Beef Tips

Tag: Tally Time

Tally Time – Timely measurements to aid management

by Sandy Johnson, livestock specialist

Body condition scoring is a numerical system to assess nutrient reserves of livestock. The system used in the U.S. beef industry is a scale of 1 (extremely thin) to 9 (obese). At weaning and before cold weather sets in, body condition scores can help determine what management is needed to ensure cows have sufficient nutrients to produce high quality colostrum and have adequate reserves to rebreed in a timely fashion post-calving.  Notice nutrition during this time point influences TWO calf crops, doubly important.

Don’t fall prey to the busyness of life and put off this key measurement. K-State Research and Extension has developed two tools to help you remember to take this measurement and record it.

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Tally Time – Measuring cow size and maintenance energy

by Sandy Johnson, livestock specialist

The Beef Improvement Federation meetings were hosted by Kansas State University in Manhattan, June 15-17.  If you missed this meeting, you might want to check out the online coverage provided by Angus Productions, Inc. at
www.bifconference.com. In the newsroom you will find links to proceedings, presentations and audio.  More material will be posted in the future.

One of the more interesting discussions for me was the second general session on Thursday morning that revolved around the cowherd and cow efficiency.  Feed cost associated with maintaining cows accounts for 60 to 75% of the total feed cost of the herd.  This makes maintenance energy requirements economically important and the trait has also been shown to be highly heritable (h2=0.52).

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Tally Time – Too many late calving cows

by Sandy Johnson, livestock specialist

We choose the length of our calving season by how long we leave the bulls out.  Some leave bulls out until it is convenient to remove them and may get away with a reasonable calving period, until they don’t.   A recent call reported a frustration with as many cows yet to calve after 60 plus days of calving as had calved in the first or second 21 day periods.  Assuming all those remaining calve in the
4th 21-day period, those calves will be 80 to 100 pounds lighter than the early born calves at a common weaning point.  If we assume a sale price of
$1.80, that is $144 to $180 in lost value.

It will be important for the producer to work through possible causes of this issue which may include nutrition, genetics, health, male fertility, management or a combination to prevent future occurrence.  Consideration may be given to marketing these as bred females as they may fit better in another producer’s system.  There are some management actions that can be taken now to hasten rebreeding.

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