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Agricultural News for Farmers and Agribusiness in SW Georgia

Archive for the ‘Livestock’ Category

How Much Hay?

Posted by romeethredge on November 24, 2015

Calculating Winter Hay Needs
By Sam Ingram Effingham County CEA
“It was my understanding that there would be no MATH!”
To begin the process of calculating the hay inventory  needed for the winter, a producer does not need to do math! The first step is simple, send a forage sample in to a  certified lab to determine the forage quality. The cost of  this analysis is minimal and the lab does the math for you!  The quality of the forage will determine the amount needed  during the winter feeding period.
Once the producer receives and understands the forage quality analysis, they then can determine how much hay they will need to supplement. A simple example below shows how a producer can determine their hay needs.

A producer has 50 mature brood cows at 1,200 lbs., 2 bulls at 2,000 lbs and 10 weaned replacement heifers at 500 lbs.

If we assume these animals must consume 2.5% of their bodyweight per day, we can say that:
 Brood Cows will require 1500 lbs./day (= 1200 lbs X 2.5 lbs of DM/100lb of b.w. X 50 brood cows) 
 Bulls will require 100 lbs./day (= 2000 lbs X 2.5 lbs of DM/100lb of b.w. X 2 Bulls)  
 Yearling Heifers will require 125 lbs./day (= 500 lbs X 2.5 lbs of DM/100lb of b.w. X 10 Heifers) 
So, daily hay required would be 1725 lbs. of dry hay (that is at 0% moisture or on a dry matter basis).
The calculation of 1725 lbs. of forage is on a dry matter basis. This means that if we bale the hay or receive hay at 85% Dry Matter (DM), 15 % is water and we do not account for that during feeding. So, a 1,000 lb. bale at 85% DM, would be 850 lbs. on a dry matter basis.
To continue on the calculation we need to estimate our feeding period. For this example we will say a producer needs to feed 120 days.  So, if we multiply this number by our daily requirement we get an estimation of 120 days X 1725 lbs. = 207,000 lbs. of DM.  If we assume the producer has 85% DM hay, then the as fed total would be approximately 244,000 lbs.
To account for storage loss and feeding loss (assuming barn stored and fed with a hay ring), we can conservatively add another 15% to the “as fed” total and get a total of 280,600 lbs.  In this situation, for this moderate size herd, we need roughly 280 – 1,000 lb. round rolls of hay.  
Now, depending on where the producer’s brood cows are in their calving season during the winter feeding period will determine if further supplementation is needed. A great option to decrease the need for stored forage or hay is to grow some high quality winter annual grasses.  A cow is much more cost-effective at harvesting forages than we are with machinery and these annual grasses can save time producing and feeding hay.
In the end a producer needs to be thinking about his or her current hay inventory and start calculating for this coming winter. With current grain prices, a concentrate supplement may work out to stretch hay more cost-effectively. Either way, a producer needs to start planning their winter feeding program now, to avoid overpaying for any forage or supplement when supplies get tight.

Posted in Forages, Livestock | Leave a Comment »

Forage Soybeans

Posted by romeethredge on September 18, 2015

I was surprised this week when asked to look at some soybeans , I got to the field and the grower, Brad Trawick, said he was growing them for forage.

 I said, “You mean for cow feed?”

They look real good. We have some photos here.


Forage soybeans are typically harvested for hay or silage; however, they can be used for late summer temporary grazing. Since they do not regrow once defoliated, strip-grazing (or frontal grazing) is the most efficient use. Soybean forage is fairly digestible (up to 60 percent) and moderately high in CP (17 to 19 percent). Stem size can be reduced, thus increasing digestibility, if seeding rates of 90 to 120 lbs. of seed per acre are used.

Planting late-maturing varieties (maturity groups 6, 7 or 8) from early May to early June will result in forage soybean production best suited for high yields. Shorter periods of growth, such as part of a double- or triple-crop system, can be accommodated with early-maturing varieties. However, productivity is expected to be substantially less.

Dr. John Bernard,UGA Scientist, has the following advice.  Forage soybean can work as silage and the leaf loss is significantly reduced, but the sugar content is limited making it harder to get a good fermentation.  Certainly would benefit from using an inoculate when ensiled.

Soybeans has been one of those crops that gets some attention and then seems to fade away.  Some have had good yields but others have not been satisfied with the yield compared with millet or sorghum.

It’s good to get a forage analysis (CP, NDF, NDF digestibility, fat, and minerals minimum)

If used for hay it make a good hay that’s high in protein.  It’s  a challenge to let it dry enough so that it doesn’t go through a heat and even catch fire, but you need some moisture in it or you will loose the leaves and not get them into the bale. If it’s baled too quickly after cutting then it can heat up and the proteins can be bound and it won’t be as good a feed.  A hay preservative such as Potassium Sorbate may be used to help with this problem. Using a mower that crimps the stalk will help, too. The stalk is often the hardest thing to get dry.

Perhaps mixing an annual grass with the soybeans when planting to help get the leaves into the baler without loosing them on the ground may help.

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Posted in Agriculture, Forages, Livestock, Soybeans | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

UGA Grazing School In Carrolton

Posted by romeethredge on September 4, 2015

Here is info on the Grazing School coming up . For more info … (Click here to view the agenda register online.

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Posted in Forages, Livestock | Leave a Comment »

Bermudagrass Stem Maggot

Posted by romeethredge on July 20, 2015

We have been seeing and getting reports of bermudagrass stem maggot damage all across the southern 2/3 of Georgia. Most folks have cut their second cutting and many have started on their third cut. I took the photo below of damage last week.

Dr Dennis Hancock, UGA Extension forage scientist, gives this report, “I’ve had a fairly sizeable number of Agents reporting that they have producers who have gotten 3-8 inches of regrowth on their third cut’s regrowth, only to have it stunted by the BSM. This is often enough regrowth (>6 inches) to shade the base of the bermudagrass such that it won’t try to grow through the damage. As such, this is the worst case scenario, and the only thing for it is to clip the bermudagrass back and use an insecticide to suppress the BSM population long enough for the bermudagrass to grow up.


Following the recommendations found here (, many producers have successfully used a pyrethroid to suppress the BSM fly populations. But, timing is CRITICAL! Producers spraying 7-10 days after the previous crop was mowed have found that this one application will protect the crop at least until it is 3-4 weeks old.

Meaning: the second spray is not likely to be needed. By the time it gets 3-4 weeks old, the damage done to the top 2-3 leaves at that point would not be enough to justify the cost of the spray and the damage done by the spray rig driving across the field. If it is 3-4 weeks old and starting to show signs of damage, it would be better to harvest the crop and protect the regrowth.

Also, keep in mind that the more susceptible varieties  are common, Alicia, Coastal, Russell, and Tifton 44.”

Posted in Agriculture, Forages, Livestock | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Perennial Peanut Field Day 6-6-15

Posted by romeethredge on May 11, 2015

There is a good Perennial Peanut Field day coming up in Marianna, Florida. For the details go to the Panhandle Ag News.

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Posted in Forages, Livestock | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Horse Education in Albany, Ga

Posted by romeethredge on April 17, 2015

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Posted in Livestock | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Avian Influenza Update

Posted by romeethredge on April 13, 2015

If you would like more information about this Avian disease, please email me for the full update. ( )


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Stinging Nettle Flourishing Now

Posted by romeethredge on April 1, 2015

I’m seeing some of Stinging Nettle that is flourishing now in pastures. It is mainly found in shady areas. Don’t touch it!!

Here’s some I saw last week in a pasture, under an oak tree on the fencerow. It’s the lighter green growth here mixed in with the grass and clover.  I tried to tell this heifer to avoid it but she wouldn’t listen. Go to my earlier post for a closeup view of this nasty weed, Stinging nettle closeup. They say it has some medicinal properties, but I’d stay away from it.


Posted in Livestock, Weeds | Tagged: , | 4 Comments »

Grow More Hay

Posted by romeethredge on March 23, 2015

I’ve had a couple of growers lately say that hay is a profitable part of their farm and they would like to grow more of it per acre. Here’s a great meeting to go to to get some good hay and forage growing information.  Go to Georgia and click on upcoming events. It’s on April fool’s day but it’s no joke.

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Posted in Agriculture, Forages, Livestock | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Supplemental Cattle Feeding

Posted by romeethredge on March 11, 2015

Many cattlemen are having to feed more hay than expected due to poor establishment of winter annuals, poor growth of winter annuals due to cold/wet conditions, issues with Barley Yellow Dwarf Virus, leaching rains etc.  Hay is hard to find. We are getting down to marginal to bad quality hay, so cattle feed supplementation is needed.

Here’s some information about supplemental feeding from UGA Livestock Scientists, Jacob Segers and Lawton Stewart.   Most cattle producers are close to finishing calving (winter/spring calving herds), or in the later half of lactation (fall calving herds).

Considering the situation, we put together 2 tables of potential supplements for cattle/forage combinations.

This first table is using readily available feeds from AFG Feed here in Donalsonville. The second table is for use with other feed sources.

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Please note:

  • These are general and can be fine-tuned with a forage report and knowing the actual supplements available.

  • Most urea-based liquid feeds, blocks, and tubs should provide adequate nutrients if the suggested supplement is 3.5 lb/hd/d or less for brood cows.  These feeds are not recommended for calves under 500 lb.

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Posted in Agriculture, Cattle, Livestock | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »


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