Nutritional management of the cow herd is more important during the periods of late pregnancy and early lactation than any other time in the annual production cycle. Nutrition has a significant impact on the performance of both the cow and the newborn calf. Cow nutrition is important during this period because of its effect on reproductive performance while determining if the cow will breed back or not. Money invested in improving a cow’s nutritional status now will pay for itself in terms of improved pregnancy rate and calf weaning weight this fall.
To make the situation more complex, a cow’s nutrient requirements increase throughout the periods of late pregnancy through early lactation. During late pregnancy, the fetus growth rate in the cow’s uterus causes an increase in nutrient requirements. Seventy (70%) percent of fetal growth occurs in the last three months of pregnancy, and at the same time, the growing fetus is filling an ever-increasing portion of the cow’s body cavity, thus displacing rumen capacity. This often requires the need to provide higher quality feed in late pregnancy to overcome lost capacity for forage intake.
Here are a couple of helpful guidelines to use:
- Test your forages to know the nutrient content that the cows are receiving. With these results, CVA can help you balance a ration using a variety of products to fit your herd’s needs.
- Body Score your cows to evaluate their nutritional status. There are reams of data to show that cows in poorer body condition will have a longer postpartum interval, lower rebreeding rate and a shorter life in the herd than cows in adequate condition.
Calving season is a busy and exciting time! However, for some, calving season is dreaded due to extra work and stress created by chronic calf scours. The potential of a calf developing scours depends on the strength of the immune system. Improving a calf’s resistance begins with maximizing colostrum quality which in turn begins with maternal nutrition.
Studies have shown steers with restricted colostrum quality intake at birth had a lower feedlot growth rate and lower carcass grades. To help with this, consider feeding a supplement that contains Bio-Mos. Bio-Mos has been shown to reduce shedding of E-Coli and Salmonella in cows as well as improved colostrum quality. These supplements should be fed just prior to and during calving season to get the best effect.
Contact your local CVA Feed location to see which product would best fit your needs. We offer several lines of mineral and supplements to help during calving season and all year long.