Applying herbicides or cutting may be best to prevent eastern red cedar trees from taking over rangeland. Stevan Knezevic, a University of Nebraska weed scientist, says eastern red cedars compete with grasses for light, water and nutrients, reduce forage production and interfere with livestock handling. Red cedar infestations also can reduce grassland rental or sale prices.

Knezevic studied the effectiveness of manual, biological, prescribed burning and chemical management control on red cedars. He says red cedars can grow an average of 1 ft./year, so it's important to control them while small.

  • A tree's height is the most important factor for herbicide efficacy and protecting producers' bottom lines. For pastures with many short trees — no more than a couple feet tall — broacast herbicides such as Surmount, Grazon P+D and Tordon 22K are most effective, he says. These herbicides also work well for individual treatment of trees up to 6 ft. tall.

  • Cutting was the most economical option for trees taller than 6 ft.

  • Less severe infestations of trees up to 2 ft. can be pulled or dug up. Trees up to 2 ft. tall can also be mowed with mower blades set close to the soil surface or below the lowest branches. Do this shortly after the regular haying process, Knezevic adds.

  • Periodic prescribed fire can inexpensively help eliminate small red cedars and other noxious weed seeds, Knezevic says. Do it once or twice in a three- to five-year period to control seedlings, he says.

  • Pasturing goats with cattle can help eliminate small trees. Goats will eat cedars and noxious weeds, but won't compete with cattle for grasses.

Producers also can reduce tree populations and prevent further spreading while maintaining a wildlife habitat by cutting out only female, or berry-producing, trees.

“Roundup Ready” corn is similar to conventional, nontransgenic corn when fed to finishing feedlot cattle. That's what animal scientists at the University of Nebraska and University of Illinois, working with the Monsanto Co., found in trials conducted to compare the feeding value of genetically enhanced corn with nontransgenic hybrids.

Corn produced at University of Illinois and University of Nebraska research farms under identity-preserved protocols was fed to several large groups of experiment steers. Based on their results, insertion of glyphosate-tolerant genes had no significant effect on nutritive quality of corn.

Performance and carcass characteristics were not influenced, which suggests that Roundup Ready corn is similar to conventional, nontransgenic corn when fed to finishing feedlot cattle.

J. Anim. Sci., Oct, 2003. 81:2600-2608

Ohio State University research shows stockpiling forages is an economical alternative to feeding hay.

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the performance of beef cattle and economics of winter-feeding programs based on hay, stockpiled orchardgrass or limit-fed corn diets in late gestation (Exp. 1) and early lactation (Exp. 2).

The limit-fed, high concentrate diet consisted of 71.6% corn, 13.6% supplement [37% crude protein (CP) plus Rumensin] and 14.8% hay. The hay and Rumensin were used to prevent metabolic disorders.

This diet was limit fed at a level to meet energy and protein requirements.

The hay fed in the study contained 14% CP and 62% neutral detergent fiber (NDF). The pasture quality was initially similar to the hay quality but dropped to below hay quality levels through January and improved from January through April.

  • Feeding hay or grazing stockpiled orchardgrass in Exp. 1 resulted in similar performance. Limit-fed cows had almost one-half the dry matter intake as hay-fed cows. Limit-fed cows gained more body condition than hay or stockpile-fed cows, but calf performance and conception rates were unaffected.

  • Cost of feeding during the gestation period was similar for pasture and limit-fed cows. Feeding hay cost nearly twice as much as grazing stockpiled forages or limit feeding.

  • In Exp. 2, performance was similar for all three treatments. In Exp. 2, cost/cow was cheapest for the limit-fed cows and highest for the hay-fed cows. Utilizing stockpiled forages in Exp. 2 cost more/cow than limit feeding, but was $18/cow cheaper than feeding hay. The higher cost of stockpiling in Exp. 2 was a result of lower forage availability, which require more land usage.

“Stockpiling cool-season grass forages appears to be economically advantageous,” says Tom Troxel, Extension beef cattle specialist, University of Arkansas. “Most producers may be hesitant toward adapting a limit-fed, high-concentrate diet as an alternative to hay, but this practice could become very beneficial during periods of drought and cheap grain prices.”

Research by J.P. Schoonmaker, et al., Ohio State University. Adapted by Troxel for Arkansas Agriculture Beef Cattle Research Update, June 2003.