Delaware County Cooperative Extension

Timely Beef Cattle Recommendations

Timely Beef Cattle Recommendations

Dr. David Lalman, Extension Beef Cattle Specialist for Oklahoma State University

1. Dry cows grazing native rangeland or mature bermudagrass should receive a protein supplement. One lb. of a high-protein product (30 to 40%) or 2 lb. of a moderate-protein product (20 to 25%) will increase forage intake and digestibility, allowing the cattle to harvest 25%-50% more energy from the forage resource. Cows should gain one-half to one full body condition score before the end of the year, assuming they have access to abundant forage.

2. Be diligent in monitoring health of weaned calves. Bovine respiratory disease often occurs within about 4 weeks of a stressful period and/or exposure to infectious agents. Similarly,
the incubation period (time from ingestion of oocysts until clinical signs of diarrhea) is about two to three weeks. Consequently, just because calves are no longer bawling and have learned to come to the feed bunk or feed truck, does not mean they are “out of the woods”.

3. Work with a nutrition expert to design a balanced, cost effective program for weaned calves to include protein, energy, vitamin, and mineral supplementation. The destination for calves
post-preconditioning should be a major factor in designing the preconditioning period nutritional program. For example, if they will be turned out on wheat pasture in December, there is no need to feed them to gain 3 lb per day during preconditioning.

Prepare for the breeding season by purchasing semen,checking, repairing and cleaning breeding equipment and facilities. An excellent resource for up-to-date synchronization and artificial insemination breeding information can be found at Process calves and vaccinate according you your herd health plan. Vaccinate cows for reproductive diseases according to your herd health plan.
Lactating, fall-calving cows should receive approximately twice the amount of supplemental protein as the spring-calving cow herd. On native, warm-season pasture, use an escalating
supplementation program, beginning with 1 lb. of 37%-40% CP supplement in September and October and increasing to 3-4 lb. by Jan. 1.

1. Producers evaluating winter feeding and supplementation programs should spend some time with a simple ration-evaluation program. These decision tools can help you make informed decisions, cut out waste, and ensure optimal animal performance. Most extension service groups offer some sort of ration evaluation program. The Oklahoma State University
(OSU) Cowculator is one such tool that is made available for free at

2. Discontinue feeding tetracycline for anaplasmosis control after the end of the vector season (after a hard freeze).

3. Check with your Extension office for information on educational meetings about livestock and forage production practices.

4. Lightly graze native hay meadows after a hard / killing frost. Remove cattle from meadows in wet conditions. Leave a minimum of 6 to 8 inches of existing regrowth to protect the soil

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