers a good sense about the quality and quantity of grass available and so producers don't loose or gain too much body condition.

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.


Ron Hays Beef Buzzes with Sandy Johnson of K-State
right-click to download mp3


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