Limit Feeding Cows

Jeff Fisher, Extension Educator; Pike County

The National Agricultural Statistics Service reports that the hay supply on farms is the lowest in history. Local and national drought conditions have resulted in the lowest hay production level per acre since 1988. Because of high grain prices, fewer acres are being devoted to hay production, and supplies will continue to be decreased in the foreseeable future. Many livestock producers have been feeding hay since mid-summer and this has resulted in inadequate hay supply and in some cases, reduced cow body condition.

There may be some excess hay inventory on farms, but producers are reluctant to sell until they are comfortably into the next grazing/haying period. The question then is: Continue reading

Feeding Beef Cows in Winter

Mark Landefeld, Agricultural Educator, Monroe County, Buckeye Hills EERA

Feeding beef cattle during the winter can be a challenging experience if being profitable is also one of your goals. Proper nutrition is a key component for a successful cow/calf operation. Cows go through many physiological changes during a year. The winter/early spring feeding period is one of the most critical times to provide adequate nutrition for the cow because of her needs at calving time.

Feed usually accounts for the single largest input cost associated with beef cattle. The winter feeding period generally becomes the largest portion of this cost. Stored feeds such as hay normally cost producers 3-5 times as much as grazing a summer pasture or stockpiled feed in a paddock, when cost is calculated. It’s therefore critical to Continue reading