Are you prepared for weaning season?

August 19, 2019



With pasture quality quickly decreasing and some pastures drying up due to lack of rain, weaning calves in a few weeks is something many producers and I have visited about. Protein tubs to supplement cows have been an option of choice for many and I believe it to be a smart decision. Body condition scoring is critical right now, so take time to evaluate your cow herd. Our feed sales team at Central Valley Ag is available to help body condition score cow herds. If a cow start losing condition now its difficult to get them caught back up before winter weather moves in. Another observation is the increase in creep feed consumption of calves. Our calves are eating 5-6lbs creep per head/day and have stayed healthy this summer. The pastures are starting to dry up so the rain we received last week was much appreciated. As we begin to plan for weaning, I always start with checking and fixing fence.
 
Planning for weaning means keeping an eye on the weather. Weaning works best when fronts aren’t moving through as that increases the amount of stress on calves. Fence line weaning is our choice, but there are other options such as early weaning programs. If lacking pasture, move calves far from the cows so they don’t hear the cows and go through a fence. Weaning when a producer has the time to walk through and observe calves is a great time to consider. Calf health is the top priority during weaning.  To help keep calves healthy, work on reducing stress, as well as quickly treating any calves that may have an immune challenge. With technology and research, there are starter feeds on the market to help boost a calf’s immune system.
 
Having a feed program in place and feed on hand is crucial as well. Right now, we are bunk feeding our cow calf pairs as well as giving calves access to creep feed. The calves are learning to eat from the bunk, thus making the transition smoother come weaning time. To create a weaning and grower diet, work with your CVA sales team member to develop a program to best fit your operation. Starter feeds are recommended the first 21 days and we offer feeds such as Precon, Accuration Starter, and Stress Care 5. Take time to create a pen that is convenient for your calves. Bunks perpendicular to the fence line help calves find feed. Feeders and water should be at a height that calves can easily reach. Stress tubs keep calves busy and the salvation created from licking soothes throats that can be sore from bawling.
 
The last thing to remember during weaning is to make sure vaccinations are up to date. Vaccination programs through your local veterinarian during the pre-weaning stage can also help to boost the immune system. Three weeks prior to weaning is a great time to give pre-weaning vaccinations. For more information on weaning calves contact your local CVA feed location or contact myself at brandi.salestrom@cvacoop.com.
 
by Brandi Salestrom
Posted: 8/19/2019 4:46:45 PM by Kristin Petersen | with 0 comments