Cow/Calf Drought Adjustments

“In our pastures we see a lot more problems with weeds, lot more problems, we’ve had with sand burrs showing up.”

“We’re seeing weaker stands of grass.”

Larry Herd is a rancher who holds a PhD in animal nutrition and has made some changes in his cattle operation. One thing he’s tried to do is decrease the feeding period.

“You know if we can grow some rye grass, and with the recent rains we’ve got a pretty good stand that are started in a lot of places and hopefully will be, we should be grazing rye grass in another ten days.”

Herd also took a close look at calving dates.

“If that cow calves in August, she’s going to really start producing her milk, her nutritional demands will really increase in September and October. Well normally, that’s the worst time of the year as far as nutrition level.”

Calving dates were moved to October and November.

“Just that movement of thirty to forty five days has made it a lot easier to basically keep our body condition scores one to two points higher going into the winter. You know, I’ve got a cow calving and her body condition score is five or six in October, instead of a cow in October having a calf on her and already at a body condition score of four.”

Weaning dates were left the same, so that cows nursed calves 30 days less.

“We still wean about late June or early July, so the calves are maybe a month younger, but I didn’t see a lot of difference in my weaning weights, maybe a little, but since we ‘re feeding our cattle all the way through ‘til slaughter, we can find of make up for some of that when they hit the feed yard.”

In agriculture, making appropriate adjustments can be the difference between success and failure. I’m Joe Brown, looking at Brazos Valley agriculture, From the Ground Up.

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