MANHATTAN, Kan. – Keeping track of an individual cow’s condition using the body condition scoring system may be simple enough, but what about a whole herd?

“Body condition scoring the herd is a simple process, and can be done on a large paper tablet,” said K-State Research and Extension livestock specialist, Chris Reinhardt.

“Make columns for BCS 3, 4, 5, and 6 and as you pass through the herd first thing in the morning, make a tick mark for each cow in each of the columns. Multiply the number of 3’s by 3, the 4’s by 4, etc., add up the total score and divide by the total number of tick marks. This gives you an average BCS for the herd.”

More important than the average is how many cows you’ve got in the critical scores of 3 and 4, he said. 4’s can be easily fed into the 5 range, but 3’s could potentially not cycle in time to stay in the herd. If 3’s can be fed into the 4-range, they’ll have a chance to breed, albeit late during the normal breeding season.

Source: Kansas State University Research and Extension