Importance of Water

Watering padWater is the most important nutrient for animals, and it is essential to ensure that animals have ample access to clean water. Having water available to livestock allows for optimal animal performance and health. Dry matter intake is directly related to water intake, and the less an animal drinks, the less feed it will consume.

Heat Stress

Keeping cattle cool and comfortable is important for maintaining weight gain, milk production and reproductive performance. The temperatures that cattle prefer, 40 and 65oF, are cooler than what humans prefer, which means cattle display signs of heat stress even in what we would call “cool” temperatures. Signs of severe heat stress can range from slobbering, high respiratory rate (panting), open mouth breathing, lack of coordination, and trembling.

Possibliity of Nitrate Toxicity in Corn

Nitrate toxicity may be a problem for farmers grazing corn or feeding green-chop this fall. There are many factors to consider when deciding if livestock are at risk of nitrate toxicity. Drought conditions and high levels of nitrogen in the soil can cause prime conditions for high nitrates in plants. During times of drought, higher levels of nitrogen are taken up by the plants. Risk is increased if soil nitrogen levels are high. High levels of nitrates in the bloodstream and rumen reduce the ability of oxygen to be carried in the blood to tissues in the body.

Prussic Acid Poisoning

Grazing forages during the summer months is a great way to reduce stored feed costs. However, there are some risks that come with grazing certain forages and weeds. It is important to be cautious this summer to reduce the risk for prussic acid poisoning, as prussic acid poisoning tends to be worse during times of drought.

Novel Endophyte Tall Fescue

The most predominant forage grass in the U.S., covering over 36 million acres, happens to be tall fescue, a cool-season perennial grass. It is extremely prevalent in areas of the southeastern United States because it possesses desirable characteristics that include tolerance to drought, flooding, heavy grazing pressure, and a long growing season. Kentucky-31 Tall fescue contains a fungal endophyte that grows in the plant and is responsible for many of tall fescue’s desirable survival attributes.

Atypical Interstitial Pneumonia in Cattle Grazing Perilla Mint

by Michelle Arnold, DVM - In the Southeastern US, a severe type of pneumonia can result from ingestion of the leaves and seeds of perilla mint (Perilla frutescens). This common weed is also known as purple mint, wild coleus, mint weed, or beefsteak plant. Perilla mint thrives in late summer, when pastures are frequently dry and dormant. The weed prefers shaded areas along creeks, the edges of the woods and in fence rows. Once it becomes established, perilla mint produces many seeds and large colonies can develop in succeeding years. 

Grazing Alfalfa

alfalfa grazedAlfalfa is one of the most popular forage crops grown in the U.S. This high quality forage can be used for hay, silage, be a useful forage for animals with high nutrient needs. Although alfalfa is a cool-season legume, its deep root system makes it more drought tolerant than other cool-season species.

Harvesting Drought Stressed Soybeans for Hay

SoybeansWith much of the country affected by the drought conditions this summer, many grain producers are facing the problem of low grain yields while many livestock producers are experiencing hay shortages and may be seeking alternatives for winter feed.

Identify Fields for Stockpiling

Identify fieldsWith the rising cost and limited availability of hay over the past few years, Kentucky cattle farmers have been looking for ways to extend the grazing season and reduce the need to feed hay during the fall/winter months. Stockpiling forage is one way to meet both of these objectives.

Grazing Green Corn

Green cornSeveral options exist to provide quality grazing during seasons when many common forages have gone dormant or are less productive. Non-traditional forages can provide high quality grazing throughout the hot summer months and into the fall. Corn is mainly used in Kentucky for grain or silage.