UACES Facebook July Beef Cattle/Forage Tips
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July Beef Cattle/Forage Tips

July Beef Cattle/Forage Tips


 Today I want to mention items that beef and forage producers need to consider at this time of year.

 Beef Cattle Management

  •  Monitor pasture conditions for growing replacement and retained cattle.  Pasture quality usually diminishes this time of year.  Decisions of extended ownership should be based on current calf value and fall feeder cattle futures.  Replacement female weight gain should be monitored through the fall to make sure heifers are on track to reach their target weight for fall breeding.
  • Pay attention to feedstuff markets.  Many commodity feeds that are low in starch and moisture store well and purchasing commodities early can help reduce winter feed costs.  Reports of corn crop conditions and the effects of acreage and crop condition begin to influence the corn market this time of year.  Commodity feeds are greatly influenced by the corn market.
  • The heat and humidity of a typical Arkansas summer combine to make a very uncomfortable environment for beef cattle. Moderate signs of heat stress may occur when the temperature is between 80° and 90°F with the humidity ranging from 50 to 90%.
  • Heat stress may include rapid shallow breathing, profuse sweating and a decrease in milk production and feed intake. As heat stress increases, cows may show severe depression in milk yield and feed intake as body temperature elevates. In addition more significant signs of heat stress such as open mouth breathing with panting with her tongue hanging out may become evident.
  • During hot weather, cattle should be worked before 8:00 am, if possible. Certainly all cattle working must be complete by about 10:00 am. While it may seem to make sense to work cattle after sun down, they need at least 6 hours of night cooling before enough heat is dissipated to cool down from an extremely hot day.
  • Water requirements increase as the environmental temperature rises. It also is very important that cows have water in a location that is close to shade, since they will not travel great distances for water in a hot environment.
  • Water also should be clean, fresh, at approximately ground temperature.
  • Shading from direct sunlight is also very important, as this allows cows to rest in a more comfortable environment. The possible sources of shade range from trees, to portable shade cloth structures, to permanent roofed structures. Each approach has its own set of advantages and disadvantages.
  • Provide a free - choice mineral through-out the hot summer months.
  • As the hot summer season drags on, check cows for body condition.
  • Vaccinate fall born heifers for brucellosis.

Weed Control in Pasture

  • Summer months are the time for brush control
  • Spray also for perennial broadleaf weeds

     Resources for keying out species and herbicide rates can be found in:

                        MP522, Pasture Weed Control in Arkansas and MP44, Recommended  Chemicals for Brush and Weed Control


Grazing Management


  • Rotate pastures on a weekly basis to keep grass in a growing stage.

This will be worthwhile when the drought sets in during late summer. (Savings from improved grazing management = 2-3 weeks more grazing when drought hits)

  • Pick one or two bermudagrass pastures to be stockpiled for fall grazing.

Clip or graze the stubble to about three inches tall by the end of July

Apply 50-60 lbs. nitrogen in early August.

  • Summer annual forages

Graze pearl millet at about 20-24 inches of height

Don't graze further down than 6 inches to avoid nitrate problem

Graze sorghum-sudan at about 24 inches, aim for 8-10 inches stubble

Hay Harvest

  • Summer annual forages

For sorghum-sudan and pearl millet aim at 30-40 inches cutting height

Leave 6-8 inches of stubble to promote regrowth

  • Fertilize for the last hay cutting of summer hay and then cut and put it in the barn or cover it well. Don't plan on using it until late winter because you will be planning to grow lots of fall pasture.

Barn stored hay will keep through next year and longer.  (Savings from reducing hay waste with covered storage = 15% to 25% of your crop).

For more information on beef cattle and forage production contact the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension office at 425-2335.

By Mark Keaton
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Media Contact: Mark Keaton
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
3 East 9th St. Mountain Home AR 72653
(870) 425-2335


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