Providing Water for Beef in Rotational Grazing Systems with Tire Waterers

by Steve Higgins - Despite its importance, water is often the most poorly addressed component of animal nutrition on the farm. It is essential that livestock have easy access to plentiful, clean water within every paddock of a rotational grazing system to realize maximum efficiency and production. Although water may be available to cattle, the sources vary significantly within and among farms. Sources for water on farms range from full access to streams and ponds to city water-fed troughs located throughout the operation.

Winter Tips and Reminders

Tips for the Winter Season - The winter is a time of adaptation for farmers in Kentucky. We have to change the way we manage our livestock in order to sustain the animals as well as preserve our pastures for the coming spring. As forage becomes less available throughout the months of December, January, and February supplemental feed is the main alternative for most farmers. Some pastures become unavailable for grazing and careful thought should be put into how to efficiently maintain livestock.

When to Start Feeding Hay?

Jeff Lehmkuhler, Extension Beef Specialist, University of Kentucky - When should I start feeding hay to my beef cows? This seems like a simple question with a simple answer. However, as with many questions, there often is not a single perfect answer. Being an academic, I have to justify my existence by taking a simple question and making it complex, right?

Maximizing success with frost seedings of clover

Literally thousands of acres of Kentucky pasture and hay fields are overseeded with clover, much of it frost‐seeded in late winter. Yet this is one of the few times where crops are seeded where we halfway expect not to get a stand, or we are not sure if the clover that comes is really from the seed spread. You would not accept this for corn or soybeans. Here are a few tips to ensure you have the best chance of getting clover established from a frost‐seeding.

Late Winter and Early Spring Reminders

  • Refine plans for pasture use for the upcoming grazing season; consider fencing, seeding, fertilization, herbicide applications, water and shade availability.
  • Frost seeding of clovers should be performed between February 1 and March 1.
  • Nitrogen fertilizer should be applied in late February to promote early grass growth.
  • Before applying Nitrogen: Soil test pastures and use results for application of fertilizer and lime.
  • Renovate high traffic areas and bare areas to reduce erosion.
  • Purchase seed, inoculant, and fertilizer for upcoming season.

Minimizing Hay Waste While Feeding

If hay is stored and fed properly, hay loss can be minimized. Total losses from hay storage and feeding are estimated to exceed three billion dollars annually nationwide. This does not include additional economic losses associated with labor used to store and feed hay. While it is normal to expect some hay loss during feeding, minimizing hay feeding losses should be a primary producer goal.

Grazing Methods: Which one is for you?

The flexibility of a grazing enterprise is what makes it appealing to many different managerial approaches. From the part-time farmer who has a few head of stocker calves during the growing season to keep the grass short, to the full-time producer who has a large cow-calf herd maintained year-in and year-out, grazing is often the preferred way to harvest forage. For these situations and all those in between, the implementation of different grazing systems can help producers meet their operation’s objectives while maintaining an optimum stocking density.

Why use a Solar Powered Watering System

By: Adam Jones, Kentucky NRCS Grazing Specialist 
Three reasons to use solar powered watering systems include:

Winter Watering of Livestock

As daily temperatures start to decline, most producers begin to focus on delivering stored forages to their livestock. Often, at this time the thought of an animal’s water needs are discounted. However, even in colder temperatures, water requirements of livestock are critical to maintain optimum animal performance. Winter brings the challenge of providing water to livestock while battling frozen plumbing that delivers water.

Water Requirements

Forage of the Month: Brassicas

by Dr. Michelle Arnold, Extension Ruminant Veterinarian - Brassicas (including turnips, rape, kale, and swedes) are highly productive, digestible forbs that contain relatively high levels of crude protein. Animals will readily consume the tops and will also grub the root bulbs out of the ground. Dry matter yield depends upon soil type, fertility, time of seeding, and precipitation.