Steve Paisley: Don’t cut costs on cow nutrition or heifer selection | TSLN.com
YOUR AD HERE »

Steve Paisley: Don’t cut costs on cow nutrition or heifer selection

With input prices continuing to rise, cattle producers will have to stay diligent in finding ways to continue to reduce costs, explained Steve Paisley, a University of Wyoming (UW) associate professor of animal science during the 2011 Cattleman’s Conference in Douglas, WY.

The trick is to reduce costs without sacrificing animal health and performance. Cattle producers need to do a good job managing their cows during pregnancy, because it not only affects feedlot performance and meat quality, but heifer development, Paisley said.

At the conference, Paisley presented research detailing how management and potential stressors during pregnancy can impact the future performance, fertility and longevity of the calves produced. “Improper nutrition during the perinatal period will increase calf mortality,” he explained. “Inadequate nutrition during early- to mid-gestation may alter a variety of fetal tissues, which may affect subsequent health.”



Paisley referenced a 2008 article in which a producer’s answer to rising input costs was to adjust the winter management of their cows, and work for a body condition score (BCS) of 4.5 versus 5. He also shared UW research that showed how changes in cow BCS influenced a newborn calf. At a BCS 4, it was over 60 minutes before calves were able to stand, while at a BCS 5 five it was less than 50 minutes. Paisley pointed out that at a BCS 5, the cow will strain less having the calf, so the calf is stronger and able to get to its feet sooner.

“A low plane of nutrition during mid- to late-gestation may reduce the calf’s absolute body weight,” Paisley continued. “Calves that are born too small at birth may lack vigor and tolerance to cold stress, resistance to pathological agents, and the ability to cope with stress during adaptation to life outside the uterus.”



In addition, if the cow received a low plane of nutrition during pregnancy, it may reduce a calf’s absolute body weight in the end. Paisley shared results of a three-year nutrition study that looked at the effects of a dam’s nutrition on growth and reproductive performance of heifer calves. The study examined effects of supplementing cows with protein during the last trimester of pregnancy. In the study, the calves from the protein and non-protein supplemented groups were within two pounds of each other at birth, but the first group was 17 pounds heavier at weaning (205 days) and 22 pounds heavier at pre-breeding.

Heifers from cows receiving protein supplements during pregnancy also had an 88 percent first service pregnancy rate, compared to 45 percent for the non-supplemented group. The overall pregnancy rate was 94 percent for the first group, and 73 percent for the second group. Finally, Paisley showed that heifers from the protein supplemented cows had an unassisted calving percentage of 69 percent, compared to 38 percent for the heifers who came from non-supplemented cows.

Paisley recommended producers try to keep cows at a BCS 5 throughout pregnancy to maintain health and performance. “Cutting feed to cows during pregnancy to save money is not a wise choice,” he said. “There are several methods of managing a spring calving herd through the winter. Manage the body condition score by sorting the cattle more often or feeding accordingly.” Producers may also want to consider strategically supplementing cattle, early weaning, or culling some of the poor performing cattle, he added.

With input prices continuing to rise, cattle producers will have to stay diligent in finding ways to continue to reduce costs, explained Steve Paisley, a University of Wyoming (UW) associate professor of animal science during the 2011 Cattleman’s Conference in Douglas, WY.

The trick is to reduce costs without sacrificing animal health and performance. Cattle producers need to do a good job managing their cows during pregnancy, because it not only affects feedlot performance and meat quality, but heifer development, Paisley said.

At the conference, Paisley presented research detailing how management and potential stressors during pregnancy can impact the future performance, fertility and longevity of the calves produced. “Improper nutrition during the perinatal period will increase calf mortality,” he explained. “Inadequate nutrition during early- to mid-gestation may alter a variety of fetal tissues, which may affect subsequent health.”

Paisley referenced a 2008 article in which a producer’s answer to rising input costs was to adjust the winter management of their cows, and work for a body condition score (BCS) of 4.5 versus 5. He also shared UW research that showed how changes in cow BCS influenced a newborn calf. At a BCS 4, it was over 60 minutes before calves were able to stand, while at a BCS 5 five it was less than 50 minutes. Paisley pointed out that at a BCS 5, the cow will strain less having the calf, so the calf is stronger and able to get to its feet sooner.

“A low plane of nutrition during mid- to late-gestation may reduce the calf’s absolute body weight,” Paisley continued. “Calves that are born too small at birth may lack vigor and tolerance to cold stress, resistance to pathological agents, and the ability to cope with stress during adaptation to life outside the uterus.”

In addition, if the cow received a low plane of nutrition during pregnancy, it may reduce a calf’s absolute body weight in the end. Paisley shared results of a three-year nutrition study that looked at the effects of a dam’s nutrition on growth and reproductive performance of heifer calves. The study examined effects of supplementing cows with protein during the last trimester of pregnancy. In the study, the calves from the protein and non-protein supplemented groups were within two pounds of each other at birth, but the first group was 17 pounds heavier at weaning (205 days) and 22 pounds heavier at pre-breeding.

Heifers from cows receiving protein supplements during pregnancy also had an 88 percent first service pregnancy rate, compared to 45 percent for the non-supplemented group. The overall pregnancy rate was 94 percent for the first group, and 73 percent for the second group. Finally, Paisley showed that heifers from the protein supplemented cows had an unassisted calving percentage of 69 percent, compared to 38 percent for the heifers who came from non-supplemented cows.

Paisley recommended producers try to keep cows at a BCS 5 throughout pregnancy to maintain health and performance. “Cutting feed to cows during pregnancy to save money is not a wise choice,” he said. “There are several methods of managing a spring calving herd through the winter. Manage the body condition score by sorting the cattle more often or feeding accordingly.” Producers may also want to consider strategically supplementing cattle, early weaning, or culling some of the poor performing cattle, he added.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User


News


See more