Vitamins A and E primarily come from green forage, lacking in aforementioned diets. Severe deficiencies in these vitamins have been commonly noted the past few springs.

Gunn patrick
Extension Beef Specialist / Iowa State University Extension & Outreach

Spring-calving herds

Pregnancy checking should be done already or completed very soon. Do not risk wintering a cow that will not be paying its rent next year. October through January traditionally marks the lowest prices for utility cull cows. So finding value-added opportunities for marketing these females during this time is imperative.

Midwest/Northern commodities

If cows are reproductively and structurally sound, have good general health and udder quality, and are of adequate condition, these females may be candidates to move to an alternate breeding season or sell as embryo-recipient candidates.

If cows are thin but of adequate health, potentially efficient gains may merit feeding these cows to meet higher USDA cull cow classifications.

If late-term abortions have been a problem in the past, consider booster vaccinations for the respiratory diseases and lepto at pregnancy check.


Now is an ideal time to re-evaluate body condition score. If cows are a bit behind and are still in their second trimester of gestation, this is a much better time to try to catch them up than once they have hit third trimester, when much greater proportion of nutrient intake is directed toward fetal growth.

Fall-calving herds

Breeding season is here. Be sure to provide windbreaks and bedding for bulls to avoid frostbite if winter comes early.

If using A.I., have extra supplies on hand. Cleanliness is next to godliness for A.I., so thoroughly clean and disinfect all breeding equipment prior to the start of the breeding period.

Double and triple check thaw thermoses (using two different thermometers) to make sure they heat to an appropriate temperature. Too hot or too cold of a thaw bath is a common issue that can impair A.I. success.

As always, consult with the team of experts you have assembled, including your beef extension specialist, nutritionist and herd health veterinarian.  end mark

Patrick Gunn
  • Patrick Gunn

  • Assistant Professor of Animal Science
  • Iowa State University
  • Email Patrick Gunn