Top 10 Nutrition Articles of 2019

Brush up on your nutrition basics with these most-read articles.

1. Underfeeding Beef Cows Has Consequences

Beef cows that have been underfed during gestation and lactation will be less productive than cows fed adequate diets.

“For adequate production, a beef cow’s daily ration must meet nutritional requirements,” says Karl Hoppe, North Dakota State University Extension livestock systems specialist at the Carrington Research Extension Center. “Cows will lose body weight when consuming less energy than needed for maintaining body functions and production demands.” Read more.


2. Missouri Cattle Producer Is On Alert For Symptoms of Grass Tetany

It seems spring has been slow coming, and with limited hay and feed supplies in the Plains, even cows are anxious for spring pastures to turn green. But a combination of cold winter/spring weather and older hay can come with a price tag.

Grass tetany might be easily defined as a deficiency of magnesium, but for Dick Kurtz of Oregon, Mo., it just means trouble. He lost three cows in March to the disorder and is carefully watching a few more.

“I’ve raised cattle for many years,” Kurtz says,” but this is a first in my lifetime to have issues with grass tetany.” Read more.


3. Livestock Producers: Storing Wet and Modified Distillers Grains 

One of the primary challenges for livestock producers in the coming months could very well be feedstuff cost and availability due to the fact that the corn planted acreage and crop progress are both well behind normal benchmarks.

One opportunity that might help cattle feeders proactively secure feed supplies would be storing wet or modified distiller’s grains now to be fed at a later date. Read more.


4. Don’t Skimp on Protein for Pregnant Cows          

Underfeeding protein to stock cows through their winter gestation has serious consequences, a North Dakota State University Extension livestock expert warns.

“If insufficient protein and nitrogen are provided and degraded in the rumen, forage digestion will be reduced and the cow may not meet caloric needs and lose weight,” says John Dhuyvetter, Extension livestock systems specialist at the North Central Research Extension Center near Minot, N.D. “Furthermore, the developing fetus may be undernourished, impacting development, vigor and survival at birth, and future outcomes. Both colostrum and milk quality and quantity can suffer.” Read more.


5. Feeding Moldy Hay

Moldy hay.  No matter how hard you tried, last summer you baled some hay a little too wet and now you have some mold.  So how do you go about feeding this moldy hay safely? 

Feeding moldy hay to livestock is a tough decision.  Although all hay contains some mold, when mold becomes easily noticeable the decision becomes important. Read more.


6. Managing Tall Fescue Toxicosis     

Tall fescue is a forage workhorse for livestock producers from north Georgia to New England. It is a cool-season perennial grass that is tolerant of many conditions, covers more than 1 million acres north of the Fall Line, and supplements bermudagrass pastures for many livestock producers from fall through spring. Despite the important niche that tall fescue fills, there are important downsides to consider when grazing livestock on tall fescue grass. Read more.


7. High Nitrate in Hay Causes Cow Deaths    

On top of dealing with harsh winter weather in feeding cows, cattle farmers must guard against too much nitrate in poor-quality hay.

"Just from cases we've confirmed, I know of 150 cows dying in the last month," says Tim Evans, head toxicologist at the University of Missouri Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory. Read more.


8. Body Condition at Calving is Still a Key to Reproductive Success!

We can sub-title this article: “Back to the basics.” Very often in this newsletter or other beef cow related communications, the term “body condition score” is used. It may be time for a brief refresher about this important management tool. Body condition scoring is a manner of evaluating the fatness and therefore the nutritional status of beef cows. Most small to medium sized ranching operations do not have scales to routinely weigh cattle and determine weight and body condition changes. Read more.


9. Ryegrass an Option in Winter-Killed Alfalfa

Severe cold this winter, especially in areas with little to no snow cover, could result in damaged or killed stands of alfalfa. According to the American Society of Agronomy, following a cold winter in 2013, 93% of alfalfa growers surveyed in Wisconsin and Minnesota reported alfalfa winterkill or injury, with many reporting losses greater than 60%. Read more.


10. Does residue grazing affect later crop yields?

Grazing on harvested corn fields provides a fall and winter management option for cattle owners and an income opportunity for landowners. Baling corn residue also provides an option for farmers to sell bales for feed or bedding.  Either process does, however, remove nutrients and organic material from a field, while grazing also recycles some nutrients and organic material in manure. Read more.


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