hay eatingHARTFORD, Ky. (10/22/19) — Ohio County Extension Office reported 2019 CAIP Program Reimbursement documents are due soon. All purchases must have been made by Oct. 1, 2019 and all projects should be completed and documentation for reimbursement and returned to the Extension Office by noon Nov. 1.

Everyone has picked up their packets with the reimbursement information. Anyone with questions about completing the reimbursement forms should call Tammy Blacklock or Jodi Williams for assistance.


Meeting winter nutritional requirements for the beef herd can be challenging and requires some thought and planning to be done properly and economically. Protein is especially vital for forages and cows.

Glenn Selk, an emeritus extension animal scientist with Oklahoma State University, explains in a recent “Cow/Calf Corner” newsletter the importance of supplementing protein based on forage quality. Protein is necessary for the multiplication of microbes in the rumen, which are largely responsible for the digestion of cellulose in harvested forages.

Higher quality forages are more readily digested in the rumen and have a higher rate of passage through the digestive tract of the cow than do lower quality roughages. Cattle can eat more of these higher quality forages and receive more total digestible nutrients from each pound consumed. Selk explains that when cattle are fed low-quality feed, with the adequate amount of supplemented protein, the cattle have improved digestive rates compared to cows with inadequate protein that consume the same quality forage. For example, when an 1100 lb. cow eats 6 percent protein hay in early lactation, you need to supplement 3.3 lb/hd/day of 40 percent protein supplement to provide proper protein for the cow. When compared to 8% protein hay, fed in early lactation, you only need to supplement 1.5 lb/hd./day of 40 percent protein supplement.

Larger cows and cows that have above average milk production will consume more forage and need more supplement to match their requirements. Protein helps with digestion, but it also provides energy to the cow. An energy deficiency results in weight and body conditioning loss and is more likely in winter weather conditions. The energy requirements can be met with about double the feed rate of lower protein supplements.

Knowing forage quality is the key to ensure you are supplementing your cattle properly. Failing to match the known quality of your forage to the supplement being fed can be costly and may result in cow loss or weak calves, in more severe winters.


The following article is from Keven Laurent, Beef Extension Specialist at U.K. in Princeton, discussing some options for beef producers dealing with short pastures due to drought.

To say that 2019 has been a challenging year would be a huge understatement. From the excessive rain the first half of the year, to the drought and depressed markets of late, 2019 will definitely be remembered as one of those years much like 2007, 2009 and 2012. Like most challenges in life, there always seems to be an opportunity if we just look hard enough. Some may think these so called opportunities are dressed in camouflage and I wouldn’t dare argue with you. However, there have been a few positive signs recently with the market trending higher and many areas receiving some rain. Although we are far from out of the woods on either front, there are a few strategies we can use to minimize losses now and improve our situation in the near future.

1. Wean the calves and precondition them prior to sale. Markets continue to reward weaned calves and preconditioning budgets look very favorable at this time. Two common preconditioning mistakes are not feeding enough concentrate and feeding poor quality hay. For short term feeding programs (<100 days) calves need to gain better than 2.5 lbs. per day to have the best chance of return. Feed the calves hay that is greater than 10-12 percent protein along with a 14 percent protein concentrate feed. Concentrate should be fed at a rate of at least 2 percent bodyweight. Also, consider extending the feeding/preconditioning period to 60-90 days prior to marketing to increase pay weights. Finally, sell these calves in a CPH-45 sale or similar type sale where there will be other preconditioned calves. If you have never weaned calves before, talk to your local county ANR extension agent or KBN facilitator about enrolling in the new ”PVAP-Precondition Program. 

2. Shut the gates and rest your pastures. 
Closing gates and preventing the herd from roaming will allow the remainder of the farm to rest and recover prior to winter and will reduce the chances of cows eating noxious weeds that they would not normally consume. Concentrate the herd in either a drylot or better yet in a paddock or field that is low in fertility. Remember, roughly 80 percent of what a cow eats is excreted as manure and urine, so concentrating and feeding the herd on a weak pasture can serve to fertilize that area. For more pasture tips see Dr. Chris Teutsch, Extension Forage Specialist, article on “Reviving Drought Stressed Pastures”.

3. Test your hay and begin feeding dry cows. 
Dry cows in mid – gestation, for spring calving cows, have the lowest nutrient requirements of any class of cattle on the farm. Feed the lowest quality hay to dry cows at this time. Hay that is 
greater than 8 percent protein and 48-50 percent tdn will maintain or add condition to dry cows. You can enter your hay test results in the “UK Beef Cow Forage Supplement Tool” at (http://forage- supplement-tool.ca.uky.edu/) to easily determine your supplementation needs. If you are running short on hay, consider limiting the time that cows have access to the hay (6-8 hours) or unroll a set amount of hay each day. Realize that this is a viable option only when cows are in good condition (body condition score 5 or above) and hay quality is good. Do not consider this strategy if cows are thin and/or hay quality is poor.

These are just a few of the strategies that can be employed during these challenging times. For more information always remember to contact your local county Agriculture Extension Agent. In the meantime, let’s pray for higher cattle prices, adequate rain and a late winter.


• Oct. 26 – Red Hill Farms – Fall Bull & Female Sale; Lafayette, Tennessee; 11 a.m. CT; Red Angus and Red & Black SimGenetics Bulls 

• Oct. 31 – Western Kentucky Grazing Conference; Christian Co. Extension Office, Hopkinsville; 8 a.m.-3 p.m.

SurfKY News
Information provided by Jodi Williams

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