Seasonal Hay Feeding for Cattle Production in Tennessee
Andrew P. Griffith,
Christopher N. Boyer,
Christopher Clark (),
Burton English and
Dayton Lambert ()
No 302737, Extension Reports from University of Tennessee, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics
Despite its wide adaptation, tall fescue presents several managerial challenges including being dormant during the winter and causing fescue toxicosis during the summer. This can reduce cattle conception rates and weight gains (Looper et al., 2010). To overcome tall fescue’s shortcomings, it is common for producers to provide a supplemental feed such as hay during periods of low forage production. An alternative to supplemental feed is diversifying forage to extend the grazing season. The incorporation of alternative forages, such as crabgrass, bermudagrass and winter annuals, into a tall fescue system can reduce overgrazing and extend the number of grazing days (Muir, Pitman, and Foster, 2011; Byrnes et al., 2018; Stanley et al., 2018), which would reduce the number of days feeding hay and total hay costs (Ward et al., 2008). Understanding the advantages of diversifying forages is important as there may be challenges to cool- and warm-season grazing systems. In general, a cool- and warm-season grazing system may require upgrading infrastructure, such as fencing and water sources, and/or require additional labor and management (Gillespie, Kim, and Paudel, 2007; Gillespie et al., 2008; Johnson et al., 2010; Pruitt et al., 2012). Thus, for an economic advantage to be realized, hay cost savings must exceed the costs of establishing and managing cool- and warm-season forages. Many cattle producers, who primarily feed cattle by grazing pasture and feeding hay, have or will explore methods to reduce hay usage, likely driven by the need for lowering total feed costs, reducing winter feeding labor or other considerations. It is appropriate to consider management practices that achieve the goal of reducing hay usage without interrupting cattle production. The objective of this research was to determine how forage mixtures, pasture management and grazing management practices influence the number of days hay was fed to cattle by season. This publication reports the findings of a survey to cattle producers regarding grazing management. These findings may help cattle producers in Tennessee identify forage and pasture management practices influencing cost of production or profitability.
Keywords: Farm Management; Livestock Production/Industries (search for similar items in EconPapers)
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