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Moisture, Higher Temps Critical for SW Kansas Grasslands

Reducing stocking rate may also be an option for some cattlemen.

A Kansas State University (K-State) expert says the region’s grasslands will need some moisture and higher temperatures to recover from wildfires that scorched an estimated 1 million acres in Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas last week.

This weekend’s temperatures may hit the 70s and 80s, but the forecast remains dry for many parts of the four states.

“As these plants start their growing season, they are going to need subsoil moisture to at least get started,” said Walt Fick, range management specialist with K-State Research and Extension. Read more.

Pasture Practicality

A few simple steps can improve productivity in your pastures and cattle.

A corn hybrid variety is only viable in the market for about three years, said Justin Burns, sales manager for Barenbrug USA. Burns addressed his audience at the Cattle Industry Convention Feb. 2 as part of the NCBA Trade Show’s Learning Lounge.

Burns explained that while corn and soybean seed varieties turn over every three years, and cattle genetics every five to 10 years, some grass seed varieties have been used for as many as 87 years. Why is it that so many things in our industry are well-adapted and change frequently, but we don’t look at our pastures the same way, he asked.
Read more.

Raising an Orphan Calf

Veterinarian gives tips for bottle-feeding older orphaned calves.

Many ranchers have raised calves on bottles (an orphan, a twin, a heifer’s calf that isn’t accepted by its mother, etc.) or bottle-fed the calf until it could be grafted onto a cow that loses her calf. It’s easy to bottle-feed a newborn or young calf that’s hungry and looking for a mama. More challenging is the 1- or 2-month-old calf that’s been out with the herd all its life and suddenly loses its mom. Freak things happen, such as a cow getting over on her back in a ditch, dying from larkspur poisoning, being killed by predators, developing bloat and a variety of other scenarios. This leaves you with an orphan that might be semi-wild but too young to go without milk or high-quality feed.

Ray Randall, a veterinarian near Bridger, Mont., says some of those calves are good enough robbers to survive out with the herd — sneaking up to nurse alongside the calf of another cow. They are comfortable with the herd and seem to manage, though they might be smaller than the other calves at weaning time. Read more.

Calf Shelters Reduce Weather Stress and Illness

Tips for keeping baby calves warm during inclement weather.

Ranchers who calve cows during late winter or early spring know the value of shelter for newborn calves. Having a dry, clean place for the calves to bed in cold or wet weather is more important than worrying about congregating these babies in a small area. Calves stay healthier if they don’t have extra stress from being wet and chilled or subjected to low temperatures and wind. Read more.

Kris Ringwall

Kris Ringwall

Beef Talk

Cattle producers will need to find a way to use cropland if much cow herd expansion is going to happen.

Current industry thoughts would indicate that the beef cow herd is expanding, but the question is, “Where?”

As cattle numbers expand, one needs to ponder where and then how. Ultimately, cattle need land, and regardless of where one goes, land is a precious commodity. Competition is tough, and crop production continues to dominate agriculture. So the question that often needs to be discussed is, “Just where is the forage base to expand cattle?” Read more.

Multiple Paddocks Foster Conservation

Runoff reduced, water retention increased by multi-paddock grazing.

Adaptive multi-paddock grazing has been found to be an effective conservation practice on grazing lands for enhancing water conservation and protecting water quality, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Research study at Vernon.

“We found grazing management practices do have a significant influence on ecosystem services provided by rangelands,” said Srinivasulu Ale, a geospatial hydrology associate professor at Vernon. “Not only did the multi-paddock grazing practice provide several hydrological benefits, such as increased soil infiltration, increased water conservation and decreased surface runoff, but also environmental benefits such as water quality improvement.” Read more.

Angus Advisor

Click here for April herd management tips from cattle experts across the nation. Advice separated by region.

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