UACES Facebook May Tips for Beef Cattle and Forage Producers
skip to main content

May Tips for Beef Cattle and Forage Producers


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

  • Implant feeder cattle that will be retained for at least 45 days (FSA3019)
  • Fly populations often increase this time of year. Options for fly control include tags, sprays, and feed supplements fortified with insect growth regulators. Pour-on dewormers often help with fly control early. The insect growth regulators in feed work best with isolated herds. The economic threshold to treat cattle for horn fly is 150 to 200 flies per animal.
  • For spring calving cows monitor body condition. The condition of cows during the breeding season affects their reproductive performance in terms of services per conception, calving interval and the percentage of open cows. Generally speaking as spring forage arrives, forage quality and quantity improve and so will the cow's body condition. Throughout the spring breeding season provide free-choice mineral.
  • Throughout the breeding season monitor the bulls. Make sure the bulls are maintaining their body condition, are free of injury (feet and legs, eyes, etc.), or other conditions that would prevent them from seeking and breeding cows.
  • Process spring born calves. Practices such as castration, dehorning, vaccination (blackleg, etc.), implanting are cost effective. 

Forage Management Tips:

Fertilizing bermudagrass:

  • Fertilize specific pastures when night time temperatures reach 60°F for a week.
  • Fertilize after each hay or grazing harvest as needed depending on seasonal production goals. Fertilize according to soil test recommendations. 

Begin grazing perennial warm season grasses:

  • Start rotationally grazing pastures at green-up.
    • Rotational grazing improves forage utilization over continuous grazing.
    • Begin grazing at 6"-8", terminate grazing at 3"-4". 

Establish bermudagrass for forage from sprigs:

  • Sprig from now til June 1.
  • Sprig 20 to 40 bushels per acre.
  • Some of the recommended varieties are Midland 99, Ozark, Vaughn's, Greenfield, Hardie and Tifton 44.
  • Place sprigs less than two inches deep.
  • Do not sprig when the seedbed is dry.
  • Apply pre-emerge herbicide after sprigging.
  • For more information refer to FSA19, Establishing Bermudagrass 

Establish bermudagrass for forage from seed:

  • Plant between May 1 and June 15.
  • Seeding rates are 4 to 8 pounds of pure live seed per acre.
    • Seed can be drilled or broadcast on a conventional tilled firm seedbed or planted with a no-till drill on killed grass sod.
    • Planting depth of 1/4 inch or less is recommended
    • Variety blends provide faster sod cover and higher seeding year yield.
      • At least 1 variety in the blend should be winter-hardy
      • Winter hardy varieties in AR include; Wrangler, Cheyenne and KF 194.
      • For more information refer to FSA19, Establishing Bermudagrass 

Implement a summer annual/perennial weed control program:

  • For identification and control recommendations, refer to MP522, Pasture Weed Control. 

            For more information contact the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service at 425-2335.

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

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
(870) 425-2335


The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need materials in another format, please contact your County Extension office (or other appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay.

The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.