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Turn Body Condition Scoring Into Routine Practice

University of Tennessee beef cattle professor shares some thoughts on body condition scoring practices.

Body condition scoring (BCS) is a practice that should be carried out at the weaning of the calf crop along with pregnancy checking and cow culling. Body Condition Scores are indicators of the cows' nutritional condition.

Body Condition Scoring uses a numerical value to estimate energy on fat reserves. The values range from 1 to 9. Cows in the lower numbers (1, 2 or 3) have less energy stores and are considered skinny. Cows with BCS scores of 4, 5 or 6 are average, and the cows in 7, 8 and 9 range can be easily recognized as fat.

Body Condition Score at calving has an important impact on the future calf crop. Mature cows should be in a BCS of 5 while first calf replacement heifers should be in a BCS of 6.

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