Beef: Post-calving cows will need supplements this spring
Published 13/04/2016 | 02:30
The difficulties posed by variable grass growth and poor grazing conditions has been the topic of conversation among most beef and dairy producers.
Many strategies involving early grazing and grassland utilisation have been developed over the years as the cornerstone to any spring calving system.
However, a year like this demonstrates that we are at the mercy of the weather. Thankfully, there were sufficient supplies of forage available throughout the country owing to excellent growing conditions in 2015.
Beef cows that have early calved and have been put to pasture, have been struggling to meet their dietary requirements from grass alone.
During the month of March I noticed a lot of cows that have dropped significantly in body condition, post calving and are now at a critical stage.
To maintain their body condition, support their calf and prepare for breeding it is in the six week period post calving that the suckler cow requires her highest plane of nutrition.
In normal circumstances spring and early summer grass meets all the calved cow's requirement. This spring has demonstrated the need to have a 'plan B' in place for supplementing the diet of the cow.
The dairy farmer has the 'luxury' of being able to supplement the cow at milking time, during periods of tight grass supply, so as to maintain her body condition. This spring has seen a greater levels of supplementation to dairy cows than farmers may have originally planned. However, this is required to ensure that the fertility status of the herd is maintained.