Horses are grazing animals. As pastures begin to “green-up” Drew Cotton, a horse science instructor at Black Hawk College East has some thoughts about utilizing a complete forage diet as well as things to look for this spring.
Monsanto and Forage Genetics International are seeking deregulation of their new “Reduced Lignin Alfalfa” known as KK179.
The company submitted a petition last week to the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).
Because of the reduced lignin in resulting alfalfa forage, their petition says it is unlikely to pose a plant pest risk and should not be regulated.
The petition, published in the Federal Register today (Monday), is open for public comment for 60 days.
CLAAS, long recognized as an industry leader in hay and forage equipment, has made some new additions to its product line. They include the QUADRANT 3300 RC Large Square Baler and the ROLLANT 455 UNIWRAP Round Baler/Wrapper.
At Ag Connect in Kansas City, CLAAS product coordinator Matt Jaynes visited with us about these new products. We also discussed the growing demand for equipment that is coming from the biomass market.
Krone, NA President and CEO, Rusty Fowler, says he can’t say enough about the technology available for farmers today. Krone North America, based in Memphis, Tennessee, makes specialty hay and forage equipment. They belong to a German parent company that’s privately owned.
He tells Brownfield Ag News, “The technology cycle, in past years, might be five or six years before you really saw something new. In today’s world, in equipment manufacturing, the technology cycle is about two years. And, if you want to have a more productive operation and you want more efficiencies, you really have to take advantage of all the new technology.”
Fowler adds, “For a guy that used to sell tractors without cabs, I mean, I remember selling tractors and it was unusual for me to sell a cab tractor. Now, look at today. I can’t talk enough about technology.”
Krone is featuring their new model high-speed Big Square Baler which he says reflects Krone’s goals fo developing equipment for farmers that lowers their costs per unit of production.
Fowler is one of the equipment executives who got together years ago to develop the concept behind AG CONNECT. And that is, to bring everyone from the owners to other top executives to engineers and staff members to the expo so farmers can talk directly with them. Fowler says, “If someone wants to come to my exhibit and talk about not only what’s going on today but what’s going on in the future and how new technology can help them do what they want to do, that’s the purpose of Ag Connect.”
Fower is past chair of AEM, 2012/13 Ag Sector Board member and a 2013 member of the board of directors.
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.
Alta Seeds™ reaches customers worldwide with a full line of sorghum seed for both forage and grain sorghum. Barry Lubbers, U.S. sales manager for Advanta says sorghum is in a unique position to offer different hybrids to U.S. growers, based on their seed developmnet in Australia and Argentina. Following this year’s drought, Lubbers says, we’re going to see more acres planted to sorghum which is more drought tolerant than other row crops.
Yes, candy and other sweets have become an alternative supplemental feed option for some farmers amid the drought-induced shortage of feed which has caused traditional feed prices to skyrocket.
Some producers struggling to feed corn to their cattle are feeding them a variety of sweets such as chocolate bars, gummy worms, ice cream sprinkles, marshmallows, pieces of hard candy – even hot chocolate mix.
Great Plains Livestock Consulting Livestock Nutritionist Ki Fanning says this is not a new practice. Supplementing with sweets has been going on for decades and is a good way for producers to reduce feed costs.
Corn costs about 315-dollars a ton – but ice cream sprinkles cost as little as 160-dollars a ton.
Indiana Dairy Farmer Mike Yoder says he’s been feeding his 400 cows some candy, cookies, breakfast cereal, dried cranberries and orange peelings mixed in with traditional feed. His livestock nutritionist has advised him to limit his cows diets to three-percent candy a day.
While it may be a good alternative for a while – as demand for candy-feed increases – so will the price.
~NAFB News Service contributed to this story~
The State of Emergency declared in July because of drought conditions in Missouri has been extended by Governor Jay Nixon another 45 days, until November 15th, 2012.
Nixon has also extended the deadline for Missouri producers to complete water projects approved under the drought relief program he set up in late July. He says the projects will have to be individually evaluated before the extensions will apply.
Despite the rains in Missouri during the past two weeks, Nixon says the state’s agriculture community “still has a pressing need for water, especially for livestock.”
Cattle producers are looking to save on feed use however they can, given the strain the drought has put on feed sources. Early weaning of calves is one way to cut feed use in cows.
“If you wean that calf,” Sexten tells Brownfield Ag News, “You can save a half a pound of forage per 100 pounds of cow body weight. So, on a 13-hundred pound cow that’s essentially six-and-a-half pounds of forage a day.”
That’s Justin Sexten, Missouri Extension specialist for beef nutrition. He tells Brownfield that early weaning gives cows a chance to start recovering from lactation, potentially putting on more body condition before the next calf.
“If the cow’s not lactating,” he says, “She doesn’t require as high a quality of forage. So, now I have more forage available – I can use a poorer quality forage.”
Sexten says that unless calves are weaned prior to the end of the breeding season, producers won’t see an increase in conception rates.
Missouri is a leading cow-calf state where the majority of producers have smaller operations and Mike McCown is among them. He has about 40 head of cattle in Windsor, near Sedalia, Missouri and tells Brownfield how he’s been managing in this drought.
“I ended up buying some hay real early before it started getting dry,” McCown tells Brownfield Ag News, “Just kind of lucked out, you know, that I got the hay. Later on, now, you can’t hardly buy it and if you do it costs a lot of money and stuff. So, a lot of people are selling their cows because of no hay and corn’s going to be high and now the ponds are going dry, a lot of ‘em.”
He’s not sure his hay will last through the winter. McCown says, “It’ll probably be close because a lot of times I don’t have to feed any hay ‘til December or January because I have a lot of fall pasture. But, now, I might have to feed now this month – so, it’s going to be a long winter.” McCown says if there’s some rain before winter it might help bring some of the fescue back.
McCown says he can’t remember a drought as severe as this one, “I’ll tell you what, I’m 68 and I think it’s the driest time of my time.”
McCown and his wife Gladys were recognized from Johnson County, along with a farm family in every county, by the Missouri Farm Bureau on Farm Family Day at the Missouri State Fair on Monday.