March Beef Cattle and Forage Tips
Tips for Spring Calving Herds:
- Have bulls tested for breeding soundness before spring breeding season begins (Fact Sheet 3046). Twenty percent of bulls fail a breeding soundness examination. The breeding soundness evaluation (BSE) is a practical method to identify bulls with less than satisfactory breeding potential. This evaluation should be conducted on every bull at least 30 to 60 days before each breeding season to allow enough time for replacement of deferred or unsatisfactory bulls.
- Assessing body condition scores is essential in maximizing cow herd efficiency.
- The processes of fetal development, delivering a calf, milk production and repair of the reproductive tract are all stresses that require large quantities of energy.
- Calving difficulty (dystocia) is a very important economic problem in the U.S. beef cattle industry.
- Approximately 3% of calves born in the U.S. will be lost due to calving difficulty.
- Several factors play a role in calving difficulty including heavy birth weights, abnormal fetal position, limited pelvic area and the female's age. (Fact Sheet 3105 )
- Calf scours is a very costly problem for many producers.
- Calves that suffer from scours can become critically ill in a short period of time. ( Fact Sheet 3083 )
Grass tetany can become a problem during late winter and early spring.
- Grass tetany occurs most commonly in the months of February, March, and April.
- It normally occurs when cool season forages begin to regrow.
- Grass tetany is due to an abnormally low level of magnesium in the cow's body.
- Older lactating cows are more susceptible. ( Fact Sheet 3084 )
Forage Management Tips:
- Apply burn-down herbicide to dormant bermudagrass. Reapply herbicide if needed.
- This is very important for keeping bermudagrass pastures clean of broadleaf weeds as much as possible.
- Herbicide of choice is glyphosate before bermuda greenup occurs. Adding a broadleaf herbicide such as metsulfuron, Grazon P plus D or GrazonNext will improve control on some weeds such as henbit.
- Use rates according to the label.
- Bermudagrass should not be mowed or grazed for 60 days after glyphosate application, so time herbicide application accordingly.
General Things to Consider:
- Start repairing haying equipment for spring harvest.
- Fertilize winter annual and fescue pastures and hayfields. Typical rates are 50-60 units N per acre along with P and K according to soil test recommendation.
- Cedar trees – this is one tree that we seem to have an abundance of and they can be a problem in fence rows and pastures. The good thing about cedar trees is you can cut them off near the soil line and, as long as you cut cedars off below any green needles, the stump won’t sprout back and will die.
For more information on beef cattle production and forages, contact the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service at 425-2335.
Media Contact: Brad Runsick
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
3 East 9th St. Mountain Home AR 72653
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