Kansas State University’s Beef Systems Specialist Jaymelynn Farney is investigating how cattle choose what to eat.
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Environmental conditions have handed a mixed bag to stocker cattle producers this year.
Stocker cattle need adequate forage to get them to the next level in the production cycle as feeder cattle or replacement heifers, and there are numerous paths a producer can embark on.
James Rogers, Noble Research Institute pasture and range associate professor, Ardmore, Oklahoma, is running a number of projects researching what might work for stocker operations, including cover crops and quick-developing crops.
The first is a stocker cattle grazing study where researchers are incorporating a summer cover crop into a winter wheat pasture system. Both the cover crops and wheat are grazed with stocker cattle.
“The project is set up examining combinations of tillage treatments (conventional versus no-till) and summer cover crop treatments (present or absent) on 5-acre paddocks that are replicated five times,” Rogers said.
Noble also has three small plot studies that show various combinations of summer cover crops and the effects on subsequent small grain forage production due to cover crop termination date, cover crop seeding rate and planting green or no termination of the cover crop.
“Our focus is to determine the effects of summer cover crops on subsequent forage production of small grain pasture that will be used for stocker cattle grazing,” Rogers said. “We also are measuring the soil health effects of summer cover crops on soil moisture, soil bulk density, water infiltration, forage yield, soil microbial activity and soil nutrient content.”
Rogers also looks at the dollars and cents of adding cover crops the grazing system over the two years they’ve collected data, with a third year in progress.
“We are having difficulty obtaining enough grazing days for the summer stocker cattle to pay for the cost of the cover crop,” he said. “They have helped to offset cover crop costs but not covered them.”
In the research program they’ve averaged around 40 to 50 days of cover crop grazing but need 60 to 90 days.
“The last couple years, we have experienced rains through May which delays planting, and then a dry June which delays cover crop development,” he said. “We have been turning in cattle on the cover crops in July, then taking them off in early September to get ready for winter pasture establishment.”
Calf health, weaning strategies and the Beef Quality Assurance program are among the topics on the agenda for the April 17 Weaning and Stocker Health Workshop at the Livestock and Forestry Research Station in Batesville, part of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.
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Cattlemen talking to cattlemen is always a big part of the annual Beef Stocker Field Day, and this year was no exception. Dale Blasi, K-State Extension specialist, even set up shaded areas for these conversations to take place at this year’s event held Sept. 25 in Manhattan, Kansas. However,…
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Frank Hinkson is a seedstock producer from Cottonwood Falls, Kansas, who has noticed an upward trend in customers looking for more docility in their cattle herds. Knowing that genetics plays a role, he added disposition to his list of culling factors. This video news is provided by CAB and t…