Much of the country has been blessed with a mild, dry winter, avoiding many of the problems severe winter storms can bring to the cow herd. With this good weather, we can become side tracked and forget about some very important nutritional needs from Spring calving cows.
North Dakota Beef Specialist, Carl Dahlen, recently shared some important cattle management tips for late winter.
1. Cattle requirements are increasing and herds have calves being born; be sure to match diets with requirements.
2. Review feed inventories and re-evaluate your plan for allocating feed to cattle in light of current winter conditions.
3. If cows are in great condition, save better-quality hay for feeding after calving; consider which hay to carry over for next year.
4. Increase feed deliveries in cold weather (yes, we actually may have cold weather this year!) and consider feeding in the afternoon; this keeps cattle warmer at night and can shift calving to daylight hours.
5. Prepare for calving (everything from pre-calving vaccinations to getting all supplies ready) if your cows are getting close.
6. Review health, feeding and implant strategies for newly purchased backgrounded calves to optimize performance unless Natural premium outweighs opportunity cost.
7. Secure seed and fertilizer purchases for planting in spring of 2012.
8. Familiarize yourself with expected progeny differences (EPDs) and current breed-average EPDs and how you can use these numbers in your breeding program.
9. Review existing bull inventory, reflect on the 2011 calf crop, determine needs for the 2012 breeding season, and purchase accordingly.
10. Take time to set goals for your operation in 2012; this gives everyone on your operation something to strive for.
Read more on Beef Cattle Nutrition this winter and the rest of the story from Beef Magazine.
What advantages/disadvantages have you experienced with mild winter weather? Do you think we’ll pay for this weather down the road?