This is my last column for Wilma's Whey. Jordyn Crouch, out new Consulting Officer for the region, will be taking up the banner. However a new name will be needed ... ideas are welcome.
Once cows are dry, meeting cow condition and feed cover targets for calving are the two priorities to focus on. Here are a few ideas that can help you meet both targets.
1. Manage your feed budget and regularly assess your pasture. Identifying any deviation from the plan early will allow you more opportunity to use tools such as grazing off, supplement, nitrogen etc. to get back on track. Early decisions gives you more options.
2. Draft cows into herds based on their body condition score (BCS), and feed accordingly. A basic rule of thumb is to have all early calving cows at calving BCS by June 1. To do this requires high levels of high quality feed. Target this to the cows that need it.
3. Re-draft these mobs every 2-3 weeks to remove cows that are now at the right BCS to focus feed investment to cows that need it.
It will also prevent some cows getting too fat and then creating potential metabolic issues in spring.
4. Be firm on your targets, mature cows BCS 5, and 2 and 3 year olds at 5.5 BCS. Often the 3 year olds get forgotten about, this can impact both their milk and reproductive performance next season.
Don't aim for the target this year hit it!