Due to dry conditions, forage quality or quantity may be lacking in pastures. NDSU Carrington Research Extension Center livestock specialist Karl Hoppe encourages cattle producers to assess pasture condition. Some producers in central and northeastern North Dakota have already started hauling cattle home to drylot feed. “Over the past week, pastures have really started to turn brown. They hung on for a long time, but conditions are exceptionally dry.” Even if forage is widely available, protein in mature, dry grass can be limited. There are several options to reduce grazing pressure and nutritional stress in cattle herds. “Protein supplements such as legumes, oilseeds or byproduct feeds can increase available energy,” says Hoppe. “Also, creep feed may help reduce forage consumption by calves. Just make sure to monitor calves for acidosis.” Other options include grazing crop residue, early weaning and culling.
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