The right nutrients to prepare for calving season

February 1, 2022
Cash Yount, animal nutrition sales manager with CHS, shares how proper nutrition helps make a successful winter calving season.

How much do minerals matter to calving season outcomes? Ensuring cows have the right mix of minerals and supplements is key to a smooth production cycle, says Cash Yount, animal nutrition sales manager with CHS.

Ensure adequate minerals

When it comes to herd health management, the proper ratios of copper, zinc and manganese are what beef cows need for successful calving, says Yount. “Producers should lean on professionals and nutrition consultants they trust for feed recommendations and to make sure those ratios are in balance.”

Yount notes that there are several ways to effectively deliver minerals for pregnant cows.

“Whether you feed them as loose minerals, cake-type products or in a mineral tub, make sure supplemental minerals match the needs of your operation,” says Yount. “In the economic environment producers operate in every day, feeding challenges can be pretty big. Don’t pay for something you don’t need and make what you have does a little extra work for you.”

Retaining pregnancies

Trace minerals — especially zinc and manganese — play a big role in helping cows retain pregnancies.

 “A pregnant cow with a trace mineral deficiency could slough the calf within 7 to 11 days of the first stage of pregnancy,” says Yount. “If the cow gets adequate trace minerals, she’s more likely to hold the pregnancy. That makes a big impact during the weaning period. First-cycle calves are, on average, about 50 pounds heavier than their penmates born later in the calving period. Making sure cows get the right intake of key minerals will pay off later in the production cycle.”