Twig Marston, Kansas State University Extension Beef Specialist, offers several tips for maintaining health and breeding soundness in your herd during the spring months.
* Supplement and feed cows to maintain or improve body condition prior to the breeding season. Do not stop supplementing cows before grass is ready to handle the cow's nutrient requirements.
* Sort thin and young cows (2- and 3-year-olds) into separate management herds. Increases in energy and protein intakes may be needed to compensate for greater nutrient demands.
* Mineral supplementation should include greater levels of magnesium (15 to 30 grams/head/day or at least 11 percent of the mineral mix) for grass tetany prevention.
* Bulls should be in good body condition prior to the breeding season. Thin bulls will run out of stamina.
* Breeding soundness examinations are recommended for all bulls.
* Maintain top management concerning calf scours (sanitary conditions, early detection, electrolyte/dehydration therapy).
* Vaccinate calves for clostridials, and dehorn and castrate males prior to pasture turnout. Implant calves that will be sold at weaning.
* If branding calves, consider moving brand away from the ribs.
* Wait for fly control until critical numbers are reached (100 to 200 horn flies per animal).
* If cows are not gathered in the fall, now is the time (3 weeks prior to breeding season) to vaccinate for reproductive diseases (consult with your veterinarian).
* Deworm cows and bulls if needed.