Bud Hinton, Hinton Mills President
It may seem too soon to worry about next year’s calving season, with this year’s calf crop just hitting the ground. Take note: actions you take in February will help determine how many of your cows will successfully rebreed and carry their calf full term. Here are some of the many factors to consider:
Correct balance of Essential Vitamins and Minerals: Supplying your cows with a balanced package of vitamins and minerals facilitates rebreeding. February is time to start feeding a higher magnesium mineral to spring calving cows; We recommend Ultralyx Breeder Mineral with 10% magnesium. It not only contains the magnesium that is critical right after a cow calves, it has the correct balance of vitamins and minerals to put her body in optimal rebreeding condition. *All high magnesium mineral and tubs are on sale this month.
Body Score: University of Kentucky’s Dr. Les Anderson emphasizes that maintaining a body condition score of 5 or better at calving facilitates rebreeding.
Weaning: Weaning this years’ calf crop earlier or creep feeding will help preserve the cows body condition.
Forage Quality: Select, sow and fertilize improved seed varieties now, to improve body condition score for your cows next winter. Nearly everyone has endophyte infected fescue pastures; now is the time to dilute it with Persist Orchard Grass and TT350 Red Clover both on sale now. Reduce your field size with permanent or temporary fence to facilitate rotational grazing. We have both Bekaert and Dare fencing and Stockade Staplers on sale.
Vaccinate: The viruses we vaccinate against (especially lepto) can cause fetuses to abort, reducing your calf crop. Additionally, your cows’ vaccination program improves their calves’ immunity and can also reduce incidence of scours.
Create a Uniform Calf Crop: An underused tool to increase your profits by producing a more uniform calf crop is feeding MGA prior to rebreeding. By tightening the window of time in which your cows come into heat, you tighten the window of time in which your calves will be born. Look for more information about vaccines and MGA cubes during our Cattle Health Days coming up in March.