Would a doctor advise a woman to lose weight while she was pregnant? Probably not, yet that’s exactly what happens to a large percentage of beef cows as they advance through pregnancy. Pregnant women are advised to take prenatal vitamins, eat a healthy diet while getting plenty of exercise and rest, in comparison what do we do with our pregnant cows? Once they are confirmed pregnant at weaning they fend for themselves that last trimester on poorer quality pasture or stocks for several months. Many cows are losing weight and body condition at the same time that fetal demands for nutrition is at it’s highest. Going into the last trimester is a good time to step up your mineral program.
Add some Availa 4 to your mineral to help get the cow to her peak nutrient level, so she has top level colostrum. It’s also a good time to make sure the cows are in good body condition. If we need to get them into shape now is the time to supplement some protein. With the cold weather we have experienced we must remember to make sure the cows have enough protein and energy to get them through the winter. This will help them to maintain a good body condition score and not lose any more weight.
Protein tubs, high-energy tubs, mineral tubs and loose mineral with Availa 4-Cubes-Dry or Liquid Supplements are all good options. In my opinion, the single most important part that producers need to do is to maintain a good mineral program and stick with it. We have seen in the country already this year producers that are having trouble with heifers not cleaning, a good portion of this problem is due to not providing mineral supplementation. However, we still have a little time to get these cows into shape before calving.
If you have questions or would like another set of eyes to take a look at your herd, please contact any of our feed sales representatives. Your local serving feed mill would also be more than happy to help. Good luck this calving season, and above all, please be safe!