Nobody knows when spring will come and so it is wise to prepare for a delayed turnout so calculating feed and bedding supplies is best now.
In many farms forage supplies will be limited. Simply get your forage analysed so alterations can be made to diets which may help stretch out the supply. Milk needs to be kept on the calved cows and so if the forage is low in protein it will have a knock on effect to the cow in its milk supply. Additional concentrates and protein feeds will maximise the cows milking ability and often they can replace some forage so helping future supplies.
When cows are put to grass it can take time for them to adapt to changes in diet / nutrition moving from silage to spring grass. This change has an impact on them cycling and therefore being ready for the bull when out at grass. The breeding bulls are often put to the cows not long after being put out to grass. Over the last few years many have seen calving being delayed due to delays in conception resulting from this late turn out.
An extended calving period is not ideal. Some farms have a strategy in place where the cows that have calved to the first turn are synchronised and AI’d when still housed. This results in many of these cows already in calf when turned out and so maximising fertility rates and calving period. With using AI they can choose highly rated maternal bulls that can provide future replacements for the herds.
Gavin Hill, email@example.com
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