This article written by Dr. Reynold Bergen, BCRC Science Director, originally appeared in the August 2015 issue of Canadian Cattlemen magazine and is reprinted on the BCRC Blog with permission of the publisher.
Winter feed will be a scarce and costly resource in much of Western Canada this year. Use it carefully, because the management decisions you make now will impact reproductive and economic performance for at least two years.
Research conducted 25 years ago by P.L. Houghton and co-workers at Perdue University (J. An. Sci. 68:1438) demonstrated how energy intake by pregnant and lactating cows impacted their reproductive and calf performance. At the start of the last trimester (early January for cows calving in April), cows were fed in two groups. One group received a maintenance diet (ME) meeting recommended energy intake. The other was fed a low energy diet (LE) providing 70% of recommended energy intake. After calving, each group was split again, with cows receiving either the low energy diet or a high energy diet (HE; 130% of recommended energy intake). Skimping on nutrition in late pregnancy and after calving impacted both Continue reading
New resources have been added to www.BodyConditionScoring.ca to help cow-calf producers make decisions about managing body condition in their cow herd. Cattle producers know that fat cover plays a crucial role in the reproduction, health and welfare of their animals. These new resources will help guide them when modifying practices on farm to better manage body condition and increase their herds’ productivity and profitability.
The new feed cost calculator gives producers the opportunity to compare the extra expense of adding condition to thin cows in the Fall to the extra value gained by the resulting larger calf crop. The calculator is Continue reading
A new webpage offers a fresh look at the importance of monitoring the nutrition of beef cows and the role body condition plays in overall productivity and profit.
“The importance of maintaining cows’ fat cover at an optimal level is underrated,” said Karin Schmid of the Alberta Beef Producers. “Many producers don’t realize how much thin or over-fat cows hurt their bottom lines, and how easy and effective body condition scoring is when figuring out how to adjust rations and keep cows in the right condition.”
The webpage, www.bodyconditionscoring.ca, features an interactive tool which Continue reading
This article written by Dr. Reynold Bergen, BCRC Science Director, originally appeared in the April 2014 issue of Canadian Cattlemen magazine and is reprinted on the BCRC Blog with permission of the publisher.
Last month’s column talked about how cold, snowy winters increase the energy needs of cows, especially when wintered on pasture, and how cows will use their body fat reserves to maintain themselves if the feed doesn’t provide enough energy. Reproductive performance will drop if thin cows don’t recover their body condition.
A 2013 paper published by the Cheryl Waldner and Alvaro García Guerra of the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in Saskatoon reported on a two-year study of over 30,000 beef cows from more than 200 herds across Western Canada (Theriogenology 79:1083-1094). Cows were Continue reading