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Study the performance of last year’s calf crop and plan for improvement. Plan your breeding program and consider a better herd sire(s). Select herd sires which will allow you to meet your goals and be willing to pay for superior animals.
Consider vaccinating the cows to help prevent calf scours.
Start cows on the high magnesium mineral supplement soon. Consider protein supplementation if hay is less than 10 percent crude protein. If cows are thin, begin energy (grain) supplementation now.
Get ready for calving season. See that all equipment and materials are ready, including obstetrical equipment, record forms or booklets, eartags, scales for obtaining birthweights, etc. Prepare a calving area where assistance can be provided easily if needed. Purchase ear tags for calves and number them ahead of time if possible. Plan for enough labor to watch/assist during the calving period.
Move earlyḀcalving heifers and cows to pastures that are relatively small and easily accessible to facilities in case calving assistance is needed. Keep them in good condition but do not overfeed them at this time. Increase their nutrient intake after they calve.
Keep replacement heifer calves gaining enough to reach their “target” breeding weight (65 percent mature weight) by spring.
Fall calving cow herd
Provide clean windbreaks and shelter for young calves.
Breeding season continues. Keep fall calving cows on accumulated pasture as long as possible, then start feeding hay/grain. Do not let these cows get too thin.
Remove bulls by the end of the month. That means that your 2013 fall calving season will end in early November.
Catch up on castrating, dehorning and implanting.
Feed hay in areas where mud is less of a problem. Consider preparing a feeding area with gravel over geotextile fabric.
Increase feed as the temperature drops, especially when the weather is extremely cold and damp. When temperature drops to 15 degrees, cattle need access to windbreaks.
Provide water at all times. Cattle need 5 to 11 gallons per head daily even in the coldest weather. Be aware of frozen pond hazards. Keep ice “broken” so cattle will not walk out on the pond trying to get water.
Consider renovating and improving pastures with legumes, especially if they have poor stands of grass or if they contain high levels of the fescue endophyte. Purchase seed and get equipment ready this month.
Timely tips source: Dr. Roy Burris, UK Extension Beef Specialist
Dates of interest
Jan. 16:Senior Event Planning Meeting, 1:30 p.m., Carroll County Extension Office.
Jan. 21:Extension Office Closed for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday
Jan. 22:Carroll County Cattlemen’s Association Meeting, 6:30 p.m., Carroll County Extension Office.
Jan. 28:2013 Pasture and Hay Improvement Strategies, 7 p.m., Carroll County Extension Office.
Jan. 29:Growing a Three Season Garden, 6:30 p.m., Carroll County Extension Office.
Jan. 31:2013 Grain Production Meeting, 7 p.m., Carroll County Extension Office.
Christin Herbst is the Carroll County Extension agent for agriculture and natural resources. Call her at (502) 732-7030 or send e-mail to Christin.Herbst@uky.edu.