Fall calving preparation
October 4, 2012
Summer is rapidly coming to a close. At least we finally broke the intense heat and most of us got some needed rain. It won't help the corn much, but we still have a chance on some of the beans. The pasture grass is starting to come back and we, at least, see a little green on the horizon. Many of my clients have herds of fall calvers. Now is the time to prepare them for calving.
Check your fall cows body condition (BSC) to assure it will be at least 5 before calving. Usually we don't worry about these non-lactating cows during summer, but this year with the short grass and heat some fall calving cows are thin. Supplemental roughage feeding is expensive this year with the high price of hay. Many of our clients are starting to purchase protein tubs or range cubes to supplement the cows. You don't have to feed every day in this scenario, usually once or twice a week. In our area drinking water has been in short supply. Many of our dugouts are drying up or turning to mud pools. We have seen several algae blooms become toxic and kill cows and fish. During high temperatures cows may require 25-30 gallons of water per hour. Be sure to supply adequate mineral supplementation. Heat causes increased losses of sodium, potassium and magnesium. Salt and high quality mineral addresses all these problems. Recent research suggests that adequate supplementation of the cow's gestational nutrition increases the genetic potential and performance of the calves.
August is a great time to take a few days off and unwind before fall sets in. I realize we are in a drought, but it is a great time to visit a fair or farm show to link with our friends and colleagues. Take the family to a fair and ride some rides and enjoy a concert. Reward your family for the hard work this summer. Not only will it be a great family bonding experience, but you might even learn something. New ideas, pharmaceuticals and equipment will be on display. Take time to see if you can utilize them in your operation.
Stop and see us at Dakota Fest. We will again be sponsoring the Chute Demos at the Cattle Demo Tent. If you are contemplating improving your facilities you will be able to watch live cattle processed through the chutes. The sales representatives will be able to demonstrate all of the features specific to their products.
This year we will be offering Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) sign up at the Demo Tent between chute demos. BQA is every producer's responsibility. Now you will be able to renew your existing certification or register for new status at no charge. Marketing our product is everyone's responsibility. When we all adhere to the BQA standards we show our solidarity in producing a quality wholesome product.
After the morning demos, we will offer demonstrations on low stress livestock handling. BQA involves more than appropriate vaccine and antibiotic administration. We are responsible to assure our animals are handled without injury with as little stress as possible. We all understand this charge, but we can all learn some tips on our style.
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Thursday, Aug. 23, we again host the 2nd Annual SDSU Cow-Calf Unit Sale. We have many great donations, but need bidders to help make the sale successful. This year the internet auction will be donated by DVAuction at http://www.dvauction.com/. Help build this state of the art facility for South Dakota research and education of your children and grandchildren. We hope to visit with you yet this summer. Stop by and enjoy an apple!
Dave Barz is a veterinarian at Northwest Veterinary Supply in Pakston, SD.