April means calving season is wrapping up on many Plains-area operations, and that means breeding season is beginning or continuing. That also means that females and males must be reproductively fit, a Kansas State University animal scientist said.
Several estrus synchronization procedures have been developed in recent years, said K-State Research and Extension beef specialist Twig Marston. To determine the correct synchronization program to use, producers should consider the age group of females (yearling replacement heifers versus cows); the commitment of time and efforts for heat detection; the potential number of females that are anestrus (days post partum, body condition, calving difficulty); the availability of labor; and the return on investment for total commitment to the breeding program.
Marston provided these tips for producers to consider at this time of year.
• Handle semen properly and use correct artificial insemination techniques to maximize fertility.
• With natural service bulls, closely monitor body condition, eyes, feet, legs and reproductive parts during the breeding season. Resolve any problems immediately.
• Make sure all bulls pass a breeding soundness examination prior to turnout.
• Begin your calf preconditioning program. Vaccination, castration and parasite control at a young age will decrease stress at weaning time. This is a time to add value to the calf crop.
• Implant calves older than 60 days of age to increase weaning weight.
• Properly identify all cows and calves. Establish premises numbers for compliance with state and national programs.
• Use best management practices to establish sustainable grazing systems.
• Use good management practices when planting annual forage sources and harvesting perennial forages.
• Maintain records that will verify calving season, health programs, and management practices.