Welcome to Farm Focus.

Dairygold's Agri-Trading operation is committed to providing support for the whole farming community. In this section you will find guidance, tips and advice on a range of relevant farming issues; we would also welcome your feedback, suggestions and ideas about how we may improve or further develop this section.

 

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In focus - Body Condition Scoring (BCS) Guide

BCS is a simple technique to assess how thin or fat a cow is on a scale of 1 to 5 with increments of 0.25, where 1 is extremely thin and 5 is extremely fat.

What are the key BCS targets?
1. Calve cows at an average BCS of 3.25 (range 3.03.5)
2. Ensure all cows lose no more than 0.5 of a BCS from when they calve down until the start of breeding.  Aim for an average BCS score of 3.0 (range 2.753.25) at the start of breeding (see figure 1).

What are the benefits of achieving these targets?
1. Cows calving below a condition score of 3.0 tend to have reduced milk yield and be harder to get back in calf.  Cows calving at a BCS greater than 3.5 are likely to experience increased levels of difficulty calvings, milk fever, retained cleanings and to have a lower feed intake in early-lactation (knock-on effect of losing more body condition).
2. Feed intake lags behind milk production in early lactation creating an ‘energy gap’ and forcing cows to ‘milk of their backs’.  Minimising this energy gap and BCS loss is a key component in getting cows back in calf.  This is much easier to achieve if cows are calved in the correct BCS....

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