February Beef Cattle Management Calendar

— Written By and last updated by Dawn Stone

February Beef Cattle Management Calendar

Seeding:

  • Legumes can drastically improve quality and quantity of forage. An electric seeder on a four wheeler works well.
  • Renovate with legumes, broadcast/frost seeded. As a mixture: 2 lbs. Ladino white clover, 4 lbs. red clover, plus 8 lbs. kobe lespedeza on upland fields. Alone/ac.: 2 lbs. white clover, 8 lbs. red clover, or 25 lbs. kobe lespedeza.
  • Over 30% clover can reduce your grass stand, reducing total production. Over 40% legumes increase the chance of bloat. Don’t turn hungry cattle onto lush, wet legumes.
  • Grasses such as annual ryegrass are easily established on bare areas for spot seeding.

Feeding:

  • Feeding in the afternoon improves the number of calves born in the morning.
  • Stockpiled tall fescue can hold good quality for dry beef cattle through March.
  • Feed on weedy areas and spots of Bermuda.
  • Do not feed next to water or other sensitive areas.
  • Heavy Use Area runoff into livestock drinking water can cause disease.
  • Determine fertilizer, lime, and seeding needs based on hay, feed, and livestock needs.

Grazing:

  • Limit graze or fence out streams and other sensitive areas
  • No-tilled winter annuals support animals better
  • Plan pasture utilization (water, fences, mineral, shade, etc.)

Animal Temperament:

  • Cattle with faster exit speeds from the working chute had lower weight gains, more sickness, and more dark cutting meat. Cattle with thin foreleg bones exited faster.
  • Exit score of animals leaving the working chute
  1. Walk- have questionable mothering ability
  2. Trot- desirable animal
  3. Canter- evaluate temperament
  4. Jump- consider culling or improvement temperament

Management:

Spring Calving Herd

  • Check cows frequently during calving season.
  • Tag calves at birth. Record birth dates, tag numbers and cow IDs.
  • Castrate, dehorn and implant calves at birth.
  • Make sure bulls are in good condition for breeding heifers next month. Trim feet, conduct breeding soundness exams and provide additional feed if needed.
  • A cow’s nutrient needs increase by at least 50% after calving. If possible, separate dry cows, first-calf heifers and cow-calf pairs to feed more efficiently.

Fall Calving Herd

  • Vaccinate calves over 3 months old with clostridial vaccines (blackleg). Check with a local veterinarian about other problems in your area.
  • Castrate and dehorn any calves missed at birth.
  • Implant calves. Calves that were implanted at birth can be re-implanted. (Follow label instructions.)
  • Check on the condition of bulls during breeding season. Provide supplemental feed as needed.
  • Remove bulls from heifers after a 45-60 day breeding season.

For additional information on fly control, contact Jonathan Black, Interim County Director, Livestock and Field Crops, by email at Jonathan_Black@ncsu.edu or phone at 336-318-6000.

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