Cold weather months are cow time | TheFencePost.com

Cold weather months are cow time

Richard Snell
Barton County Extension Agent

We finally got all the wheat planted, fall crops and the hay in. With the cold weather months here, now our attention needs to turn to the livestock, if you have any. Most of our beef cow herds calve in the spring.

If you have a spring calving cow/calf operation, here are some things you should be doing right now:

– Finish culling cows in order of priority. Start with the “Three O Rule” – Open, Old, or Ornery. I have known several ranchers who have been killed or seriously hurt by cows with extremely poor dispositions.

– Get rid of problems/structure, feet and legs, eyes, teeth.

– Poor producers. They can’t make you any money if they don’t have a calf or if her calves don’t do well on a consistent basis.

Many of you may have already weaned your calves and sold them. But with the late harvest, I know some of you haven’t culled cows yet. If so, this may not be the best time to sell them, if you have adequate labor and feed resources. Grain prices are relatively cheap again now and feeding a few pounds per head may be a good way of adding value to that grain.

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Cull cow prices are seasonally lower in November – January and then are at their peak in February – April. So, if you can put some weight on them after weaning the calf, it might be advantageous to wait to sell.

What you might want to do is select those cows that you have identified for culling and separate them from the rest. If you are culling them due to just thinness, you might be able to put enough condition on to get them back in the herd if that is their only problem.

Maintaining cows on corn or milo stalks works well this time of year with any supplemental feed or mineral you might need.

Also, check with your tax consultants about your income situation. Many of you had good yields and if you sold enough grain at the higher prices, you may want to look at holding off on some income until 2009.