What BCS should my cows be coming into the breeding season?

As we edge closer to the breeding period and bring the 2020 calving season to a close, the focus will now turn to getting cows back in calf.

One way of improving conception rates throughout the breeding season is by making sure cows are in good condition and free of any health issues.

As cows are brought in for milking, it is no harm to run any cows you think are under condition through the crush after milking to body condition score (BCS) them and see if they will require preferential treatment to get them back into peak condition.

Ideally, you want your cows coming into the breeding season with a BCS of between 2.75 and 3.25. 

Cows that are below this are in danger of not going in-calf and, as a result, this will contribute to a reduction in your six-week in-calf rate.

BCS is subjective and will vary from person to person; however, the importance of carrying out this job should not be underestimated.

As mentioned above, the easiest way to BCS a cow is when she is in for milking and is passing out by the crush. Many dairy farms have a drafting system which will enable a farmer to draft any cow(s) they want and  isolate the animal(s) from the rest of the herd with ease.

By using the flat of your hand, the main primary and secondary points of a cow should be examined. 

Areas that should be examined include the: primary points – pin bones; loin or short ribs; ribs – and secondary points – backbone; hip bone; and the shoulder area.

By doing this, you will be able to observe the level of fat cover on the cow and determine whether or not she is in suitable condition for breeding.