As we continue to move into spring here in Pittsburg County and cattle prices are at an all-time high, here are a few basic management tips to ensure herd health and productivity of the herd.
For spring calving programs
1. Check weight and body condition score on replacement heifers and adjust supplemental feeding program as necessary. Begin breeding replacement heifers 20 to 30 days before the rest of the herd.
2. Monitor development of replacement heifers. Make certain they are gaining enough to reach 65 percent of their expected mature weight by the beginning of the breeding season (715 pounds if mature weight is 1,100).
3. If not previously done this year, after calving and at least 30 days before breeding, vaccinate cows with 5-way Leptospira/Campylobacter bacterin, IBR, BVD, PI-3 and BRSV vaccine. This schedule should be approved by your veterinarian.
4. Conduct fertility check and provide a breeding soundness exam for all herd sires.
Vaccinate bulls for anaplasmosis, if not previously done this year, and continue other control measures for the herd.
Plan fly and tick control program. Check spraying equipment, dust bags, and oilers, and purchase needed chemicals or tags for fly and tick control. Spray or burn weeds in Bermuda and native grass pastures in late April or May.
Utilize a controlled burning program on native range, to control weeds and brush. Research shows that controlled burning on native range can increase weaning performance of fall born calves.
For more information on spring cattle protocols contact your local OSU Extension Office.
David Cantrell is the Agriculture Extension educator for Pittsburg County. Contact him at 918-423-4120.