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Is Your Calf Insured?


Cow nutrition means lifetime insurance.

Taking care of a cow, even before it's bred, will result in a healthy calf. And that's the best insurance you can buy.

"Proper cow nutrition is the key to producing healthy calves," explains Jessi Lohman, beef feed sales and marketing manager for Southern States. "You've got to take care of your cows, especially before calving," she stresses.

Folks at your local Southern States store have the expertise and products to ensure your brood cows remain in peak condition during pregnancy.

Brown and white cows walking toward the viewer through a green pastureIt all boils down to proper health care and nutrition, Lohman states. "Cattlemen who have a health-care and nutrition program in place well before cows are due to calve know that it's like putting money in the bank toward a more profitable calf crop," Lohman says.

Consider that a calf grows at an average rate of up to 1 pound a day during the last two months before it is born. "Without adequate nutrition so that her body mass is increasing at the same rate, a pregnant cow will lose condition," Lohman warns. "That could result in calving difficulty as well as reduced colostrum quantity and quality."

"Colostrum intake after a calf is born is key," she adds. "The colostrum a calf gets during the first six to eight hours basically provides its immune response for life. Investing in cow nutrition pays dividends in the form of a lifetime protection system for the calf."

The cow also must maintain adequate body condition so it can ovulate and rebreed quickly. The objective is to keep a brood cow's BCS (Body Condition Score) at 5 or better. That way the cow is able to calve easier and be a good milker. This results in larger, healthier calves at weaning. And, if a cow holds its BCS levels, it has a greater chance of rebreeding within 90 days after it calves.

Lohman says producers should take a hard look at their forage base, evaluating quality and supply. "Usually, the last 60 days before calving occur during the worst nutritional period of the year from the standpoint of forage quality," she explains. Fall calving comes at the end of the summer grazing slump, while spring calving is in the dead of winter.

"Our store managers and field staff can either take forage samples or demonstrate the proper procedure to producers," she says. "Once the results are back, get with your Southern States adviser. Let him come up with a supplement program to fit your requirements and management style. He knows your specific circumstances and needs.

"He'll probably recommend Beef Breeder Cattleman’s Pride Weathershed mineral supplements with Zinpro Availa 4® and organic Selenium. These contain organic chelates (copper, zinc, manganese and cobalt) because not all mineral supplements are the same. The organic chelates in Zinpro Availa 4 - are more readily absorbed and more fully utilized, compared to conventional microminerals. These supplements contain 10% magnesium levels designed to be fed year-round. The supplement keeps a cow fortified throughout the year, which means you don't have to play catch-up at the time when grass tetany is a major problem."

Lohman says it pays to use quality supplements. "It only costs about $5 per cow per year to feed the best mineral supplement versus some bargain formula," she explains. "In fact, because cows get more of the minerals they need in the higher quality formulas, they actually consume less material. Often, this results in a less-expensive overall mineral bill with the higher quality formula."

It's just another example how the expertise and service of Southern States can help add more profits to your bottom line.


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