As the spring calving season approaches, the cows will show typical signs that will indicate parturition is imminent. Changes that are gradually seen are udder development, or making bag and the relaxation and swelling of the vulva.
Breeding season is just around the corner for producers whose cows calved in the spring, and it is never too late to start planning. Improvement of next year’s calf crop is dependent upon the breeding decisions you are about to make.
By Roger Gates, South Dakota State University Extension
Winter feed represents one of the largest costs for a livestock production enterprise. Grazing pasture that has been stockpiled for winter use is a rational alternative to limit costs resulting from both harvest (or purchase) and feeding of hay.
Cattle producers generally have adequate forage supplies to finish the winter. Producers should carefully monitor local drought conditions as the new growing season approaches. Hay supplies may provide critically needed flexibility if spring forage growth is limited or delayed.
U.S. beef cow slaughter during 2014 was 2.6 million cows, the first time this number has been below 3 million since 2006. Since 1990, when beef cow slaughter falls below 3 million, the beef cow inventory normally sees an increase the following year.
While the latest U.S. Cattle on Feed report showed total inventory in U.S. feedlots with capacity for 1,000 or more head was 1 percent higher on January 1, 2015 compared to the first of the year in 2014, total inventory of heifers was down 2 percent during that time.