Winter Cow Supplementation: Protein and Energy Explained

In the article “Nutrient Synchrony: Protein and Energy Working Together,” we discussed how protein and energy act synergistically in the rumen to booster animal performance: Each requires the other for peak function. We also mentioned how winter supplementation often consists of a protein supplement but that protein is not always the limiting nutrient. In this article, we will talk about both protein and energy supplementation and how to know which is the limiting nutrient and when to feed it.

Top 6 Factors Affecting Bull Fertility

Significant emphasis has been placed on the importance of fertility in the female, whether in the cow or a developing heifer. When we address fertility in one female, we are affecting one offspring. When we address fertility in one male, we could be affecting up to approximately 35 offspring, in a single year. Is this oversight on bull fertility because bulls are overlooked until it is time to turn them out for the breeding season? We know that reproductive failures can occur in any cow-calf operation and can be costly. Let’s take the bull out of that negative equation and take a look at the top 6 factors I believe affect bull fertility.

Spike buck culling seldom provides benefits

Should spike bucks be culled? It depends, but in most situations with white-tailed deer, the answer is no. There are two situations where the answer can be yes: in a penned-deer situation where a manager determines breeding pairings and in a few high-fenced populations where some buck harvest may be necessary when populations have more bucks than does. If a buck must be harvested in these uncommon latter situations, a spike suffices as well as any other buck.

Cattle nutrition rules of thumb allow quick estimation

Rules of thumb can be dangerous because they are simplified, generalized algorithms that we use instead of a more detailed, accurate calculation. Many times, however, rules of thumb are very useful when you need a quick estimate of a quantity or relationship. Rules of thumb in the cattle business can be developed from cumulative years of experience from many producers and are often verified when they are evaluated with replicated research studies.

Minimize Calving Difficulty by Knowing What to Look For

Anyone who’s been through even one calving season has most likely dealt with calving difficulty. Dystocia is the eight-dollar word for calving difficulty, and it’s the biggest cause of calf death loss at birth. It can be minimized by managing things like genetics and nutrition, but once the calving season is upon us, those things are in the past. Now the focus becomes observation and possible intervention. Being prepared to provide assistance is critical. It’s been estimated that timely and appropriate intervention can save up to 70 percent of calves that otherwise would die due to dystocia. It’s also just as important to know when not to intervene, and just let the process play out uninterrupted. The key is experience and knowing the normal sequence of events up to and through calving. It will vary tremendously between individual cows. It’s also important to know the limits of our abilities and when to call professional help. In fact, part of your preparation should be to develop a plan of action with your veterinarian. This article is meant to be general in nature and simply serve as a refresher of what to look for during calving. Remember, these signs are extremely variable, and may go completely unnoticed.