The Washington Times-Herald

Community

December 24, 2013

Livestock balance holiday meals better than humans

Thanksgiving is long behind us now, along with all of those large endless choice meals. It is kind of hard to not over eat, or eat what you should be eating, when temptations are surrounding you. Our grazing livestock actually does a better job of balancing out their perfect diet than we usually do and they don’t need any food labels or scales to do it.

Ruminants have the ability, through what I will call biological feedback, to instinctively know what they should be eating and how much. Their biggest problem is usually availability. We see this easily in the spring when cows are eating the lush watery high-nitrogen forage; they need dry matter to balance it out so they search and consume whatever they can find to help maintain that mat in their rumen. That may mean dry forage left from some other period, hay, or about anything dry and consumable.

You can also see the same thing happening with other macro and micro nutrients. If they are deficient in something, they seek it out and if available in some form it is consumed. Certain plants have particular elements concentrated in them and they are often consumed by the grazing livestock to meet that nutrient need. Some advocates and graziers take this to the next level as far as the minerals are concerned and provide a “cafeteria style” mineral box for the livestock which contains twelve or more individual elements and let the livestock eat or consume the ones that they want or need. Interestingly enough, what they consume under such management tends to vary some from month to month which may in turn indicate the availability of those nutrients or more likely the deficiency of those consumed nutrients in the forage or sward being grazed.

Minerals are generally fed because they are lacking in the soil and thus the plants being consumed. It is easier to provide mineral than to try and apply all of them to the pasture in ideal amounts. The exceptions are phosphorus and potassium, both macro nutrients, which are still probably best applied directly to the field. Nitrogen may also be needed if not met by an adequate amount of legume plants which is generally at least thirty percent by dry weight. Thirty percent by dry weight would appear visually to be more like fifty percent of the stand. Micro nutrients are also needed by the plants and animals, and include calcium, magnesium, sulphur, boron, chlorine, copper, iron, manganese, molybdenum and zinc. Calcium and magnesium can be added to the field in such forms as Ag lime or dolomite lime; the dolomite containing magnesium. It is important to get a soil test to prior to application to insure appropriate amounts are being applied. Too much potassium can tie up magnesium and raise the risk of grass tetany.

Text Only
Community
  • 4Hgc08 4-H Champions 4-H Grand Champions from the recent Daviess County 4-H fair. More photos will be published both online and in upcoming editions.

    July 22, 2014 6 Photos

  • Ways to Help Others American Red CrossAssists Daviess County families recovering from disasters such as fire, flooding, and tornado damage. For more information, call 812-254-9877 or email mary.bechtel@redcross.orgStill Waters Restoration CenterShelter for single mother

    July 19, 2014

  • ChampionBean.jpg Champion, Bean celebrates engangement Rebecca Anne Champion and Seth David Lloyd Bean, along with their families, are pleased to announce their upcoming marriage on Aug. 17 at Camp Illiana.Rebecca is the daughter of Patrick and Terry Champion of Mineral, Virginia. She is a 2011 graduate

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • GardenClub.jpg Brummett's garden named garden of the month If one can imagine sitting around a cozy fire with the warmth on your hands and face on a cool summer night then one might be sitting next to the fire pit in the yard of Ralph and Cheryl Brummett at 1416 W. Walnut St.This yard shows their whimsical s

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Recent real estate transactions Seth Price, Luke Price, John Price, and Sally Price to John Mark Lawyer, NW ¼ of NE ¼ S29, T3N, R6W.Larry Kemp and Norma Kemp to Dennis Miller and Roseanna Miller, pt. NW ¼ of SE ¼ S21, T4N, R5W.Eva F. Lynn Estate to David P. Lynn, pt. NW ¼ of NW ¼ S

    July 19, 2014

  • Local Birth Notices Nova KempJune 23, 2014Verlin and Malinda Kemp of Elnora announce the birth of their daughter, Nova Brooke Kemp.She was born at 9:04 p.m. June 23 at Good Samaritan Hospital. She weighed 7 lbs. and was 21 1/2 inches long.Grandparents are Amos and Kathe

    July 19, 2014

  • 4hGroup01 Early 4-H winners Here are some early winners at the Daviess County 4-H Fair.

    July 18, 2014 9 Photos

  • Friday's Area Briefs Feed My Sheep on SaturdayFeed My Sheep will distribute groceries from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at 601 W. Oak St. There will be no admittance to the building until 9 a.m. and the doors will be locked at 1 p.m. Groceries will be distributed at the Odo

    July 18, 2014

  • Red Cross blood drive scheduled for August The American Red Cross encourages all eligible blood donors to make an appointment to donate blood soon to help prevent a shortage. During the summer months, on average, about two fewer donors give blood at each Red Cross blood drive than what is nee

    July 18, 2014

  • Capture.JPG MAP: Local Yard Sales

    Here are the yard sales for this weekend. To get your yard sale on future maps, call 812-254-0480, ext. 112.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo