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Obese Cows Could Warrant Slimming Pre-Calving Diet

24 January 2014

UK – Beef producers are being told to prepare for an increase in calving difficulties this summer by leading experts in Scotland.

Beef specialists at Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) are saying calves could be at risk because of the ‘excellent summer’ of 2013 and a preponderance of overweight cows.

The message is targeted at farmers who may not have adjusted feeding rations following a successful forage summer and could come across difficulties as calving starts. 

The answer, according to Dr Basil Lowman, of SAC consulting, is to check the cattle, ideally with a farming friend or veterinarian, to identify any cows that need slimming down.

“Some producers are concerned about the condition of their cows and the potential for a much higher risk of calving difficulties when calving starts in a month’s time,” said Dr Lowman. “If there are a proportion of obese cows, with rings of fat clearly visible around their tail-head then these should be drawn out into a separate group.”

A well-balanced straw oriented ration should be turned to for fat loss before calving, Dr Lowman advised.

He acknowledged the extra cost but said it was worthwhile against the expense of infertile and barren cows and the prospect of culling breeding stock.

Farmers are advised to maintain protein, mineral and vitamin intake to avoid death due to an impacted rumen.

Suggested Slimming Ration

  • Straw - Ad-lib
  • Rapeseed meal - 2 kg/cow/day
  • Mineral and vitamin mix suitable for straw based rations - 120 g/cow/day

 

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