Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s Beef Cow Body Condition Scoring book details when and how to body condition score (BCS) cows using illustrations, diagrams and explanations – including seasonal targets and management considerations.
Put together by AgFirst farm consultant Bob Thomson, Professor Steve Morris and Associate Professor Rebecca Hickson from Massey University, the resource answered a need for an industry standard that enabled consistent assessment of BCS across time.
BCS is a more accurate predictor of body reserves than live weight, as body condition is not affected by the weight of the foetus and is independent of frame-size. A tall thin and a short fat cow may have similar live weight but be in quite different condition.
“Decisions around their management should be based on body condition score, not live weight,” says Thomson.
Unlike measuring live weight, BCS’s can be assessed in the paddock or as animals are moved through gateways.
As beef cows are often used as a pasture management tool, the quality and quantity of feed offered to this class of stock can be variable.
Beef cows are able to withstand periods of restricted feeding by mobilising body fat reserves, but need to have sufficient body condition before going into feed deficits.
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This book is a re-launch of an earlier publication that arose out of two projects “Beef Cows 4 Profit” and a Beef +Lamb New Zealand Farmer Initiated Technology and Transfer (FITT).