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Optimize calving success - prioritize cow body condition
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 02/09/2024

Producers, get ready for calving season! Maintaining proper cow body condition is crucial for a successful season and a tight calving window next year.

Here's why:

Body Condition Scoring (BCS): Your Management Tool

Think of BCS as a 1-9 scale, with 1 being emaciated and 9 dangerously overweight. Aim for 5-6 at breeding for optimal conception rates. Remember, thin cows (BCS 1-3) struggle with production and reproduction, while overly fat ones (8+) face calving difficulties. Consistency is key – maintain 5-6 with minimal changes throughout the year.

First-Calf Heifers: Special Considerations

Younger cows prioritize their own growth alongside lactation, making maintaining condition tougher. Consider a BCS of 6 pre-calving to address their dual demands. However, feed costs and availability can be hurdles.

Beyond Body Condition: The Bigger Picture

Maintaining good BCS is just one piece of the puzzle. Here's why a tight calving window matters:

• Uniformity at Sale: Calves born closer together are more similar in size and age, fetching better prices.

• Early Born Calves Thrive: Those born in the first 21 days have higher weaning, pre-breeding, and pre-calving weights, potentially leading to higher sale weights or earlier breeding cycles.

• Manage Net-Energy Deficiencies: Cows near calving experience reduced intake capacity. Adjust rations to prevent body condition loss during this critical time.

By prioritizing cow body condition throughout the year, you're setting yourself and your herd up for a successful calving season and beyond!


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