Progress Takes Planning “Success in any area of life takes planning and raising cattle is no exception.”

Published on Thu, 04/05/2018 - 11:50am

Progress Takes Planning
 “Success in any area of life takes planning and raising cattle is no exception.”

 By Aly McClure

 In any area of life your success depends on foresight and planning, raising cattle is no different. You have to go through and not only have goals but a feasible action plan to attain them. Managing a herd of beef cattle requires yearly and lifetime actions covering everything from health to property maintenance, they all affect your animals.

To start with your best foot forward calf health is a crucial cornerstone in your herds future. Every animal starts as a calf. Talking with feedyard manager, T.J. McClure – of Circle Heifer Development in Garden City, KS – “Good heifer health begins with good calf health. When a calf is doctored more than two times before six months of age that calf should be culled. Beyond that point the animal is very likely to be sickly it’s entire life and cost you more money in the long run than if you take care of the problem in the front end. Your investment, time and financial, should be on the animals that have the best chance of success.” Setting up and following a vaccination protocol including parameters like McClure mentioned gives you a base line scale to evaluate animals on and make effective decisions for the future of your herd.
Along the lines of animal health comes nutrition, they really walk hand in hand with each other. A healthy animal is a properly fed animal, and an easier to breed animal. With proper pasture rotation you should be able to get a quality sample of the forage available to be able to tell what types of supplementation your herd may need. During the summer months it is very common to supplement a cow herd with vitamins and minerals to balance out what is already available to them on pasture which can vary by region. To keep your cattle in good condition and producing quality milk for calves until weening it is very important to manage their intake.

The other corner of this beef herd management trifecta is the property maintenance aspect. To keep your animals safe and happy you must keep up with the demands of your property. This can mean different things for every farm and ranch but the basics are pretty easy to keep up with, 1. The elimination of noxious weeds to keep them from robbing the moisture and nutrition from your pastures. 2. Fence maintenance is a must. Intact and working fencing is vital to keeping your farm animals safe and your neighbor’s friends. Walking or riding your fence line regularly, checking for damage and repairing promptly. 3. Keeping a reliable pasture rotation schedule to reduce over grazing and damaging the grass available, and replanting when necessary. 4. Checking your water regularly and creating sustainable procedures to ensure proper usage and availability.
While it can be difficult to go into specific details of beef herd management because every area of our country requires different things, the basics will always be the same. As you go into this spring and summer season make it your goal to find at least one area you can improve on and use this as your corner stone to continually build upon your operation for a successful future and visible progress.