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The Cattle Connection

The cattlemen's connection to timely topics, current research, and profitable management strategies

Should I buy hay or grow my own?

Posted by Travis Meteer - Hay
While cost should be the primary factor, the correct answer depends on numerous factors. The list below helps illustrate these factors. Buy Hay Limited land resources to use for hay production Busy, limited time to devote to hay production Short on labor Must purchase hay equipment, update old equipment Set-up to handle by-product/a...

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hay bale

Cost of Baling Hay

Posted by Travis Meteer - Hay
Mowing, raking, and baling. I wish hay-making was that easy. For me, that sequence is too often interrupted by cussing the weatherman, tedding, and more raking. Making hay is a consuming summer-time task. As farmers prepare to sharpen the pencil, I think it is important to look at what hay costs to produce. Every ton of hay contains approximately 40 lbs. of N, 20 lbs. of P, and 50 lbs....

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May 1 2013 turnout

Washy pastures need supplemented with dry matter, fiber, and energy.

During the winter season most cattle are supplemented with dry forages, grains, and co-products. This ration is balanced and delivered to cattle. Then spring comes along and cattle are put out to grass. While green grass solves a lot of problems associated with winter feeding (manure, pen maintenance, calf health, and labor demands), it can pose nutritional challenges. Lush, spring forage has t...

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Bulls need evaluated prior to turnout

All bulls that will be used in a breeding season need to be tested. Without a breeding soundness exam (BSE), producers are taking a huge risk. Breeding Soundness Exams are low-cost and provide a great return on investment. Bulls that are infertile or have poor fertility will fail to settle cows. Evaluating bulls is crucial to making sure that cows get bred. A BSE should be conducted eac...

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Early Spring Grazing Sets the Stage for the Entire Season

Posted by Travis Meteer - Grazing
Winter feed stores are dwindling and the urge to get cows to grass is escalating. Turning cows out on immature forages too early can have consequences. The biggest challenge is to avoid permanent damage by overgrazing. If forages are overgrazed early, permanent damage of the stand is likely. Delaying turn-out until forages have reached eight inches in height is recommended. Even more important...

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Minding your Minerals

Posted by Travis Meteer - Nutrition
Have you ever watched a person walk a tight rope? The balance and precision that it takes to make it from one side to the other is incredible. Focus and attention must be combined with talent and practice. If any small thing goes wrong… balance can be lost and the goal of making it across is gone. Mineral nutrition is a balancing act too. It is very delicate and much more fragile than o...

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Baleage: An option in better haymaking

Posted by Travis Meteer - Hay
In Illinois, spring rains can make putting up dry hay very difficult. Last year, many producers struggled to get hay up without it getting rained on. This brings me to discuss baleage as an option for hay making. It is easy to see the reasons why you should consider baleage. Making hay at higher moisture allows you to bale closer to cutting and shorten the window of dry weather needed to get h...

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