Beef Tips

Tag: forage quality

Preparing for the winter – focus on forage

by Jaymelynn Farney, Beef Systems Specialist, Parsons

Mother nature has been rather fickle for the past 365 days, in Kansas we have seen flooding, droughts, blizzards, extreme heat, extreme winds, and hail, to name some of the biggest events.  According to Kansas Mesonet data there was 15 inches of rainfall (October 1, 2018 to October 1, 2019) in Grant county (Southwest; average annual rainfall 12 inches) while Parsons (Southeast; average annual rainfall 42 inches) has seen 70 inches of rainfall in that same time period.  With all these extremes in weather, our forages have shown quite a bit of variability in quality. Continue reading “Preparing for the winter – focus on forage”

Counting the Cost of Silage Losses in your Operation

By Mike Brouk, ruminant nutritionist

Silage is often the base forage for the diets of growing cattle and the cow herd.  This past year, due to the drought, thousands of acres of drought-stricken corn and sorghum were harvested as silage.  A hidden cost of silage is associated with the shrink due to fermentation, storage, and feedout.  Total shrink from harvest through feeding can result in the loss of 5 to 40% of the dry matter harvested.  This is generally a hidden cost on most operations due to the lack of accurate records to measure shrink.  However, a few basic principles can help reduce losses. Continue reading “Counting the Cost of Silage Losses in your Operation”

Management of Mold and Quality Issues of Late-Harvested Forages

By Sandy Johnson, Extension Beef Specialist, Colby, Steve Ensley, DVM, K-State Veterinary Diagnostic Lab, and John Holman, Agronomy, Garden City

In some areas of Kansas, summer moisture produced good tonnage of forage sorghum and other forages intended for winter livestock feeding. Heavy windrows extended drying time and some forage that was on the ground for weeks received both rain and snow. As a result, much of that forage had evidence of mold. In heavy windrows, the mold may have only been on the top and bottom of the windrow with the center well preserved. In other cases, and especially in thin windrows, the hay may be moldy throughout and the leaves and stalks nearly black. In some reports, mold was bad enough to turn equipment black during baling. Continue reading “Management of Mold and Quality Issues of Late-Harvested Forages”