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The Cattle Connection

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

FAQ: Cornstalk Grazing

Grazing cornstalks is arguably the best cost-saving strategy Midwestern cattlemen can deploy. I wanted to share some frequently asked questions pertaining to grazing cornstalks. Q: How long can I graze cornstalks? A: This depends on stocking rate and available dry matter to graze. The quick answer is "At 150 bushels an acre, approximately 1 acre of cornstalks are needed to feed...

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May 1 2013 turnout

Mitigating challenges of lush spring grass

Video discussion on this topic available here 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 w...

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Too Late for Frost Seeding?

Posted by Travis Meteer - Grazing Hay

The first week of March is traditionally when many in central and northern Illinois are frost seeding clover. However, this year has brought a dry, mild winter and the grass as even started to green up. It feels like spring, and the plants feel it too. The question has come up quite a bit in the last two weeks, "Is it too late to frost seed or overseed clover?" My reply is… it depends....

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Cornstalk Grazing Questions

Posted by Travis Meteer - Grazing

I have been having conversations with producers about grazing cornstalks. I wanted to share some frequently asked questions. Q: How long can I graze cornstalks? A: This depends on stocking rate and available dry matter to graze. The quick answer is "At 150 bushels an acre, approximately 1 acre of cornstalks are needed to feed the cow for 30 days. To feed the same cow on cornstal...

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Utilizing Corn Residue for Cattle Feed

The best way to utilize cornstalks is to graze them. Cattle graze selectively, looking for the more palatable feedstuffs. The more palatable parts of the plant are also more nutritious. Cattle first eat the remaining corn grain, then husks, then leaves, and finally the stalk. Cattle will eat the more digestible and higher protein portions first. Therefore, a good mineral is probably the...

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cover crop

Cover Crops for Additional Forage

Posted by Travis Meteer - Grazing Hay

Illinois is blessed with very fertile farmland. Higher land prices, soil health benefits, and the ability to grow more feed are incentives to add cover crops to a diversified farming operation. Using cover crops following cash crop production for added forage is one of the best opportunities for IL cattlemen to lower production costs. A perfect spot for cover crops is following...

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strip grazing

Stockpiling Fescue for Winter Grazing

Posted by Travis Meteer - Grazing

Cool season forages, especially fescue, are excellent candidates for stockpiling. While fescue may garner a bad reputation for endophyte issues and poor production in the summer months, fall is a time to shine for fescue. Cool temperatures in the fall negate complications with elevated body temperatures when cattle are consuming endophyte infected fescue. Re-growth in the fall is primarily gree...

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CRP hay

Be Careful Baling Pastures

Posted by Travis Meteer - Grazing Hay

While I think everyone should have some hay on hand for emergency feeding, baling pastures may not be the best option. Forecasted dry weather makes it easier in some minds to cut hay and bale it up… because it won't get rained on. However, that weather pattern is not favorable to pasture regrowth. Hot, dry weather does not favor good regrowth of cool season grasses, which make up the ma...

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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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2016 Northwest Illinois Grazing Conference Slated for March 2

Posted by Travis Meteer - Grazing

2016 Northwest Illinois Grazing Conference Slated for March 2 Join the University of Illinois Extension for the 2016 Northwest Illinois Grazing Conference on Wednesday, March 2 at Holy Cross Catholic Church, 223 E Front Ave, Stockton. The Conference will begin at 9:30 a.m. and conclude by 3:30 p.m. This year the theme is "Jump Start to a Good Year" providing timely topics to help you s...

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Research Update: RyzUpSmartGrass

Posted by Travis Meteer - Grazing Hay

For the last 5 years Ed Ballard, retired Extension, and Gary Letterly, Extension Educator, have been looking at the yield impacts of applying RyzUpSmartGrass to forages in the spring. The product works similar to a nitrogen application, however this product is primarily gibberellic acid, a natural occurring plant growth hormone. The improvements in yield and data summary is available i...

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Fall Grazing Reminders

Posted by Travis Meteer - Grazing

The 2014 grazing season has been one of the best in recent memory. Plenty of rain throughout the grazing season help push pastures to maximum production. Many of you may have a good amount of fall stockpile to utilize. Along with cornstalks, grazing further into the season is a very achievable goal this year. Let's look at some considerations for fall grazing and how they can impact you next gr...

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Prussic Acid Poisoning could be an issue with Frosted Forages

Prussic acid poisoning is caused by hydrocyanic acid. As a cyanide compound the substance can quickly kill animals. Death can occur within minutes of ingestion in some cases. Cyanide interferes with the oxygen-carrying function in the blood resulting in asphyxiation. Symptoms include staggering, difficulty breathing, convulsions, and immobility. Sorghums and sorghum sudangrass crosses a...

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Finding more Grazing Days

The current cattle market can be distracting. Record high prices, while certainly a good thing, can leave many cattlemen in a state of awe and amazement. Instead of getting caught watching high prices this fall, your time will be better spent monitoring the cost side of your cattle business. Cow/calf producers can significantly reduce costs by extending the grazing season, delaying feed...

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May 1 2013 turnout

Resting Pastures Boosts Productivity

Posted by Travis Meteer - Grazing

Arguably the most important principle in grazing management is allowing adequate rest periods. Resting pastures simply means removing the grazing pressure to allow the plant to regrow and replenish root reserves. This typically is done by moving cows to a new paddock within a pasture. Plants need rest. Plants that are overgrazed are continually asked to rob nutrients from the roots to g...

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Dudley Smith

Plan to Use Cover Crops this Fall

Farms that have both cattle and crops are best equipped to take advantage of the benefits of cover crops. Cover crops are a buzzing topic. From an agronomic side the list of benefits continues to grow with more research. Better soil tilth, soil health, soil biology, water retention, nitrogen retention, and subsequent crop yields are all becoming evident in managed cover cropping systems. The be...

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Problems in your pasture

Producers should take some time to scout pastures for poisonous plants and presence of ergot. Some poisonous plants to be on the lookout for would be: White Snakeroot Perilla Mint...

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clipped pastures

Should I clip/mow my pasture?

Posted by Travis Meteer - Grazing

A frequent question for early summer time is "Should I clip my pasture?" In most cases, the farmer is seeking a yes or no answer…and hopefully validation of their current practice. Unfortunately, the answer is somewhat dependent on your previous pasture management and current grazing system. If you have pastures with heavy weed pressure, encroaching woody species, and a predominantly co...

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Deja Vu - 2014 pastures look very similar to 2013

As we have a few weeks under our belt in the 2014 grazing season here at Orr Beef Research Center, it is apparent that the similarities to last year are numerous. The persistence of cold weather has caused a delay in pasture growth Pastures are wet, low in dry matter and very lush Some drought in the fall opened areas for weed penetration into stands...

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What is Overgrazing?

Posted by Travis Meteer - Grazing

Overgrazing is the failure to match animal grazing to forage growth and production. In most cases, cattle or any grazing animal is allowed to continuously harvest a plant without allowing the plant to feed itself. Many times overgrazing causes reduced pasture stands and forces the cattlemen to feed purchased feeds, which are expensive and result in loss of profits. The ability to ide...

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Handling Early Spring Challenges with Sacrifice Paddocks

Posted by Travis Meteer - Grazing

A long, harsh winter coupled with a slow start to spring has left many producers frustrated with where to put cows. Calving cows do not do very well in muddy lots that are already piled high with used bedding from the winter. Nor do pastures do very well with lots of foot traffic as they try to re-establish and become productive in the 2014 season. So… the logical thought is turn cows out, but...

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May 1 2013 turnout

Pastures Need Time before Spring Grazing

Posted by Travis Meteer - Grazing

Winter was one for the record books. Spring has started cool and damp and we have seen little growth of grass so far. For these reasons, it is important that cattlemen let grass get a good start this spring before grazing. Managing pastures early is arguably more important than later in the year. Sure, keeping grass vegetative, managing seed heads, and knowing forage availability are al...

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Frost Seeding Legumes

Posted by Travis Meteer - Grazing

There is no doubt that the drought of 2012 and the weather extremes of 2013 have stressed pastures. Maintaining a productive stand in your pasture is crucial for animal performance, holding feed costs down, and making the most of the productive soil you have invested in. Frost seeding clover is a good strategy to deploy to fill in wholes and weak stand areas in pastures. Red clover is t...

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hfr pair on grass

Plan for pasture productivity

Posted by Travis Meteer - Grazing

Pasture management decisions made this fall will affect how your forage performs next spring. Thus, it is important to have a plan to make the best of the situation you have. Pastures that have been overgrazed need some attention before next grazing season. Pastures that have been grubbed down will result in a reduced stand of the desired forage and open up area for weed invasion. To co...

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Frosted forage at risk for Prussic Acid Poisoning

Cool weather is setting in. Soon the first hard freeze will take place. As this happens, cattlemen need to be aware of prussic acid poisoning. Prussic acid poisoning is caused by hydrocyanic acid. As a cyanide compound the substance can quickly kill animals. Death can occur within minutes of ingestion in some cases. Cyanide interferes with the oxygen-carrying function in the blood resul...

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