ST. CLOUD, Minn. — On Wednesday, September 1, 2021, the Mississippi Valley Cattlemen held their annual meeting at Clint and Roxane Kathrein’s beef operation. This networking and educational program was attended by 83 beef producers from primarily Benton and Morrison Counties. Attendees gathered in the barn and listened to three speakers throughout the evening. After the introduction of the UMN Beef Team, UMN Cow-Calf Educator Dr. Mousel presented about herd management. Next, St. Louis County Educator Troy Salzer from northwest Minnesota, offered education regarding late-season forage crop options during drought. The concepts in this article were presented to beef producers in Central Minnesota but are relevant to all those adapting to the results of drought stress.
Troy’s brief presentation addressed meeting forage needs of beef herds faced with low forage supplies due to drought. He began by highlighting several forages. Troy stressed that even this late in the season, with appropriate soil fertility and adequate water, several forages can provide much-needed feed for beef animals. In these situations, everyday counts, so get planting ASAP if these options fit your operation. Fall planted oats can be fast-growing and continue after frost. In addition to the well-known option of oats, Troy also suggested the Kale, Winfred, and Turnips as less frequented, yet viable options. These forages can be fast-growing, cold hardy, and continue to grow late into fall.
Troy then proceeded to discuss winter crops targeted at coaxing some forages out of the ground before the end of the growing season. Suggestions included winter rye, winter wheat, and winter triticale. These forages may produce fall forage, but can also be planted in the early spring. If Fall of 2021 remains dry in some areas, these will still germinate in spring, but will not produce a seed head.
Though this drought has dealt the Minnesota agricultural community a challenge, the options expressed in this article are steps beef producers can take to strengthen their resiliency. The information for the above article was from the UMN Minnesota Crops News (https://z.umn.edu/UMNBeefCoverCropDrought) and collected from the speaker, Troy Salzer. Residents of Stearns, Benton, and Morrison counties can direct questions to either my email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call my desk phone at (320) 255-6169 x 3.
— Dana Adams, University of Minnesota Extension
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