Calf survival checklist
By applying some basic strategies, producers can improve the number of calves weaned each year through enhanced breeder herd management.
Here’s a quick checklist to support your breeders in raising robust calves:
- Avoid mustering during calving – losses are greater in maiden heifers, so manage these extra carefully.
- Sustain moderate-to-good cow body condition at the point of calving and calve when adequate feed is available.
- Use pregnancy testing and foetal ageing to segregate breeders, such as pregnant heifers, that need targeted nutritional and weaning management
- Ensure there is sufficient feed within 2 km of clean, cool water.
- Determine the phosphorus status of the breeder paddocks and, if acutely deficient, provide phosphorus during late pregnancy and lactation – each litre of milk needs one gram of phosphorus.
- Use strategic supplementation to rectify other deficiencies, especially protein, in pregnant cows.
- Provide adequate shelter, such as trees, and well-drained areas in calving paddocks.
- Vaccinate pregnant cows against major endemic diseases to boost colostrum antibodies.
- Cull cows with bottle teats or a very large udder at calving, and do not breed with bulls out of cows that have poor udders and teats.
If you’d like more information:
Senior Extension Officer, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
T: 07 4761 5160
Visit www.mla.com.au/cashcow for further resources.