Welcome to the August issue of Beef Cattle Tips.  Beef Cattle Tips is a monthly newsletter designed to remind you of timely production practices that could benefit your operation.  Items presented in this newsletter should be completed sometime this month, if it has not already been addressed.
Tips for Cattle Herds:
  • Foot rot generally occurs in adult cattle. It causes sudden onset of severe lameness and sometimes a mild fever. Often times the coronet (the junction between the hoof and hairline) is swollen. It is not uncommon to see foot rot in the heat of the summer.

  • Pink eye is a troublesome disease throughout the summer caused by bacteria in combination with external irritants such as face flies, UV light, dust and plant seeds. For prevention or treatment, follow advice of a veterinarian.

  • Horn flies can become a problem late in the summer especially when fly tags can lose their effectiveness. Monitor fly population on cattle and treat if necessary. Remove fly tags after they loose their effectiveness to help prevent fly populations developing chemical resistance.

  • Free choice mineral is just as important during the hot summer months as any other time of the year.


Tips for Fall Calving Herds:


  • It is important for the cows to maintain a good body condition (5 to 6) as they enter the fall calving season.

  • It is important to be prepared for the fall calving season. Check calving supplies. Supplies may include bucket, disinfectant (Nolvasan), antiseptic soap (Nolvasan scrub), OB sleeves, OB lubricant, OB chains, OB handles, calf puller, etc.  

  • Heifers should weigh 65% of their mature weight before their first breeding.


Tips for Spring Calving herds:


  • Vaccinate heifers for brucellosis. Vaccinate calves prior to weaning. Calves should be weaned at least 45 days prior to sale, castrated, dehorned, and vaccinated with IBR, BVD, , BRSV (a 4- or 5-way viral vaccine), 7-way clostridial vaccine (Blackleg), Pasteurella haemolytica (recently renamed Mannheimia haemolytica) also containing leukotoxoid, Pasteurella multocida, and Haemophilus somnus. Some of these vaccinations can be purchased in combination.

  • Body condition the cows to determine if it is necessary to wean calves early.

  • Plan marketing program for weaned calves.



Forage/Grazing Management Tips:


  • Rotate pastures on a weekly basis to keep grass in a growing stage.
    • This will be worthwhile if drought sets in during late summer. (Savings from improved grazing management = 2-3 weeks more grazing when drought hits)
  • Stockpile one or two bermudagrass or bahiagrass pastures to be stockpiled for fall grazing.

    • Clip or graze off old Bermuda/bahiagrass forage to a 2 to 3-inch stubble

    • Apply 50-60 lbs/acre of nitrogen fertilizer between August 1 and 15

      • August 15 and 30 for southern Arkansas.

    • Defer grazing until October

      • Savings from grazing stockpiled forage instead of feeding hay = $25-$50 per animal unit or $50-$75 per acre of forage stockpiled.

    • For more information refer to factsheet 3133 "Grazing Stockpiled Forages to Reduce Hay Feeding During Fall & Winter http://www.uaex.edu/publications/PDF/FSA-3133.pdf 

  • Pick a tall fescue field to stockpile for winter grazing

    • Clip or graze off old fescue forage to a 3-inch stubble by the end of August. 

  • Pick a bermudagrass field or a field to be renovated and prepare for planting a forage brassica and/or ryegrass.

    • Brassica planted in late August or early September on a lightly disked pasture will be ready to graze by mid to late October

      • Savings from forage brassica/ryegrass = $25 to >$100 per animal unit

    • Forage brassica varieties are more productive & have better cold tolerance than common food plot varieties used to attract wildlife.

    • Secure a seed source

      • Local farm stores may not carry the recommended forage variety, but may be able to order them.