NDSU Extension - Williams County


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Why is Body Condition Important? October 5, 2017

NDSU Extension Service released a new publication in September Preparing for a Successful Calving Season; Nutrition, Management and Health Programs. This publication was written by Dr. Greg Lardy NDSU Animals Sciences Department Head and Charlie Stoltenow, Assistant Director, Agriculture and Natural Resources. This publication is a good reminder for those that have cattle and getting ready for the winter months, this week and next weeks article will be out of this publication. The first part of this publication talks about body condition score (BCS). Spring-calving cows should be at a BCS 5 or higher at calving time for optimal reproductive performance following the breeding season. It is also recommended that earlier-calving cows (January and February calving) and young cows (2- and 3-year olds) calve in slightly higher BCS (5.5). A BCS 5 (Moderate); backbone is not visible, areas on side of tail head are full but not rounded. Only last two or three ribs can be seen. General good overall appearance. A BCS 6 (High Moderate); Ribs are fully covered, back appears slightly rounded and evidence of fat in the brisket and over tail head.

The time to improve BCS is during the fall, trying to improve their BCS after calving is difficult and expensive. Cows with greater BCS have shown more immunoglobulins in their colostrum, more immunoglobulin will result in a greater level of disease protection for the calf.  When wanting to maintain or increase body condition, proper energy and protein nutrition is important. With the feeds this year going through a drought, it is best to get your feed tested. Another nutrient that is important, is Vitamin A, which ensure that calves are vigorous and health at birth. Vitamin A (carotene) is found in green, leafy forages and good-quality green hays. Supplemental vitamin A can be given through fortified feeds, mineral mixes or injectable solutions containing the vitamin. Deficiencies of vitamin A will result in weak, blind or still born calves, as well as respiratory problems, poor reproduction and poor gain.

Check out next weeks article for more information, if you would like this publication please call the NDSU Extension Office in Williams County, 701-577-4595.


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