What is in this article?:
• Though it requires more facilities, labor and feed, pre-conditioned calves are in high demand.
• Numerous research and Extension trials have demonstrated that calf growth is very efficient during this 45 day period and returns are far above costs.
Identify replacement heifers
• Identify replacement heifers. Utilize available tools including genetics, dam performance, individual performance, and phenotype. Restrict replacement heifer pool to those born in defined calving season.
Fall calving herds (September-November)
• Secure necessary supplies for calving season (ob equipment, tube feeder, colostrum supplement, ear tags, animal health products, calving book, etc.)
• Move pregnant heifers and early calving cows to calving area about 2 weeks before due date.
• Check cows frequently during calving season. Optimal interval is to check calving females every 4 hours. Address calving problems early.
• Utilize calving area that is clean and well drained. Reduce exposure to scours by moving 2-3 day old pairs out of calving area to separate pasture (reduce commingling of newborn calves with older calves).
• Identify calves promptly at birth. Record birth weight, calving ease score, teat/udder score, and mothering ability of cow.
• Plan for winter by evaluating feed and forage supplies and options, including conducting forage tests to determine nutritional content of hay on hand.
Nutrition and Forages
• Evaluate growth of yearling heifers with goal of reaching 60-65 percent of mature weight by breeding. Depending on forage quality, supplementation may be needed to meet weight gain target.
• Continue to feed high Se trace mineral salt.
• Reserve high quality hay and pasture area for cows post-calving.
• Use grazing management to control the residue of warm season pastures as they approach dormancy. Use strip-grazing as a tool to increase the efficiency of utilization of cool season pastures by cows post-calving.
• Store your high quality hay in the dry.
• Collect and submit forage samples for nutrient analysis.
• Ensure colostrum intake first few hours of life in newborn calves. Supplement if necessary. Newborn calves need 10 percent of body weight in colostrum first 24 hours of life.
• Provide selenium and vitamin A and D injections to newborn calves.
• Castrate commercial calves at birth.
• Monitor calves closely for scours and pneumonia, have treatment supplies on hand.
• Collect yearling performance data (weight, height, scrotal, ultrasound) in seedstock herds.
• Evaluate bull battery and begin planning for the breeding season by evaluating herd goals and objectives.