While strong cattle prices are encouraging beef producers to develop replacement heifers, it pays to condition bred heifers for optimal health, says Glenn Selk, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension emeritus livestock specialist.
Replacement heifers that will calve in January and February must grow and maintain body condition for best calving results.
"Ideally, 2-year-old heifers should be in a body condition score of 6 at the time their first calf is born," he says. "This allows them the best opportunity to provide adequate colostrum to the newborn, repair the reproductive tract, return to heat cycles, rebreed on time for next year and continue normal body growth."
In terms of production and management, the heifers typically need to be gaining about 1 lb./head/day from now until calving time, assuming that the animals are in good body condition coming out of summer.
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