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Agricultural News

OSU Analyzes Cattle Grazing Systems to Maximize Production

Thu, 02 Apr 2015 15:25:16 CDT

OSU Analyzes Cattle Grazing Systems to Maximize Production

With drought and the high cost of land, Oklahoma State University has been looking at alternatives for cattle producers to maximize their grazing resources. OSU Extension Beef Cattle Specialist Dr. Dave Lalman has been evaluating two different grazing systems. The extensive approach utilizes moderate grazing over a large number of acres or a more intensive system that utilizes cropland to reduce the amount of pastureland needed. Lalman said they evaluated both options to determine which system allowed them to have comparable beef production.

With one acre of cropland, Lalman said they used the forage as a supplement or as a summer forage source. OSU planted a cover crop for summer grazing, then limit grazed wheat during the winter months.

"That's the intensification, is basically using that one acre of cropland about six months out of the year, where the native grassland could rest," Lalman said.

Radio Oklahoma Network Farm Director Ron Hays featured Lalman on the Beef Buzz feature. Click or tap on the LISTEN BAR below to listen to today's Beef Buzz.

The more extensive system uses more pasture or grazing land with minimum inputs. This system uses a moderate to low stocking rate of 13 acres per cow-calf unit. Lalman said a lot producers stock heavier than that, but then they will also feed more hay.

"The extensive system was designed to minimize inputs, so very little hay feeding, just a little bit of protein supplement during the winter," Lalman said.

Lalman has found the intensive system that uses cropland has the ability to produce more pounds of beef, but it also costs more money per animal. He said calves in the summer weighed 100 pounds heavier and the cows were a fully body condition score higher in being fleshier, but it was more expensive. The first year of the research found the expenses nearly offset the increase of production. Lalman said the second year there were inputs coming back in the form of hay produced from the cover crop that will reduce costs. He said OSU will evaluate these systems to see how these factors change over time.

For more information on this research, contact Dr. Lalman at the Animal Science Department at Oklahoma State University.

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 Dr. Dave Lalman of OSU
right-click to download mp3


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