If significant BCS gain is required over the dry period be realistic about what you need to feed your cows. As little body condition can be gained in the last month of gestation, feed maximally in the month of June to try and maximise this gain.
A cow putting on 1 BCS in the month of June will require about 7kg DM/day above maintenance and pregnancy requirements compared to a cow already at target.
- For every BCS below a 5 at point of calving, cows will tend to produce 12-20kg of MS less for the season.
- For every BCS below a 5 at point of calving cows will tend to take an additional 10 days to resume cycling.
- Cows which do not have a pre-mate heat will have 10% lower conception rates when finally mated.
- The target BCS for an individual cow at point of calving is 5.0-5.5. This is an extremely good looking cow. Her pin bones are no longer visible (at all!), the rump is filled in, the hips are rounded, the spine is not visible (at all!), the short ribs are rounded and the long ribs are not visible (at all!).
- It is thought that a large proportion of cows in New Zealand calve below target BCS.