Assuming more rainfall comes to the Southern Plains states in the weeks ahead, wheat pasture is likely to be a key source of protein and energy for cow herds by late November and early December. Nathan Anderson, Payne County Oklahoma Extension director and agricultural educator, said limited grazing of wheat pasture has proven to be one of the most efficient approaches for using this high-quality forage with mature beef cows.
“The protein requirements of a dry cow can be met by allowing her to graze on wheat pasture for one day and returning her to dry pasture grass or hay for the subsequent two days to three days,” he said. “A pattern of one day on wheat and one day off should meet the protein needs of the same cow after calving.”
The ability of cattle ranchers in central Florida to partner with public water agencies in developing sustainable practices was recently showcased to representatives of the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB). Representatives from four continents comprising beef producers, processors, retailers and other organizations working toward continuous improvement in sustainable practices in the beef industry met at the Archbold Biological Station near Venus, Fla., for GRSB’s semi-annual executive board meeting in early October.
Feed hay in the fall and save the new green grass for winter is a plan that can result in more feed for drought-stressed cow herds. University of Missouri Extension specialists urge continued feeding of hay to allow pastures to rebuild root reserves to prepare grass for strong growth next spring.
“It’s tempting to turn cows onto new fall growth when rains return after a drought,” says Rob Kallenbach, MU forage specialist.
There’s another reason to hold off, says Justin Sexten, MU beef nutritionist. Cows will need high-quality grass when winter brings wet and cold weather. The grass growing this fall can be stockpiled in pastures for winter grazing.
While the drought is having a profound impact on crop production, thanks to ethanol production there is a larger and more flexible corn supply than was available during previous droughts of this magnitude.
“A USDA report confirms what we already knew that the drought’s impact on supply and price will be felt by corn consumers around the world,” stated Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) Executive Director Monte Shaw.
The following list from the IRFA gives 10 ways that ethanol production helps livestock farmers during the 2012 drought.