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Rancher’s Gathering to provide help in drought

By Todd Vineyard | Published Wednesday, August 1, 2018

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With drought still looming, it is important that producers take every opportunity to learn about managing their cattle operations until next spring or until this drought ends.

The Rancher’s Gathering is a perfect opportunity for producers to come together and learn from each other. Dr. Doug Hawkins, Beef Cattle Consultant and Nutritionist with Purina Mills, will discuss “Preparation for Fall Feeding and Mineral Supplementation.” Mike McCravey with Texas Beef Council, will give an update on the “Beef Checkoff.”

There will also be an update on hay availability.

This year’s Rancher’s Gathering is Thursday at the Decatur First Baptist Church. It is sponsored by the Wise County Extension Livestock and Forage Committee.

The registration deadline has passed, but you are still invited. Call today for us to make sure we have enough food. To register, come by the Wise County Extension office, 206 S. State Street. Cost is $10. Make checks payable to: Extension Livestock Committee.

CONSIDER EARLY WEANING

In the past, I found valuable information and tips a producer can use during drought in the Noble Research Institute’s newsletter.

They suggested using early weaning of calves as a common drought management practice. Removing calves from cows at approximately 300 pounds or 75 days of age decreases cow nutritional requirements and gives producers the ability to stretch limited forage resources.

Drought conditions in 2011 forced producers to wean calves early, many of which were marketed at auction. Supply and demand principles are in evidence as an increased supply of calves is decreasing market prices. Noble Foundation consultants suggest that early weaning and preconditioning calves for at least 45 days can still result in profit.

During preconditioning, calves are vaccinated, de-horned, bull calves are castrated, and all calves are fed for an additional 45 days post-weaning.

Calculate your cost of preconditioning prior to retaining ownership of calves. I know this is not an ideal process because of low calf prices; however, it could still save you money because of lower expense to maintain the cow.

If you would like more help with budgeting or developing a feeding program for preconditioned calves, call a Noble Research Institute consultant or you can always contact the Wise County Texas AgriLife Extension Service.

Todd Vineyard is a Wise County Extension agent.

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