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Nutrition needs shift for fall calf management

Taking care of calves born in the fall is not much different than taking care of those born in the spring or winter, but there are subtle shifts in management that can help those calves to thrive.

One of those differences is nutrition requirements, says Patrick Wall, Extension beef specialist with Iowa State University. Calves born in the fall have to go through the winter feeding season prior to weaning, unlike those born in the spring.

“You might want to look at something like creep feeding,” Wall says. “Remember you’re going to be feeding the cow and calf through the winter.”

For some, he says fall calving can mean anything born between Aug. 1 and Dec. 31. Wall says management of calves born in August will be different than managing those born in the fall or winter.

“There’s a big difference for calves born in August versus those born around Thanksgiving,” he says. “You’ll have some health challenges later in the fall but really don’t have much to worry about in September and October.”

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