Winter is here and everyone is feeding hay.

Every thought of how to utilize use your hay supply and supplements in the best way possible? That would be to know your cows body condition score and freed them appropriately. This time of year we want our cows to be around a BCS of 6 or at least a 5.

Now it would make sense for those that are above a 6, (around a 7) to not feed them except for maintenance or a little less. Fatter cows tend to have more trouble calving and milking. Those that are at a body condition score of 6 will need to be fed maintenance only. Those that are below the BCS of 6 will need to be supplemented the most. And on those that are skinner is where you need to spend your money on feed.

One of the best ways to do this is to split your herd. This can be done by just running a hot wire. Or is you already have two separate pastures, utilize them. These cows can easily be split off while working them through the chute in the fall or while putting delice on them right now.

The numbers on this shows a savings. If you have a herd of 50 cows, and only 10 are a BCS of 5 or lower. Run the 40 head in your pasture and put the 10 head in a smaller pasture.

A regular feed cost for the 40 head would be around $1 per head per day. Then spending an extra $1 per head per day on the 10 head would make it $2 per head per day. Say we have 90 days until calving, with 10 times $1 is an extra $10 per day. For 90 days then this would equal $900 extra cost. Now if you fed all 50 head and the extra cost was only 50 cents per head per day which would yield $25 times 90 days equaling $2,250. The difference is only $1,350. To me this is quite a bit of money and savings. I also think I could run a hot wire for $1,000, still netting $350.

A little extra management and effort can save you money. At least that is what my Dad always said and taught me.

Dr. Tim E. O’Neill, DVM, owns Country Veterinary Service in Farmington, Ark. To contact Tim go to and click on ‘Contact Us.’


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