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  • Jin Gan

4 Spring's Biggest Challenge For Cattle

Here are some of the biggest spring challenges for cattle:

1) Fly control

  • Flies are especially tricky as spring turns to summer.

  • One way to combat flies is to use a feed-through fly control mineral for cattle.

  • Once the cow consumes a fly control mineral, it functions through the manure the cow excretes.

  • Insect growth regulator (IGR) passes through the cow and into the manure when horn flies lay their eggs.

  • The IGR then breaks the fly lifecycle in the manure by preventing pupae from developing into biting adult flies.

  • One of the key to fly control is to start early.

  • Start to offer fly control mineral for cattle around 30 days before the last frost in the spring.

2) Body condition score (BCS)

  • One of the big factor in spring breeding success is the cow's BCS.

  • The target for mature cows to calve should be a BCS of 6.

  • If cows are not in BCS of 6 at calving, you will be playing catch up which often means too late to impact the current breeding cycle.

  • The best time to pay attention to BCS is the period from weaning to about 90 days before calving.

3) Grass tetany

  • Grass tetany in cattle is most frequent during spring time.

  • However, it is possible to prevent it if you implement strategies to manage the risk.

  • Feeding magnesium supplement can help to address magnesium deficiencies associated with lush spring grass.

  • Offer high magnesium mineral 2 - 3 weeks before cattle are first exposed to lush grass.

  • Continue feeding for 60 days after the first sign of grass growth.

  • Another strategy is to make grazing less susceptible.

  • Hold off older, lactating cows off pasture until grasses are 4 - 6 inches tall.

4) Pasture

  • Cows may get excited when there is a bit of green grass during spring.

  • However, it may not be enough to support the cow's requirement.

  • Consider providing free choice hay and supplement early until grass is readily available.

  • Offer the hay early and feed it until cows achieve BCS of 6 at calving.

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