How to Body Condition Score Your Beef Herd

This article was originally published in February of 2015. It comes to us from the University of Nebraska Lincoln's Beef website. Thanks to Dr. Rick Rasby for his excellent explanations! Be sure to scroll down to the bottom and check out the app that UNL created to help you practice your body condition scoring and to photograph and store information on individual animals. The body condition score of your cow herd is a much better indicator of the effectiveness of the nutrition program than body weight of the cows or average weight of the cow herd. Body condition scores (BCS) describe the relative fatness or body condition of a cow herd through the use of a nine-point scale. A body condition score five (BCS 5) cow is in average flesh and represents a logical target for most cow herds. A BCS 1 cow is extremely thin while a BCS 9 cow is extremely fat and obese. Body condition score (BCS) of beef cows at the time of calving has the greatest impact on subsequent rebreeding performance (Table 1). The postpartum interval is the length of time from calving to first estrus (heat) after calving. For a cow to maintain a

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