Breeding & Grasstime

Got a calving or breeding question? Get an answer.
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CattleAnnie
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Breeding & Grasstime

Post by CattleAnnie » Sat Mar 11, 2006 2:07 am

(Didn't know what else to call this topic.)

As I bide my time waiting for calves, I've been mulling over some information that someone shared with me a couple days ago.

I was visiting with another member of our pasture association, and we were talking about lulls in the herd during calving time.

I had eight days between the last calf born in Feb till yesterday, and this coincided with the turn out dates for the herd onto grass (as we don't have sufficient grass at home for the cows, they stay on hay till turnout).

The other person commented that they had been talking to some of the other members and they too were having a big time span inbetween births.

What was interesting was that she had gone to a nutrition seminar a few weeks ago, and the speaker made a statement to the effect that when cows go from hay to grass, the change in nutrition will throw them off their heat cycles.

Anyone else have any information on this phenomenon? I do understand that proper diet is important, which is why our cattle have minerals to supplement them with the hay, but I was still a bit suprised to hear that grass can change their metabolism to such an extent.

I'd love to learn more if anyone is willing to share their knowledge.


Take care.


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Post by dun » Sat Mar 11, 2006 2:19 am

All I have are my own observations and since we AI I don;t know about actual fertility, but when the grass starts greening it seems like there will be a bunch of them that all start cycling right away.

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Post by ALACOWMAN » Sat Mar 11, 2006 10:54 am

Must be the high levels of protein and potassium in the lush spring grass that wakes their reproductive system up.
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Post by cedar » Mon Mar 13, 2006 6:43 am

North Dakota State research says; spring grass at 80% moisture, does not give a cow adequate dry matter. The cow can not eat enough of this grass to meet her nutritional needs. That is why you will have a lull in your calving until the grass dries down enough to provide nutritional needs.
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Post by ALACOWMAN » Mon Mar 13, 2006 8:29 am

Your right on about the moisture content being high but that dont explain the cows cycling when put on spring pasture
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Post by dun » Mon Mar 13, 2006 8:54 am

ALACOWMAN wrote:Your right on about the moisture content being high but that dont explain the cows cycling when put on spring pasture


Since we have the same situation I think it may very well be the type of grass. Ours is fescue and clover with a little OG thrown in.

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Post by Jeanne - Simme Valley » Mon Mar 13, 2006 9:02 am

Not sure about other areas, but around here we have BUN (Blood urea nitrate). When the grass is fast growing in the spring, it is SUPER high PROTEIN. The real high protein turns to amonia. Their urine burns 3' circle spots in the pasture (which of course you don't see for a couple of weeks). The cows cycle like crazy (as Dun reported) but their PH level is so "off" in the uterus, they will not conceive. They are healthy & are cycling just fine, just don't conceive.
For this reason, we keep our cows on "poor hay" if we get some, and turn out on new grass during day, but locked up with hay during nite. Theory being, is that we're diluting the protein. Also, could feed corn, but not an option in our operation. Don't have grain feeders for the cows & feeding on the ground is NOT an option because of the wet/muddy conditions.
So, it fits. All the cows that cycle when you turn out, get bred but do not settle - if you're having a BUN problem.
Actually, I try to get as many as possible AI'd prior to grass. I have much better conception.
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Post by ALACOWMAN » Mon Mar 13, 2006 9:29 am

Jeanne - Simme Valley wrote:Not sure about other areas, but around here we have BUN (Blood urea nitrate). When the grass is fast growing in the spring, it is SUPER high PROTEIN. The real high protein turns to amonia. Their urine burns 3' circle spots in the pasture (which of course you don't see for a couple of weeks). The cows cycle like crazy (as Dun reported) but their PH level is so "off" in the uterus, they will not conceive. They are healthy & are cycling just fine, just don't conceive.
For this reason, we keep our cows on "poor hay" if we get some, and turn out on new grass during day, but locked up with hay during nite. Theory being, is that we're diluting the protein. Also, could feed corn, but not an option in our operation. Don't have grain feeders for the cows & feeding on the ground is NOT an option because of the wet/muddy conditions.
So, it fits. All the cows that cycle when you turn out, get bred but do not settle - if you're having a BUN problem.
Actually, I try to get as many as possible AI'd prior to grass. I have much better conception.
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Post by CowCop » Mon Mar 13, 2006 9:46 am

~

I love your explanation of it Jeanne.

We do a similar method here.

When we turn the cows out to spring pasture *around* May 15th, we put out many round bales of our lower quality hay.

Also helps them transition to the high protein grass, with less diarrhea. Keeps them a little cleaner.

We do this for about 2 weeks or so.
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calving pause

Post by Dana Kopp » Mon Mar 13, 2006 11:46 am

We have noticed the pausing in our herd too. We attributed it to a combination of factors:
1. the move itself - handling & hauling, new pasture to checkout, re-establishing pecking order

2. grass nutrition - faster growing grass on our river bottom pastures doesn't have the same nutrients

I also have a suspicion that the turning out with the bull may bring them into heat but it is more like a false heat in a horse, not necessarily ovulating. I recently read the abstract of a published research article on using fenceline exposure to bulls to bring cows into heat for breeding. Seems like it worked somewhat like teasing a horse, except they then turned the bull(s) out after several days of "contact" - seems like it worked for them. I can't remember details, I'll have to look it up and add it later. You'd have to have good fence to be sure!!
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Post by Jeanne - Simme Valley » Tue Mar 14, 2006 6:21 am

i have too give you a big ol thumbs up miss know it all you know your business

Thanks - I think?
Yes, we usually do the hay/grass thing for about 2 weeks also. It kind of works two fold. At that time of year, it's still dark/near daybreak when I have to heat check. If something needs breeding that morning (shows sign of standing during nite) I have to seperate her, get her in the barn in the chute by 6 am so hubby can breed her before going to work (at 6:15). Don't have enough daylight to observe & have time to pull them in from a field - even a close field. So keeping them locked up in lot during nite helps heat checks.
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Post by ALACOWMAN » Tue Mar 14, 2006 9:03 am

Jeanne - Simme Valley wrote:
i have too give you a big ol thumbs up miss know it all you know your business

Thanks - I think?
Yes, we usually do the hay/grass thing for about 2 weeks also. It kind of works two fold. At that time of year, it's still dark/near daybreak when I have to heat check. If something needs breeding that morning (shows sign of standing during nite) I have to seperate her, get her in the barn in the chute by 6 am so hubby can breed her before going to work (at 6:15). Don't have enough daylight to observe & have time to pull them in from a field - even a close field. So keeping them locked up in lot during nite helps heat checks.
trust me its a compliment, just like the way you know the details :cboy:
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Post by Jeanne - Simme Valley » Tue Mar 14, 2006 3:23 pm

ALACOWMAN wrote:
Jeanne - Simme Valley wrote:
i have too give you a big ol thumbs up miss know it all you know your business

Thanks - I think?
Yes, we usually do the hay/grass thing for about 2 weeks also. It kind of works two fold. At that time of year, it's still dark/near daybreak when I have to heat check. If something needs breeding that morning (shows sign of standing during nite) I have to seperate her, get her in the barn in the chute by 6 am so hubby can breed her before going to work (at 6:15). Don't have enough daylight to observe & have time to pull them in from a field - even a close field. So keeping them locked up in lot during nite helps heat checks.
trust me its a compliment, just like the way you know the details :cboy:

:oops: Thank you :oops: I just like to share mistakes/problems we've come across to help someone avoid the pitfalls.
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Post by ALACOWMAN » Tue Mar 14, 2006 3:34 pm

its people with knowledge like this that can make a world of differance to folks. think about it how many people would even suspect something like this
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Post by Jeanne - Simme Valley » Tue Mar 14, 2006 5:35 pm

Since we AI 100%, a consecutive group of repeats is VERY noticable. HATE repeats - almost as much as I hate twins - well probably MORE. Anyway, year after year I noticed this block of time with 80% repeats - ugggh. Also, we keep our calendar marked to which paddocks on what days we move cattle. Started seeing the "burnt" circles in the pastures & started researching. Burnt circle fields started co-inciding with repeats. Contacted Cornell specialists & got my answer. Still get repeats during that time period, but not nearly as bad.
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