Why body condition score, available forages should determine weaning date

Decide weaning date based on forages and cow condition. Weaning calves earlier may benefit the bottom line and cows' health.

If you have a fall weaning date circled on your calendar, there could be benefits to moving it up just a tad, says Elaine Griggs, assistant professor and South Dakota State University Extension cow-calf specialist.

Peak milk production in cows is expected to occur about 60 days after calving. At that time, dietary needs peak and a 1,200 pound cow in this stage needs about 2.8 pounds of crude protein. A non-lactating cow needs half that.

Now consider that in some parts of the country, drought is still prevalent. If so, early weaning could be a management tool, Griggs says.

To read more about choosing the best time to wean, click here.


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