Bale-Grazing: Less Work, Better Return
by Ed Haag
Angus Beef Bulletin
Neil and Barbara Dennis, beef producers from Wawota, Sask., Can., got tired of burning fuel and energy hauling hay and manure, so they decided to try something different. What they found has changed how they winter-feed their cows and yearlings and has saved them a whole lot of money and grief in the process.
Their discovery was bale-grazing, a feeding system that uses intensive grazing techniques to winter-feed round bales in the field. “Balegrazing has changed our lives,” Barbara says. “We would never go back to anything else.”
FULL STORY PDF
September Beef Management Calendar
Dr. John B. Hall, Extension Beef Cattle Specialist, VA Tech
Spring Calving Herds
* Test hay for nutrient content and make decisions on supplements now!
* Give pre-weaning vaccinations to calves for VQA program
* Pregnancy check cows
* Body condition score cows at weaning and separate thin cows
* Put open, old and very thin cows on cull list
* Make arrangements for backgrounding calves
* Continue feeding high Se trace mineral salt
* Continue to stockpile grass, if possible
Cattle Preconditioning – Does Extra Cost & Work Bring Extra Dollars?
A preconditioned calf is one that has been vaccinated, castrated and weaned for 30-45 days prior to sale date and has experience feeding from a bunk. Most producers would agree that preconditioning adds value to calves but are not certain whether the benefits outweigh the costs.
Cattle buyers will usually pay for value but they need to be assured that the preconditioning has been done properly and is worth it. Fortunately, availability of animal information to the buyer has never been better which allows buyers to find cattle easily. Consequently source verification of cattle has become as important as preconditioning itself.
Seven Point Check List For Bale Processors
Ropin’ the Web
Bale processors offer key benefits for cattle feeding, but the variety of models on the market can make it difficult for producers to make the best choice for their operation. The AgTech Centre has developed a seven-point checklist and a series of fact sheets to help make this decision easier.
“As the feeding and cattle industry in general has grown, so too has interest in bale processors,” says Blaine Metzger, Project Technologist at the Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development AgTech Centre in Lethbridge. “But choosing the right model is not easy. While most processors are designed to operate under a variety of conditions, each has unique advantages and features.”
The AgTech Centre’s seven-point checklist is based on extensive testing of seven leading processor models. Key points to consider are: processing functions, power supply requirements and operating horsepower, types of material handled, ease of operation, speed of processing, cost and durability.
Better Pastures, Better Breeding
Joe Davis learned about quality forages the hard way.
Interview by Becky Mills
Davis is a man for details. And when it came to his South Carolina cattle operation, he was a stickler about everything. His health program, genetics and facilities were first-class. His Westminster pastures were gorgeous. They were soil-sampled, fertilized and practically weed-free. Davis’ Angus-Brangus cross cows were knee-deep in lush green grass.
So why were the cows too thin? Why weren’t they getting pregnant?
In 2004 his herd’s pregnancy rate was 75%. By 2005 that rate had dropped to 65%. He feared it might just keep going down.
If you want to know how to do something right, talk to a guy who did it wrong and figured out how to turn it around. That guy is Joe Davis.
Livestock Angles: Financial markets play into livestock
The livestock markets have had a rocky ride the past few weeks as more than livestock fundamentals influenced the direction of the markets.
The cattle market ended the past few weeks with cash cattle trading steady from the previous two-week period. The futures markets saw an uneasy and volatile trade during the same time frame. This was due to the credit crisis affecting the financial markets which in turn influenced the livestock markets.
The uneasiness in the financial arena forced funds to liquidate their position to raise capital to secure their overall financial status.
Since the funds were essentially long the futures, this brought about a wave of selling that overwhelmed the livestock markets forcing fear of further decline through the marketplace.
Cattle May Need Early Fall Horn Fly Treatment
MANHATTAN, Kan. – Horn flies are a small, but performance-affecting cattle pest. Their incessant, blood-letting bites are a constant irritation from April through October. But, they often reach the larger of their two annual population peaks in early fall, a Kansas State University scientist said.
So, despite any earlier horn fly control efforts, cattle herds now averaging more than150 flies per head may merit treatment this September, said Alberto Broce, entomologist with Kansas State University Research and Extension. In some years, control can still pay (i.e., be above economic levels) into October.
“The problem with this is that use of highly effective insecticidal ear tags has led to widespread populations of horn flies that are resistant – especially to the pyrethroid-based insecticides,” Broce said.
When a population of insects becomes resistant to one chemical, it also becomes resistant to the other insecticides in the same chemical group, the entomologist explained.
Demand is Up for Hay
By Norm Jones
All summer long the weather has been tough on farmers. They say the drought-like conditions will continue to make it hard on those who feed hay to their animals. Farmers in Lycoming and Montour counties say a shortage of hay will force record prices. Larry Fry mowed through a field of alfalfa hay near Muncy Wednesday feeling fortunate for a few recent days of rain. Without it the grass wouldn’t be as lush and green and his 100 cows wouldn’t have as much food this winter.
“”Most of the guys around here that have cattle aren’t selling. They’re holding on to what they’ve got,” Fry said.
Land-starved livestock get access to grazing areas
By Dawn House
The Salt Lake Tribune
Federal “grass banks” in five counties have been released for emergency grazing as ranchers struggle to feed their livestock after record wildfires and drought.
Ranchers who have taken their land out of production in exchange for government payments will soon be able to open property for their own livestock and their neighbors’ cattle in Juab, Cache, Box Elder, Millard and San Juan counties.
The number of conservation lands to be released and how long cattle can graze will be determined by local managers, said Bruce Richeson, Utah director for the U.S. Farm Service Agency, which overseas the conservation program.
Producers support permanent disaster legislation
By Sue Roesler
Farm and Ranch Guide
MANDAN, N.D. n Kevin Schmidt knows all about crop disaster and the need for a permanent disaster bill in the upcoming 2007 Farm Bill.
“Last year my corn was about as high as a thermos. It was unbelievable,” he said, showing a picture of his 2006 corn that he chops for cattle feed on his farm/ranch 11 miles south of Mandan in southcentral North Dakota.
“2006 was the worst year I’ve ever seen. The dugouts were so dry I had to haul water up to the cattle three times a day,” he added.
Schmidt was forced to liquidate cows because of the lack of feed, leaving him with about 40 less calves this year. His other crops, like the wheat that grew spindly and sparse, were totally devastated by the summer drought that touched most areas in the region, including surrounding states and many other parts of the U.S.
Korea bans beef from Dodge City Cargill plant
South Korea, Asia’s second-biggest beef importer, said it blocked a U.S. meat delivery for the second time this week after a Cargill Inc. shipment contained bones that ar e banned because of concern for mad-cow disease.
The prohibited ribs were found in a shipment of 18.1 metric tons, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry said today in an e-mailed statement. The entire shipment will be returned and the plant will be barred from shipping to South Korea, it said.
Cargill spokesman Mark Klein said there was one box of bone-in beef ribs in a 1,188-box shipment of otherwise boneless chuck produced at the company’s plant in Dodge City. Cargill will investigate and prepare a report on the inadvertent shipment for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, he said. Cargill is the second-largest U.S. beef packer.
Banned ribs were discovered earlier this week in a shipment of 15.5 tons of beef from the former Swift & Co. plant in Grand Island, Neb., which was also excluded from the market, the ministry said.
More Utah cattle shot with arrows
Reported by: Annie Cutler, ABC 4 News
There has been a second incident of cows being shot in less than a week. ABC 4 first reported six cows shot with arrows in Strawberry Valley. This time, a cow suffered similar injuries from an arrow at Hobble Creek in Springville.
A cow was shot through the back of her neck with an arrow over the weekend. It’s the latest in a string of cow shootings. Ranchers say they’re angry and appalled by this violence. Calvin Crandall, a rancher and member of the Utah Cattlemen’s Association says, “It’s like me walking up to you and just slugging you in the arm or hitting you in the nose just because you’re there.”
Ethanol plants bringing change to farming industry
The ethanol industry is growing, but it still has challenges.
According to industry leaders, corn ethanol is impacting not only corn growers, but small towns and gas stations that people use everyday.
The Bismarck Cenex station said a year or so ago, there were over 30 gas stations across the state that sold E85.
Now it said that number has dropped to 20-plus.
According to them, the reason is because getting enough ethanol out to stations at a low enough price hasn`t been working.
Today, a group of industry leaders met to discuss this problem at the state capitol.
3,000 tons of silage: It ain’t hay
Local farmers come to the aid of those hit hard by drought
By MICHAEL YODER, Staff
LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. – A steady stream of trucks has made the trip back a small dirt lane on a farm outside Atglen for the last four days, all for the cause of helping fellow farmers.
Vehicles filled to the brim with corn silage dump their loads into a 25-foot deep pit, where it will be stored until the fall. The silage comes from farms in Lancaster and Chester counties, mostly around the towns of Atglen, Parkesburg and Gap.
In all, 3,000 tons of silage — roughly the equivalent of 120 acres of corn — will end up in the pit by next week before it makes its way into the barns of Pennsylvania farmers suffering from this summer’s summer drought.
“It turned out to be quite an undertaking,” said Aldie King, a Gap resident who has overseen the project since it started on Sunday.
Farmers struggle with insurance costs
By AMY LORENTZEN
DES MOINES, Iowa — The cost of health care in the U.S. is putting a pinch on many family farmers and ranchers who struggle to pay high premiums and out-of-pocket expenses, a new report has found.
About 90 percent of the more than 2,000 farmers and ranchers who were surveyed said they had some sort of health coverage, according to the 2007 Health Insurance Survey of Farm and Ranch Operators released Thursday.
However, many complained of high premiums, and more than a quarter said high out-of-pocket insurance costs were creating financial problems, the report found.