What is Silvopasture? Silvopasture is a popular agroforestry and agriculture practice that involves collective management of trees, livestock, and forage to enhance the overall production of all three. Silvopasture can be set up either by planting trees in a current field or by planting forage in a previously existing stand of trees. Livestock grazing within […]
In every stage of animal husbandry particularly in livestock breeding, the health of the animal is extremely important particularly when it comes to animal farming. Farmers are required to implement practices that promote the health of the livestock to be raised. To keep your animals healthy, they require regular checkups by expert veterinarians who must […]
https://www.agweb.com/farmjournal/article/when-to-cut-alfalfa/ When to Make First Spring Cut of Alfalfa and Mixed Alfalfa/Grass Producers must answer a couple of basic questions when deciding the time of the first spring cutting of alfalfa and mixed alfalfa and grass fields. What’s your hay harvesting schedule? What are your objectives for the harvested hay crop […]
From May of 2018, thanks for this article go to UNL Beefwatch and Bethany Johnston, Nebraska Extension Educator, Beef Systems, at University of Nebraska Lincoln. You can always find great grazing related information by checking out the UNL Beefwatch newsletter.
“We always turn out on May 15th.” Have you heard that before? Does a calendar date decide when the plant is ready to be grazed? While cool-season grasses break winter dormancy when the soil temperature is a few degrees above freezing, warm-season grasses prefer soil temperatures above 50 degrees F to break dormancy and begin growth. Both previous year drought and soil/air temperature affect how you should manage your pastures this growing season.
Maybe a producer should consider the “leaf stage” instead.
The leaf stage of a plant can help a producer decide when the plant has enough leaf area to best tolerate grazing.
What is “leaf stage”? A simple definition is the number of leaves on a plant’s tiller or stem. If you pluck a stem at ground level, you can physically count the leaves. Count mature leaves, or leaves that are collared- the leaf blade goes all the way around the stem, like a collar on a shirt.
Now you try. Check out this picture and see if you can tell what leaf stage it’s in.
And this one?
Yes! It’s a 3 leaf stage.
What Do You Do With This?
Now you can check to make sure your grasses are ready to graze.
Cool-season grasses can be grazed in the spring, but need to develop 3 leaves before you graze. After the third-leaf stage, the plant has captured enough energy reserves to regrow after the plant has been defoliated. The plant’s stores are not quite built up at the two-leaf stage. Grazing at the two-leaf stage could weaken the plant.
Remember, cool-season grasses like warm days and cool nights. Cool-season grasses start growing in the fall and another surge of growth occurs in the spring. Examples of cool-season grasses are smooth brome, western wheatgrass, needle and thread, porcupine grass, and prairie junegrass. With the cooler than normal temperatures this spring, producers may need to delay turnout until their cool-season grasses reach the third-leaf stage.
Warm-season grasses grow well when the weather turns warmer (warm days and warm nights). These plants usually grow rapidly in the summer months of July and August.
Due to colder than normal temperatures, grazers may need to consider a “delayed turnout” this spring. To prevent damaging grass production, grass needs a head start to grow leaves and store enough reserves in the roots for regrowth after grazing. A helpful rule of thumb for grazers is to wait until the 4th leaf stage before grazing.
To graze warm-season grasses, wait until the grasses have reached a four-leaf stage. There should be four mature leaves coming off of one tiller or stem. Again, this allows the plants to regrow after grazing or defoliation events. The four-leaf stage is when four of the grass blades are fully developed at the collar of the grass blade.
From March of 2017, Greg Judy’s tips for transitioning through mud season to good grazing. In just a few weeks it will officially be Spring. It’s the time when we start seeing a tinge of green grass poking its baby head up.
Middle of March is also the normal time to have tons of mud to deal with. The frost is out of the ground, snow is mostly melted and the grass is barely growing. It’s this excess moisture that can turn your pastures into a mud lot if you are not careful with your livestock grazing management.
Strategy 1 for Mud Season – The Sacrifice Lot
You have several strategies at your disposal to keep from destroying your future spring pastures during this period. The most common method is to have a sacrifice lot to put your animals in while the ground is soft. You feed hay in this mud lot until it is safe to return your animals to the pasture. This method has both good and bad outcomes attached to it. The good is that your animals are not allowed onto your pastures which could leave pug marks and compactions issues.
The bad points attached to leaving them in a mud lot sacrifice area are numerous. First and foremost you are now working for your cows, having to pack hay to them. Second, now instead of having all your nutrients of manure and urine deposited evenly across your pastures, it is all being deposited in a mud lot. What was an asset, now becomes a liability. When you drop that much manure, urine, and hay in a mud lot, all you’re doing is growing a good crop of weeds the next growing season. Third, when you lock animals into a mud lot you are asking for a herd health wreck. Mud breeds disease, period. Once the cow hair coat gets covered with mud, it takes double the feed to keep them warm. Instead of a nice soft fluffy hair coat, it is matted in the mud. I’ve known folks that calved in a sacrifice lot so that they could keep an eye on prospective new mothers. This is the best way I know of to get scours in new calves. Anytime you take animals out of their natural environment and coop them up where they are exposed to their manure, health issues will show up very shortly.
By Matt Stockton and Randy Saner What is a respectable value to pay for a beef replacement heifer for the coming 2018-2019 production season? Like many decisions, this can be complicated by many factors.
It is important to have a handle on these factors to make the best production and business choices for success of the ranching operation. The University of Nebraska Beef Economics team has made some preliminary forecasts of heifer values using available projected price and costs scenarios.
When buying replacement heifers, many factors should be considered. Three primary factors need to be carefully considered when making a cow purchase decision:
• The purchased/grown replacement cow’s ability to stay in the herd as a productive unit (longevity)
• Current and future expected difference between costs and revenues (calf price and costs differences over the cow’s productive life)
• Genetic compatibility with herd mates and the operator’s goals and management style
Since it is difficult to anticipate and quantify all the possible conditions, types and choices that might occur in the future, five general cost scenarios and three herd types were used to create a total of 15 forecasts. Factors left to be considered by the buyers are related to other variables such as genetics and management style.