Mid-October is an ideal time to pregnancy scan spring-calving suckler cows.

With housing under way and spring-calving cows being dried off, it is a natural time to carry out scanning.

Identifying cows that are not in-calf gives herd owners more options for offloading empty animals in the coming weeks.

For herds not under movement restrictions, empty cows can be sold straight off grass. This avoids taking up housing space and eating into fodder stocks.

Intensive finish

On farms that normally finish cows, scanning now means empty animals can be weaned whilst they are in good condition, then intensively finished over a 30- to 40-day period.

Given the current costs for concentrate rations, there is no point allowing calves to continue sucking empty cows.

All this will do is see cows losing body condition that has to be regained by offering concentrate. This will delay finishing animals and increase feeding costs.

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