KY Grazing Conferences videos now available

We had an outstanding Grazing Conference in Boone and Christian counties in late October.  The theme was “Kicking the Hay Habit: Optimizing Profitability”.  The keynote speaker was Jim Gerrish from American Grazinglands Services, LLC, who delivered the opening and closing presentations.  The videos from this conference can be found on the KYForages YouTube Channel in a playlist entitled “Kicking the Hay Habit”.  If you were unable to attend, please take a few minutes and watch these videos.

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Looks Like a Long Hay Feeding Season

I hope I am wrong, but it looks like we will be feeding hay soon. Incredibly that would mean a six month hay feeding season. Ugh. There has never been a better time to get our hay-feeding house in order. Here are few thoughts on that subject.

First, graze out all of your pastures, but don’t buzz them unless you are going to replant or renovate them. Don’t forget that you can strip graze any remaining forage on hayfields using temporary fence and water sources.

Test all of your hay. This is essential. The best way to not repeat last year’s train wreck of a winter-feeding season is to test your hay and feed accordingly. Send the sample to a certified lab (and your agent can help you find one of those, and most have hay probes for loan as well). UK has a very simple online tool to help find the right supplement for cow rations, and you can even enter the data on smartphone (I’ve done it!). It is called the UK Beef Cow Forage Supplement Tool (http://forage-supplement-tool.ca.uky.edu/).

Price out the supplements dictated by your hay quality. Ask your supplier if they can give a discount for booking early.PS - hay 800 by 400 JCH_6418_1

Weigh some of your bales to determine average bale weight. Cows will generally eat 2% of their body weight every day. So factor in a figure for wastage, and calculate your total hay needs.

See if you can reduce hay feeding losses. Using a hay feeder that has solid sheeting at the bottom will prevent cows from pulling hay out of the ring. Feeders of this kind dropped hay feeding losses from 20% to 5%.

Lastly, start now to secure more hay if needed. Anecdotal reports of prices paid for poor hay last March rival that of high quality western hay six months before. There are reputable professional hay brokers that can help you get your supply of hay topped off for this winter if needed.

There is still plenty you can do, including reducing storing losses, supplementing smarter, reducing feeding waste and even securing additional hay. But start with getting your hay tested. Really. It is that important. Happy foraging. ~ excerpted from Jimmy Henning, Farmers Pride, Nov. 2019

 

KFGC Membership Renewals

It’s that time of the year to renew your KFGC membership. If your email address is on file, you will be receiving an email asking you to renew your membership. If not, or if you are a new member, you may pay online, here, and select Kentucky as your Affiliate Council or send a check with you name, address, phone number, and email address to: KFGC c/o Jimmy Henning. N-222D Ag. Science North, Lexington, KY 40546-0091. Membership dues support the mission of KFGC to provide practical, research-based pasture, hay, baleage, and silage information as well as professional development for producers, scientists, educators and industry representatives. Additionally, you automatically become a member of the American Forage and Grassland Council. Annual dues are $25.

 

Quote of the Month: If You Don’t Know Where You’re Going, You’ll Wind Up Somewhere Else ~ Yogi Berra

Planning is an important activity. The management plan for a forage-livestock squotes2ystem should address the needs of that specific operation, which should include being consistent with the manager’s goals. Planning and goals are essential for success, and it is important to update them on a regular basis. Order your copy of Forage-Livestock Quote and Concepts, vol. 2 here.

 

Publication of the Month: Cover Crop Benefits and Challenges in Kentucky (AGR-240)

pic 1.pngA cover crop is a plant species that is grown between cash crops primarily to provide cropping system services rather than to produce a harvestable product. Services provided by cover crops include soil health improvement, soil conservation, nutrient release and capture, and weed suppression. However, like any management practice, cover crops also have challenges and limitations. This publication is intended to provide an overview of cover crop use in Kentucky and the challenges and benefits of this practice. As more research is completed, we expect additional publications to address specific management questions regarding cover crops. Read this publication hereor browse all UK Forage Extension Publications here.

 

Climate Change: Are Livestock a Problem?

Talk of climate change from greenhouse gases (GHGs) has sparked the idea that livestock are a leading culprit for contributing to increased emissions and thus Americans should completely eliminate meat from their diets. Research supports the statement that animal agriculture does play a role in the level of GHGs. However, credit has not been given where credit is due. Drs. Robin R. White and Mary Beth Hall from Virginia Tech and the USDA analyzed the impact of eliminating animal agriculture from the US. They determined while eliminating animal agriculture would decrease GHGs from agriculture by 28%, the US would simply not be able to support the necessary nutritional requirements on plants alone.  While a plant-based diet may contribute to a decrease in risks of heart disease and obesity, it is deficient of essential micronutrients, such as vitamins D, E, and K, and choline, which we derive from animal-based products. Some say eliminating animal-agriculture would free up food and land resources we could use to produce viable food for ourselves? Not exactly. Livestock graze land not suitable for crop production, and they also have a unique ability to convert human-inedible food and fiber byproducts into human-edible food, pet food, and other products such as fertilizer, germicides, textiles, heart valves and more. There is also the idea that a plant based diet would be very colorful and full of fruits and vegetables. Based on a simulation if we ate no animal products or imports, diets would consist of only 7% vegetables, 6% fruit, 9% other products, and a whopping 78% grains. This is large in part to the limited availability of soils and climates for crop production in the US. We rely on animals to convert micronutrient poor crops, such as grains, into nutrient dense meats, milk, and eggs. So the next time you take a bite of a hamburger or scramble up some eggs for breakfast, remember that the elimination of animal agriculture from the US would have minimal effect on GHG emissions but would have a significant impact on other industries we rely on and create nutrient deficiencies in American diets. ~ Sydney Beidleman, Summarized from 

Talk of climate change from greenhouse gases (GHGs) has sparked the idea that livestock are a leading culprit for contributing to increased emissions and thus Americans should completely eliminate meat from their diets. Research supports the statement that animal agriculture does play a role in the level of GHGs. However, credit has not been given where credit is due. Drs. Robin R. White and Mary Beth Hall from Virginia Tech and the USDA analyzed the impact of eliminating animal agriculture from the US. They determined while eliminating animal agriculture would decrease GHGs from agriculture by 28%, the US would simply not be able to support the necessary nutritional requirements on plants alone.  While a plant-based diet may contribute to a decrease in risks of heart disease and obesity, it is deficient of essential micronutrients, such as vitamins D, E, and K, and choline, which we derive from animal-based products. Some say eliminating animal-agriculture would free up food and land resources we could use to produce viable food for ourselves? Not exactly. Livestock graze land not suitable for crop production, and they also have a unique ability to convert human-inedible food and fiber byproducts into human-edible food, pet food, and other products such as fertilizer, germicides, textiles, heart valves and more. There is also the idea that a plant based diet would be very colorful and full of fruits and vegetables. Based on a simulation if we ate no animal products or imports, diets would consist of only 7% vegetables, 6% fruit, 9% other products, and a whopping 78% grains. This is large in part to the limited availability of soils and climates for crop production in the US. We rely on animals to convert micronutrient poor crops, such as grains, into nutrient dense meats, milk, and eggs. So the next time you take a bite of a hamburger or scramble up some eggs for breakfast, remember that the elimination of animal agriculture from the US would have minimal effect on GHG emissions but would have a significant impact on other industries we rely on and create nutrient deficiencies in American diets. ~ Sydney Beidleman, Summarized from Nutritional and greenhouse gas impacts of removing animals from US agriculture by Robin R. White and Mary Beth Hall. Download the full article here.

 

by Robin R. White and Mary Beth Hall

 

Quote of the Month: In protected hay, feed value will stay

book2Damage caused by weathering of hay is high on many farms, especially in the eastern U.S. It appears that many livestock producers don’t recognize the magnitude of such losses or how much they costs. In many cases, it would cost relatively little to reduce or even virtually eliminate weathering damage. Once dry hay is stored in a barn, or othersise well protected from the elements (even just covered well and placed on something such as old tires, shipping pallets or railroad ties), feeding value decreases little over time. Order your copy of Forage-Livestock Quote and Concepts, vol. 2, here.