After weaning and prior to winter can be one of the most economical times to improve the body condition score (BCS) of a spring-calving cow.
In some years, forage quality, weather conditions, and time of weaning can make putting body condition on cows more difficult. Last year, in many parts of Nebraska, high amounts of early rainfall caused tremendous forage growth. By July, that forage quality had declined and was similar to September/October forage quality. As normal weaning time occurred in 2018 for many producers, cows tended to be thinner on average. This was coupled with the increased maintenance energy requirements during the winter due to the cold stress, which left cows calving in less than optimum BCS.
Considering your forage growth and weather is always helpful when it comes to choosing a weaning date. As an example of this, for those of us in Nebraska this year, saying we have had above-average rainfall is an understatement. Although forage growth came on late due to cooler temperatures, native range quality is sitting close to average in the Sandhills. Unfortunately, the extra precipitation has challenged hay production for many beef producers. In spite of adequate range quality, the potentially decreased hay production is an additional reason to monitor cow BCS to decide a weaning date.