Cow Signals-Seasonal Grazing
is an edition where a special chapter is added to the regular Cow Signals book (96 pages) for farming systems that depend highly on seasonal grazing. This chapter of 12 pages focusses on specific issues, like:
calving strategies: in seasonal grazing systems also calving is often seasonal, this requires a different approach;
grass intake: indoors you can easily monitor the total feed intake of the herd and for concentrate even for individual cows. On the pasture this is more difficult to monitor. You have to focuss more on signals from the cow (rumen fill, gut fill, body condition); risk areas and periods in grass based systems; body condition: since grass is lower in energy than concentrates or silage, you have to monitor the body condition closely. Also to prevent fertility problems; water supply: often the water is not close to the animals all the time, so access to water is even more important in the field; cow tracks: cows in grass based systems walk a lot and this should not lead to hoof problems; herding: cows move differently in the field than indoors. As a herder, you have to act accordingly.
Cover text Cow Signals-Seasonal Grazing
Cows send out signals continuously about their health, well-being, nutrition, and production. The challenge for the dairy farmer is how to interpret these signals and use them. Dutch vet and cow enthusiast Jan Hulsen has drawn on his expertise and wide experience to write Cow Signals Seaonal Grazing: a richly illustrated farmer’s guide on how to interpret the behaviour, posture and physical characteristics of groups of cows and individual animals.
When observing cows it is important not to jump to conclusions immediately, but always to ask yourself three questions: What do I see? Why has this happened? What does this mean? What signals can you get from rumen, gut and body condition? They give you specific information on the feed intake of respectively today, last week and last month.
In seasonal grazing systems cows utilize grass in a simple and low cost way. But this also requires special management. You have to focus on other issues than in farming systems where the cows are housed at least part of the day. Fertility management, feed availability, water supply, cow monitoring are very different. But also herding requires specific skill and special attention has to be given to cow tracks.
If you know what to look for, you can pick up the signals everywhere and any time. Cow Signals Seasonal Grazing will show you how.
Author: Jan Hulsen