Beef Buzz News
More on Fall Calving Best Practices from Dr. Rosslyn Biggs
Mon, 11 Oct 2021 16:31:29 CDT
Last week, KC Sheperd, associate farm director for Radio Oklahoma Ag Network, spoke with Dr. Rosslyn Biggs, director of continuing education for the College of Veterinary Medicine and beef cattle specialist for the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service at Oklahoma State University, about how producers can be best prepared for fall calving season. Today, they continue the conversation, talking about best practices to follow once those babies are on the ground.
Listen to KC's conversation with Dr. Biggs here
“The key thing for me is keeping those records right off the bat,” Biggs said. “I would love a calf weight on every calf.”
For Biggs, she said she likes to get newborn calves tagged and castrated, if they are set to become steers, as soon as possible. Otherwise, it is most important to watch mama and baby, making sure each is healthy.
“Starting right off, we need to be watching them close,” Biggs said. “In those early hours we are needing colostrum in those calves, ideally as soon as possible and for sure within that first 12 to 24 hours.”
For mother cows, Biggs said producers should be watching for post-calving problems, like retained placentas. Most importantly, Biggs said producers should intervene early if they suspect something is wrong.
Giving cows the best chance at successfully producing, calving and raising a healthy calf happens much earlier than calving season, according to Biggs. From a production standpoint, she said if cows are too thin at calving, that needs to be addressed in an operation before the next round of calves arrives.
“You are not going to make a big impact on them now,” Biggs said. “We need to make sure that we keep the nutrition up on those females and keep them supported.”
Next, Biggs said producers should consider offering pain management to any cow that has undergone a C-section.
“We have got to keep those girls taken care of,” Biggs said. “We may need to look at pain management, not only for the female but also the calf, particularly if we had a dystocia or a difficult calving there.”
Biggs said ultimately the goal is to have a healthy cow that will raise healthy, profitable calves, so the goal of any operation during calving season must be to support the breeding stock in every way possible.
It is never ideal when a cow loses a calf during the calving process, but Biggs said collecting unused colostrum is important. It never hurts to have colostrum in the freezer, she added.
“The ideal colostrum for an operation is from a cow from your own place,” Biggs said. “Keeping that colostrum for the next one that has problems is a good situation.”
After that, the cow should be monitored, making sure she is on the road to recovery and then producers should try to figure out why the calf did not make it, according to Biggs.
She said answering the question of why will allow producers to make management changes in the future, especially if the reason was because of a genetic disorder.
Click on the LISTEN BAR below to hear more from KC Sheperd and Dr. Rosslyn Biggs as they talk more about fall calving best practices.
The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Network and is a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR below for today’s show and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.
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