General Cattle Tips:

  • Hay feeding often begins in November. To improve efficiency of feed utilization in beef cows, Rumensin is a unique type of additive called an ionophore that is approved for use in beef cows.
  • It is very important to forage test each cutting of hay. Knowing the nutrient values (crude protein and TDN) of each cutting of hay will determine the proper supplemental feed and the amount to feed. In addition , knowing which cutting is the highest quality, it can be feed to the group of cows with the highest nutritional demand (i.e. first calf heifers or lactating cows).

Forage/Grazing Management Tips:

Soil fertility management

  • Take soil samples to monitor soil P, K, and pH.
    • Take at least 15 samples from the respective paddock or pasture.
    • Soil samples can be submitted to the county extension offices.
      • Results obtained for free.
    • Use appropriate crop code.
    • Apply P, K, and/or lime as needed.
    • Fact Sheet 2121

Grazing management

  • Stockpiled bermudagrass.
    • Use grazing methods that avoid trampling of forage and ensure high forage utilization, such as strip grazing.
      • Strip grazing improves forage utilization and may double the number of grazing days compared to continuous grazing.
    • Graze out by January 1.
  • Stockpiled fescue
    • Begin grazing mid to late November.
    • Use grazing methods that avoid trampling of forage and ensure high forage utilization, such as strip grazing.
      • Strip grazing improves forage utilization and may double the number of grazing days compared to continuous grazing.
      • Fact Sheet 3133

  • Winter annual small grains/ryegrass.
  • Begin grazing once canopy reaches height of 8 inches.
  • Use grazing methods that avoid trampling of forage and ensure high forage utilization, such as rotational grazing or limit-grazing (limiting cow access time to annuals).
  • Under limit-grazing, cows are routinely pastured on dormant pasture or fed hay in a dry-lot, but are allowed to eat their fill from a limited-access winter annual pasture several times per week.
  • Research demonstrated, limit-grazing of beef cows and calves on a mixture of wheat/rye/ryegrass (planted at 0.2 acre of per head) for two days per week produced the same cow, calf, and rebreeding performance as cows fed unlimited hay plus a supplement.
  • Limit-grazed cows also consumed 30 percent less hay during the winter feeding period.
  • Fact Sheet 3064
  • Brassica: turnips, turnip hybrid, rape.
    • Livestock must acquire taste.
    • Use grazing methods that avoid trampling of forage and ensure high forage utilization, such as rotational grazing or limit-grazing.
    • Graze out by January 1.

Hay management

  • Protect hay when feeding to reduce waste. Feed hay in rings to reduce hay waste. Unrolling hay increases hay waste unless it is done on a limit-feeding basis.
  • Consider using a temporary electric wire fence wire to reduce waste from trampling and increases utilization of the hay.
  • Unroll the bale, then string up an electrified polywire down the length of the line of hay.
  • Place the wire about 30 inches high over the hay.
  • Cattle will line up as if eating at a feed bunk.