Cow BCS and Preparing for Winter

The greater majority of herds which we see going off farm on a winter grazing contract are budgeted on cows being offered a standard 14kgDM/cow day.  Is this figure relevant to what your herd requires to meet target at calving?  If they will need more can your grazier accommodate the number of cows you plan to send?

  • 1 BCS gain in a 480kg dry cow will require 2100MJME over and above maintenance and pregnancy requirements.
  • Therefore the difference between what a BCS 4.0 cow and a BCS 5.0 cow are offered over a 60 day dry period is about 240kgDM (or 4kgDM/day).

Our practice operates a comprehensive BCSing service whereby individual animals can be scored and with due to calve dates factored in calculate daily energy requirements to reach targets over the winter.

If performed in April, light cows can be identified for preferential feeding, OAD milking or staggered dry off depending on your system before cows are dried off.  The big advantage of doing this is that cows can be wintered in mobs based on due to calve date and not BCS as the herd profile is fairly even before dry off.