Farm Talk

Livestock

September 5, 2012

Protect animal investment by testing purchased hay

Parsons, Kansas — Cattle producers without adequate on-site forage supplies who have purchased hay should protect their animal investment by testing the quality and nutritive value of the additional food source.

“Forage analysis can be a useful tool to remove some of the mystery concerning the hay that producers will feed this winter,” said Glenn Selk, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension emeritus livestock specialist.

The high cost of protein and energy supplements provide further emphasis to heed Selk’s advice.

“Testing the grass hays this year for protein and energy content will help the producer design winter supplementation programs most appropriate for the forage supply that is available,” he said. “It is hard to think of any year when forage testing was more important.”

There are several good methods of sampling hay for forage analysis. Livestock nutritionists generally prefer to use a mechanical coring probe made specifically for this purpose. The coring probe is usually a stainless steel tube with a serrated, cutting edge. It is 1 inch in diameter and is designed to fit on a half- inch drill or brace.

“Cordless drills make these tools quite mobile so that the hay bales to be tested do not have to be hauled near an electrical outlet,” said Ray Huhnke, OSU Cooperative Extension agricultural engineer. “Cores are taken from several bales at random to obtain a representative sample to be analyzed.”

The hay samples are placed in paper or plastic bags for transfer to a forage testing laboratory.

Grab samples also can be obtained and tested. To receive the most complete and accurate information about quality and nutritive value, grab several samples by hand from about 6 inches into the open side of the bale or the middle third of a round bale.

“Be sure to place the entire sample in the bag,” said Cody Linker, Lincoln County Extension agricultural educator. “Do not discard weeds or stems just because they look undesirable. They are still part of the hay that you are offering to the livestock.”

Linker added that producers should label the forage samples accurately and immediately, in order for the laboratory analysis to be correctly assigned to the proper hay piles or bales.

“Obviously the more samples that are sent to the laboratory for analysis, the more information can be gained,” he said. “Of course, as the number of samples increase, the cost of forage testing will increase as well. Any of the potential nitrate-accumulating hays should be tested for nitrate concentration.”

Samples can be taken to any OSU Cooperative Extension county office, which will then be sent to the OSU Soil, Water and Forage Testing Laboratory, part the university’s Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources.

“Another option is for producers to take their samples to commercial laboratories that also do an excellent job of forage analysis,” Selk said. “Regardless of which option is chosen, the important thing is to get the hay tested.”£

 

1
Text Only
Livestock
  • Cattle markets likely topped for now

    Most of Oklahoma received rain in the past week with roughly half the state receiving one to over three inches and a few areas receiving even heavier rains that filled ponds which have been low or dry for many months.
    Forage growth, which had just begun to stall under summer heat, has picked back up.  Summer heat is forecast to return this week and, along with high humidity from recent rain, will lead to sweltering heat indices that will impact both cattle and the producers who care for them.

    July 22, 2014

  • Follow BQA guidelines when treating and selling cows

    Summer time often brings a few infectious ailments to beef cows.  Common problems include eye infections and foot rot.

    July 15, 2014

  • Mixed emotions in the beef industry

    The beef industry is experiencing a wide range of emotions at the current time.  The level of excitement is obvious as cattle and beef prices have pushed even beyond record levels of earlier this year.

    July 8, 2014

  • Heat impacts bull fertility

    Recently a producer asked about the impact that the heat of the summer of 2012 may have had on the reduced calf crop that was discovered the following spring.

    July 1, 2014

  • charolaisXheifer.jpg Summer cattle market conditions

    Summer officially started this past weekend and cattle markets so far have shown little of the seasonal pressure that has been expected.

    June 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Monitor medicated mineral intake

    Medicated minerals are available and frequently used to help prevent the blood-born disease, anaplasmosis. A consistent and appropriate intake of the mineral is critical to a successful anaplasmosis prevention program.

    June 17, 2014

  • Should cow/calf producers lock in fall calf prices?

     In recent article, I discussed record high feeder cattle prices as well as the lack of profits for current feedlot placements. While current price levels offer little or no profit opportunity for buyers of feeder cattle, those same prices could result in record or near record profits for cow-calf producers this year.

    June 10, 2014

  • Feeder cattle markets red hot

    Widespread rains over the Memorial weekend may have curtailed holiday activities but were enthusiastically welcomed by cattle producers in the Southern Plains.

    June 3, 2014

  • Is beef herd expansion underway?

    The effects of many years of cattle herd liquidation and the inevitable decreases in beef production have become glaringly obvious in 2014. Cattle slaughter is down 6.3 percent leading to a 5.7 percent decrease in beef production so far this year.

    May 28, 2014

  • cowshotwire.jpg Record feeder prices supported by latest data

    Last week, the Oklahoma combined auction price for 450-500 lb., Med/Large, No. 1 steers was $237.27/cwt., up 46 percent from one year ago.

    May 21, 2014 1 Photo

Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

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