Boosts for livestock reproduction 0
Minerals are important for the reproductive performance of livestock.
Trace minerals, along with calcium and phosphorous are required in order to maintain productivity, health and reproductive efficiency in cattle. The trace minerals copper, manganese, zinc, iodine, cobalt and selenium are all important for livestock. Care must be taken when supplementing minerals as large amounts can cause toxicity.
Trace mineral deficiencies may not noticeably affect growth performance but drastically affect breeding and reproductive performance. Trace minerals are closely involved with the cow's ability to cycle and rebreed after calving. If trace minerals are deficient it will take animals longer to show heat after calving, and fewer animals will catch within the first cycle.
Phosphorous requirements increase by 50% after calving and is known as the fertility mineral. A deficiency can severely affect reproductive performance and the length of time it takes for a cow to rebreed. It is important to have proper mineral supplements available to animals prior to breeding and during the breeding season.
Home and Garden Weed Control
A common problem in pasture, hayfields, lawns and parks at this time of year is the yellow flowered, perennial, broad-leafed weed, dandelion. If left uncontrolled this weed which belongs to the sunflower family spreads quickly by seed.
New plants can develop from the 6" taproot, making it difficult to eliminate by digging it out of lawns. Using herbicides such as Tri-kill, Par III , or Premium 3-way that contain 2,4-D, Mecoprop, and Dicamba are effective when used early in spring or late in the fall. They can safely be used in grasses to selectively control the broadleaf weeds. Another perennial weed, quackgrass, spreads by underground rhizomes.
Hoeing, hand pulling, or mowing removes only top growth allowing plants to regrow from the roots. Glyphosate will translocate into the roots and can be used in the non-selective control of most broadleaf and grassy weeds including quackgrass.
Use caution when spraying non-selective herbicides such as glyphosate as everything it contacts will be killed. Remember to use pesticides safely, always follow the label and only use if necessary.
2012 Guide to Crop Protection
The recent moisture and heat is allowing for rapid crop and weed growth. That means spray season has begun to get rid of the unwanted yield robbing pests found in crops. The Guide to Crop Protection provides current information on the use of herbicides, fungicides and insecticides for control of weeds, plant diseases and insects.
Always refer to the product label for application details and precautions. Sections covered in the guide include weed control, plant disease control, foliar fungicides, insect control, metric conversion, economic thresholds, crop staging and more. New pesticides come out every year and your crops are too valuable to use last year's guide. A limited number of copies are still available at the Portage MAFRI Office.
Spring Pasture Management
After feeding the cows all winter for 6-7 months most producers are anxious in the spring to send the cows to pasture. Most cows after eating the same stored hay all winter long are ready to eat fresh green forage when it first starts to grow.
Even though the cows and the farmers are ready for the grass, be sure the grass is ready for the cows.
A cow nursing a young calf has its highest nutritional demands in the first 3-4 months after calving. The cow has to produce milk, recover from calving, maintain condition and prepare for re-breeding. The energy, protein, vitamin, mineral and dry matter requirements for a cow are at its peak during this period. A 1400 lb. cow requires approximately 35 lbs. of dry matter averaging 11-12% protein, low to mid 60's in energy, vitamins and mineral. As fed, this equals 41 lbs of good quality hay at 15% moisture. How much fresh grass on pasture needs to be consumed? Since new forage growth in the spring is high in moisture averaging 80-85% a cow would have to consume 175 - 233 lbs. to meet her nutritional requirements. Chances are consumption will not be adequate if grass growth is minimal.
There are several factors to consider when turning the cows out to pasture before the grass is ready. If the animals nutritional needs can't be met milk production will be lower affecting calf gains. Cows may not cycle properly causing them to be bred late or not at all. Early in the spring slow growing forages initial growth is from root reserves. The plants can't capture the sun's energy until green leaves are present. Once the leaves get bigger photosynthesis kicks into high gear speeding up growth allowing plants to recharge the roots to remain healthy and productive. The bottom line is forages grazed too early in the spring will be less productive all season long.
Rotational Grazing & Tame Forages
Healthy, rotationally grazed pastures that haven't been over grazed the previous season will grow quicker in the spring and produce more grass overall. Most tame forages will green up faster than native forages and are higher yielding. Pastures ungrazed in late summer allowing forages to stockpile can provide a jumpstart on early season grazing. Producers using a multi paddock grazing system should move the cattle faster when the forages are growing quickly so regrowth isn't grazed. When the forage growth slows in mid-summer the cattle can be moved more slowly. Fast growth equals fast moving, slow growth equals slow moving.
Pasture management involves watching the grass growth all season long to balance the livestock needs with the forage production. A moderate stocking rate will optimize livestock gain/acre and keep the forages healthy. High stocking rates that cause over grazing and plant health deterioration will lead to a decline in overall beef production. Remember grass equals beef, but it has to be ready before the cows are.
For more information, contact the Portage MAFRI office at 239-3353.