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May 29, 2023 Cow/Calf Update

Cow / Calf Operators:

Grass and warm weather are finally here. As we get ready to turn bulls out we need to remember some cow related truths. Cows will not cycle and rebreed if they are in a negative energy balance. Regardless of the condition of your cows at calving she still needs to be gaining a small amount of weight after calving to cycle. We fall short here on an individual basis and its most common in the first calf heifers. This shows up next fall at preg check time with late breds and opens. We have gotten numb to a handful of opens and bigger hand full of late breds. This does not need to be the norm, we can fix this and it does not involve a big check just the correct allocation of feed resources.

For those of you that do extensive AI and ET work talk to me about this. Special considerations are in order here especially if you turn cows out before cows are confirmed pregnant. I have experience with embryo transfer in a dairy cow setting and I have learned some nutrition and pregnancy rate response things that may help you also.

Don’t over look your mineral program. Cheaper is often not better due to differing rates of availability for absorption among mineral sources. Buying mineral is confusing so don’t feel bad if you have been told a few different stories and are mildly amazed at the difference in prices of a 50# bag of mineral. I would like the opportunity to explain your mineral questions in person.

Creep feed is another area that causes questions as prices can vary widely. I can help with these issues if I know what your program is and the plan for these calves later on. The main thing to keep in mind with creep feeding is this. Feed efficiency will never be better than it is right now on these young calves. Feed efficiency starts to slowly get poorer after approximately 5 months of age. By getting creep feed into them now we maximize this free gift of early life feed efficiency while it lasts. We also replace some grass so mom can eat it. These two big items often get forgotten by simply buying on cost per ton.

Here are some things we do need to remember as we talk about creep feed. Trucks and the people driving them have gotten expensive. Repairs and insurance have done the same. We ask that you please take the time to bring your creep feeders up to the pasture gate or the house yard to be filled. We will no longer be going into the pasture to fill feeders.

Thanks for your time and your business.
Al, Jared, Katia FCS beef team.