Calving Management Schools a Success for Second Year

By Audrey Hambright

Dr. Dave Rethorst

Dr. Rethorst presents to a group of producers in Oakley, Kansas.

For the second year in a row, the Beef Cattle Institute teamed up with K-State Research and Extension to host 11 calving management schools in the state of Kansas throughout December and January.

Dr. Dave Rethorst, outreach director for the BCI, gave the keynote address at each location. Dr. Rethorst addressed several topics about calving management to prepare producers for a successful calving season. The impact of nutrition during pregnancy on calf health and performance was discussed in addition to different fetal presentations that might be encountered and how to correct them.

A big draw for producers, according to Rethorst, was the dystocia simulator cow and calf pair, which has been utilized successfully at the Kansas State Fair Birthing Center.

“The cow was a huge selling point,” he said. “Being able to demonstrate and not just use PowerPoint slides worked really well.”

Video cameras were also used during the demonstration to help show the position of the hands while manipulating the calf.

Sandy Johnson, northwest area extension livestock specialist, worked with other extension agents to plan locations and dates to meet speaker availability as well as promotions and presentations. Her presentation focused on the impact of gestation nutrition on both cow reproductive performance and offspring performance, which was given at the events held in Oakley, Blue Rapids, Smith Center and Ransom.

Dr. Dave

Dr. Rethorst demonstrates a pulling method using the dystocia cow/calf simulator.

Based on the post meeting evaluations tabulated so far, a majority of those who attended expect to change both when and how they provided calving assistance. There were also comments from instruction received on how to manipulate the calf to make the pull easier in addition to increased understanding in the role of nutrition and specific nutrients on animal performance.

But the learning aspect wasn’t limited to producers. Johnson had some takeaways from the management schools as well.

“I always learn something from the producers that attend as they share some of the ways they deal with various management challenges,” she said.