Carrington Research Extension Center


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Calving Season Is Just Around the Corner: Are you ready?


When I walked into the livestock unit office the other morning, Tim asked me a few questions about ordering supplies for calving and preparing facilities. That kind of hit home and got me thinking, calving is only 9 weeks away. While we often think about the activities associated with calving, it is equally important to think about things that happen prior to calving and how they may impact our calving season.

Certainly, there is a lot of preparation – removing snow and cleaning calving areas, working on calving facilities, or giving pre-calving vaccines to cows and heifers, just to name a few. But, it is also important to think about cow body condition and adjust feeding practices if needed. It is recommended that spring calving cows be in a body condition score (BCS) of 5 or greater at the time of calving. Additionally, it is important to ensure that cows are receiving adequate nutrition prior to calving to allow for the energy demands at calving.

Each of us also need think about our family, co-workers, and ourselves as we move into calving season. Are we as livestock producers ready? First and foremost, in this conversation, needs to be safety. As most of us will be doing calving checks at night, often alone, it is important to have a plan in place for checking in with a spouse, family member or co-worker from time to time to make sure we are safe.  Accidents are, by nature, unexpected. However, we can mitigate the risk of an accident by taking a few minutes to think about those unexpected events and how they can be addressed or prevented. Also, taking some time prior to calving to work on our own conditioning, nutrition, and strength will help each of us in preventing injury and making sure we are physically prepared to get through the calving season. The final point I would like to address is that of sleep. Please remember that regardless of what we think we can do, we are at our best when we all get adequate rest.

For more information on preparing for calving please see the following link:

We hope you all have a safe and productive calving season.

Bryan Neville, Ph. D.
Animal Scientist  

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