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Northern Illinois Agriculture

University of Illinois Extension
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What about the livestock?

Posted by Russel Higgins -

2012 has been an exceptionally challenging year for livestock producers in Northern Illinois. Limited rainfall has literally caused pastures to "burn up". Predominant grass pastures have gone into dormancy and hungry cows, sheep and goats are searching pastures for anything edible, including potentially toxic plants. A number of questions have been asked

  • Can row crops be harvested as emergency forages?
  • How great a concern are nitrates in a drought year?
  • Are there any late season options for emergency forages?
  • How can I supplement my forages?
  • Can I get more out of my pasture in a drought year?
  • Do I need to be concerned about toxic/poisonous plants in my pastures?

Many questions facing producers have been addressed in recent weeks by Travis Meteer and his resources within the Department of Animal Sciences at the University of Illinois. Travis is a Beef Cattle Educator with University of Illinois Extension. He holds a master's degree in ruminant nutrition and a bachelor's degree in animal science from the University of Illinois. He is located at the Orr Agricultural Research and Demonstration Center near Perry.

Answers to the previous questions can be found in the livestock section of the Illinois Drought Resources website

Additional information can be found on Travis's web site,

All Illinois Counties have been approved for 2012 Emergency Haying & Grazing of certain CRP Acreages, effective after August 1. Check with your local FSA office to confirm your farms eligibility before harvesting.

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