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The Cattle Connection

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

Don't buy the Trojan Horse

Drought in different areas of the United States has moved many cows hundreds of miles from origin. In many cases cows are under-valued in drought areas due to lack of water and low winter feed supplies. As a result, many times even with higher freight costs cows can be bought cheaper out of drought areas compared to local markets. I think it is important to realize that cows from different area...

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rolling the dice

High risk feeds require management

The drought has left a lasting mark in several ways; one being our winter feeds. These feeds were likely prepared during the drought. In large, producers will deal with high-risk and low quality feedstuffs this winter. Without caution and planning, you are just rolling the dice. So what high risk feeds do you have and how do you manage them correctly? Forages stressed in the drought...

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chopping silage

Drought Stressed Corn for Cattle Feed

Harvesting of drought stressed corn silage has begun on numerous Illinois farms. Many more acres will follow in the coming weeks. With more than 71% of the state in extreme drought, farmers are looking to salvage a failed corn crop as livestock feed. It is important to remember that drought stressed corn is likely high in nitrates. Testing for nitrates is strongly recommended. In the past...

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soybean hay

Drought Management: Soybean Hay

Posted by Travis Meteer - Drought Hay

Livestock producers around the state are looking to salvage ruined crops for livestock feed. Refer to previous posts to explore using drought stressed corn for corn silage. A month ago we knew the corn was suffering and that there would be yield problems, but we were holding out hope for the bean crop. Now those hopes are fading as well and producers are asking "Can I mow and bale my soybeans f...

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silage drought

Pricing Drought-Stressed Corn for Corn Silage

It is easy to see that many portions of the Illinois corn crop will be hurt badly from the drought. A prolonged and intensifying drought coupled with extremely high temperatures the last two weeks has punished this corn crop. The "good" corn will certainly be low in yield and some corn has failed to pollinate or even put on an ear. These different circumstances have farmers scrambling for optio...

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cows drinking water

Drought Management: Water

Posted by Travis Meteer - Drought

The dry weather has certainly taken a toll on pastures, crops, and water sources. It is important to remember water is as important as other nutrients to maintaining proper animal function and performance. A number of factors are involved with the water require...

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drought stressed field

Drought ravished forages a potential danger to livestock

Drought conditions have depleted many pastures and reduced hay yields. Thus producers naturally want to use low-producing grain crops as replacement feedstuffs. But not so fast...The drought conditions have plants in survival mode. Sometimes these built-in survival tactics in plants can be deadly to livestock. Nitrate levels are known to increase in drought-stricken forages. Due to lack...

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cows eating a mixture of DGS and hay

Management in a Drought: Part 4

One thing that distinguishes a successful producer from his peers is the ability to adapt and respond to changes. Changes in weather and forage availability are many times out of our hands, but how we react to those changes can be the difference in profit or loss. Supplementing cows with alternative feedstuffs during a drought is a common practice. Harvested forages, su...

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Angus cow calf

Management in a Drought: Part 3

Early weaning (EW) is a management strategy that can alleviate grazing pressure on pastures. EW can be the necessary decision to keep from feeding cows all summer or having to liquidate cows due to lack of forage. Maddox (1965) suggested that by the time a calf reaches 120 days of age, more than half of the calf's energy requirement comes from sources other than milk. T...

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100 0060

Management in a Drought: Part 1

Posted by Travis Meteer - Drought

We were thankful yesterday to see rain clouds here at the Orr Research Center, but we would have certainly welcomed them to stay a lot longer. Much of Illinois has experienced some level of drought stress this spring. The lack of moisture has definitely had a negative effect on pastures. We are accustom to heavier stocking rates and more plentiful forages in the spring in the Corn Belt....

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