November Tips for Beef Cattle/Forage Producers
Tips for Fall Calving Herds:
- Have bulls tested for breeding soundness. Remember 20% (1 out of 5) bulls fail breeding soundness examination.
- Any bull changing ownership within the State of Arkansas shall have a negative trichomoniasis test within 30 days prior to change of ownership with no exposure to females from 7 days prior to the test at the time of change of ownership. The test must be conducted by a licensed veterinarian. An exception to the rule is a virgin bull less than 24 months of age. For addition questions, contact the Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission.
- Fall calving season should be coming to an end.
- Vaccinate cows prior to the breeding season.
- Breed heifers 20 to 30 days before the mature cow breeding season.
- Check cow's and heifer's body condition. It is very important to maintain body condition through the lactating period and breeding season to ensure high re-breeding rates.
- Provide free choice mineral.
- Care of newborn calf-dip navels, ear tag, castrate, etc.
Tips for Spring Calving Herds:
- Monitor heifers for spring calving season. Heifer should be calving 20 to 30 days before the mature cows. Monitor heifer's body condition, etc. Heifers should weigh 85% of their mature weight at calving.
- Prepare for spring calving season. Make a list of equipment to ensure that when a problem arises, you will be ready. Items on your list may include: OB gloves, OB lubricant, esophageal feeder, bottle and nipple, chain straps/chains, calf puller, sterile syringes and needles, batteries for flashlight or spotlight, old rags or blankets, toolbox to keep calving equipment in, colostrum replacement, electrolytes, Oxytocin, etc.
Forage/Grazing Management Tips:
- Take soil samples to monitor soil P, K, and pH.
- Stockpiled bermudagrass.
- Use grazing methods that avoid trampling of forage and ensure high forage utilization, such as strip grazing. Strip grazing improves forage utilization and may double the number of grazing days compared to continuous grazing.
- Graze out stockpiled bermuda by mid to late December.
- Stockpiled fescue
- Begin grazing mid to late November.
- Use grazing methods that avoid trampling of forage and ensure high forage utilization, such as strip grazing.
- Winter annual small grains/ryegrass.
- Begin grazing once canopy reaches height of 8 inches.
- Use grazing methods that avoid trampling of forage and ensure high forage utilization, such as rotational grazing or limit-grazing (limiting cow access time to annuals).
- Under limit-grazing, cows are routinely pastured on dormant pasture or fed hay in a dry-lot, but are allowed to eat their fill from a limited-access winter annual pasture several times per week.
- Research demonstrated, limit-grazing of beef cows and calves on a mixture of wheat/rye/ryegrass (planted at 0.2 acre of per head) for two days per week produced the same cow, calf, and rebreeding performance as cows fed unlimited hay plus a supplement.
- Limit-grazed cows also consumed 30 percent less hay during the winter feeding period.
- Fact Sheet 3064
- Protect hay when feeding to reduce waste. Feed hay in rings to reduce hay waste. Unrolling hay increases hay waste unless it is done on a limit- feeding basis.
- Consider using a temporary electric fence wire to reduce waste from trampling and increase utilization of the hay.
- Unroll the bale, then string up an electrified polywire down the length of the line of hay. Place the wire about 30 inches high over the hay. Cattle will line up as if eating at a feed bunk.
- It is very important to forage test each cutting of hay. Knowing the nutrient values (crude protein and TDN) of each cutting of hay will determine the proper supplemental feed and the amount to feed. In addition, knowing which cutting is the highest quality, it can be fed to the group of cows with the highest nutritional demand (i.e., first calf heifers or lactating cows).
For more information on any of the above topics contact the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service at 425-2335.
By Mark Keaton
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture
Media Contact: Mark Keaton
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
3 East 9th St. Mountain Home AR 72653
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