Caswell Amazing Grazing Extension Notes Fall 2018

— Written By

Caswell Amazing Grazing Extension Notes Fall 2018

Joey Knight, Caswell County Extension Director

 

The 2018 year has went by fast and we are already going into the winter months. I appreciated all of the help from folks this year in preparing for Extension Cattlemen’s meetings and events. It’s been a great year for growing grass this year with all of the rainfall. Winter is heading our way and this is when we need to look at feeding our cattle high energy feedstuff during these extreme cold temperatures. This means feeding high quality feeds, not just fescue hay. I have some information that I want to share that hopefully will help you in managing your cattle herds during these winter months. Also I have attached some North Carolina Hurricane Relief Funds for Pasture Renovation and Cover Crop Seed Initiative. Please read carefully about the sign up deadline and take advantage of this funding opportunity. If there is anything that I or my staff can do to help you in your farming enterprises, family and consumer sciences, or 4-H youth development feel free to call us at 336-694-4158.

Winter Lice Control on Cattle

The past month driving around and visiting cattle farms in Caswell County I have noticed some cattle with lice. Both chewing and bloodsucking lice are most abundant during the winter. Infestations usually are small during the summer and early fall, but increase rapidly in the winter and spring. Some animals may be continuously infested with lice throughout the year. You may notice that certain animals are particularly prone to lice infestations. Schedule these “carrier” animals for disposal.

Just because cattle are scratching or rubbing against solid objects during the winter and early spring doesn’t mean they are lice-infested, but more than likely, it’s lice infestations. Examine them before applying control measures. Part the animal’s hair where lice are most likely to be found and look for lice or for eggs attached to the hair. The eggs (nits) are glued to the hair and hatch in one to two weeks. The nymphs that hatch from these eggs become full grown and start to lay eggs in about two weeks.

Cattle lice may be controlled with insecticides applied by sprayers, backrubbers, dust bags, “pour-on” or injection methods. Insecticide sprays will not affect the eggs; therefore, a second spray in 14 to no more than 18 days will be necessary to kill the nymphs that hatch following the first spray. Always read the labels on products to make sure you are using the right product and getting proper control.

December Beef Grazers’ Management Tips

  • Begin strip-grazing stockpiled tall fescue for improved forage utilization and manure distribution.
  • Stock heavily and move fence regularly to allow 1-3 days feed supply to maximize utilization.
  • Graze pastures close where clover will be frost seeded in February.
  • Assess stockpiled forage supply and estimate hay/feed needs for late winter.

January Beef Grazers’ Management Tips

  • Continue strip-grazing stockpiled fescue for maximum utilization.
  • Keep cows off very wet pastures to avoid pugging and soil compaction/damage.
  • Consider feeding some hay in poor pastures to boost organic matter and soil fertility.
  • Review grazing records from the past year and adjust plan layout and management as needed.
  • Look at body condition scores of cattle and feed supplemental feeds to provide energy for cattle nutritional needs.

Three Additional Programs Approved to Help North Carolina Pasture-Based Livestock Producers Impacted by 2019 Hurricanes.

Three programs are available specifically to help farmers that had damage to pastures from the effects of flooding and excessive rainfall across North Carolina. One of these programs, the “NC Farm Bureau Hurricane Relief Fund – Pasture Renovation & Cover Crop Seed Initiative” will be managed by the NC Foundation for Soil and Water Conservation. The program will directly disperse seed to livestock and crop farmers that had fields damaged. The other two programs, “Disaster Winter Forage Crop Incentive Program” and “Disaster Pasture Renovation Program” will be administered by the Soil and Water Conservation Districts as part of the overall North Carolina Agricultural Cost Share Program.

The Pasture Renovation and Cover Crop Seed Initiative program will put some of the funds donated to the NC Farm Bureau Hurricane Relief Fund to direct use helping farmers in the next few weeks. Producers will fill out an application on-line or can drop off an application at their county extension office. The application form will be available on the Foundation website. Producers are encouraged to apply as soon as possible, and a decision on awarding seed will be made each week until the funds are expended. Seed will be available as early as next week, so apply now if you have damaged pastures or crop land that needs a cover crop planted to reduce erosion or to grow winter feed for livestock. Details on the program and the application can be found at the NC Foundation for Soil and Water Conservation website: NC Foundation of Soil and Water

The Disaster Winter Forage Crop Incentive program aims to make direct payments to farmers to offset some of their expenses in establishing winter annual forage crops. The payment will be $20/acre on documented acres that meet the standards set for the program. Funds have been earmarked for the program in most impacted counties, but funds will be dispersed based on contracts approved by the local Soil and Water Conservation District Board and will be contingent to availability of the limited funds set aside for the program. Additional Detail is available at: SWC Winter Forage Crop Program

The Disaster Pasture Renovation program is designed to help producers reestablish perennial pastures that were killed or damaged during the storms. Short-term forage production can be stimulated on these pastures by the use of winter annuals, but eventually most farmers will want to renovate with perennials. The program will pay up to $225/acre (based on actual costs) and application will be to the local Soil and Water Conservation District offices. Contracts will be approved by the Soil and Water Conservation District Board. Additional Detail is available at: SWC Pasture Renovation Program

Many producers have applied for Farm Services Administration programs designed to help pay for the loss of animals (Livestock Indemnity Program); the loss of pasture, hay and feed (Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees, and Farm-raised Fish); and damage causing conservation concerns (Emergency Conservation Program). Producers have 30 days after losses are apparent to notify FSA about losses, and 90 days to submit an application. Most farmers will still be considered eligible for the programs as long as they contact FSA by the end of November.

Finally, producers planning on planting winter annuals need to make haste to make their plans and get seed in the ground. November 30 is the latest date we would recommend planting winter annuals, so that leaves only about 3 weeks from the time this publication. If you have land that still needs to be planted make sure you apply for the Pasture Renovation and Cover Crop Seed program, and order the additional seed you need. It is best to use a drill to plant, but broadcasting is a possibility with the wet conditions we are now seeing across most of the state. We encourage producers to take advantage of these opportunities as they recover from these devastating events.