While livestock producers know that moldy grain and forage are not ideal feedstuffs, they also know that stored feed occasionally contains a small amount of visible mold, and that their animals consume it with no obvious adverse effects. The question arises, how much mold is too much for a feed to be unsuitable for animals?
Yardage cost is the non-feed cost per head for every day that an animal is fed harvested feed in some form of confinement. Yardage is usually associated with calves and yearlings in the feedlot, but this concept can apply to drylotted or wintering cows as well.
Recently, cattle producers and veterinarians have become more concerned with the possible ingestion of net wrap or twine from hay bales and the negative impacts it could have on cattle health and performance.
I was approached by a cattle producer about efficiently removing net wrap. As many of you know, net wrap has its advantages as well as disadvantages, but is largely used as a hay binding material.
Fall is on its way in South Dakota. However, with many flooded and saturated fields, some producers are growing concerned that there will be little opportunity to harvest silage before corn dries down past desired moisture levels or frost occurs.
A key advantage to using commodities that meet standard specifications and are frequently traded is that it is very easy to establish an economic value that is accepted by most users. The marketplace sets the value of corn, and other feedstuffs on a daily basis, provided those products meet some set of standard specifications.
As the first frost date approaches, producers often have concerns about the risk of prussic acid poisoning in livestock. Certain forage plants, especially sorghums and related species are associated with an increased risk of death loss because of prussic acid poisoning.
Broadacre spraying of pastures is intended to reduce undesirable plants and increase grasses for livestock. This practice often results in unintended consequences, including damage and reduction of native forbs and reduced profitability. One approach to managing perceived “weedy” plants is incorporating different species of livestock into a grazing operation.
What do we do if it is time to wean calves, but the pen isn’t ready? That can be a real concern during wet fall seasons, such as 2019. Putting calves into muddy pen conditions is far from desirable, but holding calves on the cows deep into fall increases the risk of adverse winter weather and tends to pull body condition off the cows.
2019 has been a year fraught with challenges for ranchers across South Dakota. Abundant precipitation is usually a blessing, however, wet conditions coupled with a cool spring followed by warmer temperatures has caused another problem across the rangelands of South Dakota: ergot poisoning.