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Timely tips for cattlemen

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By Steve Moore

Here are a few tips from the UK Beef Cattle group for management of the beef herd at this time of year. 
For spring calvers, body condition is important, so plan an adequate winter program for cows to be at least body condition score 5 (carrying enough flesh to cover the ribs) before the calving and breeding season.  This will help them to breed early in the spring.  Thin cows should be fed to regain body condition prior to winter.
Begin feeding the lowest quality forage to dry cows that are in good condition during early winter and save the best hay for calving time or for weaned calves.
Order and number ear tags for next year’s calf crop this winter. 
Request a 2011 Beef IRM calendar from the County Extension Office.  We should be getting our requested supply soon.
Consider putting down geotextile fabric and covering with gravel in feeding areas to minimize waste of expensive hay.
Pasture Appraisal and Recovery
We are organizing a Pasture Appraisal and Recovery program meeting from 10 a.m. to noon, Feb. 2, at the Shelby County Extension Office. This meeting will feature UK Forage and Weed Control Specialists Dr. Ray Smith and Dr. Bill Witt.  During the session, producers will learn how and when to look for signs of problems and weaknesses in their pasture and hay fields.  Once the situation is appraised, then the discussion will turn to how to renew and reinvigorate those forage producing stands.
Forages at KCA
Last week I mentioned the combined annual conferences to be held in Lexington Jan. 14.  The Kentucky Horse Council and the Burley Tobacco Growers Association will meet in the Lexington Convention Center at the same time as the Kentucky Cattleman’s Association, giving many local folks the rare opportunity to commit one day and get a chance to network with many others with like interests. In addition to a combined Ag Industry Show, both cattle producers and Horse enthusiasts will be able to attend the popular ‘Forages at KCA’ session Friday afternoon. Topics will include hay for horses, endophyte issues, weed control, prussic acid and bloat problems.