To maintain the safety of the calves and herd after calving season in drying conditions is critical to maximise returns and avoid potential costs requires special attention. Here’s a reminder, and a few tips for effective post-calving care in drying conditions.
Provide Ample Water: Access to clean and abundant water is crucial, especially in dry conditions. Ensure that water sources are well-maintained, and easily accessible for both cows and calves. Dehydration can impact milk production, calf growth, and overall herd health.
Protect Your Water: As condition continue to dry native animals and feral pests will look further for water than their usual watering holes. Take steps to protect your water sources from unwanted pests to ensure that your cattle are the only ones drinking.
Supplement Nutrition: In dry conditions, forage quality may be compromised. Supplement the cows' diet with appropriate feedstuffs to meet their increased nutritional needs for lactation and recovery. Consider offering protein-rich supplements, energy-dense feeds, and mineral blocks to prevent nutrient deficiencies.
Strategic Grazing Management: Implement rotational grazing practices to maximise forage utilisation and promote pasture regrowth. Rotating cattle through different paddocks can prevent overgrazing and allow pastures to recover. This approach helps maintain forage quality and supports cow and calf nutrition.
Monitor Body Condition: Regularly assess the body condition of cows and calves. Thin cows may struggle with milk production and reproductive performance, while undernourished calves are more susceptible to health issues. Adjust feeding and management strategies based on body condition scores to ensure optimal health.
Plan for Weaning: In dry conditions, weaning decisions should be made carefully. Consider weaning calves earlier to reduce the nutritional demands on lactating cows. Gradual weaning, where calves have access to supplementary feed before complete separation, can minimize stress and maintain calf health.
Additionally, it's essential to have a drought management plan in place that outlines strategies for feed supplementation, destocking decisions, and other measures to mitigate the impacts of dry conditions on your cattle operation. Regularly consult with local agricultural services, veterinarians, and experienced cattle producers in your region to gather insights and adapt your management practices to the specific challenges posed by dry conditions.d by dry conditions.