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Knowing Symptoms of Prussic Acid, Nitrates Key to Johnsongrass Care

While Johnsongrass is a good quality forage, it can be challenging to control in pastures where the perennial, warm-season grass is not desired. Prussic acid production under stress can pose a risk to livestock when grazing Johnsongrass, especially during prolonged droughts or after a frost. ( Dirk Philipp, University of Arkansas ) Forage management has [...]

This is Part 2 in Jim’s series. If you missed Part 1, here you go! When you feed hay for fertilizer, we often think of it as a way to reduce the need for purchased fertilizer, especially Nitrogen (N).

Have you thought about how much N you may actually be applying when you feed hay?

It may be more than you think.

Let’s Look at How N Moves From Fed Hay Back to the Soil

The amount of nitrogen in hay is directly tied to the protein content of the hay. Protein on average contains 16% N. Grass hay may have less protein than the livestock being fed require while legume hay generally has much more protein than required.

If the hay is just what the animal needs in terms of protein content, then about half of the N will be excreted in the feces and a half in the urine.

Livestock will generally excrete 85 to 95% of the N consumed.

via Feeding Hay to Improve Your Land – Part 2 — On Pasture

We think it is far more important to stop making hay on your land than it is to stop feeding hay on your land. Here are some things to think about.

What Made Sense in 1973 Doesn’t Make Sense Today

Making hay is a whole lot more expensive than it used to be. This table compares input costs for making hay in 1973 in contrast to 2013.

All of the input costs have increased at a much faster rate than the value of beef cattle, lamb, or milk. To be on par with costs experienced in 1973, fed cattle should have been $284/cwt, not the $148 they were.

Hay = Inexpensive Fertility

While making hay is expensive, in much of the US, hay can be bought for less than the cost of production. When you buy someone else’s hay and feed it on your property, you are buying their fertility at a highly discounted rate. In some years in some locations, you can buy beef cattle hay for less than the fertilizer value it contains.

This is a great opportunity for improving your land in a way that also benefits soil health.

Feeding Uniformly is the Key

The key to soil improvement is to get the hay fed uniformly over your pastures. This is how you can realize the greatest benefit from purchased hay as a planned fertility input.

Large round bales are still the norm in much of US cow country. Round bales can be unrolled with relatively low-cost equipment. Bales don’t unroll uniformly all the time, but the subsequent manure distribution is way better than feeding bales in ring feeders.

 

via Feeding Hay to Improve Your Land – Part 1 — On Pasture

The authors start with four pieces of information that put the role of carbohydrate reserves into question. Then they share ideas for good grazing to work well with plant physiology.

Chad Reid, Agricultural and Natural Resources Agent Iron County, Utah co-authored this piece with Beth.

For years, managers used the carbohydrate reserve theory to decide when to graze plants on rangelands to maintain healthy and desirable plants. The carbohydrate reserve theory states that the soluble carbohydrates stored in the roots and crowns of plants indicate plant health and ability to regrow after grazing. During the early vegetative stage of plant growth, carbohydrate “reserves” are low, so plants should not be grazed. During the late vegetative and early reproductive stages of growth, carbohydrate “reserves” are higher, and plants can better tolerate grazing as shown here:

Over the years, researchers produced carbohydrate concentration curves for different grasses, forbs, and shrubs, like this one. Unfortunately, carbohydrate reserves in plants are not good indicators of its ability to regrow after grazing for several reasons:

1. Carbohydrates are typically measured as concentrations that change only a small amount during the year but fluctuate widely throughout the day.

2. Concentrations don’t reflect the total amount of carbohydrate available for regrowth. To accurately measure the total amount of carbohydrates, the concentration of soluble carbohydrates in different plant tissues (roots, crowns, leaves, stems) must be multiplied by the weight of those tissues. Most early studies only analyzed roots and crowns but stems in grasses and forbs and twigs in shrubs are also important storage sites for soluble carbohydrates.

3. Carbohydrate reserves, whether expressed as concentrations or as total amounts, are not correlated with the ability of a plant to regrow after grazing. The rate and amount a plant can regrow without light are also not correlated with either concentrations or total amounts of carbohydrate reserves stored in the roots or crowns of the plant (Richards and Caldwell, 1985).

4. The carbohydrate reserve stored by bunchgrasses is very small, equal to about 1 to 2 days of photosynthesis during the summer.

So, what factors are important for plants to tolerate grazing?

Plant Structure

Differences in structure enable some plants to better tolerate grazing (Briske and Richards, 1995).

1. Grasses, forbs, and shrubs that produce and maintain many viable axillary buds tolerate grazing because they have the potential to regrow following grazing:

2. Grasses, forbs, and shrubs that protect growing points (meristems) have the potential to regrow quickly following grazing, thus reducing the amount of nutrients and water needed to regrow. Some grasses and forbs do not elevate growing points until late in the growing season, protecting them from grazing.

3. Grasses that develop new shoots at the same time during the grazing season are less tolerate of grazing compare to plants that develop new shoots at a different time during the growing season because not all shoots can be grazed at the same time.

via Carbohydrate Reserve Theory: What You Learned Might Be Wrong — On Pasture

Sometimes landscape terrain and size makes temporary fencing too expensive or difficult to set up. Here’s an alternative that I’ve used successfully. From November of 2015 – an alternative to fencing that still directs your animals where you want them.

via Fenceless Targeted Grazing Using Supplement Blocks — On Pasture

Balancing Beef Cow Nutrient Requirements and Seasonal Forage Melvin George, Glenn Nader, John Dunbar, University of California Range beef cow nutrition programs are greatly influenced by the changing nutritional needs of a cow as it progresses through the reproductive calendar and seasonal changes in the quality of rangeland forage.

Image result for free cattle images

via Balancing Beef Cow Nutrient Requirements and Seasonal Forage — The Beef Blog

 

Corn Stalk Quality After Weathering Bruce Anderson University of Nebraska Fall rainfall, and even snow, is good for wheat and next year’s crops, but it does have its drawbacks. One challenge is rain’s impact on corn stalk feed quality. Rain in the fall usually is welcomed despite the delays it causes with crop harvest. Pastures

 

Image result for free cattle images

via Corn Stalk Quality After Weathering — The Beef Blog

 

Balancing Beef Cow Nutrient Requirements and Seasonal Forage Melvin George, Glenn Nader, John Dunbar, University of California Range beef cow nutrition programs are greatly influenced by the changing nutritional needs of a cow as it progresses through the reproductive calendar and seasonal changes in the quality of rangeland forage.

Herd of Cattle in Daytime

via Balancing Beef Cow Nutrient Requirements and Seasonal Forage — The Beef Blog

BT Feedlot Fed Steers Cattle

Surviving the next 4 months in 3 steps: Test forage, study nutrient needs and sort cattle David Burton High Plains Journal Beef cattle producers in southwest Missouri have about four months to manage their forage supply to accommodate their beef cattle’s nutrient needs according to Eldon Cole, field specialist in livestock with University of Missouri

via Surviving the next 4 months in 3 steps: Test forage, study nutrient needs and sort

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