By Lauren Mullan, ECV Nutritionist
The profitability of any suckler herd is determined by a healthy calf born to every cow every year within a tight calving pattern. Cow nutrition will have a huge influence on this, as healthy cows produce healthy calves and keep production costs down. If the pandemic has taught us anything its that prevention is better than cure!
With these points in mind, fat reserves are also important in a suckler herd. Fat reserves are an energy source that the body uses to maintain production when feed intakes are low. For example, when a pregnant cow is carrying a calf, her stomach capacity is reduced in late pregnancy. This results in less space for feed intake. As we all know, fatter cows have an increased risk of caesareans and calf
mortality, similarly cows with low fat reserves can lack energy at calving and struggle with a slow labour. Targeting a body condition of 2+ at calving can help to minimise these issues (QMS, 2019)
Working in partnership with an ECV nutritionist can help to improve your farms nutrition management. Our team can assess your herd’s body condition score and then tailor a feed plan to suit your cattle’s requirements. ECV offer a forage analysis service free of charge. This allows for necessary changes to be made that are based on home produced forages. By ensuring that these steps are taken at the correct time, optimal nutrition should reduce calving issues related to nutrition. This will in turn improve calf health and growth.