Submitted by: Caleb Grooms
Supplementing Poor Forage
In cattle production, profit depends on achieving a marketable calf per cow bred, as well as increasing production efficiency on existing forage sources. Not all land set aside for cattle grazing contains optimal forage sources. Most cattle operations exist on land that cannot sustain agricultural crops and that cannot produce high quality forage on a year-round basis. Therefore, profit depends upon managing forage and feeding programs efficiently to yield maximum cattle crops.
A cow’s forage intake is crucial to obtaining optimal forage utilization. Two factors that influence forage intake are rumen fill, or rumen capacity, and the rate of passage of forage types through the cow’s digestive system. The rumen is like a bucket with limited capacity. When it is full, the cow will stop eating until the rumen empties enough for her to consume more forage, regardless of forage quality.
The rate of passage of the forage through the rumen depends upon the quality of the forage, the health and populations of the microbes that inhabit the rumen, the rumen environment and the total feeding program. The higher quality the forage, the easier it is for the microbes to digest, the faster the rate of passage, and the higher the intake. Rumen microbes play an important role in the cow’s digestive process by helping the cow’s body break down and utilize the nutritional components of forage. These microbes are living microscopic organisms and need certain elements to be present in the total diet in order for them to function efficiently.
Poor quality forage contains fewer nutrients to feed the microbes and is more difficult for them to break down. Its rate of passage is slower and when the rumen is full, the cow will stop eating even though her nutritional needs are not met. Forage utilization decreases, meaning production efficiency is negatively affected. For dormant winter pasture, daily intake can range from 1.3% to 1.8% of body weight.
Feeding supplement when forage is fair to poor quality is often viewed by cattle producers as an expense, but should be looked at as an investment that will bring higher returns. Supplementing provides the nutrients lacking in poor quality forage enabling the rumen microbes to perform more efficiently in digesting poor quality forage, thereby increasing forage intake and the nutrients available to the cow.
The bottom line in supplementing is that the balanced mineral, protein and energy contained in a quality supplement improve forage utilization enabling cattlemen to receive more value and profit potential from their operation. Production efficiency is improved as supplemented cows improve body condition, return to estrus more quickly, increase conception rates and deliver more pounds of marketable calves at weaning. Feeding to achieve more marketable pounds of beef per acre represents a strategic business decision and the best possible return on investment.
Annual Steer and Heifer Show
The Adams County Cattlemen’s Second Annual Steer and Heifer Show took place at the fairgrounds on Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013. Adams County is fortunate to have some of the best show cattle breeders in the country. These breeders, along with other exhibitors, brought out a record number of calves to compete for over $3,500 in prize money.
A showmanship division was added to this year’s show. This proved to be a huge success as the Cattlemen were proud to showcase not only area calves, but our local youth. The knowledge and relationships that the youth have with their calves is evident when competing in showmanship. The Cattlemen hosted a Showmanship Clinic on Friday evening, featuring a showmanship expert who shared knowledge and tips to get the most out of the exhibitor and their calf once when they’re in the show ring. Everyone who signed up for the clinic received an official 2013 Adams County Steer and Heifer Show shirt. The Cattlemen handed out one hundred of the shirts, with most being worn back to the Saturday show.
Saturday’s shows consisted of an open steer show, open heifer show, county steer show and county heifer show. The open shows are open to any steer or heifer from anywhere. These shows included some very nice calves from three different states and numerous Ohio counties. The two county shows are designed to showcase calves that were born and bred in Adams County. As mentioned before, our county is home to some of the premier show cattle breeders. The county shows allow these breeders to invite back calves that they have sold outside the area, along with featuring calves that local breeders and producers have on their farms.
This year’s show was judged by members of the Ohio State University Livestock Judging Team. Ohio State sent a three man panel to sort the calves, consisting of one head judge and two others. This technique has been used for other larger shows throughout the country, but had not been utilize at a local show. The Cattlemen believed by having the judging team come an opportunity would be offered to local youth that some might not otherwise have unless they travel to larger shows.
The Cattlemen hope the show and clinic event has become asset to our area cattlemen, breeders and youth. Although many individuals contribute time and resources, it would not take place without our sponsors. Numerous local businesses, farms and families contributed
4-H Pizza Party
The Cattlemen were proud to host a pizza party for 4-H exhibitors at the year’s Adams County Fair. This party had been an annual event for several years but was skipped in 2012. The Cattlemen voted to sponsor the event, paying for the pizza and refreshments. With the help of Snappy Tomato Pizza in West Union, 45 pizzas were prepared and served along with refreshments behind the cattle barn on the fairgrounds. This is an event that the Cattlemen were proud to be a part of and hope to help with in years to come.
Interested in becoming a member of the Cattlemen? Would you like to learn more about our organization? We are open to all questions, concerns and suggestions and welcome anyone who would like to join. A family membership is only $20 per year, which includes dinner at our annual banquet. Feel free to contact any board member for more information. Our board members are Reggie Carrington, president; Tim Lewis, vice president; Caleb Grooms, secretary/treasurer; Craig Black; Heath Drummond; Jason Moore and Bill Nichols.