Body condition score
Body condition score is the main driver of breeder performance. Body condition score is a visual assessment of overall fleshing, including fat and muscle tissue. Body condition score is usually described on a 1–5 scale. The scale can be categorised as follows:
no fat cover
very low level of muscle tissue
skeletal definition very pronounced.
2. Backward store
light muscle tissue cover
skeletal definition pronounced, particularly the backbone and rear ribs.
a reasonable degree of muscle tissue present but no significant levels of fat
neither the backbone nor ribs are prominent
pins are filled out and hip remains prominent.
4. Forward store
even coverage of muscle and fat
skeletal definition smoothly rounded.
significant levels of fat
- skeletal definition lost.
Poor and backward store body condition is one of the main impediments to resumption of cycling in breeders. Cows need to have a body condition of score of three or greater at calving to have a chance of reconceiving and calving within 12 months.
Body condition score can be managed using the following strategies, in order of importance:
- stocking rate
- pregnancy testing and breeder segregation.