The increase in nutrient requirements during the late gestation period is significant. Depending upon the mature weight of the cow, crude protein (CP) requirements increase approximately 28 to 30%, while total digestible nutrient (TDN) requirements increase approximately 15 to 17% between month 7 and month 9.
Nutrient deficiency during this period can result in weak calves that are more susceptible to environmental stresses, and cows that are slow to breed back. Failing to provide late gestation cows with a ration that meets their nutrient requirements will negatively impact the potential profitability of the cow/calf operation. Thus, the cattle manager must prepare for those increased nutrient needs. Preparation involves knowing the weight and nutritional status of the cow, knowing the diet nutrient requirements and knowing the nutrient content of the feedstuffs that are being used.
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