Hay quality a factor in heifer calving

Hay quality, compromised by the drought, puts the condition of the next two cow herds in question.  University of Missouri beef nutritionist Justin Sexten says a forage test is the only way to determine the nutrient content of hay. If the hay is marginal, he says cow-calf producers need to supplement with protein rich sources such as corn gluten feed and distillers grains.

Sexten tells Brownfield Ag News, “If you’re 90 days from calving and that cow needs to gain 100 pounds, it’ll take three to four pounds of those two feeds to get adequate condition on that cow so that she’s where you want her once she does have that calf.”

Sexten says the time is now to pay attention,“We try to suggest to producers is that we need to make sure those cows are getting adequate nutrition THIS year so that it doesn’t negatively impact reproduction in the NEXT year.”

He says it’s a matter of pay now or pay later. Sexten tells Brownfield, “We run the risk of taking a cow when she’s pregnant, a heifer in this case, when we’re selling pregnant heifers for $2000 she becomes a $900 cull cow because of our mismanagement or trying to save some money on the front end.”  Losing a heifer or calf, he says, puts hay and grain prices in a new perspective.

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