Surviving the Drought John Johns, Roy Burris and Kenny Burdine University of Kentucky
Surviving The Drought
Background • High Corn Prices • Scarce hay supply • Drought • Heat
Impact on- Summer Grazing Winter Feed Water Supply Nitrates / Poisonous Plants
What do I do to meet needs when forage quality is not the issue but forage quantity is?DROUGHT!
Assess Situation • Inventory Cattle • Inventory Feed Supply • Do the numbers match?
Animal Management Issues • Pregnancy check, cull opens • Cull older, lower producing cows • Cull problem cows, disposition, arthritic, teat, udder and feet problems.
Conduct a feed and animal inventory • Use ASC-78 as a guide • Group animals by their needs • Compare how much feed is needed vs what is on hand
Quality of Hay High Low Classes of Cattle Young Calves Weaned Calves Replacements Yearlings Bred Heifers 2-year old Cows Lactating Cows Mature Cows, last 1/3 of gestation Mature Bulls Mature Pregnant Cows, first 2/3 of gestation Allocation of Hay to Various Classes of Cattle Based on Quality
Nutritional Quality of Forages Source: Parish, Jane etal. 2007. Producer Guide to Coping with Drought Conditions
Are Alternatives Available on the Farm? • Corn that will make little or no grain yield • Chop it as silage • Do not graze or roll it for hay due to nitrates • Soybeans that will not set a bean • Graze or roll as hay, prevent bloat if grazing • Cut and roll when all leaves are still green
Soybeans for Hay or Silage • For silage, harvest at R6 stage • May need to wilt after cutting • Forage beans yield 3-4 tons/ac of DM • Grain beans yield 2-3 tons/ac of DM • Animals do not like the silage, eat 20% less than corn silage
Soybeans for Hay or Silage • Hay may need to be harvested at a little earlier stage • Should be conditioned to crush stem or hard to cure • If too mature at cutting, will lose bean due to conditioning • May have feeding loss of up to 20% due to stem refusal
Baling or Grazing Corn Stalks • 120 bu corn = 4 to 5 tons residue/acre • Cows consume grain, leaves, husks, cobs, stalks in order • 1 acre of stalks = 30 days grazing/cow with mineral, protein supplementation • Should be strip grazed • Baling leaves much of the best (grain, leaves, husks) in the field
Corn Stalks • High Nitrates have been detected • Low quality feed • Requires protein and energy supplementation • Considerable waste in feeding • Stores poorly
What can I pay for silage? • Based on previous estimate, hay costs $142.65 per cow to winter • How many tons of corn silage will it take to winter them? => 3.06 tons • You can pay $46.62 per ton of corn silage if hay is $100 per ton
Nutrient dense feeds such as grains, commodities, etc., are cheaper per unit of nutrient compared to hay.Be sure and compare on a dry matter basis.
Stretch Hay with Supplement Feed the hay on hand and buy supplement • Corn will replace hay at the rate of 1.0 lb. Corn can replace 2.0 lb. of hay
Economics of Corn vs. Hay to Cows *Assumes 130 day winter feeding period
Assuming 130 Day Winter Feeding • Corn based may be cheaper if hay price exceeds $93 per ton • Even if hay is cheaper, what is the goal • Do we want to minimize costs, or maximize profit? • What is the value of a 21 lb increase in weaning weight and a 7% increase in conception rate?
Value of Increased Production *613# @ $100 / cwt, 634# @ $98 / cow
Moisture content Nutrient profile Storage Contaminants Economics Availability Transportation Limitations
Soy Hulls • Excellent palatability • Less starch content than grains; therefore, less negative effect on forage utilization • Safer, less incidence of founder
Corn Gluten • By-product of soft drink industry • May be wet or dried • Corn gluten “feed” is around 22-25% CP; corn gluten meal is about 60% CP • Low starch
Corn Gluten Feed • High level of Sulfur (around 0.6%) • Limit to 50% of DMI due to its high sulfur content (Cu deficiency and polio)