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Beef Feed Suckler


Body Condition Score (BCS) is an indicator of the nutritional reserves on the cow and has a major influence how we feed the cow right through her yearly lifecycle. Cows calving down in the autumn time should be a body condition score (BCS) of 3 – above a BCS of 3 is wasteful and can lead to calving difficulties. However, cows calving down at a BCS of 2, as shown from various studies from Teagasc are the cows that will be weak at calving, produce poor quality colostrum and take 3‐4 weeks longer to go back in calf. Similarly, in Spring Calving herds if BCS is lower than 2.0 at turnout there will not be enough time to recover condition for the breeding season and fertility will be compromised.

Below is a guide for Target Body Condition Scores at various times of the

Spring Calving
Autumn Calving
Housing 3.0 – 3.5 2.5 – 3.0
At Calving 2.5 – 2.75 3.0
At turn out to pasture 2.0 + 2.0
At breeding 2.5 2.5


  • Cows in good BCS (3) on good quality grass silage (greater than 70% DMD) can be restricted to 30 – 35 kg fresh silage prior calving
  • Cows on lower BCS (2.75) on good grass silage (greater than 70% DMD) should be offered silage to appetite. However, cows in lower BCS (2.5 ‐ 2.75) should be fed 1‐2kg of concentrate along with good grass silage
  • Where straw is being fed, cows in good BCS should be getting approx. 1kg of an 18% ration (18% CP in order to meet their dietary protein requirements) and whereas cows in poorer BCS should be getting adlib straw plus 2‐3kg of an 18% ration


  • Cows going directly out to good grass after calving require no concentrates if in fairly good BCS (2.5)
  • Feed adlib silage to freshly calved heifers plus 1‐2kg of concentrate if silage is of good quality and 2‐3kg if silage is of medium to poorer quality.
  • Cows still on good grass silage (greater than 70% DMD) and in good BCS can be fed silage to appetite. However, where silage is of medium quality (68% DMD) feed 1kg of concentrate and similarly, if cows are in poor BCS feed 2‐3kg of concentrate


Below is a recommended feeding regime for Autumn Calving cows’ pre and post

Silage Quality 66% = moderate 72% = good
BCS – 3 Meal Feed kg/d
BCS – 2 Meal Feed
72% DMD Bef. Breeding 1.8 kg Bef. Breeding 1.8 kg
72% DMD Aft. Breeding 0.3 kg Aft. Breeding 1.8 kg
66% DMD Bef. Breeding 2.5 kg Bef. Breeding 2.5 kg
66% DMD Aft. Breeding 1.5 kg Aft. Breeding 2.5 kg


A pre‐calving mineral should be fed 6 weeks pre-calving that will provide at least:

  • Iodine (60mg)
  • Selenium (3mg)
  • Copper (400mg) Zinc
  • (400mg) Cobalt (2mg)
  • Manganese (350mg) Vitamin E (800+ IU)

The above amounts of Vitamins/Minerals into the cow will help her achieve a successful calving and a healthy strong vigorous calf at birth.

N.B. to note cows should be consuming 30 grams of MAGNESIUM while at Spring grass, cold wet nights and on late Autumn grass ‐
Methods of Magnesium supplementation include: low feeding rate carrier nut, pasture The above amounts of Vitamins/Minerals into the cow will help her achieve a successful calving and a healthy strong vigorous calf at birth.


  • 18% Crude Protein Nut
  • High in energy ‐ wheat
  • Designed to carry magnesium for sucklers for the prevention of tetany
  • 2kg Feeding Rate
  • Promotes Fertility
  • Fully fortified dry cow Minerals/Vitamin package