Selecting the “Right” Legume
K.D. Johnson, Extension Forage Specialist, Department of Agronomy, Purdue University
High yield and quality are the goals of anyone growing hay and pasture crops. Research and experience show that one way these goals can be achieved is with the use of nitrogen-producing legumes, either alone or in combination with grasses.
A Minnesota study confirms the yield advantages of legumes and legume mixtures over pure grass stands (Table 1). Produced under the same conditions, alfalfa or alfalfa-grass combination was shown to give the best results. Grass alone did not begin to match the legume or mixture yields unless fertilized with 100-200 pounds of nitrogen per acre. Similar results would be expected under Indiana conditions.
Merely adding a legume to grass does not, however, guarantee better quality and yield. But chances are it will if it’s the highest producing species capable of thriving in a given field.
Harvesting Corn Residue
Ohio State University Extension
In recent years cattlemen have become more interested in harvesting and utilizing corn residue. Factors contributing to this greater interest have included higher hay and feed costs, more acres in row crops and the availability of large balers and stackers that can effectively harvest corn residue.
Now an important new situation exists. Producers who participate in U.S.D.A. programs now must maintain 30% ground residue cover until after the succeeding crop has been planted the following spring. This plant residue helps reduce soil erosion during the winter and through to the establishment of the new crop. If significant corn residue is removed, a fall planted cover crop or modifications in type of spring tillage and planting may be necessary to preserve the needed 30% ground cover. Conservation provisions in the 1985 and 1990 farm bills require compliance in order for growers to participate in Crop Support Payments, Storage Loans, Federal Crop Insurance, FHA loans and other Federal programs.
Cattle grazing of corn residue may still be possible since animals seldom consume more than 20-25% of the stover. A 100 bushel/acre grain yield should result in 6000 lbs. field residue with 9000 lbs. for a 150 bushel grain crop. Sufficient residue should remain over winter to provide necessary spring cover. This is especially true where adequate stands of taller growing corn hybrids are utilized and cattle grazing is limited to consumption of unharvested grain, leaves and husks. These tender plant tissues generally decompose rapidly so they are not present in large quantities the following spring.
Cut this fall, or protect for winter?
Depending on summer and early fall rainfall, you may be treated to fields of tall, lush, leafy alfalfa in September and October. Taking a fourth or fifth cutting may be tempting, particularly with high feed prices across the board this year.
But could a late-year windfall this year spell damaged stands come spring? Possibly, says Pennsylvania State University agronomy researcher Marvin Hall.
Cattle Identification: State Premises Registration Stats As Of 7/2/2007
Price Insure Or Hedge?
By Larry Stalcup
With the unheard-of volatility in corn prices and a virtual guarantee that high-cost feed won’t go away, cow-calf producers might be wise to consider some sort of price protection to ensure against a wreck waiting to happen.
USDA’s Livestock Risk Protection (LRP) may be the safest form of price protection available. But forward contracting to lock in a price, or cross-hedging calves using feeder-cattle futures, may also work.
Ranchers have to admit they’ve had it pretty good price-wise for calves, at least until corn burst the bubble for all sectors. Now, they must worry about what those calves will be worth in the ethanol frenzy.
Is There Value Added Through Cross-Breeding or is Heterosis Just a Theory?
MFA Health Track
Editor’s note: this article appeared yester with the wrong URL. It had been corrected today
I am not here to argue one side of the fence or the other on this issue, but I am going to offer some food for thought to get you started. Scholars say that the advantages gained through cross-breeding, which is termed heterosis, are the result of different alleles pairing up throughout an animal’s genetic sequence. My over-simplified interpretation as a country boy, described in country boy language, is that you get heterosis by mating non-related animals. To take it one step further, the more different the parents the more advantage or heterosis that can be gained.
Cattle Health: Bovine Viral Diarrhea (BVD) Control Procedures
1. Implement an effective immunization program
a. Vaccinate heifers initially with a modified-live BVD vaccine
b. Booster in 2-4 weeks with a modified-live or killed BVD product
c. Booster annually (MLV to open animals only), or semi-annually (killed).
d. Depending on vaccination history, all purchased animals should be vaccinated
against BVD at least once, and possibly twice.
e. Store and handle all vaccines according to label recommendations