This is article 1 of 7 articles on this topic
Preparation for the calving season is a very important phase, which is often neglected or given too late attention. It is of the utmost importance that the cow is correctly "prepared" for calving, so that she can give birth to a healthy and vigorous calf, that the calf can survive (colostrum & immunity) and that the cow can raise the calf well (milk production).
In addition, it is important to remember that if we want cows to calve every year (should be our aim!), what happens to the cow in late pregnancy will have a direct influence on the cow's ability to become pregnant again within 90 days post calving . Many of the aspects discussed in this phase cannot be corrected later, or will not have the same impact if done later.
Remember that there can be other aspects that can also play a role in ensuring success. Looking at the schematic representation, we can see that there are many interactions that can affect the degree of success. Remember the saying that says: "a chain is only as strong as the weakest link" applies here too!
Each production phase is discussed on the basis of the following aspects: nutrition/condition, (breeding soundness - where applicable), vaccination, trace mineral supplementation, parasite control and some general management aspects. See articles on the mentioned aspects for every production phase, that will be shared on a regular basis at relevant time slots.
The effectiveness of the “program approach” that focus on production phases, will be enhanced if applied in conjunction with a fixed breeding season(s). Without a fixed breeding season it becomes very difficult to perform “precision” farming in it’s simplest form - doing the right things at the right time!