Beef cattle tips: October

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1. Pregnancy check as soon as possible after bull removal (28 to 40 days; consult with your  veterinarian) to identify nonpregnant cows and save pasture resources for pregnant animals.

Body condition score cows, intervene as necessary and identify other culls. Poor pasture conditions may have strained reserves of some herds.

If taking advantage of available crop residues, be sure cows are in adequate body condition, remember to supplement and be careful of nitrate levels.

Consider options for your 2012 calf crop: vaccinations, weaning, marketing, backgrounding, etc.

Evaluate heifer calves as potential replacements and make culling decisions early. Collect DNA samples at weaning if results will be used for heifer selection or bull sales.

Treat sick calves early so they respond better to treatment; watch for digestive upsets,  respiratory problems and pinkeye.

Review methods to improve low-quality forages and search for alternative feedstuffs that may be available.

Deficiencies and excesses abound: low protein, high sulfur, high nitrates. Test feeds and waters to know what your cattle are getting and plan/adapt as needed.

Develop rations for all classes of cattle maintained; call your county Extension agent for help.

Prepare for fall and winter: Maintain facilities, windbreaks and winter areas; test and apply manure at agronomic rates.

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