The Henry County Cattleman’s Association will meet at 6:30 p.m., Monday, April 25, at the Henry County Extension Office. We’ll start with a sponsored beef supper and then hear from sponsors ADM Feeds and Southern States. Other short topics will include our Veterinarian’s Report, FFA Update, FSA/NRCS Update, Phase I Update, and an Extension Update.
Please contact the Henry County Extension Office at 845-2811 by Friday, April 22, to register.
When I discuss farming principles with livestock producers I encourage them to think of themselves as forage farmers as well. Increased use of forage reduces feed costs and increases potential yield per animal. Using forage benefits the land by increasing organic matter and can improve nitrogen levels found in the soil. Forage production is a sustainable practice that reduces surface water runoff and slows or prevents the leaching of nutrients; forage-covered fields need less fertilizer and they protect soil year-round.
Good pasture management can enable livestock to graze on pasture for more days of the year, decreasing dependence on the higher costs associated with stored feed/hay. To increase days on pasture, farmers should first implement a rotational grazing system to allow pastures time to recover. Having two (or more) pastures and rotating stock back and forth increases the fertility of the soil by allowing the empty pasture to replenish itself.
Farmers should consider the following:
• Good planting practices. The goal is to establish strong stands of forage, using high quality seed of proven varieties and timely planting.
• Soil test. Inexpensive soil tests tell farmers how to best use lime, phosphorus, potassium, and nitrogen top dressings. This improves yield, quality, and stand life, and it also reduces weed problems.
• Nutritional needs. Cattle, horses and goats, for instance, each have different nutritional needs. These variations are further impacted by the age and use of the animal.
• Stocking rates. Grazing the right number of animals is extremely important to short- and long-term grazing success.
• Pasture alternatives. Consider grazing animals on crop residues or other plantings to fill in some of the pasture gaps left by most cool season forages.
• Legumes. Use legumes as much as possible to increase both yield and quality and reduce the need for nitrogen.
• Reduced and more efficient use of stored hay.
• Invest time to learn the principles of livestock management through programs such as Master Cattleman, Master Grazer, Horse College, and by joining associations which promote educational programs and activities.
Educational programs of the Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of race, color, sex, religion, disability or national origin.