Twig Marston, Kansas State University Extension beef specialist, offers these tips for managing pastures and cow herds in August:

  • Enhance grazing distribution with a mineral mixture placed away from water sources.

  • Observe pasture weed problems to help plan control methods for next spring.

  • Monitor grazing conditions and rotate cattle to different pastures, if possible and practical.

  • Be prepared to provide emergency feeds if pastures run out in late summer. Providing supplemental feeding now can help extend the grazing period.

  • Reduce spoilage and waste of forages by harvesting and storing properly.

  • Analyze harvested forages for nitrate and nutrient composition.

  • Plan a winter nutrition program through pasture and forage management.

  • Supplement maturing grasses with a degradable intake protein for stocker cattle and replacement heifers.

  • Avoid unnecessary heat stress by handling cattle during the coolest parts of the day.

  • Repair, replace and improve facilities needed for fall processing.

  • Order supplies, vaccines, tags and other products needed at weaning time.
If drought conditions develop and persist, Marston suggests producers consider weaning calves earlier than normal. Early weaning can be effective, if current range conditions are limiting milk production in cows and if the cows are losing weight or body condition.

Before weaning calves early, producers should ensure the facilities and management are available to handle lightweight calves, Marston says. First-calf heifers have the most to gain from early weaning, and feeding early-weaned calves is more efficient than feeding cows without weaning their calves.

Editor's note: For more on early weaning, visit www.beefcowcalf.com and type "early weaning" into the "Title Search" box on the opening page. The Web site is offered by BEEF magazine and offers links to more than 2,000 fact sheets and research papers on cow-calf management and production topics.
-- KSU news release