Prep for dry conditions

Cattle producers are bracing for a hot, dry, summer

Todd Gleason has some tips for beef cattle producers thinking about how to handle grazing and feed needs. (web.extension.illinois.edu)

URBANA, Ill. — Summer is about to arrive and it looks like it might be a dry one. Todd Gleason has some tips for beef cattle producers thinking about how to handle grazing and feed needs.

The rains are coming now in fits and starts. Most are bracing for a hot, dry, summer. Though it hasn’t come to that, yet. Travis Meteer says beef cattle producers need to think ahead and begin to plan how to manage their pastures and their feed needs. The first item on the list is NOT to leave the herd on any one pasture for too long.

Meteer: The best thing producers can do is to speed up that rotation, not hitting those pastures so hard. Remember, what is above ground is very reflective of the root base. So, if we continue to take off more up top, then we are really taxing the root base down below. Fewer roots means less capability to reach down and grab moisture from our subsoil layers. We do not want to over graze. We want to move quickly to keep the residual growth there on top, which would be reflective of maintaining that root base.

That’s step one in the dry season prep process says the University of Illinois Beef Cattle Specialist. Step two, says Meteer, is to lay in feed supplies.

Meteer : I think right now you must look at dry feedstuffs because you aren’t quite sure what to do. So, while there may be some local buys in terms of wet commodities, if you don’t have the ability to feed those up in a timely manner there could be some spoilage. So, look at those dry feedstuffs; corn gluten feed, soybean hulls, maybe even corn. Some folks still have corn in the bin, and there maybe an opportunity to feed that corn if we do break into a spell of dry weather.

Meteer says this is especially true as the price of corn remains low, and an attractive buy for livestock feeders.

— Travis Meteer, Extension Beef Specialist – University of Illinois and Todd E. Gleason, Farm Broadcaster

For more news from Illinois, click here.

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