Last updated on October 5th, 2023 at 03:31 pm
5 minute video discussing 3rd trimester nutrition
Have you ever wondered how third-trimester nutrition can affect your calving season?
It's not something that should be looked at lightly, so let’s discuss why 3rd-trimester nutrition is of all importance to the cow and the calf, the effects it can have on your calving season, and ultimately, how it will affect your bottom line.
Optimize Calf Performance
Over 70% of the growth of the fetus happens during the third trimester, which is why it is a critical time to ensure that you're giving the cow everything she needs to optimize her full genetic potential.
As Dr. Hall of Utah State University always reminds us, very little trace mineral can make it through the milk and into the calf!
Now imagine that every calf has a mineral bucket, which needs to be filled for optimum performance. If you were to wait until calving to provide trace minerals to the calf, that mineral bucket is going to be fairly empty.
But, if you could start providing minerals to the fetus NOW, during the third trimester, it will give the calf a headstart on filling its bucket. Ensuring the mother has a high-quality mineral now will allow the mineral to get into her bloodstream, and through the umbilical cord to the calf. Ultimately, this will create a higher chance of success when calving season rolls around. When the fetus receives high-quality minerals in the 3rd-trimester, it can start building an immune system that will help it fight sickness and scours. The calf’s vigor will also be impacted, and the better it starts it’s life, the better the calf will perform and gain as it goes.
Cow Nutrition In The Third Trimester
As mentioned, 70% of fetus growth happens in the third trimester. That means the 3rd-trimester is a critical time to pay attention to cow condition, wellbeing, and most importantly, her mineral supplements.
A high-quality mineral supplement during the third trimester will help reduce cleaning issues, which in turn will reduce the chance of other infections in the cow. Additionally, she will be better prepared for the next breeding season. The sooner the cow can get bred, the sooner there’ll be a calf on the ground for the next season.
Ultimately, you have a much higher possibility of a uniformed calf crop, which will only put more dollars in your pocket.
The Path to a Successful Calving Season
You may be thinking, this all sounds good on paper. But, how do you ensure that you're on the right path?
Step 1: Take a look at the forms of mineral that you're feeding. This is critical. If the trace minerals you’re feeding are unable to make it to the bloodstream, they're definitely not making it to the fetus. To be sure that the minerals are getting to their destination, make sure they are 100% protected key trace minerals. That will give you the best possible chance of allowing the minerals to make it to the bloodstream and into the fetus to do their job.
Step 2: Here's the thing: mineral can't do it all on its own. Be sure to look at the digestion side of things with your program as well to make sure you’re covering all angles of cow and calf health.
Step 3: This may all sound expensive. But it is so important to look at more than just the upfront cost. Review your cost per head per day. That is your true cost to feed.