Rucker’s Ramblings


“People don’t plan to fail, they fail to plan.” We’ve all heard that saying and there is quite a bit of truth in it. Many areas of Yadkin and Davie counties, and surrounding area, are deep into the hot dry conditions of 2015 and many decisions have to be made both short and long term. There are some management practices you can implement to help you get through this situation and increase the chance of maintaining an acceptable stand of grass without breaking the bank. These practices can be used with most species of livestock, not just cattle.

To feed, feed less or not to feed, it’s your choice.

To Feed vs. Feed Less or Not Feed

Must find source of feed vs. Save feed resources for top cows or future

Must use financial resources vs. Use financial resources for other needs

Reduce stress on forage vs. Potential stress on forage

Time, energy, effort vs. Check Fence Stability

Facilities to feed vs. Can animals maintain condition/production

If you decide to keep all or most of your cattle:

• Provide plenty of shade and fresh water

• Wean early or provide creep feed to reduce the stress on the cows

• Work hard to secure a feed source or as many sources as needed

• Look at any worthwhile options to feed cattle

• Push a pencil to make sure your options are COST EFFECTIVE

• Be flexible, ready/willing to try something different

• Ask lots of questions and know what you are getting into with any feed source

• Figure how much you need to help avoid running low

• Deworm cattle and keep them healthy (utilize feed more efficiently)

• Be realistic and honest: might have to sell cattle anyway, if things get worse

Pasture Management Tips To Consider Implementing:

• Reduce stocking rate: Reduces grazing pressure and gives grass a chance to produce next spring. Most pastures are suffering right now.

• Consider overseeding or reseeding to increase forage population and increase stand vigor.

Soil Test!!! Grass will need proper amounts of nutrients to be productive. Grass is already under stress and without nutrients you will be very disappointed next year.

• Plan on utilizing supplements this year as well as next year to reduce stress on forage and allow it to recover. Don’t rely on a weakened stand of grass for all your cattle’s nutritional needs.

• With some well thought out planning, you can survive this drought as well as improve the efficiency of your operation for the future.

Upcoming Events:

• There will be a Beef Cattle Field Day on July 18, at the Mountain Research Station in Waynesville.

• Also on July 18, the NC Jersey Association will be having a Field Day at the farm of Lane & Jill Karriker and family, 5940 Hwy. 801 South, in Mocksville. The field day begins at 10 a.m. Contact the Extension Office for more information.

• The Statesville Area Feeder Calf Sale will be July 23 at Harward Brothers Livestock Market in Turnersburg. Cattle must weigh at least 400 lbs. and come directly from the farm. Calves must be under one year of age. All bulls MUST be castrated and completely HEALED. All animals must be dehorned and completely healed. Stags and bulls will be rejected. All calves must be vaccinated for Blackleg and Malignant Edema no later than 14 days before the sale. If you are interested in consigning calves or need a copy of the rules, contact me. Deadline to consign calves is July 9.

• As most of you know we are having some drought stressed corn issues. Many growers are concerned about what to do with the corn (make silage, etc.). There will be a program at the Piedmont Research Station July 8 from 1 to 3 pm. Dr. Heiniger, FSA, NRCS and NCDA will be there along with Shannon Davidson. The program will address estimating the level of stress, crop condition and options to consider if your corn is drought stressed. This is all I know right now, I’ll try to get more details. If you have concerns, attending this workshop might be a good idea.

• The Yadkin-Davie 4-H Livestock Show will be Aug. 8 at the Lone Hickory Arena in Yadkinville. The show will begin at noon featuring local youth as well as youth from several surrounding counties. Come and show our youth how much we support them in their livestock projects. Contact either Extension Office for more information.

Phil Rucker is the livestock agent with the NC Cooperative Extension for Yadkin and Davie counties.

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