Seminole Crop E News

Agricultural News for Farmers and Agribusiness in SW Georgia

Posts Tagged ‘cattle’

Is Grazing Ready for Cattle?

Posted by romeethredge on October 29, 2015

A hard question to answer is when is grazing ready for cattle. Yesterday these cattle seemed to be telling me, ” We’re tired of eating this hay and old grass, when can we get some of that good grazing across the fence?”


Here’s Decatur County agent Kyle Brown, as he and I were checking out this field of oats mixed with rye. We were measuring the height of the growth here to try to give the farmer some advice concerning when to let the cattle in to eat.


Here are some good thoughts from UGA Extension forage scientist, Dr. Dennis Handcock. Deciding when to let the cattle in is really where the “art” of grazing comes in. In general, the earlier one starts grazing, the more damage will be done to the pasture’s growth potential. It is a function of the growth curve. In that early stage (lag phase), when growth is slow or just beginning to get going good, grazing can essentially stop growth or slow it to a crawl. It is like a bank account with some principal in it. The more principal one has, the more growth in the account one will get. The growth rate is like compounding interest. Grass grows grass. Take away principal (grass), and the amount of growth will decrease.

So, that’s enough professor talk… Practically speaking, one really shouldn’t start grazing until there is at least 1800-2500 lbs of DM/acre, though I would wait a little later on oats as they’ll slow growing in December (particularly if it becomes very cold). For rye, that would be about 5-6 inches. For ryegrass, I’d wait until it is at least 6 inches. For oats, I’d wait until it is about 6-8 inches. The ideal would be to only graze it a little… removing just what it’s average growth rate is and maintaining at least 1500-1800 lbs DM/acre. This is why I am a BIG fan of timed (limit) grazing.

Remember… don’t be too quick to graze. Grazing too early can cost one more in the long run.


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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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Cattle and the Cold Weather

Posted by romeethredge on February 20, 2015

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Implanting Cattle Misconceptions

Posted by romeethredge on January 29, 2015

 Here’s a good article dispelling myths concerning implanting cattle.  _DSC0088


What has two thumbs and wants to turn $2 into $50??? THIS GUY!

If nothing else, I got you to stop and read this first sentence, or at least look at the figures. Implanting cattle is not a new technology, its been around for years. It has the potential to add 3-5% more pounds to your calf crop, yet fewer and fewer producers are employing the practice. WHY? Unfortunately, we as producers are faced with battling myths and urban legends about the food we provide. Although there is no science behind it, we are faced with the stigma of hormones in beef, and the resulting “natural beef” that many are producing to satisfy this concern. We figured now would be a good time to review what we know about implanting since we’re entering the time of year when winter/spring born calves are ready for this practice.

What are implants? Implants are small pellets that contain a growth stimulant that is slowly released over a period of time. Implants work by increasing circulating levels of somatotropin and insulin-like growth-factor 1. These compounds are produced naturally by the animal and control mechanisms that regulate growth and feed efficiency. Implants are available for nursing calves, stocker calves and/or finishing cattle. Bulls calves intended for breeding stock and replacement heifers should not be implanted.

Do implants improve performance? The simple answer is “yes”. A summary of several research studies revealed that implanting steer calves only once improved daily gains by 0.10 pounds per day, and implanting twice (the second implant would be administered 70-100 days after the first) increased daily gains by 0.13 pounds per day when compared to calves receiving no implants. This resulted in an average response of 5.3% increase in gain of calves at weaning for one implant, and a 6.2% increase for two implants.

Does pay to implant? Again, the simple answer is “yes”. For example, assume an implanted calf on the cow gains and additional 5%. At weaning, a non-implanted calf would weigh 600 lb, so its implanted counterpart would weigh 630 lb. In today’s market, if we consider $2.00/lb value, that would add an extra $60 in value to that calf. All of this for an approximate input cost of less than $2 per head for the implant and the labor. Another way to look at it is that you would need to receive a $58+ premium for the non-implanted calf through a natural program to eliminate this technology.SECA 2015

Is it safe for the consumer? Once more, the simple answer is “yes”. The public concern is focused on the increased estrogenic activity caused by the consumption of beef from an implanted animal. First, there is no such thing as “hormone-free beef”. Hormones are present in all biogogical food sources, whether it’s animal or plant, implanted or not. Table 1 illustrates the estrogenic activity of common foods. This clearly shows the safety of this practice, as it applies to human health.

So hopefully this helps explain the benefits of utilizing implants in cattle. There are several available commercially, and a specific applicator is needed for this practice.

This article originally posted in the  Southeast Cattle Advisor. There’s lots of good stuff to read there.

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Cattle Prices still Good

Posted by romeethredge on June 27, 2014

Given the record-high feeder cattle prices we are experiencing, many cattle producers may be interested in ways to manage their price risk.  To help aid in this thought process, three new extension bulletins dealing with beef cattle marketing and risk management have recently been published.  They are:

All of these publications are written with the intent of helping you learn more about feeder cattle risk management and include several examples of how to use these tools.

Thanks to Curt Lacy , UGA Extension Ag Economist.

We went by the sale at Seminole Stockyard on Wednesday, photo below, and there were lots of mama cows for sale and some calves and others too. They are still selling high.


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Beef Cattle Conference Coming up

Posted by romeethredge on May 29, 2014

This is the link for more information about this conference.


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Small Grains for Cattle Grazing

Posted by romeethredge on November 1, 2013

Small grains being grown for grazing are looking good. They are needing water in most cases, and some fields have needed caterpillar sprays but there are even some where the cattle are feeding already.  This field of rye looks like a carpet, except for the scattered corn plants.


This calf is waiting to be soon moved from the Bermuda ,with her mama, to the lush winter grazing nearby. He had a good, built in mask for Halloween last night.


Here’s some information partly from Bobby Smith of UGA Extension:


is probably the most popular small grain for winter annual pastures in Georgia. It is the earliest maturing and most cold-hardy small grain species. Seedlings are more drought and heat tolerant than wheat or oats and fall forage production is superior to wheat. Rye has generally matured and is ready to till by mid to late April in the Coastal Plain. This early maturity makes rye an excellent winter forage on cropland that will be planted to corn next spring. A minimum of two bushels of rye should be planted per acre.


is another popular small grain for winter forage production. Seed can be cheaper than rye, but this varies from year to year. Wheat is also a cold hardy species and is later maturing than rye; however, wheat produces less fall forage than rye or oats. One problem with planting too much wheat for grazing or cover crop is that you can build disease that may affect future wheat grain crops. Peanut and cotton fields can be planted in wheat without interfering with spring planting. At least two bushels of wheat should be planted per acre.


are also an option for winter grazing. Oats are highly palatable, but are the least cold tolerant of the winter annuals. Stands can be thinned or lost in cold weather which can limit the productivity of oats in northern areas of the state. Risk of forage losses from winter kill can be minimized by mixing oats with more cold hardy small grains like wheat or rye. Oats are similar to wheat in maturity. Four bushels of oats should be planted per acre.

Annual ryegrass

is the latest maturing of the winter annual grasses and can be grazed until early June in some areas of the state with favorable moisture. This late spring production results in excellent overall forage yield, but can delay greenup of Bermuda grass. If spring ryegrass growth is not managed, Bermuda grass stands can be severely thinned from shading. Ryegrass may generate a small amount of forage in late fall when planted on clean-tilled land, but this production is extremely dependent on favorable rainfall and temperature. Ryegrass can be damaged in cold weather, and cold tolerance varies among varieties.  If a row crop will follow ryegrass it may be a problem to burn down. Twenty to thirty pounds of ryegrass should be no-till planted or broadcast per acre.

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Deep South Stocker Conference

Posted by romeethredge on June 19, 2013

August 8-9, 2013   Athens, GA

The  fifth annual Deep South Stocker Conference is headed to Georgia.  This year’s conference will be held August 8-9, 2013 in Athens and Watkinsville.  Click on the location tab to the left for location details.  This conference is a  joint effort between the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, the Mississippi State University Extension Service, and the  University of Georgia Cooperative Extension.

This year’s conference will be a two-day event with live animal demonstrations and hands-on opportunities on Thursdays, August 8, and  educational seminars Friday, August 9.  Additionally, this year’s conference will be held in conjunction with Georgia Grazing School ( This will give producers an opportunity for up to three days of hands-on, demonstration, and classroom learning opportunities. Registration for each event is separate.  The Deep South Stocker Conference registration will cost $125/person and will cover all seminars, events, meals, and handouts for the two-day event.  Additionally, a trade show will be held in conjunction with the conference to allow stocker operators the opportunity to network with industry professionals and to become aware of products and services that can improve their profitably and product quality.

Go to this site for more info.

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Forages Conference

Posted by romeethredge on March 30, 2013

A great forage conference will be held next week in Perry, Ga. Here’s the schedule of events. For registration information, go to this link.

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2013 Seminole County Steer and Heifer Show

Posted by romeethredge on March 2, 2013

_DSC3504The 2013 Seminole County Young Farmer’s Steer and Heifer Show was a success today and these young people and their families worked hard with their animals this year.

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