Shortly after I joined the NRCS about twelve years ago, a retired NRCS Grazing Specialist by the name of Steve Hibinger was assigned to me to “show me the ropes.” One of the things he taught me about grazing in Ohio thas stuck with me all this time. If I could teach it to every…
After weaning and prior to winter can be one of the most economical times to improve the body condition score (BCS) of a spring-calving cow.
In some years, forage quality, weather conditions, and time of weaning can make putting body condition on cows more difficult. Last year, in many parts of Nebraska, high amounts of early rainfall caused tremendous forage growth. By July, that forage quality had declined and was similar to September/October forage quality. As normal weaning time occurred in 2018 for many producers, cows tended to be thinner on average. This was coupled with the increased maintenance energy requirements during the winter due to the cold stress, which left cows calving in less than optimum BCS.
Considering your forage growth and weather is always helpful when it comes to choosing a weaning date. As an example of this, for those of us in Nebraska this year, saying we have had above-average rainfall is an understatement. Although forage growth came on late due to cooler temperatures, native range quality is sitting close to average in the Sandhills. Unfortunately, the extra precipitation has challenged hay production for many beef producers. In spite of adequate range quality, the potentially decreased hay production is an additional reason to monitor cow BCS to decide a weaning date.
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.
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.
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.
The business success of beef enterprises often suffers because two questions are not evaluated regularly: 1. How much do I have invested in my cattle operation? 31 more words
If grass growth got away from you, like it did many Nebraskans this spring, you might be wondering how to graze it when the herd comes around to it again. 6 more words