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Winterize your herd
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Some helpful tips to help you (and your herd), beat old man winter.

Keeping your herd in top condition (Body score), when the temp. drops!

Plan ahead for winter feeding/grazing!   Once bad weather hits, many chances of finding "economical" hay and baled grasses are at a minimum.  If you need to make supplimental hay purchases,  chances are so does everyone else!
 
Here's an example of how to roughly estimate your herds hay/grass needs as an initial way of checking the adequecy of your banked hay in the mow (baled).
 
 

For a feeding period of............................................... 3 months
Number in your herd.................................................... 25
Weight of each cow/heifer/steer................................1,100lbs.
Daily intake..................................................................2 1/2% of total body weight (approx. 27 1/2lbs a day!).
Take the length of the feeding period, multiplied by the number of cattle, multiplied once again by the hay intake per pound.......That's 61,875lbs!!!
Not taking into account any waste hay that can't be fed.  (figure approx. 10%)
 

Animal Health
Managing Cows For Cold Weather Stress
It's no secret that cows need more nutritional energy in colder weather. Ruminant nutritionists have used the rule of thumb that a cow's energy requirements increase 1% for each degree the wind chill is below the 32F. lower critical temperature (LCT) for cows with a dry winter hair coat.

Research indicates energy requirements for maintenance of beef cows with a wet hair coat is much greater. Cows exposed to falling precipitation and having wet hair coats are considered to have reached the LCT at 59 F. In addition, the requirements change twice as much for each 1 change in wind-chill factor -- with the energy requirement actually increasing 2% for each degree below 59 F.

This amount of energy change is often impossible to accomplish with feedstuffs available on ranches. In addition, this amount of energy change in the diet of cows accustomed to a high roughage diet must be made very gradually to avoid severe digestive disorders.

Therefore, the more common-sense approach, says Glenn Selk, Oklahoma State University Extension cattle specialist, is to provide a smaller increase in energy requirements during wet cold weather and extend the increase into improving weather to help regain energy lost during the storm.

He says cows consuming 16 lbs. of grass hay/day and 5 lbs. of 20% range cubes can be increased to 20 lbs. of grass hay/day plus 6-7 lbs. of range cubes during the severe weather event. Extending this amount for a day or two after the storm may help overcome the energy loss during the storm in a manner that doesn't cause digestive disorders.

If you do any grazing, winter is the best time of the year to review your grazing program!  Graziers know that there will be some variation with consumption and nutrient levels, but knowing if your cattle are consuming 15 pounds compared to 25 pounds of forage dry matter is a BIG difference!
 
Now is the best time of the year to review your paddock layout and size each paddock.  I suggest that you put posts that will section off 1, 2 and/or 3 acre paddocks, depending on the size of your herd.  This way you can use temporary fencing to graze paddocks of a specific size.   This is essential as you determine forage quantities before and after grazing.
 
By utilizing the figure of 1" growth per acre equals approx. 200-400 lbs. of forage dry matter (depending on forage species), you will be able to arrive at a reasonable figure of lbs. of dry matter consumed.  Than, working with your nutrionist and using actual forage sample figures, you can determine a "ballpark" figure of nutrients recieved from grazing.
 
If you are just developing your grazing program, start with an aerial photo of your grazing area to see how animal movement and paddock layout could best be managed.  Next using temporary flags or stakes, outline each paddock and the animal alleyways with proposed gates.  Permanant fencing and gates for the animal alleyway can be erected when you feel the system is working.
 
Clyde Myers, Retired PSU Extension Educator in Berks County, PA