Prussic acid poisoning occurs when livestock graze certain plants that contain cyanide-producing compounds. Such species include, but are not limited to, sorghum, sudangrass, sorghum-sudan hybrids, Johnsongrass, and wild cherry. Cyanide can interfere with oxygen utilization in livestock, especially if consumed in large amounts.
Testing your forages can be a useful tool to minimize feeding costs while maximizing animal production. Forage testing provides the nutritional value of pasture, hay, or silage. It is important to know the quality and nutrient content of feed to calculate an efficient feed ration and mineral supplementation program.
Beef calves often experience stress during the time of weaning, and limiting this stress can help daily gain. Four main types of stress affect calves: physical, environmental, nutritional, and social. These issues can be avoided or at least minimized with proper calf weaning.
As temperatures continue to decrease, it is important to know and understand how various species of forages react to frosts and freezes in order to best utilize these forages and to avoid possible health problems. Freezing changes the metabolism and composition of plants.
A frost or freeze can greatly affect how one uses alfalfa later in the year. Although frost-damaged alfalfa is not toxic, one should be cautious when grazing alfalfa after a hard freeze (less than 25˚F) as the threat of bloat increases after the freeze. Once wilting starts, risk of bloat is reduced.
Cyanide poisoning, more commonly referred to as prussic acid poisoning, can have a very abrupt and deadly effect on ruminant livestock grazing forages and requires careful management as frosts and freezes begin in the area.
The amount of pasture acres has decreased in Kentucky the last several years while the amount of row crop acres has increased. With this increase in row crop acres, grazing cover crops in cropping rotations has generated some interest.
Grazing remaining residue following corn harvest is one way to extend the grazing season and lower feed costs. Winter feed costs are the largest expense and grazing corn residues offers a way to significantly reduce those costs.
Many options exist to provide quality grazing during seasons when many common forages have gone dormant. Some non-traditional forages can provide high quality grazing throughout the early fall, late winter, early spring, or hot summer months.
We are close to the point where some livestock farmers would start to apply nitrogen to tall fescue pastures to boost production levels and stockpile for fall and winter grazing. Since there are many factors that will impact the profitability of this practice, the question at hand is: Under what set of conditions will applying nitrogen to pastures pay this year?
This past winter the Master Grazer Educational program conducted several stockpiling demonstrations across KY for producers to see the benefits of extending the grazing season using stockpiled fescue. One of these demonstrations was implemented in Oldham County by producer Dr. Maynard Stetton.
Alfalfa is one of the most productive forage legumes grown in Kentucky. Traditionally, cutting it for hay has been the preferred method of harvest, but by following simple management practices it makes an excellent quality pasture. This is especially true in the fall because grazing also avoids the problem of slow hay curing due to low temperatures and high humidity.
The UK Forage publication ID-143: Rotational Grazing provides a good overview of the goals of grazing management. “Good grazing management achieves the right balance between standing availability of forage, forage utilization, and animal performance.
Every day spent grazing can mean money saved. Using stockpiled forages is a great way to extend the grazing season and reduce the use of stored feed in the fall and winter months. Stockpiling is allowing vegetative growth to accumulate to be used at a later time.
The use of stockpiled forages can extend the grazing season and reduce the amount of stored feed needed to feed livestock through the fall and winter months. Stockpiling forages, or allowing forage growth to accumulate for use at a later time, can help extend the grazing season.
Winter annuals, such as cereal rye and annual ryegrass, can provide a high-quality forage alternative to traditional winter feeding programs that rely heavily on stored forages. These forages can provide valuable grazing time in late fall and early winter, and again in early spring.
Cool-season grasses, such as tall fescue and orchardgrass, are starting to regrow with the cooler fall temperatures. These grasses should be utilized, but not over grazed in the ground (leave 3-4" residue height after grazing). Evaluate pastures for clover content and assess the risk for bloat as fall regrowth occurs (when pastures are >65% clover).
As the grazing season comes to an end, take time to reflect on and assess the past grazing season. It is important to continually make an effort to improve and advance a managed grazing system. When planning for the upcoming grazing season, decide on a purposed budget and time limitation.
Getting beef calves to gain weight as efficiently as possible is every producer’s goal, and creep feeding calves can help achieve that. Two main types of creep systems are used: creep grazing and creep feeding a concentrate-based supplement. Creep grazing pastures can add pounds to a calf’s weaning weight.
Have you ever given advice and then not taken that advice yourself? I’m sure my kids could tell you a few stories about that. At almost every forage meeting I speak at, I emphasize the importance of soil testing hay and pasture fields.
Cool-season perennials are the primary forage grazed by livestock in Kentucky. Species, such as tall fescue and orchardgrass, will last for many years in a pasture with proper management. Good establishment and management principles must be practiced to allow for establishment of forages within newly renovated fields.
Plants require several minerals and nutrients for growth and production. The three primary nutrients required for plant growth are nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium. Nitrogen (N) is an essential nutrient necessary for photosynthesis, enzymatic reactions, and creating amino acids, the building blocks of protein. Increasing nitrogen in the soil has been proven to greatly increase pasture production.
Fertilizer application is often needed for a healthy forage stand. Having a soil test done before applying fertilizer to pastures is strongly encouraged. Apply only what is needed according to the soil test results.