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Presentation on theme: "FEEDING AND MANAGEMENT OF THE COW- CALF HERD Unit 15."— Presentation transcript:


2 Kinds of Feed  Cow-calf feeding programs are based on the use of roughages  Typical roughages used are  Pasture  Hay  Silage  Straw  Corncobs  Other crop residues  Roughages provide the cheapest source of energy for the cow and calf.

3 Forages  Graze as much as possible.  If weather does not permit year round grazing then forage should be harvested and stored for later use.  Downfall: grazing only recovers 15-30% of what is produced.

4 Pasture & Hay  Proper management increases the yield.  Soil should be tested and fertilized  Use rotational grazing to increase carrying capacity.

5 Crop Residues  Helps reduce feed costs  In Northern areas 2 acres of cornstalks will carry a pregnant cow days  Heavy snows will reduce the carrying capacity of cornstalk fields.


7 Feeding Dry Pregnant Cows  Feed enough to keep them in good flesh from fall to spring calving  Cows of normal weight should not loose less than 10% of their body weight  Thin cows should be fed enough to gain some weight during winter

8 Overfeeding  Should be avoided.  Results in  Higher cost  Trouble calving  Less milk flow  Higher calf losses

9 Feeding Young Cows and Heifers  Require more feed because they are still growing  The amount of feed received is more important than the kind of feed.

10 Energy Needs  Vary according to  Size  Condition  Age  Weather  During cold weather increase feed or energy intake by 1% for each degree of cold stress.

11 Last Days of Pregnancy  Generally need a 10-15% increase in protien  Especially so if hay is being fed  Can be achieved with an extra 2 pound/hd of high quality hay or additional protien supplements

12 Minerals  Should be fed free choice  Mineral mixes should include  Calcium  Phosphorus  Salt  Any trace minerals that are known to be deficient  If grass tetany is a problem then magnesium oxide should be included in the mix  A good mixture to use is one part trace mineral salt and one part dicalcium phosphate

13 Protien  Blocks, lick tubs and cubes are the most convenient ways to feed  Care should be taken to prevent overeating  Overeating can be partially controlled by feeding plenty of roughage and supplying plenty of fresh water

14 Protein Supplements

15 Vitamin A  Only needed when cattle are fed poor quality roughage  If the cow has been on good summer pasture enough Vitamin A will be stored in the body to get the animal through several months

16 Lactation Rations  Depends on how much the milk cow produces  Heavier milk producers have higher requirements than average or low milk producers  Protein requirements for lactation are % greater than for dry cows  Energy 36-38%  Calcium and phosphorous %  Vitamin A 18-88%  High quality pasture can usually meet lactation needs

17 Lactation Rations  Salt and minerals should be provided free choice  If the roughage is limited or poor quality some grain should be fed

18 Lactation Rations for 1 st Calf Heifers  Require more feed  Heifers are still growing and developing  They need to regain weight lost from calving & produce milk for their calf  Heifers also need to be in good condition for rebreeding.


20 Creep Feeding Calves  A way of providing calves with extra feed  May be grain, commercial creep feed mix, or roughage  Fed in a feeder that cows can not get into

21 Advantages of Creep Feeding  Produces heavier calves at weaning (30-70 lbs)  Produces higher grade and more finish at weaning  Calves go on feedlot rations better at weaning  Creates less feedlot stress  Allows cows and calves to stay on poorer quality pasture for a longer time

22 Good Reasons to Creep Feed  Calves are to be sold at weaning  Calves are to be fed out on high-energy rations  Cows are milking poorly  Calves are from 1 st calf heifers  Calves were born late in the season  Calves have above average inherited growth potential  Calves were born in the fall  Calves are to be weaned early (45-90 days)  Calf-feed price ratio is favorable  Pastures become dry in late summer  Cows and calves are kept in confinement

23 Disadvantages of Creep Feeding  Calves are well fed after weaning,  the weight advantage from creep feeding is lost  When production testing, it is harder to detect differences in inherited gaining ability  Replacement heifers become to fat  Non-creep-fed calves usually make faster and more economical gains after weaning compared to calves that were creep fed before weaning

24 Reasons Not To Feed Creep  Calves are to be fed through the winter on roughage  Cows are above average milk producers  The calf-feed ratio is poor  Calves are on good pasture  Heifers are to be kept for replacements  The milk production of the dam is to be measured


26 Growing Replacement Heifers  British breeds should gain pound/day from weaning to breeding  Larger breeds should gain pound/day  Heifers should reach puberty at months  Generally heifers reach puberty when they have attained 65% of their mature weight English breeds lbs Larger breeds lbs  Heifers need to be bred according to weight and not age!

27 Feed For Growing Replacement Heifers  Must be palatable  In areas of cold weather nutrient needs increase 1% for each degree of temperature below freezing  Feed must be increased as heifers grow  Vitamins and minerals should be fed free choice


29 Growing Young Bulls  Wean at 6-8 months of age  Feed high energy rations for about 5 months  Avoid fattening  Allow full feed until spring then put on pasture to complete growth.  Bulls will continue to grow slowly until about 4 years of age

30 Feeds  Hay  Grain  Amount depends on type and quality  Minerals free choice  Feed Vitamin A if ration is mostly corn silage or limited hay  May be self fed or hand fed  When self feeding use plenty of roughage to keep bulls from getting to fat or going off their feed.

31 Rate of Growth & Needs  Yearling bulls should be fed to gain lbs/day  2-4 yr old bulls need more energy and protein in the winter than cows and should be fed accordingly  Mature bulls in good condition may be fed the same as the cow herd

32 After the Breeding Season  Loose weight  Must be fed to regain that weight  Give additional feed 6-8 weeks before the start of the next breeding season  Bulls that are too fat or too thin have poor fertility  They should be in medium flesh and have plenty of exercise

33 After the Breeding Season  Keep bulls separate from cows  If no place to keep bulls it is safe to run them with steers

34 Before the Breeding Season  If necessary trim hoofs several weeks before breeding season begins  Test semen for fertility and disease


36 Goal  100% calf crop  Observe the herd closely  Check for injured or diseased cows or bulls  Watch to ensure bulls are servicing cows

37 Number of Bulls to Run  Young bulls can easily service cows  Mature bulls  Estrus-synchronized cows-25  Non synchronized cows  Range conditions  4 bulls per 100 cows I have 300 cows. How many bulls do I need?  If a high number of cows remain inbred then the bull should be replaced.

38 Breeding  No more than 60 days to maintain a short calving season (40-60 days)  Begin breeding days after half the calves are born  This allows for a 2 nd and even third heat cycle for cows that do not settle the first time.  Breed yearling heifers 20 days before older cows

39 Conception Rates  Higher for cows that are gaining weight before and during the breeding season  Cows that are too fat or too thin are poor breeders  Pregnancy check days after breeding  Sell any open cows  Conception Rates can be lowered by  Hot weather  Injuries

40 Artificial Insemination (AI)  Placing the sperm in the female reproductive tract by other than natural means  Breeder uses an inseminating tube to deposit sperm into the cervix and uterus of the cow

41 Disadvantages of AIing  Need a trained inseminator  Requires more time and supervision of the herd  Sterile equipment  Special handling facilities


43 Size  Most important when breeding yearling heifers  Should weigh pounds  Weight should be from growth, not fattening

44 Age  Goal is to breed the heifer so she calves at 2 years of age  When achieved the result is 1 more calf produced during a cow’s lifetime

45 2 year old Calving  Lowers production cost  Keeps a higher percent of cows in the herd in production  Fewer replacement heifers are needed each year to maintain a stable herd size

46 Conception Rates for Heifers  Lower for yearling heifers than older cows  Longer calving season  Possibly need more help in calving

47 Breeding Heifers  Breed to calve days before older cows  Require more feed and should be kept separate from older cows  Breed for days  Pregnancy check days later  Sell any heifers that are not pregnant


49 After the Calf is Born  Make sure it breathes  May be necessary to clean the mucus from the mouth and nose  Calf should nurse shortly after birth  The cows first milk, called colostrums, is very important as it contains nutrients, such as Vitamins A & E, and antibodies the calf needs  Cow should expel the afterbirth within hours after giving birth  Keep cows with calves separate from cows that haven’t calved  Identify the calf with an ear tag or tattoo  Record the calf’s birth weight, calving problems and birth date for performance records


51 Castration  Can be done at birth  Several methods  Knife  Burdizzo (fig. 15-6)  Elastor bands

52 Knife Castration  Most widely used  Should only be done during a time of year when flies are not a problem  Calves should not be more than 3-4 months old  Results in an open wound  This increase the danger of infection and bleeding  Wound should be treated with iodine  Calves should be check several days after castration to check for swelling, continued bleeding and stiffness

53 Burdizzo Castration  Bloodless  Crushes the cords of the testicles  However if the pincers are not applied correctly the cord may not be crushed completely resulting in a staggy steer later on  No open wound  Good choice in areas where screw worms are a problem

54 Elastrator Band Castration  Special instrument that places a tight rubber band around the scrotum above the testicles  Cuts of the blood supply to the testicle  This causes the testicle to waste away due to lack of blood  No open wound

55 Dehorning  Several reason for dehorning  Horned calves bring less  Dehorned calves require less space at the feed bunk and on trucks  Less risk of injury with dehorned calves  Calves should be dehorned at a young age  If possible do not dehorn during fly season

56 Methods of Dehorning  Chemical  Liquids  Caustic sticks  Paste  Spoons  Gouges  Tubes  Hot irons  Barnes-Type  Clippers  Saws


58 Branding and Marking  Common in larger herds  Required by law in some western states  W. SD requires, E. SD does not.  Brands recorded by county and state Governments  SD State Brand Board-located in Pierre

59 Common Branding Methods  Hot Irons  Cold Irons  Freeze Branding Hot Freeze

60 Hot Iron Brand  Oldest  Most commonly used 

61 Branding in SD, 1888

62 Freeze Branding  Becoming more common  Uses liquid nitrogen, brass irons and rubbing alcohol  Not a legal method of cattle branding in SD

63 Branding  Calves can be thrown to the ground  Calves can be branded in a chute using a “table”

64 Ear Cutting  Almost as common as branding  Recorded in brand records  Protected by law  One or both ears may be cut  Cutting is done so that it may be seen from the front or behind


66 Ear Tattooing  Well adapted as a method of marking purebred cattle  More permanent than ear cutting  Special instrument is used  Mark is made with indelible ink  No open wound is left

67 Ear Tags  Widely used  Identification number is on the tag

68 Ear Tagging and Tattooing

69 Neck Chains  Used when herd owners do not want to use permanent identification  Usually used by purebred breeders  Not a good choice for cows on brushy range

70 Brisket Tags  Tag is placed in the brisket  Hard to Read  Often ripped out because they catch on things


72 Selling feeder calves  Calves are born in the spring  Weigh about pounds  Heifer calves will weigh about 5% less than steers  Calves are sold in the fall as feeder calves

73 Selling Yearling Feeders  Calves weigh pounds  Use mostly roughage as feed  If calves are born in fall they are weaned in spring and fed on pasture for the summer then sold as yearling feeders in the fall

74 Growing and Finishing  Grow calve on roughage  Finish for 4-6 months in the feedlot  Corn silage or grain and roughage are used for the wintering ration  When the animals are on pasture no or little grain is fed  Animals then go to the feedlot and grain feeding begins.

75 Preconditioning  The process of preparing calves for the stress of being moved to the feedlot  Most procedures involved in preconditioning are accepted as good management practices  Accomplished before the calves leave the farm or ranch

76 Practices  Castration, dehorning, identification by tattooing or branding  Maintaining health records  Vaccinations  Weaning 4-6 weeks before sale  Training to eat solid feed from a bunk and to drink water from a water tank  Worming and treatment for lice, grubs and mange (if necessary)

77 Preconditioning Preconditioning adds costs to production but is well worth it!

78 Backgrounding  Growing and feeding calves from weaning until they are ready to enter the feedlot  Done primarily with roughage ration  Calves are fed days  Expected daily gains of pounds  Calves must be kept from getting too fat, as overly fat calves bring less when going to the feedlot for finishing.

79 Summary  Feeding programs are based on roughages  Summer pasture and fall/winter silage and hay is common  The types of pasture, silage and hay is going to be dependant on where you are in the U.S.  Dry, pregnant cows and bulls are fed to prevent them from becoming too fat or too thin  Younger cows and heifers and young bulls that will be kept for breeding require more feed  So do cows nursing calves  All should be fed salt and minerals free choice  Creep feeding may or may not be profitable

80 Summary  Performance records should be used to replace herd cows  Replacement heifers should be bred based on weight not age  Use fertility testing at the beginning of the breeding season to achieve a 100% calf crop  4 bulls to 100 cows  Preconditioning of calves should occur when they are young  Backgrounding calves is growing calves on roughages from weaning until they are ready for the feedlot


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