TIMELY TIPS FOR JULY
T H E P R O C E S S A N D T Y I N G YO U R S H O E S – M A N A G I N G T H E D E TA I L S KEVIN LAURENT University of Kentucky
Being a diehard LSU football fan, the first Saturday in November for the last eight years have been pretty rough and Nick Saban and Alabama have been the reason. What makes this worse is I get to annually spend this weekend with all my friends and coworkers at the NAILE. That Sunday morning walk into the South Wing of the KFEC has not been very enjoyable. Let’s just say my “friends” have not been very comforting. Maybe a similar example for UK basketball fans could be the John Wooden UCLA teams of the 70’s. The accomplishments of great coaches like Saban and Wooden are not accidental. Books have been written and countless interviews have attempted to explore and determine the secrets of their success. At the end of the day, the common theme is their attention to detail and the focus on getting better each and every day. Saban’s methods have become known as “The Process”. It’s his belief that methodical preparation on a daily basis is the key to success. Coach Wooden took his attention to detail to the minute level. If you haven’t heard the story, do a web search for “how to tie your shoes” by John Wooden. Every player on arrival to UCLA was instructed in not only tying their shoes but also in the proper way to put on their socks. Now that’s detail! Attention to detail in the management of our cattle operations could also pay dividends especially during this period of depressed prices. Daily details include checking the cow herd regularly, catching foot rot or pinkeye early, maintaining water supplies and mineral feeders, rotating pastures on a timely basis, to name a few. The following is a mix of timely details and big picture items that can be considered this summer. 1. Establish a grazing cell. Take advantage of this wet weather and forage growth by practicing some form of rotational grazing on at least a part of the farm. This could be as simple as dividing a large pasture with existing water into 3-4 paddocks. This will allow growth to accumulate elsewhere and be used 54
if we have a dry spell, when cows are weaned, or even later in the winter. An investment of $500 -$1000 will buy a lot of high quality tread in posts and 9 strand polywire that will last 5-10 years. 2. Test your soil and test your hay. Test now so proper plans can be made for late summer/fall fertilization and the winter feeding program. Enter your hay test results in the UK Beef Cow Forage Supplement Tool (http:// forage-supplement-tool.ca.uky.edu/) to easily determine your supplementation needs. Often, supplements can be prepurchased in the summer at a discount to winter prices. 3. Evaluate your calves. As summer progresses ride through the herd and cast a critical eye on the quality of the calf crop. Are most of the calves large and medium frame 1s and 2s? If not, a new bull could be the first step in improving the situation. If you are not comfortable making this evaluation find someone who is. If a new bull is needed, and you are currently calving year round, selling the old bull sometime in late summer will be the first real step in establishing a calving season. 4. Prepare your calves for marketing. Castrate and dehorn calves prior to weaning. Discounts for 500-600 lb. bulls have averaged $11/cwt since 2010. That’s more than $50 per head. Realize that when prices trend down, discounts usually trend higher. Consider weaning and preconditioning calves before selling. Talk to your local ANR agent or KBN facilitator about enrolling in the new PVAP-Precondition program. Hopefully this summer timely rains will continue, the market will rebound and feed prices will not get too high. Here’s hoping that your calves and grass will continue to grow and who knows, maybe this November might be the year. My son-in law has promised that if UK and LSU play for the SEC Championship in football that he will buy the tickets. Hey, it could happen! COW COUNTRY •
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Spring-Calving Cow Herd • Remove bulls from the cow herd by the end of the month and keep them away from the cows. A short calving season can concentrate labor during the calving season; group calves by age so that it is easier to find a convenient time to vaccinate, castrate, dehorn, etc.; and provide a more uniform group of calves at market time. • Mid-July (when the bulls are being removed) is a good time to deworm cattle, use a product that is effective against inhibited ostertagia. Reimplant calves which were implanted at birth if the type of implant and amount of time indicate. Calves which haven’t been vaccinated for blackleg should be. Spraying or using a pour-on for flies while cattle are gathered can supplement other fly control methods. Remember to work cattle early in the morning when it is cool and handle them gently to minimize stress. • Watch for pinkeye and treat if necessary. Minimize problems by clipping pastures, controlling face flies and providing shade. Monitor the bulls’ activity and physical condition as the breeding season winds down. • Fescue pastures tend to go dormant in July and August, so look for alternatives like warm season grasses during this period of time. Try to keep the young calves gaining weight. Go to pastures which have been cut for hay to have higher quality re-growth when it is available. • Consider cutting warm season grass pastures for hay, if reserves have not been restored yet. Fall-Calving Cow Herd • De-worm cows in mid-July with a product that is effective against inhibited ostertagia. • Fall-calving cows should be dry and pregnant now. Their nutrient needs are minimal and they can be maintained on poor pasture to
avoid over fattening. Keep a good free-choice mineral mix available at all times. You can use a lower phosphorus mineral supplement now, if you want to save a little money. These cows are regaining body condition after a long winter feeding period. • Get ready for fall calving and plan to have good pasture available at calving and through the breeding season. Stockers • Sell heavier grazing cattle before rate of gain decreases or they get into a heavyweight category. This will also relieve grazing pressure as pasture growth diminishes. They can be replaced with lightweight calves after pastures recover. • Lighter cattle which are kept on pasture need to be rotated to grasslegume or warm-season grass pastures to maintain a desirable level of performance. Re-implant these calves and deworm with a product that is effective against inhibited ostertagia. General • Check pastures for downed wild cherry trees after storms (wilted wild cherry leaves are toxic to cattle). • Be sure that clean water is always available, especially in hot weather. Make routine checks of the water supply. Cattle need 13 to 20 gallons of clean water in hot weather. Cattle should have access to shade. • Maintain a weed control program in permanent pastures and continue to “spot-spray” thistle, honey locust, etc. • Have forage analyses conducted on spring-cut hay and have large, round bales covered. Begin planning the winter feeding program now. Most of the hay was cut late due to a wet spring. • Start soil testing pastures to determine fertilization needs for this fall.
• A P U B L I C AT I O N O F T H E K E N T U C K Y C AT T L E M E N ’ S A S S O C I AT I O N