Part 1: A Cow-Calf Producer’s New Year’s Resolution: Try (Not) to Lose Weight
As we welcome another new year, resolutions are not just for those of us who want to join a gym or lose a few extra pounds. Most cow-calf producers in the southeast are experiencing winter at its fullest, and any lapses in preparing the cow herd for winter weather are probably beginning to show up. Both dry and lactating cows may be losing body condition, and as cold, wet weather with little to no forage growth continues for the next few months, the decline in body condition may continue. Results of poor body condition in cows late in the winter range from decreased milk production, decreased conception rates at breeding, and in some cases death of the cow due to a chronic lack of nutrients.
This article is the first in a series discussing the benefits of monitoring, recording, and analyzing body condition scores within a cow-calf herd. Questions to be explored in this series include:
• What is body condition scoring in beef herds?
• How are body condition scores assigned to beef cows?
• What factors influence body condition scores in beef cows?
• How does body condition influence cow production?
• How is proper body condition maintained in beef herds?
• What benefit is there is recording body condition scores in my herd?