Kentucky Beef IRM  
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KY BEEF IRM

Calendar

 

January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November
December

       Monthly Management

January

SPRING CALVING HERD

Prepare for calving

Prepare a calving area and equipment:
well-lighted pen bedded with clean straw
facilities to warm chilled calves (warming box, truck cab, heat lamp, etc.)
puller and chains
eartags and applicator
frozen colostrum or commercial colostrum supplement
oral calf feeder
iodine for calf’s navel
record book
scales (optional)
Arrange for enough labor to assist during the calving period.
Obtain a cow-calf record book from your county Extension office or KCA and use it to record calving information.
Mature dry cows’ needs are minimal if they are in the desired body condition. Consider protein supplementation if hay is much below 10% crude protein.
Keep replacement heifer calves gaining enough to reach their "targetö weight (65% mature wt.) by the start of the breeding season.

CONSIDERATIONS FOR ALL CATTLE

Feed hay in areas where mud is less of a problem.
Increase feed intake as the temperature drops.
Provide clean water at all times. Be aware of frozen pond hazards.

FALL CALVING HERD

Breeding season ends

Cows nursing calves need 25-30 pounds of good quality hay, or its equivalent, throughout the breeding season.
Remove bulls January 20 to end the breeding season and for last calves to be born by November 1.
Consider creep feeding to add extra pounds since fall calves need more than just their damÆs milk for maximum growth. Maintain high quality forage for cows for good body condition, milk production, and calf gains.
Finish castrations, dehorning and implanting.
Provide clean windbreaks and shelter for young calves.

FORAGES

Prepare for pasture renovation by purchasing seeds, inoculant, etc. and getting equipment ready.
Determine the need for N fertilization of selected grass pasture fields for early spring growth.
Assess hay quality and inventory.
Allocate hay feeding based on animal needs and hay quality.
Determine varieties to be used for renovation.
Plan pasture utilization strategy (fencing, water, shade).

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February

SPRING CALVING HERD

Calving season begins

Supplement with magnesium mineral at least 30 days prior to calving.
Increase feed to cows which have calves. Grain may be needed if you are feeding lower quality hay (3-4 lb. for mature cows and about 8 lb. for first-calf heifers).
Have calving equipment and facilities and labor arranged prior to calving (See January).
Observe first-calf heifers closely now, since they should begin head-start calving by February 10. Expect calving difficulty and intervene if:
no progress after 90 minutes of labor.
calf is backwards (only the calf’s tail is visible or the dewclaws are pointed "up").
calf’s head and two feet are not visible.
Identify calf with eartag and/or tattoo while calves are young and easy to handle and record dam ID and birth date. Commercial male calves should also be castrated and implanted according to product recommendations. Castration and dehorning are less stressful when performed on young animals. Registered calves should be weighed during the first 24 hours.
Inform tax preparer of sales of unbred heifers in the breeding pool because they are considered breeding livestock by the IRS.
Call AI technicians for spring breeding appointments.
Determine how much you can spend for bulls and/or semen.

CONSIDERATIONS FOR ALL CATTLE

Begin looking for herd sire replacements that meet herd and farm goals. Yearling bull availability is best in spring.

FALL CALVING HERD

Breeding season ends

Breeding season should be over.
Remove bulls and feed to regain "normal" weight.
Provide creep for calves if economical.
Provide windbreaks or clean shelter for calves.
Vaccinate heifer calves for Brucellosis according to your veterinarian’s recommendation (optional).
Consult your veterinarian for proper deworming of the fall calving herd.

FORAGES

Begin pasture renovation with legumes.
Apply nitrogen fertilizer by mid- to late- February to promote early grass growth.
Plan pasture utilization strategy (fencing, water, shade).
Consider herbicide options such as dormant applications for alfalfa.
Chain harrow pastures as needed for more uniform manure distribution.

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March

SPRING CALVING HERD

Spring calving continues

Identify calf with eartag and/or tattoo while calves are young and easy to handle and record dam ID and birth date. Commercial male calves should also be castrated and implanted according to product recommendations. Castration and dehorning are less stressful when performed on young animals. Registered calves should be weighed during the first 24 hours.
Watch for calf scours:
Give fluids to scouring calves that become dehydrated.
Consult your veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Move cows which have not calved to a clean pasture.
Vaccinate calves (should be 6 to 8 weeks of age or older) for clostridial diseases (blackleg) according to label recommendations .
Separate cows that have calves and increase their feed.
Continue grass tetany prevention. Cows need 20 grams of magnesium daily or 4 oz/day of a 15% magnesium mineral mix.
Line-up AI sires and/or purchase new bulls at least 30 days before the breeding season - demand performance records and check health history including immunizations. Choose a breed and use EPD’s plus visual observation to select the bull that best fits your program and budget.
Evaluate yearling replacement heifers for pelvic area, reproductive tract score, and weight. Heifers should reach their target weight of 65% of expected mature weight by breeding season.

CONSIDERATIONS FOR ALL CATTLE

Repair fences, equipment and handling facilities.
Plan new working facilities, if needed.

FALL CALVING HERD

Pre-weaning period

Pregnancy check the cow herd. Consider selling open cows and heifers and those weaning poor calves. Inform tax preparer if the cows and heifers were raised or purchased.
Consult your veterinarian about a pre-weaning working of the herd which may include:
vaccinating calves for:
IBR-PI3-BVD-BRSV
clostridial diseases (blackleg)
Brucellosis for heifer calves
deworm calves
blood test of cows for herd certification
Calves intended for feeders should be re-implanted.
Consider the economics of creep feeding calves with grain or high quality forage.
Marketing: Make an economic analysis of all marketing options for calves, including selling at auction barn, video, and private treaty. Another option is retained ownership, either by backgrounding or sending the calf to the feedlot.

FORAGES

Continue renovation.
Smooth and re-seed hay feeding areas and heavy traffic areas.
Control competition from grasses with young clover plants by grazing or mowing as needed.
Prepare for spring seeding of alfalfa.
Begin grazing if growth permits.
Plan and implement grazing system and rotation.

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April

SPRING CALVING HERD

Prepare for breeding season

Line-up AI services and/or purchase replacement bulls at least 30 days prior to the start of the breeding season.
Choose a breed and use EPD’s and visual observation to select the bull that best fits your program’s goals.
Have a veterinarian perform breeding soundness evaluations on bulls.
If you are going to use artificial insemination and/or estrus synchronization, make plans now and order needed supplies and semen.
Make final selection of heifer replacements based on weight, pelvic size, and reproductive tract score.
Spring or "turn-out" working is usually scheduled for late April or May. Consult your veterinarian about vaccines and health products your herd needs (see May for suggestions).
Continue providing magnesium in the mineral mix until daytime temperatures are consistently above 60EF.
Identify calf with eartag and/or tattoo while calves are young and easy to handle and record dam ID and birth date. Commercial male calves should also be castrated and implanted according to product recommendations. Castration and dehorning are less stressful when performed on young animals. Registered calves should be weighed during the first 24 hours.

CONSIDERATIONS FOR ALL CATTLE

Continue supplemental feeding as needed.

FALL CALVING HERD

Pre-weaning period

Pregnancy check the cow herd if not done previously.
Finish vaccinations of calves. (See March.)
Calves intended for feeders should be re-implanted.
Marketing: Make an economic analysis of all marketing options for calves, including selling at auction barn, video, and private treaty. Another option is retained ownership, either by backgrounding in a grazing program or sending the calf to the feedlot.
Obtain cow and calf weights at weaning and see your County Extension Agent for information on record keeping programs. Cull cows based on performance and pregnancy status and make initial heifer selections, keeping more than you intend to retain for the next breeding season.

FORAGES

Complete seeding of alfalfa.
Determine need for supplemental forages such as millet or sudangrass.
Prepare for start of hay harvest.
Prepare fencing, and water for grazing season and begin grazing early pastures.
Plant corn for silage and warm season grasses if weather permits.
Assess opportunity for weed control using recommended herbicides (always read and follow label recommendations).

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May

SPRING CALVING HERD

Breeding season begins

Begin breeding replacement heifers for "Head-start" calving. Mate to known "easy-calving" bulls.
Begin breeding cows no later than May 20, especially if they are on high endophyte fescue. Use best quality pastures during the breeding season. Avoid high endophyte fescue pastures during breeding, if possible.
Record inventory of all cows in each breeding pasture.
Spring or "turn-outö working. Consult your veterinarian on the vaccines and health products for your herd. These may include:
Deworming cows.
Vaccinating cows for Vibrio, Lepto (5-way), IBR, BVD, and Hemophilus somnus.
Vaccinating calves for clostridial disease (blackleg).
Dehorn, castrate and implant calves if not done at birth.
Continue supplying supplemental magnesium until daytime temperatures are consistently above 60EF.

CONSIDERATIONS FOR ALL CATTLE

Don't start fly control until fly population builds up.
Consider vaccinating for pinkeye.

FALL CALVING HERD

Weaning period

Weaning Working
Give any necessary booster vaccinations to calves.
Obtain cow and calf weights at weaning and see your County Extension Agent for information on record keeping programs. Cull cows based on performance and pregnancy status. Make initial heifer selections, keeping more than you intend to retain for the next breeding season.
Pregnancy test cows if not done previously.
Creep graze calves or wean and put on best pasture. If calves are weaned, restrict pasture for cows.
Weaned calves can be conditioned by feeding a complete dry ration for a short period of time after vaccinating, deworming and implanting.

FORAGES

Start hay harvests for quality forage.
Seed warm season annuals for supplemental forage as needed.
Seed warm season perennial grasses.
Clip seedheads to prevent seedhead formation on fescue and to control weeds as needed. Consider herbicide options.
Rotate pastures as needed.

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June

SPRING CALVING HERD

Breeding season continues

If breeding pastures contain fescue, it must be low endophyte or contain legumes.
Observe performance of bulls during breeding season. If the number of cows returning to estrus is large, try to determine the cause and consider changing bulls.
Maintain salt-mineral feeders. Provide a free-choice mineral mix containing adequate levels of phosphorus, vitamin A, selenium, copper, zinc and other trace minerals at all times.
Consider chlortetracycline in a mineral mix during summer months for control of pinkeye, footrot, and/or anaplasmosis.

CONSIDERATIONS FOR ALL CATTLE

Prevent/Control pinkeye:
clip tall, mature grass
reduce flies with adequate fly control
treat problems quickly
consider vaccinating
Control flies (methods may include):
back rubbers, spray, dust bags, pour ons
insecticidal eartags (2 per animal)
insecticidal salt-mineral mix
Maintain a clean water supply and check it routinely. Water is extremely important in hot weather.

FALL CALVING HERD

Weaning period

Finish collecting cow and calf weights at weaning.
Pregnancy test cows if not done previously.
Consider selling open cows and heifers, cows weaning lightweight, poor-quality calves and problem cows. Inform tax preparer if the cows and heifers were raised or purchased.
Make initial selection of replacement heifers.

FORAGES

Continue hay harvests.
Clip pastures for weeds and seedheads as needed.
Rotate pastures as needed.
Soil test for late-summer seedings.
Protect round bales of hay from weather damage to minimize storage losses of yield and quality.

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July

SPRING CALVING HERD

Breeding season is almost over

Continue pasture rotation and avoid high endophyte fescue during this month for best rebreeding performance.
Remove bulls from the cow herd by the end of the month. This will eliminate summer-born calves and help prevent nursing heifer calves from becoming pregnant.
Mid-Summer Working Opportunity (when the herd is gathered to remove bulls)
work cattle early in the morning to avoid heat stress
deworm cows and calves(mid-July is optimum)
reimplant calves
vaccinate calves for clostridial diseases (blackleg) if not done previously
spray for flies while cattle are gathered (if not using other control methods)

CONSIDERATIONS FOR ALL CATTLE

Continue to watch for pinkeye and treat if necessary. Minimize problems by clipping pastures, controlling face flies and providing shade.

Check pastures for downed wild cherry trees after storms (wild cherry leaves can be toxic to cattle).

Be sure that clean water is always available, especially in hot weather.

FALL CALVING HERD

Dry period

Mid-Summer Working Opportunity: Deworm cows

FORAGES

Identify fescue pastures for accumulation of fall growth (stockpiling).
Attend county, regional and state field days for timely information.
Clip pastures as needed.
Assess need for weed control in alfalfa.
Soil test fields to be seeded in fall and to determine pasture fertilization needs.
Determine species and varieties to be seeded in fall.

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August

SPRING CALVING HERD

Breeding season ends

Bulls should be removed from the cow herd, grouped together in a pasture with good fence and allowed to regain "normal" weight.
Manage to minimize the effect of high endophyte level in fescue. Pasture, other than fescue, can be beneficial this month.
Watch pastures! If pasture is running short, start supplemental feeding.
Watch for cattle trying to consume poisonous plants.
Creep graze or advance graze calves, providing them with the best FORAGES available.
Repair and improve corrals for fall working and weaning.

CONSIDERATIONS FOR ALL CATTLE

Provide shade and water. Check water supply frequently - as much as 20 gallons may be required by high producing cows in very hot weather.
Don’t give up on fly control. Methods may need to be combined (i.e. spraying of "taggedö cattle) in late summer.
Keep a good mineral mix available at all times. Provide a free-choice mineral mix containing adequate levels of phosphorus, vitamin A, selenium, copper, zinc and other trace minerals.

FALL CALVING HERD

Prepare for calving

Pregnant cows should be moved to better pastures as calving approaches.
Observe first-calf heifers closely now, since they should begin head-start calving by August 10. Expect calving difficulty and intervene if:
no progress after 90 minutes of labor,
calf is backwards (only the calf’s tail is visible or the dewclaws are pointed "up"),
calf’s head and two feet are not visible.
Arrange for enough labor to assist during the calving period.
Inform tax preparer of sales of unbred heifers in the breeding pool because they are considered breeding livestock by the IRS.
Get equipment ready for calving season (may include):
puller and chains, eartags, record book, and scales.
Determine how much you can spend for bulls and/or semen.

FORAGES

Remove livestock and apply nitrogen to fescue pastures to be stockpiled.
Take soil samples to determine perennial pasture fertility needs.
Fertilize alfalfa and other hay/pasture fields as needed.
Plant perennial grasses at optimal rate, date, and depth.
Harvest corn silage.
Secure desired varieties for late summer seedings.

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September

SPRING CALVING HERD

Preweaning working

Consult your veterinarian on the merits of a preweaning working of the herd which may include:
vaccinating calves for:
IBR-PI3-BVD-BRSV
clostridial diseases (blackleg)
Brucellosis for heifer calves, if not done previously
pregnancy examination of the cows
blood test of cows for herd certification
treatment of cows for grubs and lice
Deworm if retaining calves more than 30 days
Creep feeding may give extra gain and prepare calves for eating dry feed at weaning.
Marketing: Make an economic analysis of all marketing options for calves including selling at auction barn, video, and private treaty. Another option is retained ownership, either by backgrounding or sending the calf to the feedlot.

CONSIDERATIONS FOR ALL CATTLE

FALL CALVING HERD

Calving season begins

Cows should be moved to a clean, accessible pasture for calving.
Move cows with calves to best quality fall pasture after calving. If you apply nitrogen to a fescue pasture this month, accumulated fescue should be available to these cow-calf pairs in November-December when their nutrition needs are great.
Identify calf with eartag and/or tattoo while calves are young and easy to handle and record dam ID and birth date. Commercial male calves should also be castrated and implanted according to product recommendations. Castration and dehorning are less stressful when performed on young animals. Registered calves should be weighed during the first 24 hours.
Schedule A.I. technicians if applicable.

FORAGES

Continue taking soil samples for perennial crops and apply fertilizer as needed.
Plant perennial grasses at optimal rate, date, and depth.
Harvest hay as needed.
Harvest alfalfa by mid-September.
Continue harvest of corn silage.

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October

SPRING CALVING HERD

Wean the calves

Give any necessary booster vaccinations to calves.
Consider selling open cows and heifers and those weaning poor calves. Inform tax preparer if the cows and heifers were raised or purchased.
Put thin cows (body condition score less than 5) on high quality feed or pasture, such as accumulated tall fescue.
Obtain cow and calf weights at weaning and see your County Extension Agent for information on record keeping programs. Cull cows based on performance and pregnancy status and make initial heifer selections, keeping at least 20% more than you intend to retain for the next breeding season.
Keep back the best of the early-born heifer calves for potential replacements.
Plan your calf marketing program. Alternatives include: special feeder calf sales, weekly auction markets, private treaty sales to dealers or feeders, backgrounding the calves yourself, or retaining ownership through the feedlot.

CONSIDERATIONS FOR ALL CATTLE

Treat calves for internal/external parasites.
Remove fly-control eartags.

FALL CALVING HERD

Fall calving continues

Check calving pastures frequently.
Identify calf with eartag and/or tattoo while calves are young and easy to handle and record dam ID and birth date. Commercial male calves should also be castrated and implanted according to product recommendations. Castration and dehorning are less stressful when performed on young animals. Registered calves should be weighed during the first 24 hours.
Move cows with young calves to the best pasture - accumulated fescue pasture can work well for this.
Line-up AI sires and/or purchase new bulls at least 30 days prior to breeding season. Choose a breed and use EPD’s and visual observation to select the bull that best fits your program and budget.
Have veterinarian perform breeding soundness evaluations on bulls.
Evaluate yearling replacement heifers for pelvic area, reproductive tract score, and weight. Heifers should reach their target weight of 65% of expected mature weight by breeding season.

FORAGES

Apply phosphate, potash and lime according to soil test recommendations.
Do not harvest or graze alfalfa fields to replenish root reserves.
Graze crop residues (Beware of grazing restrictions on certain crop herbicides).
Beware of prussic acid (cyanide) poisoning from grazing summer annual grasses following frost.
Start inventory of hay supplies and needs and test hay quality.
Consider broadleaf weed control in grass pastures.

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November

SPRING CALVING HERD

Plan your winter feeding program.

Obtain cow and calf weights at weaning and see your County Extension Agent for information on record keeping programs. Cull cows based on performance and pregnancy status and make initial heifer selections, keeping more than you intend to retain for the next breeding season.
Evaluate body condition of cows (BCS) after weaning their calves. Sort thin cows (BCS<5) away from the main cow herd so they can receive extra feed, if needed.
Dry cows can utilize crop residues and poor quality hay but don’t let them lose too much weight. Save higher quality feeds until calving time.
Replacement heifers should gain at an adequate rate to reach their "target" breeding weight (65% of mature weight) by May 1.

CONSIDERATIONS FOR ALL CATTLE

Record all cow deaths, purchases, sales and movements among pastures.
This is a good time to freeze-brand replacement heifers for permanent identification.
Evaluate performance of calves and consider changes in your breeding program.

FALL CALVING HERD

Breeding season begins

Pre-Breeding working. Consult your veterinarian about vaccines and health products your herd needs. These may include:
Deworm cows
Vaccinating cows for Vibrio, Lepto (5-way), IBR, BVD, and Hemophilus somnus
Vaccinate calves for clostridial diseases (blackleg)
Dehorn, castrate and implant and ID calves if not done at birth.
Move cows to high quality pasture. Accumulated fescue pastures can work well for this. Lactating cows need to be in good condition for breeding. Cows may need some grain supplementation depending upon their condition.
Start breeding cows by November 20 for fall calving to begin in September.
At beginning of breeding season, record inventory of all cows in each breeding pasture.

FORAGES

Begin utilizing stockpiled tall fescue.
After November 1 or a killing frost, fall alfalfa can be grazed or mowed.
Utilize crop residues as needed or available.
Graze alfalfa after November 1 or freeze down (24 degrees for a few hours).
Continue inventory of hay supplies and needs.
Continue testing hay for nutrient content.

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December

SPRING CALVING HERD

Begin winter feeding

Divide the herd into groups for winter feeding which may include:
weaned calves
first and second-calf heifers and thin cows
the remainder of the dry cows which are in good body condition
herd sires
Feed the lowest quality forage to mature dry cows during early winter.
Be sure that weaned heifer calves are on "target" and being fed so that they weigh 65% of mature weight by 14-15 months of age.

CONSIDERATIONS FOR ALL CATTLE

Record all cow deaths, purchases, sales and movements among pastures.
Review this year’s calf crop and start plans for next year’s breeding program.
Plan to attend educational meetings to update your knowledge of beef production.

FALL CALVING HERD

Breeding season continues

Accumulated fescue can be beneficial for a November 20 to January 20 breeding season.
Cows must be fed when the pasture runs out. Cows with calves need 25-30 pounds of good quality hay or its equivalent. Supplement with grain, if needed.
Observe performance of bulls during breeding season. If the number of cows returning to estrus is large, try to determine the cause and consider changing bulls.
At beginning of breeding season, record inventory of all cows in each breeding pasture.

FORAGES

Continue utilization of stockpiled tall fescue and crop residues as available.
Continue testing hay for nutrient content.
Begin hay feeding, minimizing waste.

 

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