It may seem like most university focus during the winter months is on body condition scoring – and you may be right, says Warren Rusche, South Dakota State University (SDSU) cow-calf specialist. But there's a reason, he adds – because it's still the best indicator of nutrition.

"Right now, most spring-calving herds are either in or are approaching the last trimester," Rusche says, noting that managing body condition in the last three months ahead of calving is important for two very big reasons:

1. Thin cows tend to produce poorer-quality colostrum with lower levels of immunoglobulins. They also tend to have calves that take longer to stand and are less able to produce enough body heat to maintain their temperature under cold conditions; and

2. Cows that are thin at calving are less likely to breed back in the first 21 days of the breeding season and are more likely to be open in the fall.

To read more of Rusche's tips, click here.

 

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