With last year’s drought still fresh in our minds and the serious threat of another dry summer/fall, cattle producers have to be thinking about the stress on not only their livestock but also their pastures and forage supply. As the lack of moisture continues, forage quality and quantity has suffered. Here are a few tips and things to consider when dealing with drought stricken pasture and dwindling hay supplies:
Crystalyx supplement tubs: Crystalyx tubs can provide much needed protein and trace mineral supplementation to help improve the digestibility of low quality forages and make your pastures and fed hay last longer. Crystalyx tubs can also be used as a grazing management tool to lure cattle away from traditional loafing areas. Strategically placed tubs will draw cattle out of over grazed parts of the pasture and get them to areas that are underutilized. Crystalyx tubs can be a great tool to help stretch your forage supplies.
Creep Feed: Creep feeding calves is a strategy that has long been used to give calves a head start on supplemental feed before weaning time but this management practice has many other benefits as well. Not only does creep feed give your calves the nutrition they need to reach their full genetic potential but also can help relieve stress on pastures in drought situations. Calves on a good creep feeding program will decrease their nutritional dependence on the cows which in turn will decrease the cow’s nutritional dependence on the pastures and make for better and longer lasting pastures.
Early Weaning: Another great management practice that deserves some consideration during times of drought is early weaning calves. Weaning calves now as opposed to leaving them on the cow and out on grass can greatly effect pasture condition and forage availability later in the summer and into the fall. According to some research trials, for every 2.5 days a calf is weaned early, there is an extra 1 day of forage available for grazing.
Contact your nearest UFC location for more information on our complete line of Crystalyx supplements, creep feed programs, early weaning programs, or to visit about other management practices to deal with drought stressed pastures.