Feeding Co-Product Feeds to Cattle on Fescue Pastures

By Glen Aiken - Tall fescue covers 5 million acres of hay meadows and pastures in Kentucky and has been the predominant forage in the state for over 50 years. Popularity of the grass is due to its productivity, persistence, and low cost of management. Unfortunately, a fungal endophyte that infects most plants of tall fescue produces ergot alkaloid toxins that cause a toxicosis in cattle and other grazing livestock. Fescue toxicosis may reduce reproductive performance of cow herds and weaning weights, and drastically reduce post-weaning weight gain and overall thriftiness.

Supplementation with Soybean Hulls can cost Effectively Boost Weight of Stockers on Toxic Fescue Pasture

Written by: Glen Aiken, USDA-ARS Forage-Animal Production Research Unit - Ergot alkaloids produced by a fungal endophyte that infects most plants of ‘Kentucky 31’ tall fescue can induce fescue toxicosis. Cattle exhibiting signs of toxicosis: 1) tend to maintain rough hair coats, 2) have elevated body temperatures that causes cattle to be vulnerable to severe heat stress, and 3) have reduced prolactin hormone concentrations that can reduce milk yields by nursing cows.

Is Using BMR Sudangrass Right for Your Grazing System?

Brown Midrib (BMR) Sudangrass is becoming more popular as a forage grass each year. Why are livestock owners choosing to grow the BMR varieties? This hybrid sudangrass is genetically mutated to reduce the amount of lignin present in cell walls and vascular tissue in the plant. This means increased digestion and improved fiber availability for livestock. Therefore, grazing this hybrid grass can improve animal production. There are plenty of other reasons that planting a BMR sudangrass can be beneficial.

Preparing for the summer – Fighting Heat Stress with Shade!

Kentucky’s high temperatures and humidity can greatly impact herd health. Cows often show decreased conception rates, decreased duration and intensity of estrus, decreased calf birth weight, and increased early embryo mortality when experiencing heat stress. Cattle suffering from heat stress spend less time grazing and consume less feed which means lower gains, decreased milk production, and lower overall performance.

Signs of Heat Stress

Controlling Tall Ironweed and Horsenettle: Mike Setters

This past year the Master Grazer Educational program conducted several demonstrations across KY for producers to see best management practices related to pasture management. One of these demonstrations was implemented in Lewis County by cow/calf producer Mike Setters. Previously, he has completed the Master Grazer and Master Cattleman programs and uses many of the practices taught in these programs, such as rotational grazing and improved access to water.

Tall Ironweed Control in Grazed Pastures

By J. D. Green, Extension Weed Scientist

Tall ironweed (Vernonia altissma Nutt.) is one of the more commonly found weeds in grazed pasture fields and other non-cropland areas (Figure 1). In Kentucky, tall ironweed is ranked as the most troublesome and third-most common weed found in grazed pastures. The quantity of grass available for grazing can be substantially reduced in pastures by the presence of tall ironweed because of its unpalatability to livestock. This further leads to an increase in tall ironweed populations over time as animals graze and selectively avoid this weed.