Beef Buzz News
David Lalman Stresses the Value of Being Proactive Before Poor Forage Condition Arise
Thu, 26 May 2022 11:01:25 CDT
With the rains of this week, some of the areas in deep drought have taken a few steps back from the worst of the conditions. Ron Hays, Senior Farm and Ranch Broadcaster, visits with David Lalman, Oklahoma State University Beef Cattle Specialist, about having a plan in place in the event of low forage resources.
Listen to Ron Hays talk to David Lalman About Making Culling Decisions in Your Cow Herd
"Adjustments made should ensure that the forage base is not damaged due to overgrazing primarily," Lalman said. "That is what we are trying to avoid is damaging that natural resource that is the foundation of the ranching enterprise."
Improving the quality of soils and the holding capacity of moisture helps our pastures, which then helps make culling decisions more manageable.
Early on in a dry period, Lalman said the productivity of the forage base will improve short-term, but overgrazing will reduce the water holding capacity of the soil, which leads to long-term erosion and reduction of the forage base needed for good production capacity.
By keeping a record of body condition scores within a herd, a producer can stay ahead and not allow the condition of cows in the herd to decline and decrease profitability and efficiency.
Lalman said protecting the soil and the ranch resource is important but taking good care of the herd and making sure they are not compromised in body condition is critical as well. Most people with cattle in more intensified drought conditions, Lalman added, will destock those with poor body conditions first.
"It (poor body condition) also compromises their health status and certainly the health status of their new babies," Lalman said. "The research has shown time again that when animals are in thin condition, they just don"t have the immune competence that animals that are in good condition have."
It is critical to look at each individual animal and see which ones will have the most promise going forward out of the animals remaining to focus on profitability.
"To me, it seems like it would be important, especially if you are entering into a period of risk related to drought, to have a priority list and hopefully the rancher has good enough records to create that list," Lalman said. "We suggest people think about this with the three O"s. Open, old, and other problems. There is probably some overlap among those categories."
Cows that are open are not going to raise a calf this year if the breeding season has already passed, Lalman said, and you might lump in cows that are calving late as of this year or cows that are bred late and will calve late next year into that category.
"Older cows, if they are nearing the end of their productive life cycle and still in good condition would be logical animals to put higher on that priority list," Lalman said. "Everybody has probably got a list of cows, if not on paper at least in their head, of other problems in your cows. That might include cows with a bad attitude, bad feet, or a bad utter. Just things like that, which would put them higher on the culling priority list."
Click the LISTEN BAR below to listen to Ron Hays and David Lalman on being proactive in the event of poor forage conditions.
The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Network and is a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR below for today"s show and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.
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