Summer Water Requirements for Cattle

Rory Lewandowski, Extension Educator, Ag/NR Athens County

As I write this article in May, we are already experiencing temperatures in the upper 80’s combined with scare rainfall. There are creeks dry in May that haven’t been dry in May in a long time. It may turn out to be a hot, dry summer. Water may become an issue in some pasture situations. While we often talk a lot about nutrition, forage quality, and mineral needs, water is sometimes taken for granted, almost overlooked. Yet water is the most essential nutrient for livestock production. Cattle can survive for a number of days, even up to weeks without food, but will die within a few days without water. Assuming that the goal of most cattle producers is more than just cattle survival, it is important that cattle receive a sufficient quantity of water each day to maximize feed intake, produce milk for the calf, and maintain a healthy reproductive cycle. Continue reading

Grazing Livestock Affects Pasture Fertility

Rory Lewandowski, Extension Educator, Athens County

At the February Ohio Forage and Grasslands Council annual conference, Dr. Dave Barker, an Ohio State University forage specialist, presented some of the research he is doing regarding the effects of livestock grazing upon pasture fertility. Probably the main message that came across in his presentation was that animals move nutrients. Grazing animals move nutrients within a pasture paddock, between pasture paddocks and move nutrients off the farm as animal product. One of the main effects of grazing from a pasture fertility standpoint is to concentrate nutrients into patches through urine and manure deposition. Continue reading