Preparing for Breeding Season ImportantWritten by Scott Lake
Most producers these days are pretty busy with calving season right about now. However, it is an excellent time to begin to prepare for breeding season. Below are a few thoughts on some of the key points for preparing for the upcoming breeding season.
Make sure cows are in good condition. Research has demonstrated that the number one factor affecting the ability of cows to rebreed in a timely manner is their body condition score. Cows should be at least approaching a condition score of five to ensure they are cycling prior to the beginning of the season.
It is probably most important to have them on the gain going into breeding season. Keep in mind that peak milk production in beef cows occurs at about day 60 of lactation. Therefore, make sure cattle are fed enough to meet their requirements.
Likewise, heifers should be in adequate condition prior to the breeding season. Everyone has different opinions and goals for their heifer development program. However, the one common goal should be to have heifers in condition that is adequate enough for them to reach puberty and cycle prior to the beginning of the breeding season.
For producers who are going to artificially inseminate their heifers or cows, make sure to order the synchronization drugs. Don’t wait until the last minute to plan. It is fairly common to have one or more of the necessary drugs on back-order. Plan now to ensure adequate supplies are available. Likewise, order the semen you want now. Like the drugs, it is common that semen from a popular bull is out.
Also, mark your calendar now so you know when to begin the synch process, and it doesn’t sneak up on you.
Pre-breeding vaccinations are very important. Producers should work with their veterinarian to develop a herd health plan. Depending on the program, they may need to give shots prior to breeding.
Lastly, let’s not forget about the boys. Make sure bulls are in good condition for breeding season. Overly conditioned or fat bulls could be lazy and not work as hard as they should. Likewise, under-conditioned bulls won’t have the energy required to last the entire season. Similarly to the cows, bulls should be between a five and six body condition score.
Additionally, we would recommend having bulls undergo a breeding soundness exam by a veterinarian. It could be a disaster if one or more of the bulls you are counting on don’t perform.
Good luck with the conclusion of the calving season and upcoming breeding season.