Prepare for the calving season.
• Hopefully the cows are calving on grass in a very natural setting and if cows are in good shape and there has been proper genetic selection, there should not be any calving problems.
• Have a clean new pasture upon which the cows can calve and a system to handle and move baby calves with their mom away from the main cowherd. Avoid muddy areas as they increase the cattle's nutritional needs, and contaminate udders which may result in scours. Increase the feed after calving as the cow's nutritional needs dramatically.
• Be sure supplies are ready - calving book, eartags and facilities in case something must be given special attention.
Evaluate cows for body condition.
• This has been an easy winter so cows should be in very good shape but if not then provide supplementary feed.
• Thin cows will have poor quality and low levels of colostrum, have calves with less vigour and take longer to re breed.
• Keep an eye on cows and particularly on heifers when calving just in case of twins or some other complication.
• If at all possible manage young cows separately from the cow herd as they need additional nutrition to continue growing as well as all of the other things expected of a cow.
• Be sure that yearling replacements heifers are growing adequately to reach breeding weights = 65% of their mature weight.
• Check out current bulls for health, condition and feet. Consider a breeding soundness test, particularly on older bulls.
• Start looking for a new herdbull. Check out the BIO website for bulls in your area. Consider bulls that have high percentile rankings in the traits that matter most to you.
Keep some records
• There are comprehensive record keeping systems available through companies such as BIO.
• At a minimum the birthdate and ID of cow and calf should be recorded. Recording the birthweight with a scale or even as small, medium or large and things like the cow's temperament, condition and udder structure will be valuable in determining which cows should be culled and which heifers should be retained as replacements.
Begin pasture improvement by frost seeding established pastures.