Drought
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INFORMATION

Test you hay
http://animalrangeextension.montana.edu/articles/forage/hay/test_hay.htm

Caution on Grazing Drought-stressed Grain Crops

 

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Producer Experiences with Irrigated Pastures

 

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Determining Forage Production and Stocking Rates: A Clipping Procedures for Rangelands (MT 199704AG)

 

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"Harvest Your Options": Fall Grazing Options for Poor Haying Conditions and Late Crops

 

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A Guide for Planning, Analyzing, and Balancing Forage Supplies with Livestock Demand

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Forage Consumption Estimated Animal Unit Conversion

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Tips for Dealing with Drought on Range

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Early Weaning Beef Calves During Drought Conditions

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Grazing Management During and After Extended Drought

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Hay, get me out of this drought! — 2002

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Because of the drought, can Vitamin A be deficient in my cows?

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What are some guidelines that I can use to evaluate livestock water quality?

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Alternatives to Supplementation

 

 

Drinking Water Quality For Beef Cattle — An environment friendly and production management enhancement technique

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Presentations of interest
Observations of a Traveling Veterinarian: Practices That Pay, Some That May, and Others No Way - Bruce Hoffman
Growing and Feeding Cereal Forages - Dennis Cash
Key Drivers Behind Record High Cattle and Beef Prices - Chad Spearman
Fertility in Beef Cattle - Tom Geary
Where's the Beef? Ruminating on the Cattle Cycle - Gary Brester
Rebuilding the Dream - Matching the Cow Herd to the Resources - Connee Quinn
A Systems Approach to Rangeland Management - Trey Patterson
Is Your Stocking Rate Working? A GIS-based Tool for Evaluation of Pasture Management - Clayton Marlow
• Planning Ahead to Save AUMs and the Cow Herd in Times of Forage Shortage by Jerry Volesky, range and forage specialist, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Alternative forages
            Treatment of straw with anhydrous ammonia has been researched and has been proven, consistently, to be effective in improving straw feed quality. Therefore, much information is available on this technique. The University of Idaho, Minnesota and Washington State University all provide information on anhydrous ammoniation of straw (Brownson, 2000). The University of California-Davis (Toenjes, Bell, & Jenkins, 1986), North Dakota (Lardy & Bauer, 2008) and Oklahoma State universities (Lalman, Horn, Huhnke, & Redmon, 2012) have published their own ammoniation recommendations using anhydrous ammonia. Each of these publications give beef producers instructions for the ammoniation of baled straw with appropriate precautions regarding chemical safety and  toxicity issues.
During ammoniation straws are required to have moisture contents of  approximately 15%. Ammonia treated straws are also sealed gas tight during  treatment time periods. All recommendations emphasize that straw be treated with 3% to 5% anhydrous ammonia by weight.
Urea
The average relative percent increase in digestibility for rice straw was calculated from data of 33 different urea treatment studies (Van Soest, 2006). The average
relative percent change in digstibility from the 33 studies was 23%. Where  anhydrous ammonia is not available in many parts of the world, urea is perfect for small or undeveloped feed operations. Instructions on urea ammoniation are published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
Treating straw with urea is a way of indirectly ammoniating straw. Two processes must occur for urea to effectively increase the digestibility of straw. First, urea must undergo ureolysis or the change of urea to ammonia. The ureolysis reaction requires adequate moisture, 30%, (Sahnounea, Besle, Chenost, Jouany, &
Combes, 1991) and addition of urease depending on the type of straw. Second, ammonia must degrade straw cell walls (Chenost, 1995). Aitchison (1988 ) reported that the digestibility of “very poor” quality straw can be increased by as much as 30% with urea treatment.

Back to BasicsMatching Hay Quality to Cow Needs Ron Torell, Northeast/Central Area Livestock SpecialistDan Nelson, White Pine County Extension Educator Jason C. Davison, Northeast/Central Area Forage and Alternative Crops Specialist

Introduction                 Feeding range cattle through the winter is the most costly aspect of many livestock operations.  However, if hay quality is matched to the nutritional demands of cattle, the purchase of supplements can be reduced and herd production can be increased.  This can be accomplished by simply planning the sequence of hay feeding.                 Improving hay quality through fertilization, water management, species composition and time of harvest may also reduce the cost of winter feeding.  A nutritional analysis of 302 grass hay samples harvested from 70 northeastern Nevada ranches between 1946 and 2008 supports the above statements. Critical Months for Nutrition                 January, February and March are nutritionally critical months for the cows that will calve at the beginning of April.  Nutritional demands are approximately 10 percent greater during the last third of the pregnancy.  Allowing cows to lose excessive condition prior to calving will delay birth the following year.  This is due to delayed estrus.5    Inadequate nutrition during the three months after calving (April, May and June) is even more detrimental to reproduction the following year.  During these three months, nutritional demands are 20 percent higher than pre-calving requirements for cows and 25 percent higher for first-calf heifers.  If the nutritional demands of the cows are not met during these critical six months (January through June), conception rates can be greatly reduced or delayed.5, 6 The same effect has been demonstrated with bred yearling heifers.1, 2 Matching Hay Quality     

A feeding plan based on the nutritional demands of cattle and quality of feed on hand can easily be developed for hay listed in Table 1.  Table 1 allows comparison of the nutritional values of the hay to the nutritional needs of the 1,000-pound cow for nine months (from the middle of pregnancy to three months after calving.)  For the purpose of discussion it is assumed that there is an adequate supply of each hay listed.   Middle Third of Pregnancy   The poorest quality hay of the four listed is the late cut, non-fertilized hay (Table 2).  Producers should feed this hay during the middle third of pregnancy when the cow’s nutritional demands are low.  Late cut hay falls just short of meeting requirements for protein and phosphorous, but meets or exceeds requirements for energy and calcium during the middle term of pregnancy. Last Third of Pregnancy 
               The early cut non-fertilized hay (Table 3) and the late cut, fertilized hay (Table 4) exceed the requirements for a cow in the middle third of pregnancy.  The increased nutritional value of these hays will supply adequate nutrition for cows in the last three months of pregnancy when a phosphorous supplement is added.  An energy-based supplement may be necessary under conditions of cold stress because the total digestible nutrient (TDN) values for these hays come close to meeting the cow’s minimum energy requirements. First Three Months After Calving
                 The early cut, fertilized hay (Table 5) is the only feed listed that meet all the cow’s requirements following calving.  Nutritional demands are the highest during this time because of lactation. Minimize Costly Supplements By efficiently managing the winter feeding program it is possible to meet nutritional demands of the cow herd and minimize supplementation.  Hay quality statistics listed in this article are averages for hays produced on northeastern Nevada ranches during the past 60 years.  An average figure can only be used as a guide because nutritional value varies from field to field and from one year to the next.  Because of this, testing is essential in order to minimize supplement feed costs.  The costs of forage testing are minimal compared to the costs of most protein and/or energy supplements. Importance of Forage Quantity
                Cattle require quantities of nutrients not percentages of nutrients.  The percentage of nutrients needed to balance the rations discussed in this article will be incorrect when the amount of hay fed is less or more than the quantity required (depending on the weight and physiological condition of the animal).  Cattle can suffer from “hollow belly” when insufficient forage is fed no matter what the forage nutrient density.  Generally, an animal’s dry matter intake ranges from 1 to 3 percent of its body weight depending on the forage quality.  The higher the forage quality the greater the intake.  Also, it is important to remember that environmental conditions often create the need for additional forage intake during winter months.

Purchasing Hay                 Purchasing additional feed based on the quality and quantity of feed on hand can save money.  Alfalfa hay that does not meet dairy industry specifications can often be purchased cheaper than processed supplements on the basis of actual protein per pound.  A combination of homegrown hay, purchased alfalfa hay and a phosphorous supplement will usually balance the nutritional needs of the cow herd during critical periods of the year.                 The best way to purchase feed, and balance a ration with feed on hand, is through nutritional chemical analysis and least cost ration formulation.  That is enough of our rambling for this month.  As always, if you would like to discuss this article or simply would like to talk cows, do not hesitate to contact Ron at 775-738-1721 or torellr@unce.unr.edu, Dan at 775-289-4459 nelsond@unce.unr.edu or Jay at 775-423-5121 davisonj@unce.unr.edu. Information Sources 1Bellows, R.W. and R.E. Short. 1978. Effects of precalving feeding level on birth weight, calving difficulty and subsequent fertility.  Journal of Animal Science 46:1522.2Clanton, D.C. and D.R. Zimmerman. 1970. Symposium on pasture methods for maximum production in beef cattle.  Protein and energy requirements for female beef cattle.  Journal of Animal Science 30:122.3Fonesbeck, P.V. and H. Lloyd. 1984. IFI Tables of feed consumption.  International Feed Stuffs Institute. Utah State University, Logan, Utah.4NRC. 1984. Nutrient Requirements of Beef Cattle.  National Research Council, National Academic Press, Washington, D.C.5Wiltbank, J.N., W.W. Rowden, J.E. Ingalls, K.E. Gregory and R.M. Koch. 1962. Effects of energy level on reproductive phenomena of mature Hereford cows.  Journal of Animal Science 21:219.6Wiltbank, J.N., W.W. Rowden, R.E. Ingalls and D.R. Zimmerman. 1964. Influence of postpartum energy levels on reproductive performance of Hereford cows restricted in energy intake prior to calving. Journal of Animal Science 23:1049.

  Table 1.          Average Quality of Northeastern Nevada Grass Hay 1946-2008* Treatment No. SamplesCrude ProteinCrude FiberCalciumPhosphorusTDN**
AverageRange
Early cut, before 7/15     
Fertilized            5011.66.7-17.830.1.42.2356.3
Nonfertilized      778.96.2-11.629.7.61.1853.2
Late cut, after 7/15     
Fertilized            367.92.5-11.332.2.48.1852.4
Nonfertilized      1396.73.3-9.932.6.50.1751.3

*100 percent dry matter basis.**Total Digestible Nutrients, these values were estimated based on species composition of grass hays.  TDN values were calculated from information provided by (3). Table 2. Nutrient Requirements of 1000-pound Cow in Middle and Last Third of Pregnancy and Postpartum Compared to Nutritive Value of Northeastern Nevada Hays Cut Late After 7/15; Nonfertilized  % CPDifference% TDNDifference% CalciumDifference% PhosphorusDifference
Nutritive value of hays late cut, nonfertilized 6.7  51.3  0.50  0.17
Nutrient requirements of cows:       
   Middle third of pregnancy7.0-.3048.8+2.50.18+0.320.18-.01
   Last third of pregnancy7.9-1.1253.6-2.30.26+.240.21-.04
   1-3 months postpartum9.6-2.9056.6-5.30.28+0.220.22-.05

 Table 3.          Nutrient Requirements of 1000-pound Cow in Middle and Last Third of Pregnancy and Postpartum Compared to Nutritive Value of Northeastern Nevada Hays Cut Early Before 7/15; Nonfertilized  % CPDifference% TDNDifference% CalciumDifference% PhosphorusDifference
Nutritive value of hays early cut, nonfertilized 8.9  53.2  0.61  0.18
Nutrient requirements of cows:       
   Middle third of pregnancy7.0+1.948.8+4.40.18+0.430.180
   Last third of pregnancy7.9+1.053.6-0.40.26+0.350.21-.03
   1-3 months postpartum9.6-0.756.6-3.40.28+0.330.22-.04

  Table 4.                Nutrient Requirements of 100-pound Cow in Middle and Last Third of Pregnancy and Postpartum Compared to Nutritive Value of Northeastern Nevada Hays Cut Late After 7/15; Fertilized  % CPDifference% TDNDifference% CalciumDifference% PhosphorusDifference
Nutritive value of hays late cut,fertilized 7.9  52.4  0.48  0.18
Nutrient requirements of cows:       
   Middle third of pregnancy7.0+0.948.8+3.60.18+.300.180
   Last third of pregnancy7.9+0.053.6-1.20.26+0.220.21-.03
   1-3 months postpartum9.6-1.756.6-4.20.28+0.200.22-.04

 Table 5.                Nutrient Requirements of 1000-pound Cow in Middle and Last Third of Pregnancy and Postpartum Compared to Nutritive Value of Northeastern Nevada Hays Cut Early Before 7/15; Fertilized  % CPDifference% TDNDifference% CalciumDifference% PhosphorusDifference
Nutritive value of hays early cut,nonfertilized 11.6  56.3  0.42  0.23
Nutrient requirements of cows:       
   Middle third of pregnancy7.0+4.648.8+7.50.18+0.240.18+.05
   Last third of pregnancy7.9+3.753.6+2.70.26+0.160.21+.02
   1-3 months postpartum9.6+2.056.6+0.30.28+0.140.22+.01

Getting Through the Winter With Minimal Hay
Darrell Rankins Jr. Extension Animal Scientist
Because of drought, it is likely that many producers have inadequate supplies of hay. This article focuses on providing adequate nutrition with limited amounts of hay. First of all, it is important to remember that cattle are ruminants and thus need some forage (fiber) in their daily diet. In general, the minimal amount  required is about 0.5 percent of body weight, which would equate to 5 to 6
pounds for 1,000 to 1,200-pound cows. Because most beef producers use hay in the form of a large round bale, it is difficult to limit hay consumption to 5 to 6 pounds per day. There are only two realistic ways to limit hay consumption with round bales. The hay can be unrolled and offered at a predetermined amount. Another way would be to put an adequate number of rolls in a small area such
that the cows can be put into the area for about 2 hours per day to control the amount of hay that they consume. With this program it is important that all cows have access to the hay, approximately one roll for every 10 cows. If small, square bales of hay are available, then it becomes much easier to offer 5 to 6 pounds of hay per day. Another alternative for providing 5 to 6 pounds of forage per day is by limited access to stock-piled forage. If you are in the fescue region, this would be an excellent choice for stock-piling. We can assume that fescue with 70 to 80 pounds of nitrogen per acre and adequate moisture would accumulate approximately 1,800 to 2,000 pounds of usable forage per acre by Dec. 1. With proper fencing, the animals could be given a fraction of an acre every day or every other day such that you were giving them access to about 5 to 6 pounds of forage dry matter per day. This technique works extremely well with
Fall 2007 Livestock Links 3 the use of electric fencing. The same principles could be used with winter annuals in the nonfescue growing areas of the state.
A final option for providing roughage to the cows would be the use of various by-products such as peanut hulls, cottonseed hulls, gin trash, cotton motes or any other by-product roughages that may be available in your area. Peanut hulls as a roughage source should be loose hulls and not pellet or ground hulls. Using ground or pellet peanut hulls can cause rumen compaction problems.
Now that the hay has been conserved by some sort of limit feeding system, what is needed to meet the nutrient needs of the cow? For a 1,000-pound cow that has not yet calved, we would need to provide her with about 12 pounds of a grain mix that contains approximately 12 percent crude protein. One such mix would be to blend 575 pounds of corn with 50 pounds of soybean meal. Another  possibility would be to feed soybean hulls or corn gluten feed. Also, check with your local livestock feed dealer and they may have a blend suitable for your needs. Once the cows calve and begin lactating, then their daily nutrient requirements will increase and they will require approximately 18 pounds of
the grain mix, soybean hulls or corn gluten feed per day plus their hay allowance. With this system, the cows would be fed 12 to 18 pounds of the concentrate per day (depending on stage of production) and given 5 to 6 pounds of forage per day. For this system, it is important to have adequate bunk space for feeding the cows to make sure that the boss cows do not consume the majority of the feed. In general, if the cows can access both sides of the bunk, then a 10-foot trough will accommodate 10 to 12 mature cows. It is important to note that good feeding management is a must when feeding cows in this manner. It would be easy to founder some cows when feeding this amount of a corn-based supplement per
day. Obviously, this system is quite labor intensive and requires a large amount of daily feeding; however, if hay supplies are severely limited, it may be the only alternative available.

Feeding Wheat Straw
Darrell Rankins Jr. Extension Animal Scientist
Wheat straw has been used as a low-quality roughage source for ruminant animals for many years. However, there are some points to be aware of when using this roughage source. Wheat straw is the material that has been left behind following combining of the wheat grain. Wheat straw, as well as oat straw, is very low in nutritional quality. They will typically contain 3.5 to 4.5 percent protein and 40 to 45 percent total digestible nutrients (TDN).
The problem with feeding straight wheat  straw is the length of time that it stays in the cow’s digestive tract. With most roughages, the cow digests the usable portion and the undigested portion passes on through and ends up as manure in about 48 to 72 hours. Wheat straw will stay in the digestive tract for much longer lengths of time and begins to stop the digestive process. Consequently intake goes down and the cow gets stopped up. When feeding wheat straw to cows it is important to be sure that they have adequate protein to go with it. As indicated previously the protein content of the straw is approximately 4 percent and this is
what limits the ability of the cow to digest the straw. If we supplement the cow with additional protein the bugs in her rumen are able to digest more of the straw and help alleviate the slow passage problem described above. A grown cow would probably benefit from up to 1.5 to 2 pounds of supplemental protein when consuming straw.

Total Mixed Rations
Ron Torell, Long-Standing Educator and Advocate of Agriculture              When I was a child my mother served beef stew as an inexpensive means to feed her family of eight while forcing  me and my siblings to unknowingly eat our vegetables. By combining beef, onions, potatoes, carrots, peas, corn and an occasional turnip in to one pot, that stew was essentially a total mixed ration (TMR).  Total cost was less than a quarter per head per day.  Relative to a cow-calf operation, let’s discuss how a TMR might work for you.                Recent cost increases for processed feeds has not lowered the nutritional requirement of the beef cow. Her requirements remain the same and must still be met. Managers can reduce the dependency on processed feeds by matching the cow’s nutritional needs to her environment through genetic improvement and  by calving in harmony with mother nature. For those operations that rely on processed winter feed, chopping and blending ingredients into a mixed or total mixed ration may be an option to consider. Cows can do very little sorting for preferential  ingredients when all feedstuffs are chopped in to small and similar particle sizes then blended together and served up with a molasses gravy.  This reduces and/or eliminates waste of the lower quality ingredients in the ration.             We have all experienced the frustration of cows resisting and wasting lower quality long hay in wait for more palatable, better quality feedstuffs to arrive.  Case in point is the common practice of feeding unprocessed quality alfalfa hay in combination with straw or lower quality grass hay.  On paper a mixed ration of each may meet all of the cow’s nutritional needs. With this, however, feed ability becomes an issue.   The bully or boss cows clean up the alfalfa leaving the straw or grass hay to the thinner less aggressive cows.              Feeding beef cows a chopped or mixed ration generally does not fit many cow-calf operations yet is widely utilized by the feedlot and dairy industry. The real benefit of TMR's is the ability to cheapen up the ration by utilizing a mix of both high and lower quality and valued feeds.  It is easy to balance the ration by weighing and blending all feedstuffs into a complete stew.  With the use of grinders, mixers, scales and feed wagons, each bite contains small particle sizes of the required level of nutrients such as energy, protein, minerals and vitamins.   Additionally, cattle are fed in a bunk which aids in minimizing waste and makes it easier for managers to monitor and adjust consumption and nutrient levels.                  The key to success with TMR's is forage analysis of feedstuffs and grouping animals according to their individual nutrient demands. Once this information is known, a least cost ration specific to that group of cattle can be formulated feeding exact amounts of required nutrients for a specific production level.  TMR’s are often dependant on access to by-product feeds.  Geographically some areas of the United States have access to more by-product feeds than others lending themselves to the more economically viable use of TMR’s.  Many Midwest and Southern states have  access to corn stalks, milo stubble, wet distiller’s grain, onions, and carrots, while other areas have potatoes, turnips, wheat straw, tomato peels, and cannery waste.  It’s important to point out that there is the  potential  for toxins in some by-product feeds that could be fatal when consumed at high levels. On the other hand, when these same by-products are fed in a TMR at low levels they may not pose such a risk.  Feed analysis reveals forage quality while additional tests show if any toxins are present and at what level. Managers must also take in to account that storage and transportation of  high  moisture by-products may not be economically viable for their operation.             Beef cows are often winter fed on the ground in large fields of by-product or aftermath standing forage.  Wind and mud may become issues when trying to efficiently deliver TMR's to cows under these conditions.   With the availability of modern machinery, a chopped or partially mixed ration may be worth considering. Several commercial PTO driven and portable hay grinders, choppers and feeders which partially breakdown the feedstuffs by slicing, dicing or grinding and delivering the feed either as a single or combination of ingredients are now available.  Much of this new equipment does not feed a TMR but rather a chopped and blended buffet of various feed qualities.  Anything that can be done to  partially breakdown the feedstuff  and make it more palatable and efficient for the rumen to digest is the main objective.              Feeding a chopped or blended ration is certainly not for every operation.  Cost and economy of size will limit the use of commercial equipment to the larger enterprises who have the required cow numbers to absorb and spread out that initial investment.  Savings in feed costs and efficiency may very well outweigh equipment cost for the larger operator.                The bovine was given a unique digestive system enabling her to eat and digest many different feedstuffs of both high and low qualities. Standing forage is generally the cheapest form of feeding cows, however, isn’t always available in quality and quantity to meet her total nutritional requirements.  Figuring out the proper ration and delivering it in a palatable manner that entices cattle to consume the lower quality feeds is the challenge.

 


    Synopsis by Kasey Miller | Procee• Growing Options for Weaned Calves: How Do We
Economically Produce a 1,000-lb. Steer for Feedlot Entry? by Terry Klopfenstein, ruminant nutrition, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
    Synopsis by Kindra Gordon | Proceedings | PowerPoint (3 MB pdf) | Website

• Cow Side of Producing a 1,000-lb. Feeder: Cow Size and Expenses by Ken Olson (presenter), Justin Waggoner and John Jaeger, beef specialists, South Dakota State University and Kansas State University
    Synopsis by Troy Smith | Proceedings |PowerPoint (4.5 MB pdf) | Website - SDSU | Website - Waggoner | Website - Jaegerdings | PowerPoint (3.6 MB pdf) | Website