Glasgow Daily Times, Glasgow, KY

Agriculture

April 22, 2008

Managing beef cattle

GLASGOW — Some things for beef cattle producers to consider while managing their herds:

First off, about our spring calving cow herds.

- Continue to watch cows and calves closely. Identify calves while they are young and easy to handle. Commercial male calves should be castrated and implanted. Hopefully, registered producers have weighed their baby calves at birth. At least, write down the calf’s tag number, birth date, birth weight (if available), calf’s dam number, calf sire and calf sex.

- Good records, whether for registered or commercial cattle, are useful to overall management decisions. From the start (birth) weight measurements help determine many selection decisions for your future herd improvement targets. Individual weights are much more important than averaging weights of a group at weaning, yearling, etc. Find the cows that do the job and the calf’s sire that contributes more to the pounds produced within a calf crop.

- Continue to feed cows that have calved an adequate nutritional plan to help with rebreeding. Don’t let them lose body condition. Delayed estrus can be very costly.

- Prevent grass tetany! Continue providing magnesium in the mineral mix until daytime temperatures are consistently above 60 degrees, according to Dr. Roy Burris, UK Extension beef cattle specialist. Mineral supplement should be available at all times and contain a minimum of about 14 percent magnesium. Make sure the mineral mix also contains adequate selenium, copper and zinc or you can ask your feed dealer for the UK Beef IRM High Magnesium Mineral

- Don’t “rush to grass” although it is really tempting this year. Be sure that grass has accumulated enough growth to support the cow’s nutritional needs before depending solely upon it. Cows may walk the pastures looking for green grass instead of eating a dry feed. This lush, watery grass is not adequate to support them. Keep them consuming dry feed until sufficient grass is available to sustain them, Grass production is also set back when grazing too early. Don’t push the grazing too early. We are seeing many operations abusing this grazing effort and it will set back forage production.

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Agriculture