The dog-days of mid summer are a critical time for maintaining good nutrition and health in the cowherd. Twig Marston, extension cow-calf specialist at Kansas State University, offers some tips for assuring good nutrition over the coming weeks.

Cowherd nutrition

  • Check and maintain summer water supplies. Provide plenty of clean, fresh water.
  • Provide free-choice mineral to correct any mineral deficiencies or imbalances.
  • Monitor grazing conditions and rotate pastures if possible and/or practical.
  • Consider early weaning if drought conditions develop and persist.
  • Consider creep feeding if cost effective.

If you plan to use ammoniated wheat straw for winter feeding, keep the following in mind:

  • The best time to ammoniate is immediately after harvest, before the weather deteriorates.
  • The ammoniation process is temperature sensitive. Fastest during hot days.
  • Apply 3 percent anhydrous ammonia – 60 pounds per ton of straw.
  • Do not ammoniate wheat hay or any other intermediate or high-quality forage. Production of imidazole can cause cattle hyperactivity and death.
  • Ammoniation will double crude protein intake, and be cost effective.

Herd health

  • Monitor and treat infectious keratitis (pink eye) cases.
  • Provide fly control. Consider all the options. Price and efficiency will dictate the best options to use.
  • Monitor and treat foot rot cases.
  • Avoid handling and transporting cattle during the hottest part of the day to reduce heat stress.
  • Vaccinate replacement heifers for brucellosis at four to 10 months of age.