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Timely tips for cattle producers

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By Steve Moore

Over the past couple of weeks as we got some dry conditions, a tremendous amount of grass based hay was cut and baled. Remember to get a forage analysis with KDA by contacting them at 1-800-248-2648. 
With the regular cow herd, keep a good pasture mineral mix available at all times.  Observe the cows and bulls as the breeding season continues! 

Watch bulls for injury or lameness and change bulls if a high percentage of cows are returning to heat.  This is a critical time for getting cows bred.  Cows should be on good pasture with clover and preferably low endophyte levels in fescue for the spring breeding season.  Keep pastures vegetative by clipping or making hay.  Cows should have abundant shade and water; heat stress can ruin the breeding season.

Keep pastures small for rotational grazing so that nutritive quality can be maintained.  They should be small enough so cattle do not graze longer than a week.  As the season progresses, you need several paddocks to give each properly stocked pasture about four weeks’ rest.  Clip grazed-over pastures for weed control and so that seed heads do not irritate eyes. Pastures should be kept in a vegetative state for best quality.

Control flies.  Consider changing insecticides and/or methods of control this year, because insecticide resistant flies may have developed if you have used the same chemical year after year. 

Preventing/Controlling pinkeye measures include:  vaccinating,  controlling flies,  clipping tall, mature grass,   treating problems quickly.
Maintain a clean water supply and check it routinely.  Water is extremely important in hot weather.

Don’t forget
Cattle Producers are reminded of the Cattleman’s Meeting at 7 p.m., Monday, June 27, at the Henry County Extension Office.  A great beef meal, fellowship and enlightenment are in store.  Please contact the Henry County Extension Office at 845-2811 by Friday, June 24.
American forage and grasslands

I had the chance last week to attend one day of the American Forage and Grassland Council Annual Conference at French Lick, Ind.  One of the educational sessions I attended contained this nugget:  In this area of the country, fescue is still the best and easiest forage to use for extending the grazing season, and alfalfa is still the best forage species for both yield and quality.  If we didn’t have these things already, I’d likely be encouraging folks to try them.  Since we do have them, I will continue to promote maximizing their full potential with tried and true practices like soil testing and proper fertility, proper harvest management for highest quality, and improved grazing management for better yield and quality, and stockpiling for extending the grazing season. 

I also had the chance to see a young couple from Hart County represent Kentucky in the AFGC Forage Spokesperson contest.  They described their managed grazing farm operation, using very little equipment and working toward year long grazing.  Amidst very good competition from other states, our Kentucky couple won!  It made me proudly think back twenty years ago when another good Kentucky farm couple, Larry and Carolyn Jeffries of Henry County, won the very first AFGC Spokesperson contest.  

They soon become national leaders in the forage industry, with Larry serving as the AFGC President.