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Beef Management Tips
Livestock Update, May 2006
John B. Hall, Extension Animal Scientist, Beef, Virginia Tech
May Beef Management Calendar
Spring Calving Herds
Fall Calving Herds
- Calving should be coming to an end
- Give pre-breeding vaccinations to cows - IBR, PI3, BVD, BRSV and Lepto.
Use modified live vaccines on open cows with calves; killed vaccines on pregnant
- Begin estrous synchronization programs for AI (begin AI this month some
- Breed heifers 2 to 4 weeks before cows
- Get breeding soundness exams done on bulls
- Supplement 1st calf heifers with energy through breeding
- Implant commercial calves at turnout if not implanted at birth
- Keep high quality, high magnesium, high selenium minerals available
- Make 1st cutting of hay
- Start creep grazing and/or managed intensive grazing
- Creep graze calves while on cows
- Give pre-weaning vaccinations (IBR, PI3, BVD, BRSV, Pastuerella) to calves
- Wean commercial calves based on marketing plan for calves - must be weaned
45 days for most value-added programs such as VQA
- Wean and weigh calves
- Body condition score cows at weaning
- Implant commercial calves at turnout
- Deworm calves if needed
- Make 1st cutting of hay
- Continue feeding high magnesium minerals to prevent grass tetany
- Continue managed intensive grazing; hay pastures with excess forage
Grazing Management Important During Dry Spring
This spring in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic appears to be an unusually dry
one. Grazing management in early and mid spring is not something we usually
worry about. Warm days, cool nights and plentiful rainfall usually make too
much grass the problem; not too little. However, allowing cattle to graze early
spring pastures too short could mean trouble this dry spring.
When pastures are grazed to shorter than four inches, it creates conditions
that magnify the impact of dry weather on grass growth. Grazing below four inches
removes too much leaf area so regrowth is slowed or stunted. In addition, removing
this much leaf area allows the ground to be exposed to the drying actions of
sun and wind. This exposure exacerbates the drought conditions.
Feeding and grazing strategies include rapid rotational grazing and supplementation.
Rapid rotational grazing allows cattle to graze the pastures down to four inches
then they are moved to the next pasture. If pasture recovery and regrowth are
not sufficient by the time the cattle come back to the pasture then they should
be supplemented. Periodic hay feeding and grain supplementation on a sacrifice
pasture will increase season long grazing productivity and health of the remaining
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