Welcome to the June 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 Spring Calving Herds:
  • Processing spring-born calves at 3 months often occurs during the June-July period.  Now is a good time to implant castrated male calves.  Implanting calves can improve weight gain by approximately 10-15%.  
  • Make sure your cattle are protected against Blackleg.  Summertime is when Blackleg issues are generally reported.  With the inexpensive cost of the vaccine and the high value of cattle, Blackleg vaccination is very cheap insurance.  Follow label directions.

     
Tips for Fall Calving Herds:

Check body condition scores
  • Assessing body condition scores is essential in maximizing cow herd efficiency.
  • It is much easier to increase condition in cows before rather than after they calve.

 

Plan heifer development for replacement heifers

  •  Acquiring or raising high quality replacement heifers is an essential and major investment for the cow-calf producer. The replacement heifer becomes the genetic building block for the cow herd.
  • General goals for developing heifers should be to:
    • Reach puberty by 12 to 14 months of age.
    • Have a high percentage conceiving early in the breeding season.
    • Be structurally large enough at calving to minimize calving difficulty.
    • Rebreed in a timely manner.
    • Raise a good calf to weaning.
  • As summer and hot weather approaches, cattle will require fresh water.  Many factors influence the amount of water required by cattle.  The following table shows average water needs for various classes of beef cattle.

Note water consumption varies considerably, depending on temperature and stage of production.  These allowances are not absolute requirements and should only be used as a guide in developing water sources or as a starting point for supplying water to penned cattle.

 

 

Forage Management Tips:

Fertilization of warm-season grasses:

  • Fertilize bermudagrass pastures according to soil test reports taken earlier in the year for projected management (grazing or haying)
  • Split N applications by fertilizing after each harvest

Weed control:

  • Apply herbicides to summer annual broadleaf weeds
  • MP 522 and MP 44 are outstanding resources for weed identification and control

Warm season annual forages:

  • Sorghum-sudan or pearl millet are popular choices as summer annual forages
    • Harvest for hay to graze
    • In either case, leave 6 inches of stubble to reduce risk of nitrate poisoning
    • In sorghum-sudan, prussic acid content can be high enough to be toxic, it will also be present in leaves after the plant is stressed from drought and/or low temperatures
    • Reference Fact Sheet 2032

Hay management:

  • For cool season grasses, leave 2-3 inches stubble height to encourage regrowth
    • Cut at boot stage/early bloom for optimum forage nutritive value
  • For bermudagrass:
    • Cut when about 18 inches high, then cut approximately every 30 days
  • For more information on Management of Hay Production refer to MP 434