Maximizing pasture usage

As beef producers head into the winter months, Purdue Extension beef specialist Ron Lemenager says if they haven’t already weaned spring-born cattle – they should consider doing it now.  “We know that if we wean the calf – the intake on the cow will drop around 25 percent,” he says.  “And if we’re still out on grass – it gives us more days of grazing – if you can do that.”

Lemenager says it actually stretches the forage supply by 30 to 40 percent.  “By taking the calf off, you eliminate the calf’s consumption of those pastures and you also eliminate the trampling losses associated with the hooves of those calves,” he said. 

Lemenager says weaning now not only reduces stress on the cows as they head into their last trimester of pregnancy but also can provide some economic advantage to the producer.  “If the cows go into the cold part of the winter or late pregnancy with a little extra condition, these cows have some wiggle room in terms of losing some weight,” he says.  “That also reduces the expense of needing to supplement weight and condition back on to these cows.”


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