On autumn-calving suckler farms, cows that calved last August and September should hopefully be back in-calf again.

Scanning autumn cows is a good idea to confirm how many animals are pregnant and how many are empty.

There is little point carrying empty cows through the spring if grass is likely to be tight or silage is likely to run out before spring turnout.

In the vast majority of cases, it will only be a handful of cows scanning empty. Ask yourself the question, why is the cow empty?

In some cases, it will not be the cow’s fault. For example, cows can be picked up in heat too late for serving or maybe the stock bull was sub-fertile.

Repeat offenders

But there will be cows that are repeat offenders, calving later and later every year and now scanning empty. There is little point keeping such cows for another year.

Weigh up your options. The live ring is buoyant and good-quality outfits are returning strong money at present.

Other options include separating empty cows from the main herd, then upping the concentrate allowance to their calves with the aim of weaning early and culling the cow.

This way, the cow is maintaining body condition and worth more when sold. The calf is less reliant on the cow and able to handle early weaning later in spring.

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