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.