On suckler farms were autumn calving gets under way at the start of August, now is the time to be introducing pre-calving minerals to these cows.
Good mineral supplementation will improve calf vigour at birth, leading calves to stand and suck quicker. There also tends to be fewer issues with cows holding the placenta after birth.
Minerals can be fed in various forms and all have their merits. Pre-calving minerals should be introduced around six weeks before calving is due to get under way.
Make sure autumn calving cows are not grazing ad-lib on good grassland, as this can lead to bigger calves being born and cows being in strong body condition.
Cows should be fit and not fat at calving time. Use autumn calving cows to clean up paddocks after higher priority animals such as stores, as this will control grass intakes in the run up to calving.
Alternatively, graze on less productive swards and ease back on fertiliser to keep grass under control.
Make sure these cows are well covered for fly control as they start to bag up. Do not graze near wooded areas, forests or areas with dormant water as fly activity will be higher in those areas.
Clipping tails will help keep hindquarters clean, thereby attracting less flies that can increase the risk of summer mastitis.
Consider moving these cows home soon for closer observation, as there can often be one or two animals which calve early. Being closer to the yard means intervention is easier if necessary.