Q: When is it most important to know the body condition scores of your cows?

A: The cow’s condition and nutritional status at time of calving is critical, so ranchers can benefit by checking body condition scores a couple months prior to calving, says Kansas State University beef specialist Chris Reinhardt. Checking BCS ahead of calving allows time to adjust nutrient supply to get the cows into the target BCS of 5 by calving time. Cows in optimum condition at the time of calving should provide adequate colostrums and nutrition for their calf and breed back in a timely fashion. Cows which calve below a BCS 5 will delay their return to estrus and breed back late. If these cows do not maintain a 365-day calving cycle, they could, after one to two breeding cycles, effectively “cull themselves” due to being open at preg-check time. Young cows are especially susceptible to this possibility because they are gestating a calf, nursing a calf, and still growing frame and muscle themselves. Unfortunately, young cows are the future of your herd and possibly your most progressive genetics. Hopefully these cows aren’t culled simply for lack of nutrients.

Source: Dr. Chris Reinhardt Kansas State University beef specialist