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
November 12, 1998

Preparing for the Calving Season

The holiday season is rapidly approaching. This is a sure sign that the fall calving season is ending and preparation for the spring calving season must be considered. Some individuals still insist on a 12-month calving period, but many contend that this management decision adds to the marketing problem. However, the 12-month season eliminates some labor and extra pasture. Just forget about removing the bull and let nature determine your marketing strategies.

A very major consideration is the body condition of the cow herd. The insulation properties of a fat cover reduces the sensitivity to cold stress. Cows having a body condition score of 5 or greater benefit from the fat insulation. The loss of 2 body condition scores in the fall will add a minimum of $0.10 per head per day to the feed cost to regain the body condition later in the winter or early spring. This additional cost is compared to maintaining the body condition scores throughout the fall and winter seasons. Livestock with an abundant winter hair coat also have the natural ability to withstand severe cold conditions.

This is the time of year that we can devote thoughts toward calving areas. Oftentimes when we look at what is available we find a pasture that has not been eaten into the ground. This type of area provides an excellent calving environment. Accumulated growth of fescue is an excellent source of forage for a calving area. This accumulated growth provides bedding, reduces the contact of the body to cold wet ground, and assists with keeping the livestock out of the mud.

Maintaining another area where forage is available provides the cow/calf pairs with a positive environment immediately after calving. This management technique reduces many health problems for the newborn calves, especially scours. The calf scour problem often is a fore runner of numerous respiratory problems. This type of accumulated vegetation also provides additional bedding. Remember last winter when we were over knee deep in mud. Calving areas that had this type of vegetation proved to be very beneficial. With the rain and snow fall many producers have experienced the stage is set for feeding problems again for 1998/99. Cold temperatures would eliminate the mud problem and many producers who have crops in the field are hoping for a colder environment to assist with the harvesting of corn and soybeans.

University of Missouri ExtensionDale's Country Trails - November 12, 1998
http://outreach.missouri.edu/agconnection/DCT/CT111298.html -- Revised: April 20, 2004