January 9, 2014

Ranchers tend to cold cows

By Jerry W. Kram

Contrary to rumors, says Mountrail County Extension Agent Jim Hennessy, it didn’t get so cold out this week that local cattle were producing ice cream. However, he did caution ranchers that the cold weather did mean they would need to take steps to keep their cattle supplied with plenty of energy to make sure they stayed in good condition.

"You’re seeing feed consumption increase by 20 to 30 percent," Hennessy said. "If they aren’t increasing their feed consumption by that much, ranchers are going to see cows go backward on their condition score. The cows will be burning up their extra body fat and getting thin."

Most cattle are approaching their last trimester before calving, Hennessy explained. If the cows are short on energy to keep themselves warm, the calves’ development could be retarded.

"So they should be feeding extra high-energy feed to supplement the cows," Hennessy said. "It’s just like us humans. When we spend a lot of time outside in the cold, our consumption goes up quite a bit. It takes a lot more energy to generate heat."

The Weather Network