Willis Polled Herefords update as of 7-30-22
Our yearling bulls have all sold. “Cattle for Sale” page for more information. Give us a call and come by and take a look.
In spite of the drought the cows and calves are doing well. Here of some pictures of calves taken a couple of weeks ago. The DNA results have been received and we will have bulls free of the genetic defects and several are homozygous polled. The pictures tell the story.
Tips for Cattle Production in Drought
Because droughts should be considered “normal” in the cattle industry, producers should make plans well in advance of their occurrence. Below are a list of strategies to help producers in the long term to avoid crisis in times of drought.
- Adjust stocking rate to the carrying capacity of dry years, then take advantage of favorable years with alternative enterprises such as retained ownership, stockers, etc.
- Know the seasonal forage flow and be prepared to adjust the stock flow accordingly.
- Plan for water availability. Gain access to large water reservoirs or well water if possible. Graze areas with limited water reserves first.
- Add additional fencing. Cross fences increase the number of pastures, increasing the ability to control graze and rest periods. Avoid the temptation to “throw open” all of the gates.
- Lengthen pasture rest periods during slow or no growth times. Plants can withstand severe grazing if followed by proper rest periods. These rest periods allow plants time to replenish tissues above and below the ground.
- Know critical dates for rainfall and forage growth. These dates coincide with seasonal temperatures and day length that directly affect the forage flow of the forage types.
- Have animals selected in advance to sell. Establish levels of culling, such as: first level, open cows; second level, low or poor producers; third level, growing stock and large calves; fourth level, old cows and nonconformers, etc.
- Consider early weaning to avoid poor conception the next year. During droughts, forages decline rapidly in quality as well as quantity. Wean calves before the end of the breeding season to decrease the cows’ nutrient requirements by half, which could mean the difference between rebreeding or not.
- Plan, monitor, and replan. Establish a forage/grazing plan calendar outlining expected seasonal forage production. Monitor utilization, production and rainfall. Compare expected production figures with past records relative to rainfall. Make needed adjustments.
- Only drought feed for a good reason! It is usually more cost efficient to move cattle to a location with abundant forage, than to have forage shipped to an area in drought.
About 75 percent of warm season forage is produced by July 15. That means even if July and August should be wetter than normal, forage plants are already beyond their peak growth period. This makes late June and early July an ideal time to monitor forages and make carrying capacity calculations for the rest of the year.