Tuesday, April 6, 2010

April 6, 2010 Blog

When I started this blog, I pledged to make an entry each Tuesday and Thursday. Well, I already missed last Thursday. That day I was very busy running our spring calving herd through the chute, clipping freezebrands to make them more readable, replacing ear tags, scoring the cow's body condition and taking note of how close to calving they were. I should note here that even though we went into last winter with more feed then usual and fed more supplemental feed then we ever have, the cows now show the poorest overall body condition we've ever experienced at this point in the production cycle. People may get tired of hearing it but it was just the most horrendous past six months for taking care of cattle weather-wise. Of the 54 head I scored, I judged 34 to be in good condition or better, 15 head to be fair condition or better and 5 to be in poor condition. It should come as no surprise that all of the "poor" and most of the "fair" were coming with their second calf. This is a very vulnerable group to begin with and the problem at our farm is that these heifers were sired by a very popular AI sire who has tremendous growth numbers and a 6.7 frame. Maybe the right bull for a lot of other farms but not the right one for this farm.
The good news is that I delayed onset of the calving season by nearly 3 weeks for our 2010 calving season. The weather has been very nice the last two weeks and we don't start calving until April 12th so that is taking some of the strain off the overall spring calving program.

Keep those cow frame scores down and select for easy keepers. Shoot for cow longevity, keep as few first calf and 2nd calf heifers in your herd as possible, they are the most costly and hard to maintain. 9 out of 10 cow calf producers could increase their profits by delaying the onset of their calving season into warmer weather. Research shows that baby calves found dead in the snow or mud just don't perform very well.

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