Rotational grazing is one of the best ways to maximize forage utilization by managing stocking rate and pasture size. The reality is pasture ground is hard to find and quite valuable. In some area, I see planters working fields that had been pasture for the last 50 years. With rotational grazing the concept is to divide the grazing area into paddocks that a group of animals can consume within 7 to 10 days.
We would like to continue with our theme of maximizing profitability from forages as we head into the summer and fall. The importance of making the most from your forage base is a key factor in reducing additional expenses as well as optimizing calf performance and cow reproduction. Summer and Fall grazing conditions bring upon new opportunities for capturing added value from your forages. I have outlined a few of those opportunities below that can pay dividends for most beef producers. We will also expand on these areas over the next 5 weeks to help provide you more information to determine if they have the potential to help you with your bottom line.
Fescue toxicity is the most costly grass-related disease in the United States with production losses exceeding $600 million per year. An endophyte fungus within the fescue plant causes fescue toxicosis. This endophyte produces alkaloids that cause adverse symptoms in grazing livestock including: decreased weight gain or even weight loss, reduced milk production, higher body temperature, increased respiration rates, rough hair coat, unthrifty appearance, loss of blood flow to extremities, excessive salivation and poor reproduction.
Parasites are a drain on cattle performance and your wallet. While most people may not include flies in the parasite category, they should. Horn flies, in particular, are the most economically important external parasite in cattle production with estimated losses averaging $1 billion annually. Prevention and control are the keys to tipping the scale back in your favor.
The majority of the research that Ridley Block Operations has conducted on modifying grazing distribution with CRYSTALYX® has occurred in the Fall. However, there are good examples of customers using CRYSTALYX® in the Summer, to modify grazing distribution.