Garcia matt
Beef Cattle Specialist / Utah State University

Essentially, advanced planning decreases production costs and increases the efficiency/survivability during these trying months. Here are a couple of things producers can do to prepare for beef production during the winter.

1. The first and probably most obvious thing to plan for is ensuring you have enough stored hay to provide for the herd through the winter. During this time, forage quality is low and forage quantity, in some instances, is minimal or hard to come by. Furthermore, this is a very important time in the cows’ production cycle, as many cows will be in their third trimester, and a good number of spring-calving cows will be calving and lactating during this time. Nutrient requirements go up during the third trimester and increase even more post-calving. It is essential a producer have good quality and enough quantity of feed to meet these cows’ nutritional needs during this production phase. Acquiring these resources well in advance will decrease costs and improve efficiency.

2. The second thing producers should prepare for is how they will manage calves that need warming or extra attention during a cold calving spell. Evaluating your facilities, having the proper supplies and determining their capabilities before you need to use them is a good practice. The main reason for this is: Every year, a calf or set of calves will be born during the coldest time of year. Having an area set up well in advance to move new calves that need to be warmed up or housed during extreme weather not only saves you time and effort but also increases the production efficiency and probability of that calf surviving.

To summarize, advanced preparation well in advance of the winter production months not only ensures sustained cow productivity (lactation, calf raising, rebreeding), but will also increase calf performance and survivability.  end mark

Matthew Garcia