Wintering longhorns

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Anonymous

I have a few questions about wintering some longhorns on pasture in central Texas. The pasture is pretty much native grass with some coastal bermuda. Condition right now of pasture is about average (not overgrazed, but not lush either). There would be around 25 adult animals on approx 75 acres.

I plan to feed about 15 lbs hay a day per animal (round bales) and supplement feed would consist of about 2 lbs of 20% range cubes a day. Cattle would have free acces to clean water and salt blocks all the time.

Does this feeding plan sound like it would be sufficient to bring the cattle through the winter (Nov to Apr) in good condition? Just trying to work up a budget for hay, feed etc. for the winter.
 
OP
A

Anonymous

Sounds like it would probably work. We are in Texas panhandle, going into our 2nd winter since moving here. Past winter was mild. 25 Longhorns on 75 acres sounds reasonable. However, I would divide the pasture up in 2 or 3 plots to provide rotational grazing.

Last winter we fed about one 4-5" flake of alfalfa per animal unit plus supplemented with molasses based sweet feed and some 20% cubes. Probably did about 1-2 lbs of the combined supplement per head per say. We've got bermuda pasture here.

Watch their hindquarters in your feeding program. If they begin to look a little "sunken" between tailbone and ribs, increase their nutrient level--they seem to respond/recover fast. Ensure any pregnant cows have enough feed in last trimester--might even separate them to provide extra food so others didn't hog it all. We also supplement pasture with round bales--have used haygrazer as well as bluestem hay. We tried some redtop cane hay this summer; however, they didn't like it too much or eat it as fast as the haaygrazer, but they didn't lose condition on it either.

In Central Texas you're not far from sources of bermuda hay and perhaps alfalfa. Consider availability, cost, protein level and all in your supplemental forage selection. There is speculation that hay might be in shortage this winter due to widespread drought conditions. Stock up while it is still available and price is manageable.

If weeds in pasture, watch for Russian Thistle (sagebrush) and Carelessweed (Pigweed). Both can accumulate nitrates and cattle will eat it if forage is down--small amounts eaten doesn't seem to be problem...bite here and there.

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Anonymous

Thanks for all the advice. I will be looking after the cattle, but I won't actually own them. I told the owner that hay prices will probably start going up shortly, especially if it appears there is going to be a shortage. We need to get all the hay we are going to need now, which I figure will be about 60 round bales. I've found some coastal bermuda for $30 bale and some Sudan for $25 in area papers. Don't know exactly what size bales and how good of hay it is, but that's proabably about as cheap as we'll find the round bales.

What does the pigweed look like that you mentioned? Is it native to all parts of Texas, or only certain areas?

---------------------------------
> If weeds in pasture, watch for
> Russian Thistle (sagebrush) and
> Carelessweed (Pigweed). Both can
> accumulate nitrates and cattle
> will eat it if forage is
> down--small amounts eaten doesn't
> seem to be problem...bite here and
> there.
 
OP
A

Anonymous

Pigweed is probably rampant throughout Texas and related areas. It grows to about 3 or 4 feet tall and has a slender greenish plume on top which is seedhead. Tenacious root and spreading ground level branches. Medium green color. Oval shaped pointed leaves. Some red coloring on stems.

On your browser, search for "Pigweed" or "Careless Weed". Can also search for Texas Toxic Plants.

Some cattle will graze on the young tender leaves, sometimes in lieu of grass.

Would also seriously avoid any johnsongrass hay (considered a noxious weed by many). Also, careful about Sudan hay. Both can lead to prussic acid poisoning if it has been fresh cut and/or has been cut at wrong time, and/or depending on recent frosts as well as drought conditions, etc. Check with AG Extension Service on this. The soghrum species as such can be problematic from such poisoning as well as readily spread by re-seeding from fallen hay.

Texas A&M University has variety of topics online for further info.



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