Dale Watson
Commercial Agriculture Beef and Livestock Specialist
University of Missouri Extension




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Please send your comments and sund suggestions to Dale Watson, Commercial Agriculture Beef and Livestock Specialist, University of Missouri Extension, 111 N. Mason, Carrollton, MO 64633, call 660-542-1792, or send messages by e-mail to: watsond@missouri.edu.
For the Week of
February 11, 1999

Winter is Not Over

The mild weather we have experienced in late January and early February usually shapes up to be nothing more than a so-called "weather breeder" for many livestock producers. The weather breeder term may seem odd to you when we hear media remarks that winter is past the halfway point. Calendar wise this is true, but we need to keep a few winter preparations within close reach.

The calving season is in full swing for many producers and just around the corner for many others. There are a few management tips that will assist greatly with reducing the animal health problems many producers seem to encounter annually. A "two fold" management system works extremely well: first, a calving area that is easily observed; and second, having a clean area for the post calving pairs. Moving the cow/calf newborn pairs to a clean fresh pasture soon after birth is an excellent management tool. This provides a method for easier observation of the pre-calving group and breaks the buildup of health problems that develop and are transferred from the older calves to the younger ones. This method permits ration adjustment for the nutrition requirement of the post calving female.

Practicing the two fold management method provides the opportunity for closer observation for the "first part of life" of the newborn calf. The most important health prevention management tool for the newborn is making sure the opportunity is provided for consumption and digestion of the colostrum milk immediately after birth. The absorptive ability of colostrum milk is 100% at birth and reduces as the days of age increase for the newborn calf. The antibodies in the colostrum milk provides the calf with the nourishment that is needed for a healthy start in life.

Numerous producers are taking advantage of the mild weather and moving on with their forage practices of frost seeding legumes, especially red clover. This is an excellent time of year to complete this type of forage management.

Even the old woolly worm adage dictated that there would be a mild streak of weather about mid winter. However, there is a definite dark portion on both ends of these little creatures. So as the old timers would say, hang onto your hat and keep track of your false teeth because winter isn't over yet.

University of Missouri ExtensionDale's Country Trails - February 11, 1999
http://outreach.missouri.edu/agconnection/DCT/CT021199.html -- Revised: April 20, 2004