What is in this article?:
- April herd management advisor for cattlemen
- Monitor calf health closely
• As fertilization and plans are made for future forage harvest it is an excellent time to total winter feed consumption and reflect on management changes for 2013 which could reduce days of winter feeding and supplement needs.
Monitor calf health closely
· Monitor calf health closely, particularly for signs of scours and pneumonia, have treatment supplies on hand;
· Observe newborn calves to ensure colostrum intake first few hours of life. Provide selenium and vitamin A & D injections to newborn calves. Castrate commercial calves at birth.
· Finalize plans and protocols for breeding season. Establish calendar to map timing of synchronization program to be used during breeding season. Have supplies and semen on hand;
· Breed heifers 2-4 weeks ahead of mature cows to allow longer post-partum interval prior to second breeding season;
· Schedule and conduct breeding soundness exams on herd sires, including annual vaccinations;
·Manage newly acquired herd sires properly to prepare them for the breeding season. Yearling bulls often lose 100-plus pounds during their first breeding season. Adjust them to the feed and environment of their new home, and commingle bulls of same age/weight for a period of time prior to turnout. Ample exercise, in combination with a proper nutritional program, is essential to make them physically fit for the breeding season.
· Finalize genetic goals and selection criteria for upcoming breeding season (both AI and natural service sires);
· Collect remaining yearling performance data (weight, height, scrotal, ultrasound) in seedstock herds.
Fall calving herds — September-November
· Schedule and conduct pregnancy diagnosis with veterinarian 45-60 days following breeding season;
· Evaluate potential options for marketing of calf crop, including timing of weaning to meet operational goals. Calculate break-evens on various marketing options and consider risk management strategies;
· Reimplant commercial calves.
Nutrition and forages:
· Begin creep feeding or creep grazing calves if desired;
· Cows are entering latter portion of lactation, above average to good quality hay should meet nutritional requirements;
· Although pasture green-up is beginning, hay should be continued to be offered until consumption declines significantly;
· Reserve high quality hay and a pasture area for calves post-weaning.
· Consult with veterinarian on vaccination protocol for calf crop. Design vaccination and weaning program around marketing goals and objectives.
· Collect weaning weights on calf crop at optimum time (typical age range 160-250 days), along with cow weights, hip heights and body condition scores (cow mature size data taken within 45 days of calf weaning measure).