Monitor Body Condition on Cows and Bulls Now to Be Ready for Breeding SeasonMon, 24 Jan 2022 09:27:35 CST
Weekly, Mark Johnson, extension beef cattle breeding specialist at Oklahoma State University, offers his expertise in cattle breeding. This is a part of the weekly series known as the "Cow-Calf Corner" published electronically by Paul Beck. Today, Johnson talks about preparing cows and bulls for the coming breeding season.
At the time of this writing, we continue to enjoy a mild, dry winter in Oklahoma. This has been a blessing from a standpoint of winter feed bills to this point. The mild weather also creates a good opportunity to put flesh on the breeding herd prior to calving and breeding season if its needed.
Optimum Body Condition Score on bred heifers going into calving season is a 6, for mature cows itís a 5.5. This is important because there is a strong relationship between BCS at calving and reproductive success in the first 90 days after calving, the critical interval post calving when cows need to breed back to stay on schedule to wean off a calf each 365 days. As well, cow body condition influences the calfís ability to develop as strong immune system.
Itís also important to monitor the BCS on herd bulls at this time of year. Herd bulls at a BCS of 5.5 - 6 at turnout are more fit, athletic and have batteries fully charged when turned out later this spring. Bulls in optimum condition at turnout are more likely to service and settle more cows early in the breeding season and contribute to the bottom line in a positive fashion.
Now is a good time to evaluate BCS on the breeding herd and feed accordingly. The mild weather gives opportunity to add some body condition more efficiently if its needed. More effective to do that now than to try and accomplish it if colder, wetter winter weather looms on the horizon.
Dr. Glenn Selk explains the importance of having heifers in good body condition at calving time in the spring on a classic SUNUP TV.
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