Maternal Matters: post calving herd management

After calving, it is a good idea to spend some time taking stock of your herd and plan for the next breeding cycle. Ensure you are taking the right steps to look after your new calves and achieve successful calving for the following year, which will improve the productivity of your herd.

Managing your suckler herd after calving

After calving, it is important that your new mothers receive the nutrients they need to maintain themselves and support the growth and development of their calf.

Without adequate feeding, it is easy for a newly calved cow to lose condition quickly as they use a significant amount of energy to feed their calf. Losing too much condition is to be avoided as it can negatively impact their fertility when they are required to breed again.

Post calving is a good time to take stock of your herd. You can review their performance and decide which cows you want to continue to breed from, what bulls would be best to use on them and which cows are unsuitable for continued breeding and should be culled.

Use your suckler breeding plan to help make these decisions so that the progression of your herd is being driven in the direction to meet its goals. You can also explore our guidance on knowing when to cull to help you decide.

Nutrition for heifers

Successful heifer development is underpinned by nutrition. Feed accounts for over 75% of variable costs on most beef farms and therefore it is an important determinant, not only of animal performance, but also of business profitability.

Post-calving herd management: knowing when to cull

Culling is a valuable tool to improve the herd’s performance by removing cows that are not performing well and are costing, rather than earning, the business money. 

Creating and using a suckler breeding plan

To make the most effective breeding decisions, it is a good idea to have a long-term plan. This should include technical and business goals for your herd, and then work backwards to ensure you select the right genetics to meet those goals.