NDSU Extension Service –
Logan, Eddy, Ransom Griggs, and
Five demonstration projects were developed with 27 farm/ranch cooperators. Specific impacts vary with each project. Reports with more detail will be released in the future.
Applying science- based
concepts to the ranch or farm should improve management and reduce production
costs. Areas of concern were forage
quality, water quality, feed byproduct utilization, performance recordkeeping
and mineral supplementation. County
extension agents sought cow calf producers in the central
Five demonstration projects were developed with 27 farm/ranch cooperators. Although each cooperator operates under different farming/ranching conditions, the scientific concepts that underscore each project apply to all cooperators.
Determining mineral supplementation needs via grass clipping analysis
Forage samples were collect once a month during the 2002 grazing season using a technique that harvests only the forage the cows were observed consuming. In addition to summer and winter forage samples, water samples were collected for determining mineral contribution to cow diets. Using the analysis results, a mineral supplement will be designed after determining the cow’s nutrient requirements, cow weight, frame score, and body condition score.
Forage quality ranged from 7.7 – 12.6 percent crude protein, 33.3 - 47.9 percent acid detergent fiber, 0.29- 0.68 percent calcium, and 0.09 – 0.34 percent phosphorous depending on month of sampling. Trace mineral content is currently being analyzed. Water quality ranged from 420 – 2650 parts per million total dissolved solids while fecal coliforms ranged from 70 to 3900 coliforms per 100 milliliters. These levels indicate a wide variation in forage and water types within season and location.
Evaluating water quality for cattle use, do we need better water?
Water is an essential
component of a cow’s diet and good quality water is needed. Unfortunately, beef cattle producers seldom
test water supplies for suitability. To
draw attention to better water management and discover potential problems in
Water quality is measure by various factors including total dissolved solids, turbidity, and concentration of iron, calcium, magnesium, copper, sulfate and fecal coliforms. The water sources measured in Eddy county averaged 689.5 ppm total dissolved solids, 8.0 pH, and concentration of 2.2 ppm iron, 60.3 ppm calcium, 55.5 ppm magnesium, 2.5 ppm copper, 280.8 ppm sulfate and 615.6 fecal coliforms per 100 ml. Coliforms ranged from 0 to greater than 10,000 per 100 ml depending on watering source. Although fecal coliform average concentrations are high, total dissolved solids were relatively low and indicative of very safe water for cattle consumption.
differences in water samples from
Co-products as an alternative creep feed
Wheat midd coproduct is an
alternative to commercial creep feed for beef cattle. A Ransom county cow calf cooperator was
willing compare commercial creep feed, wheat midds, and early weaned calf
performance within his cow herd. Calves
(198 head) were weighed prior to creep feeding,
Respective beginning and ending calf weights (pounds) were 326 and 591 for commercial creep, 300 and 524 for wheat midds, and 274 and 508 for early weaned calves in drylot. Although the commercial creep fed calves weighed 41 pounds more than wheat midds creep fed calves, the gain has not been adjusted for cow age and calf birth date. Also, the cost of creep feeds and calf value have not yet been evaluated.
Better management using CHAPS 2000 performance record system
Since genetic and
reproductive improvement is paramount to improving productivity in a cow herd,
increasing producer use of Chaps 2000 is needed.
Calves were weighed on-farm in October and November 2002 by the producer or in conjunction with the NDSU SmartCow program. Three of the seven producers’ calves averaged 531.4 lbs. (149 head), 563.5 lbs. (69 head), and 505.8 lbs (37 head) at weaning. After cow age, calf birth date, sire and cow calf identification are provided to the Chaps program, reproductive and production performance and indexes will be calculated and provided to the cooperator.
Balancing Beef Cow Rations for better performance and lower cost
Cow calf producers routinely
spend approximately $220 per head per year in winter feed expenses (ND Farm
Business Management 2000 Report region 3 – South Central North Dakota $221 per
cow). Rations balanced for energy,
protein, mineral and vitamins are the foundation of proper nutrition. Cow calf producers in
Six of nine cattle producers have had samples collected and analyzed for crude protein, energy content via acid detergent fiber, calcium and phosphorous. Crude protein content of hays varied from 4.83 percent for mature switchgrass/big bluestem hay to 22.94 percent on third cutting alfalfa. Energy content varied from 35 percent TDN (NEg 0.00) to 69 percent TDN (NEg 0.46) for the same forages. Large differences in forage quality are noted between farm/ranches. Cow and calf rations will be analyzed and reformulated if necessary.
Demonstrating the benefits of
existing research and knowledge may increase producer awareness and
acceptance. These projects were designed
to explore management changes that may improve productivity within existing cow
calf operations in central