Pasture Management; It’s All About Maximizing the Grazing Season!

– Victor Shelton, NRCS State Agronomist/Grazing Specialist

They might make good pies, but blackberries in a pasture can reduce grazeable acres.

Winter is setting in. The impact of the dry spell in late summer and early fall is now more evident as stockpiled forages that normally would have lasted a bit longer start running short. I’ve walked most of my pastures to do a quick assessment. Hay will come early this year.

That “walkabout” helped me assess a few areas that could use a little attention besides estimating any remaining forage. A couple blackberry patches in one field certainly got my attention. Long, wet springs seem to be to their liking. I will certainly have to put a bit more pressure on them this coming year and probably clip or spray early to get them under control. Small patches where they were denser created too much competition for sunlight and water for the underlying forages and they were set back. When the canopy of perennial or annual weeds start exceeding more than thirty percent, you will have reduced forage growth and I also believe reduced nutritional value to some degree.

When it comes to briars, grazing intake is also going to be Continue reading

Beef Heifer Development series posted on-line

Heifers retained this year will impact the economic performance of the herd for at least the next decade!

A six part presentation series discussing management strategies surrounding Beef Heifer Development has been posted on-line in the OSU Extension Beef Team Resource Library page.

Most beef producers replace 10-20% of their mature cows each year with heifers. The unique challenge that each cow/calf producer is faced with is that they are anticipating the future biological and economic performance of their herd for perhaps the next decade when replacement heifers are selected. Thus, each management decision made during the development phase of a beef replacement heifer will impact profitability for years to come.

In the six video presentations housed on the Beef Heifer Development page, OSU Extension Beef Specialist Steve Boyles details management strategies and considerations as replacement heifers are bred for, selected, developed, bred themselves, and ultimately re-bred for the first time.

The series of video presentations as well as the written PDF versions can be reached at your leisure directly through the Beef Heifer Development page.

Weaning Diet Options

– Justin Sexten, Ph.D., Director, CAB Supply Development

Spring calving herds, depending on rainfall and temperatures, may be weeks or months away from weaning. For many operations, that will bring the challenge of feeding weaned calves for a short transition period. That’s when nutrition is critical to end-product quality, because it influences both marbling development and calf health, which in turn also affects later quality grade. You may find local forages in short supply if your herd has had to deal with hot, dry weather this summer. One of the few “opportunities” that presents is evaluating alternative forage feeding strategies that may otherwise go untried.

You have to weigh the possible benefits as well as cost for any forage. Although many consider forage relatively inexpensive on a per-pound basis, it’s virtually always the most expensive per Continue reading