The Benefits Of Feeding Quality Forage To Beef Cattle
Lush, green pastures aren't just pretty to look at, they can be money makers for your beef cattle operation. The higher quality forage you have available, the better able your pasture will be to meet the nutritional needs of your herd. As forage provides the majority of nutrient needs to beef cattle, it's important to think about pasture management 365 days a year.
The first step in creating a quality pasture is to select grasses and legumes that will thrive in your soil and environment.
Examples Of Quality Forage Grasses
- Bermudagrass (especially in more southern states)
- Popular legumes are Alfalfa and Clover
When planting fescue it's important to be aware of potential hazards associated with endophyte infected fescue. These issues can include reduced reproductive performance and lower weight gain.
Get Your Soil Tested
Southern States offers a variety of pasture mixes for you to choose from including Grass Beef Pasture 25 lb, Grass Horse Paddock Mix 25lb, and Grass Pro Horse Pasture 25lb. Contact your local Southern States agronomist to develop a forage planting and maintenance plan for your pastures.
Our agronomists can also help you sample your soil for current conditions and test already cut hay. "The principal of testing is that you need to know what you've got," says Southern States agronomist David Jessee. "Looking at a bale of hay or an acre of ground doesn't tell the whole story." Soil test results will determine lime or fertilizing needs for the next growing season. Remember the better the soil, the greater the potential for both quantity and quality of forage in the pasture.
Develop A Pasture Management Plan
Once you have healthy forage growing in your fields it's crucial to have a pasture management plan. Remember, a pasture is like any other piece of equipment around the farm, it must be properly maintained for best performance. Now that summer is here, grass in your fields needs to be given a little extra TLC as heat stress can weaken the plants.
Ways to preserve your fields during the summer months include:
Limit The Number Of Cattle Per FieldA good rule of thumb is each cow or cow with calf requires at least an acre and a third. This will eliminate potential overgrazing.
Rest and Rotate Pastures.Resting pastures allows plants to replenish food reserves. Without a break from the stresses from hooves and teeth, forages will not be able to reestablish new growth. Recovery time for pastures can range from 10 to 60 days depending on the season. While resting your pastures, implement rotational grazing by either splitting a large pasture into several smaller fenced lots or move your cattle to a completely new area if you have the space.
Regardless of the amount of land you have the "rules" remain the same, "eat half, keep half".Once your herd eats half of the grass that had grown prior to grazing it's time to rotate and rest the grass to allow the plants to regrow.
Taking care of your pastures isn't a one and done effort. Proper management throughout the year will pay dividends in reducing your feed bill and increasing your profit margin when you grow bigger cattle.
To speak to one of our agronomists or livestock specialists in your area find your local Southern States store.
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SKU 57090111Southern States Traditions Beef Blend is a pelleted feed for beef cattle weighing over 500 pounds. This feed is formulated with a variety of ingredients making it a very economical feed. 13% crude protein and fortified with vitamins and minerals makes this a great feed to supplement on pasture during periods of low nutrition or limited supply of hay or pasture. Pelleting reduces sorting and sifting of ingredients for greater uniform intake and less waste. Feed Additive options available.
SKU 59118003Country Feeds Coarse Screen Crack Corn provides a highly palatable energy source. This product has a high energy value from select test weight corn. It has been carefully cleaned to minimize foreign material and dust.
SKU 59115002Country Feeds Whole Corn provides a highly palatable energy source for multiple species of livestock. This product has a high energy value from select test weight corn. It has been carefully cleaned to minimize foreign material and dust.
SKU 58903281Wrangler 12 Pelleted Livestock Feed is designed to feed a wide range of farm animals including adult maintenance horses, weaned cattle and all classes of sheep and goats. The perfect all farm feed, with 12% protein.
SKU 57922001Southern States Traditions Hi-Mag Beef Mineral is a free-choice mineral for beef cattle on pasture. Formulated with supplemental levels of Vitamins A, D, E, selenium as well as 14% magnesium. This supplement is designed to meet the daily nutrition requirements for health and reproduction. It is best to provide Southern States Traditions Hi-Mag Beef Mineral to your cattle 2 to 4 weeks before grazing tetany prone pastures.
SKU 51350139Southern States Traditions 24% Beef Tub is formulated for beef cattle fed on a free-choice basis while grazing pastures with adequate forage, receiving silage, hay or green-chop. This block is fortified with major and trace minerals and vitamins and contains 24% protein to aid in the prevention of deficiencies. The weatherproof tub protects the supplement from weather and no additional feeder or protection is needed. Southern States Traditions 24% Beef Tub is best used in the fall, winter and spring.
SKU 57226111Southern States Genetic Expression 16% PowerStroke provides all life stages of cattle all they need to maintain excellent and efficient daily growth. Introduce Southern States Genetic Expression 16% PowerStroke slowly into a forage based diet. This feed can enhance the diets of your cattle. The 16% protein content makes it an excellent supplemental support for late gestation and early lactation in brood cows and supports body condition score for breeding. Your growing herd will get great support from Southern States Genetic Expression PowerStroke feeds. Feed Additive options available.
SKU 57926001Southern States Cattleman's Beef Mineral is a base mineral that meets NRC requirements for grazing cattle. Excellent choice for mixing with grains to balance silage/grain feeding programs or fed as a free choice mineral.
SKU 57925001Southern States Traditions Brood Cow Mineral is a well balanced formulation with optimal levels of phosphorus, magnesium, copper and selenium. Use this as a core mineral for brood cow herds or grazing stocker cattle.
SKU 11300263Provide essential salt plus an optimal balance of trace minerals with the Red Trace Mineral Brick. This durable, weather resistant brick allows easy free choice feeding. Ideal for cattle, horses, swine and other large animals.
SKU 58904361The Traditions 24% Beef tub w/Mag builds on the solid, economical nutrition of the Traditions 24% Beef tub with 5% fat and 3% magnesium.
SKU 57973039Southern States Traditions 37% Cattle Supplement Block is a free-choice block supplement for beef cattle. The block provides 37% crude protein and a full spectrum of supplemental minerals and vitamins. This block's crude protein boost improves your beef cattle's rate of weight gain and muscle quality. When you supply your herd with one of Southern States Traditions 37% Cattle Supplement Block per 5-10 head of cattle along with their standard feeding regimen, you'll have healthier, happier beef cattle.