For suckler herds that start calving in early to mid-February, it is time to introduce pre-calving minerals to cows.

A good pre-calving mineral can greatly reduce problems such as lazy calves that are slow to stand and suckle for the first time, cows that are lethargic at calving time or issues such as cows holding the cleaning (placenta) post-calving.

Pre-calving minerals should be introduced around six to eight weeks before the first calf is due to be born.

Penned cows

Having cows penned according to calving date means you only need to feed minerals to those animals set to calve down in the first.

It also means there is no need to start feeding minerals to March- and April-calving cows yet, thereby saving on money.

Minerals can be fed via a number of methods, each with their own merits and drawbacks.

Powdered minerals dusted on silage is a common example, as farmers like to see cows coming forward to feed every day.

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