How Did Your Nutrition Program Do This Winter?

For spring-calving herds, calving season is starting to wind down.

For spring-calving herds, calving season is starting to wind down. The greatest loss of potential calves to wean is due to cows not getting pregnant during the breeding season. Cows that don’t get pregnant during the breeding season, for spring-calving herds, is usually a result of cows being in poor body condition, as a result of the nutrient management program. There can be some losses due to abortion, but these losses are few especially if you have worked with your veterinarian on a herd health and biosecurity program. Once baby calves are on the ground and have nursed their dam in a timely manner so that they get colostrum, calf losses between calving and weaning are minimal.

If calf losses are high in your herd due to abortion and from calving to weaning, consult your veterinarian. Calf losses at calving can be high in the plains states for spring-calving herds due to weather, extremely cold condition and snow storms accompanied by high wind and not enough protection. If percentage of calves weaned per female exposed is in the 80's, in most situations it is nutrition related, it should raise a red flag. Some might raise the red flag if percent weaned of exposed is below 90. There are producers that are profitable when percent of calves weaned of cows exposed is less than 90%. If your weaned of exposed is below 90% and your cost of production allows you to have a profitable cow/calf enterprise, then the red flag is not warranted. The key is to have a good handle on cow costs.

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