It’s the time of year when the weather is warming up, spring activities are starting to happen, and we need to put serious planning in place to have a successful summer showing season. Now is a great time to take a look at how your cattle are growing and start managing them to match your goals. Here are a few tips to consider to help you maximize the genetic potential of your animal:
- Start with the end target in mind. Knowing the ideal endpoint is the first step in getting there. You can put a plan in place to get from where you are, to where you want to be. This includes tracking your animal’s weight on a regular basis, considering what shows to attend, and understanding the growth patterns of your animal’s hooves, hair, fat cover, and muscle.
- Be in total control of your feeding program. This includes knowing the makeup of the total diet (grain, forage, and supplements), knowing how much you are feeding by weighing the feed every day, staying consistent with your feeding times, and knowing how each animal eats differently. Most animals prefer to have a “buddy” to eat with. If you have multiple animals that have the same eating styles (aggressive, passive, etc) and they need the same feed plan, it’s fine to feed them together. If you have cattle that don’t eat the same or need to be fed differently, I would advise you to keep the cattle separate, but next to each other during feeding. Don’t forget to always provide clean, fresh, cool water.
- Manage the environment to the best of your ability. Try to provide an environment that maximizes the comfort of your cattle. During wet times, be sure to have a dry place for all of your show cattle to lay. Make sure the ventilation is adequate during the warm summer months. The more comfortable your cattle are, the better they will perform.
- Develop a plan and stick to it. If you make a change, do it gradually and give it time to see if it is working. If you are unsure of what changes need to be made, reach out for advice, there are plenty of people willing to help. Show cattle do not change overnight, or even in a week. Some results will be noticeable in a couple of weeks, while others might require a month of working on it to see a difference. Know your timeline and commit to making changes with enough time remaining to see a difference.
- Repetition, repetition, repetition!! Cattle and kids both learn by doing and repetition. Put in the daily work on your cattle’s hide and hair along with showmanship practice and the rewards will pay off in the show ring.
Showing cattle (or any animal) can be educational and rewarding. Learning how to do things better and seeing the results at the end of the year will be some of the best experiences your family will have. For more helpful hints and information about Purina’s Honor Show Chow products, visit www.HonorShowChow.com or www.facebook.com/HonorShowChow. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at LRMiller@LandOLakes.com.
Lance Miller, Purina Animal Nutrition, Sales Specialist