Lately the word fetal programming has become popular at cow-calf meetings. We already know lifetime performance is influenced by events before birth but do we realize how much our gestating cows nutrition impacts fetal development? Let’s break down what happens in each trimester:
In the first trimester, placenta and organs form. In the second trimester, organs grow and muscle tissues develop. 75% of fetal growth occurs during the third trimester and also the final development of lungs. Gestational nutrition impacts milk quality and quantity, calf performance, heifer reproduction in replacements and less pull later in the feed yard.
Mineral availability is constantly changing, so a year-round mineral program is very important. Availa 4 mineral is fed 60-90 days prior to calving through breeding and is a great option for producers with high-performance expectations, areas with forage issues, herds with reproductive problems, herd health and foot issues. Not only is mineral important but also keeping body condition on our cows. For most of a cows life, they aren’t just feeding themselves. They are either nursing a calf or are pregnant and nursing. To keep these cows getting rebred 85 days after calving proper nutrition is essential. Right now most cows are out on stalks and with the cold weather we’ve had, besides a protein and mineral tub, having access to hay and shelter will help reduce the stress.
In the last week, I have been checking our barn to find the calving chains/straps, made sure the puller is clean and working correctly, gloves, tags and tagger, bands, navel spray, my CVA calving book, colostrum and my vet’s phone number. Also, check to make sure your working facility is ready to go for quick and easy access if there is a problem. A dry, warm area for calves will decrease the chance of sickness and scours, so our barn is cleaned out and bedded with straw.
For more information visit your local Central Valley Ag Feed location, and we would be happy to help with any questions about colostrum, milk replacers or fetal programming.