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Attention cattle producers: Timely tips for your cow herd

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Dr. Roy Burris, Beef Extension Professor for the University of Kentucky offers cattle producers his “Timely tips” for the cow herd:

Spring-calving cow herd

Bulls should have been removed from the cow herd by now. They should be pastured away from the cow herd with a good fence and allowed to regain lost weight and condition. It is a good time to evaluate physical condition, especially feet and legs. Bulls can be given medical attention and still have plenty of time to recover, e.g., corns, abscesses, split hooves, etc. Do not keep trying to get open spring cows bred, but rather move them to fall calving or sell them when they wean this year’s calf.

Repair and improve corrals for fall working and weaning. Consider having an area to wean calves and retain ownership for postweaning feeding rather than selling “green,” lightweight calves. Plan to participate in CPH-45 feeder calf sales in your area.

Fescue pastures do not generally produce much in August, however rain in July has given us some forage going into the usually dry months. Keep rotating pastures to permit calves to continue gaining weight. Keep minerals available at all times.

Fall-calving cow herd

Dry cows should be moved to better pastures as calving time approaches. Cows should start calving next month. Yearling heifers may begin “headstart” calving later this month. Plan to move cows to stockpiled fescue for the breeding season, so it will soon be time to apply nitrogen fertilizer.

Prepare for the fall-calving season (usually September). Get ready, be sure you have the following: record book, eartags for identification, iodine solution for newborn calf’s navel, calf puller, castration equipment.

General. Keep a good mineral mix available at all times. The UK Beef IRM Basic Cow-Calf mineral is a good choice.

Do not give up on fly control in late summer, especially if fly numbers are greater than about 50 flies per animal. You can use a different “type” of spray or pour-on to kill any resistant flies at the end of fly season.

Avoid working cattle when temperatures are extremely high, especially those grazing high-endophyte fescue. If cattle must be handled, do so in the early morning.

Provide shade and water. Cattle will need shade during the hot part of the day. Check water supply frequently. As much as 20 gallons may be required by high producing cows in very hot weather.

Cattle may also be more prone to eat poisonous plants during periods of extreme temperature stress. They will stay in “wooded” areas and browse on plants that they would not normally consume. Consider putting a roll of hay in these areas and/or spraying plants like purple (perilla) mint which can be toxic.

Select pastures for stockpiling. Remove cattle and apply nitrogen when moisture conditions are favorable. Stockpiled fescues can be especially beneficial for fall-calving cows after calving.

Take soil samples to determine pasture fertility needs. Fertilize as needed, this fall. Soil sampling is available at no cost through the Carroll County Extension Service.

For more information, please contact the Carroll County Cooperative Extension Service at (502) 732-7030.

Dates of interest

Sept. 1 – First Friday, Courthouse Square, 4-8 p.m. Come visit us as we sample recipes made with produce from the Riverview Farmers’ Market.

Christin Herbst is the Carroll County Extension agent for agriculture and natural resources. Call her at (502) 732-7030 or send e-mail to Christin.Herbst@uky.edu.