Beef Cattle Body Condition Score
Looking at the factors that affect reproduction: Nutrition, Herd Health, Environment, and Genetics, we can clearly see they all add up to Herd Management. Since breeding season is just around the corner, we need to be evaluating these factors, especially body condition scores. Nutrition is potentially the most critical factor affecting reproduction.
If we evaluate body condition today, we are actually measuring the past nutritional status of that cow. BCS is an assessment of the fat cover that the cow is carrying. Several factors can play a role in the BCS; forage variety, forage management, date of calving, stocking rate, weaning age, genetics, animal health, and supplementation.
In the fall, not many producers have lush quality forage, so we rely on hay or standing forages. Make sure to test your forages so that you can better supplement to meet your cow’s nutritional requirements. Evaluating BCS man not pinpoint problems but it focuses the cattlemen’s attention to these important areas.
BCS range from 1 (thin) to 9 (fat). Most Florida cattle will range from a score of 3 – 7. BCS below 5, increases days to return to estrus, therefore will get breed later in the season, if at all; increases days to conception, which results in lighter calves at weaning, and lowers pregnancy rates. A BCS of 5-6 is critical.