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Glenn Selk Says No Surprise Here- Body Condition Scores Matter in Your Beef Cow Herd
Glenn Selk Says No Surprise Here- Body Condition Scores Matter in Your Beef Cow Herd
Dr. Glenn Selk, Oklahoma State University Emeritus Extension Animal Scientist, offers herd health advice as part of the weekly series known as the "Cow Calf Corner" published electronically by Dr. Derrell Peel and Dr. Selk. Today, Dr. Selk looks at the importance of body condition scores in your beef cow herd- especially when calving time nears.
 
"For at least three decades, beef cattle scientists have studied body condition of cows and its impact on productivity. Cows in better body condition at calving time and breeding nearly always seem to out-perform counter parts that are in thinner body condition. However, some things do change. Some examples include cattle type changes, selection methods change, drought impacts on feed availability and prices. We therefore question whether the research would give the same answers in more modern times.
 
"Research published in a recent issue of the Journal of Animal Science (Bohnert, et al. J. Anim. Sci. 2013, 91: 5485-5491) provides some insight into this discussion. Oregon State University, University of Nebraska, and USDA-ARS scientists combined on a two year study utilizing 120 mature, crossbred (Angus X Hereford) cows/year. The cows were fed in such a manner to expect half of the cows to be in a body condition score of 6 entering the last trimester, whereas the other half of the cows were fed to be in a body condition score of 4 at the same time. The actual outcome of their management schemes resulted in the high condition cows averaging a 5.7 body condition score (1243 lbs) and the low cows averaged 4.4 (1106 lbs.) They also subdivided each of these groups and fed half of each group the equivalent of 2 pounds/day of dried distillers grains with solubles (DDGS). The supplement was fed in appropriate amounts 3 times per week. All cows received access to 28 lb/day of the hay (6.4% crude protein) during the last trimester and then after calving the cows were placed together in a common pasture and exposed to a 60 day natural breeding season.
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