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Beef Cattle Tips-October 2014

October 8, 2014

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General Cattle Tips:

  • Observe cattle closely for signs of Anaplasmosis. Extreme caution should be taken when approaching these cattle due to their tendency for aggression. Also, stress must be kept to a minimum when trying to administer treatment to prevent collapse and sudden death. Early detection is essential.
  • Monitor cattle closely for any signs of lameness. Fall is a very common time for foot rot and interdigital dermatitis. Foot rot can extend deep into the tissues and, therefore, early treatment is critical for recovery.

Tips for Spring Calving Herds:

  • Weaned feeder calves can be implanted and all retained calves given access to supplements fortified with Bovatec, Gainpro or Rumesin to improve weight gain. These products work independently from the implants and each result in a 10% or more increase in growth performance.
  • Now is a good time to sort cows into winter feeding groups. Cows should be grouped according to stage of production and/or body condition score (BCS). Cows in thin body condition will require additional supplementation to make sure they are in a BCS 5 to 6 by calving.
  • Average quality hay in Arkansas (12% protein and 54% TDN) is adequate in nutrient composition for non-lactating cows that are in moderate to good body condition.
  • Plan replacement heifer development program. Heifer should be fed to achieve 55 to 65% of mature weight by breeding. Estimate mature weight can be from cow size records or heifer frame size (frame size x 75 + 800 = estimated mature weight).
  • Purebred breeders should consider bull development programs to aid in yearling performance evaluation. On-farm bull test or bull station performance test can provide growth data and possibly feed efficiency data for a contemporary group of bulls that will aid in genetic selection.
  • Pregnancy test cows. It is very expensive to feed an open cow.
  • Vaccinate heifers for Brucellosis.
  • Forage test hay to determine nutrient value. This will provided much needed information when determining the proper supplementation program.
  • Provide free choice mineral and fresh water.
  • Cull open, old and non-performance cows and heifers.

Tips for Fall Calving Herds:

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  • Evaluate sire(s) for fall breeding season. If you use AI, now is the time to order semen.
  • Perform breeding soundness exam (BSE) and Trichomoniasis testing on breeding bulls.
  • Fall calving cows need to be monitored closely for calving difficulties. Facilities and equipment need to be readily available for dystocia.
  • Be sure newborn calves receive adequate amounts of colostrum for proper disease protection. Care of newborn calves include dip navels, ear tag, castrate, etc.
  • Body condition score cow. Cows should be in BCS 5 to 6 at the time of calving.
  • Forage test hay to determine nutrient value. This will provided much needed information when determining the proper supplementation program.
  • Provide free choice mineral and fresh water.
  • Fall calving cows need to be monitored closely for calving difficulties. Facilities and equipment need to be readily available to deal with dystocias. Make sure that newborn calves receive adequate colostrum to provide proper disease protection.

Forage /Grazing Management Tips:

  • Take soil samples
  • Strip graze warm-season stockpiled forages
  • Plant winter annual and clovers in warm-season grass sod
  • Defer grazing of stockpiled cool-season grasses until late November or early December.
  • Plant clover in short-grazed fescue early October

Pasture management

  • Start implementing long-term management during cooler months
    • Fence building and repair
    • Selecting of pastures that are slated for renovation within the next 12 months
    • Setup of grazing cells and watering devices
    • Soil fertility management
      • Long-term correction of pH and mineral imbalances
      • Take soil samples from areas that are to be renovated
      •  Apply lime if needed
      • Plant winter annuals between mid-October to early November for grazing in February or early March.

Grazing management

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  • Graze out crabgrass before a killing frost
    • Crabgrass becomes very unpalatable after a killing frost and is usually avoided by grazing animals.
  • Rotational graze cool season perennial grasses by mid to end of October or when canopy height reaches at least 6 inches
  • Turnips can be grazed approximately 45-60 days after planting
    • Livestock must acquire taste
    • Strip graze to increase forage utilization
    • If Managing for re-growth
      • Better suited for Turnip or Turnip hybrid than Rape
      • Increases yield potential
      • Begin grazing at 14-16 inches
      • Terminate grazing at 6-8 inches
  •    If Managing for stockpile
    • Better suited for Rape than Turnip
  •   Graze out by January 1
  • Begin strip grazing stockpiled bermudagrass
    • Strip grazing improves forage utilization and may double the number of grazing days compared to continuous grazing.
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