Reproductive performance is greatly impacted by total body energy reserves. Most importantly, if cows are thin at calving, reproductive performance in the subsequent breeding season will suffer, resulting in reduced yearly profits per cow. Therefore, as we head into winter, to optimize reproductive performance next spring, we may need to consider what winter supplementation strategies are needed to meet the nutritional requirements of the cow herd to make certain that optimal breeding performance is achieved in the spring.

The most practical method to estimate the energy reserves of a cow is by evaluating her proportion of body fat via body condition scoring (BCS). BCS are based on a numeric scale of 1 to 9, with cows with 1 being extremely thin and 9 being obese.

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