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Agricultural News

Managing Cattle in Confinement to Save Herd During Drought

Mon, 29 Sep 2014 11:47:13 CDT

Managing Cattle in Confinement to Save Herd During Drought

Cow-calf producers who are dealing with minimal range land, due to drought and competition for grazing land, may be considering managing the herd in confinement. K-State beef specialist Jaymelynn Farney recently published two extension publications that discuss this option. Farney provides an example of how big of an area a herd may need.

"It all depends on whether you are putting a dry cow in, pairs in, whether you receive a lot of moisture, whether its rather dry," Farney said. "So as you would probably guess, dry cows on well-drained hard packed facilities need less area than pairs in muddy wet conditions. We do have a range listed from about 200 square feet for dry cows in a optimal lot conditional with drainage to up to 800 square feet for pairs in a not well draining, very muddy type of pen situation."

Radio Oklahoma Network Farm News Director Ron Hays featured Farney on the Beef Buzz program. You can listen to the feature by Clicking on the LISTEN BAR below.

Producers can consider for feeding the herd in confinement, even if there is no actual permanent drylot available on site. Farney said if producers have a pasture that needs some recovery time, then it might be worth it to make a small part of that pasture and dedicating it to drylot situation.

"In order to save the rest of my pasture, I am going to sacrifice one acre," Farney said. "On one acre I was able to put 160 dry cows, haul in some bunks, have a water source and keep those cows confined in that one area to allow the rest of the pasture to have time to recoup. I am sacrificing one acre to potentially save a quarter section."

When considering confinement for cattle herds, producers must keep in mind the need for an ample, high-quality dependable water source.

"Water is the number one nutrient for cattle, so it doesn't matter how good of a diet you have, if you don't have water your cattle are not going to perform the way they need to," Farney said. "But you need to make sure whatever water source you have, it can continually supply water for the number of head you have."

For more information from K-State see the below links.
Beef Cow-Calf Management Options When Pasture is Limited, Click Here.
Managing Cows in Confinement, Click Here.

The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Network- but is also a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR below for today's show- and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.


Ron Hays Beef Buzzes with Jaymelynn Farney
right-click to download mp3


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