Farm Talk

Livestock

August 8, 2013

Stockpiled bermuda grass can reduce winter feed costs

Parsons, Kansas — Harvested forage costs are a large part of the production costs associated with cow-calf enterprises.  For the first time in two years, producers in the eastern two-thirds of Oklahoma will have enough Bermuda grass to consider stockpiling some of the forage for winter feed. An Oklahoma State University trial had the objective to economically evaluate stockpiled bermudagrass. The research found that this practice can reduce cow-wintering costs. Forage accumulation during the late summer and fall is variable from year to year depending on moisture, temperatures, date of first frost and fertility. This strategy requires that an alternative pasture must be available for cattle to graze from late August to November 1.

The OSU research has found that 50 to 100 pounds per acre of actual nitrogen fertilizer applied in the late summer has produced 1000 — 2000 pounds of forage per acre. In some ideal situations even more forage has been produced.

Studies between 1997 and 2000 found stockpiled bermudagrass protein concentrations were quite impressive, even after frost. In November, the range of protein content of the standing forage was 13.1 percent to 15.2 percent. The protein held up in December and ranged from 12.5 percent to 14.7 percent and declined to 10.9 percent to 11.6 percent in January.

To make best use of the stockpiled forage, supplementation with two pounds of 14 percent to 25 percent protein feed beginning in early December is recommended.  Read about these studies in the 2001 OSU Animal Science Research Report. Some information about the forage quality is reported in the 1999 OSU Animal Science Research Report.

The following is a list of recommendations for stockpiling bermudagrass pastures for best results and reducing winter feed bills:

1. Remove existing forage by haying, clipping, or grazing by late August

2. Apply 50 to 100 pounds of actual nitrogen fertilizer per acre.

3. Defer grazing until at least late October or early November.

4. Control access to forage by rotational or strip grazing to cut waste and extend grazing.

5. If cool season forage is available for use in the winter, use the stockpiled bermudagrass first.

6. Supplementation (two pounds of 14 – 25 percent protein) should begin in early December.

7. Provide free-choice mineral (six percent- nine percent phosphorus and Vitamin A) with a trace-mineral package. £

 

1
Text Only
Livestock
  • Stockers015.jpg Pressure builds on cattle prices

    With boxed beef prices down sharply from the second rollercoaster high of the year, fed cattle prices may have peaked seasonally.  
    Fed prices are currently holding mostly steady near $150/cwt. but will likely decrease into May as fed cattle marketings increase seasonally. Cattle slaughter typically increases from April through May to seasonal peaks in June.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • calving-season_ksu.jpg Shortening breeding and calving seasons

    Calves born in the first 21 days of the calving season are often the heaviest in their contemporary group at weaning, and that advantage often carries through to harvest, if the producer retains ownership.

    April 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • heifers-peel-052_fixed.jpg Late spring adds to cattle challenges

    A myriad of factors are at work in cattle and beef markets now. Spring has arrived according to the calendar but it isn’t obvious yet in many parts of the country. Cold weather continues to delay grass green-up in many regions in a fashion that is reminiscent of last year.

    April 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Beef Talk: Are your cows ready to rebreed?

    The question of the day: Are the cows ready to breed? I hope the nutritional plan is in place and the cows are doing fine. Although nutritional adjustments can be made if needed, precalving should be a time of contentment for the cow, so all she needs to do is enjoy late-term pregnancy.

    March 25, 2014

  • How much is a good bull worth?

    I often get the question “How much should I pay for a bull?” My first answer is “Whatever the market will bear.”

    March 18, 2014

  • cull-cows.jpg Slaughter cow market following seasonal pattern — only more so

    Boning cow prices in Oklahoma City were reported at just over $102/cwt. in the first week of March. This level suggests that March slaughter cow prices will exhibit a more than seasonal price increase.

    March 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hollis_ksu.jpg Anaplasmosis a stealthy profit-robber

    For a disease that’s not contagious, anaplasmosis sure gets around.
    Speaking to a whole passle of beef producers at last week’s Animal Health Day in Independence, Kan., K-State Veterinarian Larry Hollis urged area cattlemen to get the costly disease in their sights.

    March 4, 2014 1 Photo

  • Livestock indemnity program retro-funded to Oct., 2011

    USDA announced it will expedite the implementation of its livestock disaster assistance program and will begin accepting applications on or near April 15.

    February 25, 2014

  • charherfcow.jpg Ark. cattle numbers up despite trend

    Arkansas cattle numbers are recovering nearly two years after the start of a drought that caused $128 million damage to the state’s beef industry, while national numbers plummet to their lowest levels in more than 60 years.

    February 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Champions picked at Kansas Angus Futurity Jr. Show

    February 11, 2014

Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Seasonal Content