As we are now in the second week of spring, and with calf’s starting to become more common on the ground, our thoughts turn naturally to feeding the cow now she has calved.
A lot of farmers would feel that cows tend to loose body condition after calving, but this can be avoided if the cow’s diet is carefully monitored up to and after calving.
Cows tend to naturally lose a certain amount of condition after calving, especially after a difficult calving as they do not have enough of an appetite to take in enough nutrition to cope with the demands of lactation.
In general, cows should only be allowed drop 0.5 of a point of body score condition between calving and breeding so it is still incredibly important to treat the cow’s diet seriously.
Have a good supply of the best quality silage available, as most cows even if calved will still be inside due to weather conditions. Offering a couple of kilos of meal with a good protein content or even dairy nuts will give the cow all she needs to cope with lactation and also to keep her body condition score where it should be prior to breeding.
Keeping our cow in a good or ideal body score condition after calving is also key to getting her back cycling as soon as possible, providing enough nutrition to her calf and getting her back in calf as soon as possible i.e. 365 days calving interval.
If calving begins on your farm in February then breeding begins in May and if you are a farmer that’s uses a stock bull, there are some advantages to doing so but also problems and associated costs.
If you are intending to buy a bull for the coming season, then now would be the time to purchase one in order that he is on the farm for a while prior to needing him.
If you are using the same bull as last year, then make sure he is in tip top condition. Now would be the time to perform a full check on him and if you’re unsure call in the vet to give him the once over.
If using a new bull, has he been fertility checked?
He should not be over fat, as it affects fertility as well as being harder on cows when rising.
Check his feet. Sore or bad feet can cause temporary infertility, so do any paring now.
While more and more AI is used on the suckler herd, it is my opinion that having a good bull is the best guarantee to having the maximum number of cows in calf.
Again prices are reported as strong across the country especially for quality lots as farmers are reported to be more active for grass cattle.
Reports are that factory agents are very active for finished cattle across the country, with marts saying well fleshed finished cattle in big demand
Young bulls 365-390c/kg
Reports are that numbers put through are up on previous weeks by approx. 1000 hd