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How to Manage Your Animals in Sync with Nature – Greg Judy

This session will offer two perspectives about animal behavior in grazing systems. Session highlights include a producer’s perspective on how daily relaxed animal moves can improve docility; important grazing management practices to improve animal health and performance; discussion of how animal behavior can impact the economics and ecology of farms and ranches.

From our archive of articles – this August 2016 article is quite timely now. Winter feeding accounts for 40+% of the cost of producing a calf, so reducing or eliminating this bad habit can help keep your ranch in the black.

One way to reduce winter feeding costs is to extend the period that cattle harvest their own feed by grazing. Here are four things livestock operators need to successfully extend the grazing season:

1) Forage in the field or pasture

2) Control of grazing

3) Cows that know how to work for a living

4) Positive attitude

Forage in the Field

Having forage in the field for livestock to graze means it needs to be grown and reserved during the growing season. This forage can come from various sources, but it requires planning so that it is suitable and available. Several options exist.

Rangeland
Some operators may use rested public or private range land. Public agencies may look favorably on switching to fall or winter use. Rested rangeland can provide 5 to 40 cow-days/acre of grazing, depending on the resource. Forage quality is always a consideration, but native ranges should have adequate quality for dry pregnant cows. Crested wheatgrass pastures will probably require some protein supplementation.

Meadows
Rested native meadow may supply from 50 to 200 cow-days/acre of grazing in the fall and early winter. Forage quality and quantity are usually higher than rangeland, and these areas are usually on private land, so management is less complicated.

via Reduce Your Feed Costs This Winter With These Tips for Extending Your Grazing Season — On Pasture

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