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
March 23, 2000

Spring Management Check List

The coming of spring always brings increased management decisions for the beef cow/calf producer. Time becomes a very important issue for many beef producers. This is largely due to the fact that a very large percent of these individuals are involved with other enterprises or are employed off the farm.

As the first of April approaches, moving the beef herd to pasture becomes a top priority for many producers. There are certain management steps that need consideration prior to opening the gate and saying goodbye to the cow herd until fall. Just a few simple grazing preparations will increase the possibility of an improved marketing group for the coming fall and a more condensed calving season the following spring.

One excuse that I continuously hear is not having an identification system to use for culling purposes. Regardless of the size of your operation, someone has an idea of what each cow looks like and how she is referred to. One operation I worked with several years ago had each cow named. This worked quite well under this situation. The herd owners used names of politicians and each name was assigned depending on the quality and disposition of each cow. One could quickly distinguish which political party the owners were affiliated with.

Another excuse frequently used is "I failed to get ear tags in the calves at birth and now I can’t catch them". Again, this is not a valid excuse. Put a tag with number in the ear of the calves when they are being processed prior to turning them to summer pastures. Windshield observation and the process of elimination will quickly determine the cow/calf pairs for matching the cows with the proper calf. Be sure to record this information and use it throughout the summer and at weaning next fall.

If herd health is an issue, a convenient time to give immunizations is prior to releasing the herd to the summer grazing areas. Immunizations for many reproductive diseases are recommended to be injected after calving and prior to the breeding season. Record the product name, serial number, date of injection, injection method and location of injection. This information will be beneficial when establishing reputation marketing.

Parasite control is often a detrimental culprit for poorly producing livestock. Lice control is easily applied prior to turning to the summer grazing areas. This product may utilize a broad spectrum parasite control or provide control for a limited number of these little characters that love to utilize host animals for existence. The removal of blood from a host animal is greater than many believe if parasite infection rates remain unchecked.

An ID system of some sort is the first step and best tool for removing low producers, cows that continuously have an increase in the number of days between calving intervals and low weaning weights. Regardless of the system you choose, ID and records will improve enterprise income.

University of Missouri ExtensionDale's Country Trails - March 23, 2000
http://outreach.missouri.edu/agconnection/DCT/CT032300.html -- Revised: April 20, 2004