Cattle Pasture Grazing and Nutrient Management with Barrett Simon

Cattle Pasture Grazing and Nutrient Management with Barrett Simon


hello everybody this is Barrett Simon
with the Post Rock Extension District and we’re fixing to go to grass in many
parts of Kansas and my after what a tough winter and an even tougher calving
season it’s an exciting day out here with the sunshine and then you can see
some green grass starting to poke through to get back to some of those
good days where it’s kind of fun to raise livestock but with that we do
want to take a few minutes here today to just visit about some considerations
when going to grass and you know one of the main things with that is kind of
bridging the nutrient gap and I know it can be as I mentioned really exciting
we’re ready to get those pairs of spring pairs out of the lots and get them out
on here but it’s not always a cure-all and especially on pastures that have
potentially been burned and are just starting to poke back through we do have
a little bit of a nutrient gap compared to what the forage base can supply and
what our brood cows require and namely from an energy standpoint we know that
young lush green forage is really good quality offers a lot in terms of protein
however especially with all the ample moisture we’ve had we’ve got several
folks that are worried about the grass being maybe a little bit washy and as
its young and growing there’s not a lot of it and it doesn’t produce a lot of
tonnage and so while it may be pretty high-quality we do need to maybe
consider still supplementing to help meet those cows demands from an energy
standpoint and from a dry matter standpoint and as we look at you know
just your common 1,300 pound cow if she’s out and consuming two-and-a-half
percent of her body weight on a dry basis she’s going to eat roughly about
33 pounds well on a high moisture forage or a lush green grass and that’s
maybe 40 percent water or better we’re going to ask her to go and graze
55 pounds of grass at that time and for those of you that have had cows locked
up in the winter had to feed them in the past you know that they can sure eat
a lot but we don’t want to get in a situation where we’re burning more
calories and asking those cows to go chase the green grass than actually what
we’re getting back out of it and so it’s important that we
remember that it is still okay as we get out here to the start of the grazing
season and get back out to pasture for us to consider supplementing even a
low-quality filler type roughage to help them as I mention consume enough to get
enough energy to match what what the protein that they’re getting from this
young pasture but then also just to meet their simple dry matter requirement and
so where that thirteen hundred pound cow can consume thirty to thirty-five pounds
of feed on a dry basis so we know that if we don’t supplement or we don’t have
enough of a forage base out here we’re going to restrict that energy a little
bit and it all relates back to body condition scoring and ultimately our
goal as we turn bulls out here in just a few short weeks of having those cows in
an appropriate condition so that they can go out and breed up and wean a heavy
calf again for instance a cow that’s coming into the breeding season at a
body condition score six we have research that shows that through a 40
day breeding season or roughly two cycles ninety-eight percent of those
cows will have shown estrus and if all other things are correct on the cow
herd then maybe up to 90 percent of them will be bred in the first two cycles on
the flipside of that if we take a female that’s in a BCS four we’re looking at
maybe only fifty to sixty percent of those cows cycling with a much lower
forty to forty five percent of those cows being bred through the first forty
days and while I know many producers in Kansas are extending their breeding
season on up to sixty days and sometimes longer so you will pick up a few more
pregnancies from that it’s important to note that those cattle are not only
going to still have some that then get behind from a breeding
standpoint but you’re also going to have a calf crop that’s not quite as uniform
and you’re going to give up some pounds at weaning and so it is important as we
consider those things to realize that restricting energy even enough to just
affect us one body condition score per 100 cows that’s about 25 pregnancies and
so again by helping and supplementing those
cows and ensuring that we’re going into the breeding season as close to a body
condition score of five and a half or six then we’re going to have much better
results and again and later in the production cycle kind of reap those
benefits some other considerations as we turn out to this green forage base and
start thinking about that breeding season are things like if that grass is
a little washier or higher percent moisture what does that do to the
nutrients that it itself offers well it dilutes them and so especially from a
magnesium standpoint we can get ourselves into trouble with grass tetany
or milk fever as it’s commonly referred to and there’s a few things that we can
do to protect ourselves against that as well and this will commonly affect older
cows or your short and solid mouth type cows because the cow herd does have the
ability to produce and mobilize magnesium from their skeletal system
however your older cows aren’t going to be able to mobilize as much magnesium
and so they’re going to rely on a greater percentage of that being from
the forage that they consume and so with that on a washier type grass or grass
that’s a little bit more diluted in terms of magnesium and other nutrients
as well we can run into that on our running age females and so I would
encourage everybody to get with your your nutrition rep or nutritionist and
and have that conversation about potentially putting out a high mag type
mineral here leading into the late spring early summer and breeding season
and see if that can help your operation to a degree similar to how
getting cows out on grass wasn’t a cure-all for everything we faced so far
this year putting out that type of product isn’t a cure-all in this
instance either and for example we know that by adding magnesium to the mineral
product we are going to affect palatability of that product and so
while everybody’s not going to measure right down to the ounce exactly what
their mineral consumption is through the summer I would encourage you to keep a
close eye on it here early in the season as well and make sure that we’re getting
the desired consumption and make sure that those cows
are able to do that ultimately when you as the producer are paying a premium for
a specialized product we want to of course reap those benefits as well but
I’d encourage you to make sure that we’re just being stewards of the land
and to make sure that we’re stocking these pastures appropriately
and kind of following the take half leave half approach if you will and
remembering that there is a trampling effect that takes place but ultimately
if we can get those cattle off with about 50% of our forage base still
intact we’re going to take we’re going to have much more ground cover we’re
going to be taking much better care of the root system and ultimately setting
ourselves up for success and future grazing seasons as that will allow this
rangeland to kind of regenerate produce more forage again next year
and we won’t stress it out quite as much by taking it too far or too close to the
ground and the other side of that too is by leaving a little extra fuel it’ll
allow for you to to capitalize on some prescribed burning things for those of
you that like to burn or are thinking about utilizing prescribed fire we want to
make sure that we have plenty of fuel available and you can see out here this
is a pasture that’s not burned they don’t have to be burned every year but
we’d love to visit with you more about the benefits of that side and just
rangeland management as well at any time so thanks again for joining us this has
been Barrett Simon with Post Rock Extension

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