Properly managed, crop residue can provide an inexpensive feed source for 60+ days.
Utilizing corn fodder residue for livestock to graze to meet their nutritional needs is a less expensive option than buying or utilizing your own stored forages. Crop residue can provide an inexpensive feed source for 65-111 days into the winter. Beef cattle can successfully graze corn residue through 4 to 6 inches of snow cover. The cows will not be able to graze stalk field that get covered in ice.
When grazing residue, the livestock will be selective grazers, first eating the grain they can find followed by husks and leaves, leaving the cobs and stalks for last. Under normal conditions there is about 1 bushel of grain per acre in the field. Increased grain can be present when there is excessive header losses or the crop goes down due to weather conditions. Excessive amounts of grain present or piles do to an equipment break down can cause grain overload that could result in bloat or death in livestock. Typically, this is not a problem unless there is more than 8-10 bushels per acre of corn on the ground. When the cows are able to graze husks, leaves, and a very small amount of grain they are able to consume a diet consisting of 52 to 55 percent total digestible nutrients (TDN) and a 5-5.5 percent crude protein diet.
Erosion, plant damage, compaction, buildup of soil nutrients, and poor performance are potential problems if winter feeding is poorly planned!
Site Selection for Winter Feeding Areas: Care needs to be taken when deciding which areas of the farm are to be utilized as winter pastures or feeding areas. Soil erosion, damage to plants, soil compaction, excessive buildup of nutrients in the soil, and poor animal performance or health are all potential problems if outdoor winter feeding is poorly planned.
Basic Needs of the Livestock: Basic needs such as access to water, adequate feed, shelter from high winds, and relatively dry soil conditions are all critical when selecting the area where the livestock will be placed. If any of these basic needs cannot be met, the outdoor wintering system will not succeed, regardless of how well it protects the environment.
Topography: Topography is important for three major reasons: drainage, risk of erosion, and protection from high winds. In general, higher ground drains best. However, high ridge tops are prone to experience high winds and should generally be avoided unless a tree line or windbreak is available. Look for Continue reading →
– James Mitchell, Livestock Marketing Specialist, University of Arkansas
USDA released the October Cattle on Feed report on Friday, October 22nd. The October 1st estimate for cattle on feed inventories for feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 head or more totaled 11.6 million, a 1.4 percent decline from last year. This month’s report is the fourth consecutive month with cattle on feed inventories below 2020. However, feedlot inventories remain 2.3 percent above 2019 levels. Overall, the feedlot situation continues to improve, albeit slower than many of us might have predicted earlier this year.
The placement data continues to provide critical insights for our fall calf market and future beef production. September feedlot placements totaled 2.163 million, a 2.9 percent decline from Continue reading →
Can cattlemen achieve the same uniformity we see in these broilers?
Perhaps you’ve heard me say before that my ancestors settled near the banks of the Sycamore Creek in 1826. Like most back then, during their first 130+ years in Fairfield County they farmed a little bit of everything while providing for each of the several generations of Smiths that followed. They had some dairy, beef, hogs, chickens, a few sheep and whatever crops it took to feed the livestock.
Like most farms back then, they grew most of their meals. In fact, around the Smith farm as recently as the late 1950’s and early 60’s, perhaps the greatest treat one of the kids could experience was being chosen to help Grandma snare an old hen to make pan fried chicken for lunch. Much like the cattle in the dairy were then, those old leghorns were a dual-purpose critter that served us well. The extra eggs were sold to the local creamery, and the spent hens had just enough muscle to Continue reading →
– Dr. Francis Fluharty, Professor and Head, Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences, College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences, University of Georgia
Presently more than 80% of U.S. cattle harvested are grading Prime and Choice.
Many all-natural programs, commercial feedlots, and cattle producers who retain ownership through the feedlot understand that weaning programs that boost the immunity of the calf by minimizing the stress of weaning are important, as weaning can have impacts on animal health, growth rate, feed efficiency, and marbling (Duffand Galyean, 2007). Cattle Fax reported at this summer’s NCBA convention in Nashville that in a recent survey nearly 30% of cow-calf producer respondents retained ownership through thefeedlot. For those producers, and anyone trying to manage calves for a premium, understanding the relationship that weaning stress and morbidity have on USDA QualityGrades is critical.
We need to understand that the days of 3% USDA Prime carcasses, and loads of 50% USDA Choice carcasses are gone. According to the . . .
– Kenny Burdine, Livestock Marketing Specialist, University of Kentucky
Earlier Josh discussed the record beef export levels that were seen for August. International trade continues to be a bright spot for cattle markets and fed cattle prices have not yet pulled back, as they often do in the fall. Note the seasonal decrease that is usually seen from summer to fall in the red line on the chart below as compared to blue line for 2021. However, calf markets have not managed to avoid their seasonal decreases, as can be seen in the KY price chart below for 550 lb steer calves. Fundamentals continue to look encouraging for improved calf markets next year, but we are seeing calf prices decline seasonally.
Calf prices make their lows in fall / early winter for several reasons. First, calf runs pick up as most spring calvers are selling weaned calves during this time. The timing on this is often Continue reading →
One of these days soon we will have a frost. There is potential for some forage toxicities and other problems that can develop after a frost. Prussic acid poisoning and high nitrates are the main concern with a few specific annual forages and several weed species, but there is also an increased risk of bloat when grazing legumes after a frost.
Nitrate accumulation in frosted forages. Freezing damage slows down metabolism in all plants, and this might result in nitrate accumulation in plants that are still growing, especially grasses like oats and other small grains, millet, and sudangrass. This build-up usually is not hazardous to grazing animals, but greenchop or hay cut right after a freeze can be more dangerous. When in doubt, send in a sample to a forage testing lab and request a nitrate before grazing or feeding the forage after a frost.
Prussic Acid Toxicity
Several forage and weed species contain compounds called cyanogenic glucosides that are converted quickly to prussic acid (i.e. hydrogen cyanide) in freeze-damaged plant tissues, or under drought conditions. Some . . .
– Josh Maples, Assistant Professor & Extension Economist, Department of Agricultural Economics, Mississippi State University
The latest estimates for beef trade were released last week by USDA ERS. These estimates included data for the month of August. Beef exports set a record during August 2021 and were 21 percent higher as compared to the same month a year ago.
Beef exports totaled 324.5 million pounds during August which is the largest monthly total on record for any month. This comes on the heels of the previous monthly record that was just set in May 2021. Beef exports have been very strong throughout 2021 as shown in the chart above. For the January-August period, exports are 21 percent higher than the Continue reading →
The United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service (USDA-ERS) released the latest Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Outlook on October 18, 2021. This monthly report provides an overview of production, use, exports, imports, and pricing. The full report is available here: https://www.ers.usda.gov/webdocs/outlooks/102400/ldp-m-328.pdf?v=1833.8. This article provides a summary of the beef outlook report.
2021 Beef Production Forecast
Because of heavier carcass weights and increased cow slaughter, USDA-ERS increased beef production to 27.8 billion pounds from the previous month’s report. The Agricultural Marketing Service collects slaughter weights each week as part of its Actual Slaughter Under Federal Inspection reports. As of September 25, the average carcass weight for cattle was 829 pounds. This is seven pounds heavier than the first four weeks of August 2021, but fourteen pounds less compared to September 2020. Dressed weights of steers and heifers were also heavier in September when compared to Continue reading →