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Feed & Nutrition

Learn about all aspects of cattle nutrition from harvest and storage to balancing rations with forage, byproducts and supplements.

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Annual forages can be used for many purposes in cropping and livestock systems: to extend the grazing season for livestock, as the primary harvested feed, as a rotation crop between alfalfa, as a double crop with cereal grains, as a green manure for nutrients or as a cover crop for erosion or weed control.

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In the first article of this two-part series, we discussed specific mold and mycotoxin issues derived from feedstuffs and also highlighted several symptoms directly correlated with the presence of mycotoxins in cattle.

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Forage should be sampled to determine moisture and forage quality. Knowing forage quality allows allocation of forage to the proper class of livestock and indicates nutrients needed or in excess of requirements.

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Successful ranchers, whether they realize it or not, grow forage as their primary business and use cattle to harvest the crop.

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The summer of 2012 often brought “high pressure domes” that cause 100-plus degree days and no rain. The resulting heat stress can cause nitrate accumulation in summer annual forage crops. Producers are very cautious about cutting or grazing the drought-stressed forages and for good reason.

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Soybeans that won't make a seed crop offer potential high-quality forage for beef and dairy producers. But the decision to cut beans for hay won't be easy, say University of Missouri Extension specialists.

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