April tips for beef cattle herds

Author: Kristy

By University of Arkansas

  • With the beginning of the breeding season monitor the activity of each bull. Be sure all bulls are walking properly and checking cows for estrus activity. Sometimes bulls can become lame or injured which could affect their ability to locate and breed cows. Feet, legs, penis, front shoulder, hip and eyes are few areas that can get injured affecting a bull’s ability to breed cows.
  • For a fall calving herd, it may be time to vaccinate replacement heifers for Brucellosis. The proper age to vaccinate heifers for Brucellosis is 4 to 12 months.
  • April is the time of year to deworm cows and calves. The need to control internal parasites will exist as long as cattle are grazing pastures. Young cattle will typically have more internal parasites than older cattle. The effects of internal parasites on cattle will vary with the severity of infection as well as age and stress level of the animal. Therefore, the methods of controlling internal parasites should be developed to fit individual production situations (Fact Sheet 3045).
  • Keep an eye out for grass tetany. Clinical signs associated with this disease range from slight changes in behavior to death. Early in the disease, cattle affected by grass tetany may show signs such as decreased appetite, decreased milk production, tendency to stay away from the herd, increased alertness and a stiff or unsteady gait. As the disease progresses, cattle may become recumbent and unable to get up. They will exhibit muscle tremors (spasms), protruding third eyelid, increased pulse and respiratory rates and eventually death if untreated. Prevention of grass tetany can be achieved by providing a salt-mineral supplement containing at least 10 percent Mg.
  • Develop retained ownership and replacement female development plans for spring weaned calves (Fact Sheet 3076).  Retained ownership on early summer pasture can result in 1.5 to 1.8 lb/d weigh gains.  Modest supplementation (0.3 to 0.5% body weight can increase weight by 0.5  lb/d (Fact Sheet 3099).

Cow herd performance testing (Fact Sheet 3044) is a opportunity to use production data to aid in replacement heifer selection or cull cows that are less productive.  A herd performance test usually involves weighing, frame and muscle scoring calves and weighing and body condition scoring cows.

Posted in In The Industry |

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