Payne County Extension will be hosting a “Cash Flow and Forage” workshop. This workshop will talk about how livestock risk protection (LRP) and pasture rangeland, and forage (PRF) coverages can protect both. LRP and PRF are both subsidized insurance products sold by private insurance agents similar to traditional crop insurance. This workshop is interactive and will walk producers through what the programs are, how they work, and provide the tools needed to analyze how they may work in their operation. 

This program will be held at the Payne County Expo Center on July 27th, from 2-2 p.m. To RSVP, please contact the Extension office at 405-747-8320.

Supplemental Feeding of Stockers Grazing Summer Grass

Gains of growing cattle grazing summer pasture in Oklahoma often do not meet expectations. Reduced performance or ‘Summer Slump’ is associated with decreasing forage quality during the late summer. Oklahoma State University developed the Oklahoma Gold and Oklahoma SuperGold supplementation programs to offset the reductions in protein and digestibility of the late summer forages. 

The Oklahoma Gold program is based on feeding 1 pound per day (or 2.3 pounds/calf three times a week) of a high protein (38 to 40% protein) supplement containing an ionophore and required minerals and vitamins from mid July to the end of summer grazing. This supplement has been proven to increase daily gains by 0.4 to 0.5 pounds per day with supplement conversions of 2 to 2.5 pounds of feed per pound of added gain. This program is designed to meet the protein deficiency that occurs during the late summer, which increases forage digestibility and forage intake.

The Oklahoma SuperGold program is based on feeding 2.5 pounds per day (5.8 pounds/calf three times per week) of a 25% protein supplement containing an ionophore and vitamins and minerals. This supplement provides needed protein and additional energy in situations where calves have higher energy requirements, more gains are needed, and feed is relatively cheap compared to the value of added gain. The SuperGold program will increase gain by about 0.7 pounds per day with supplement conversions of 3.5 pounds of supplement per pound of added gain.

Recently a new extrusion technology has been developed to make a stable cube from dried distiller’s grains (DDG) that is moderate in crude protein and high in energy and is an ideal supplement meeting the needs of cattle during the late summer. A series of research trials is being conducted on native rangelands in western Oklahoma and introduced pastures in higher rainfall areas in the east. 

On the western Oklahoma rangelands supplements were fed only during the late summer at 2 to 2.5 lbs per day similar to the Oklahoma SuperGold supplementation program. Supplementation during the late summer increased gains by over 1 pound per day from 1.8 lb/day to 2.9 lb/day at Fort Supply in northwest Oklahoma. 

Fertilized bermudagrass pastures (50 lb N/ac) are often higher in quality than we see with late summer native pastures, so responses to supplementation may not be the same. Steers grazing these pastures and supplemented at 2.5/day gained 0.55 lbs/day more than controls throughout the summer, requiring 4.5 pounds of supplement per pound of added gain. In this same research, steers offered a self-fed molasses-based tub did not have improved average daily gains compared to negative controls.

Supplementation programs are beneficial for stockers grazing summer pastures. The best supplementation program depends on the economic relationship between the value of the calf’s gain and the cost of the inputs (fuel, fertilizer, and supplements).

Monitoring High Moisture Hay in Storage

Although cool-season annual and perennial forages are produced in Oklahoma, hay is still a source of livestock feed during winter. A solid understanding of how hay storage conditions affect hay losses and quality changes can help producers reduce feeding costs. Storage losses in hay are related to several factors. Such as type of storage, environmental conditions during storage and the forage species. However, one of the most important is moisture content at the time of baling and at the time of storage.

The first thing to keep in mind when dealing with wet hay is that moisture can easily lead to combustion. Twenty percent moisture is about the highest level that bales should reach. Above this, plant respiration and microbial activity begins to break down the plant matter within the bale resulting in mold growth and moldy hay can be detrimental to livestock health. This breaking down of the hay produces heat and is often referred to as “sweating”. The extent and duration of sweating or temperature rise in hay is dependent on the moisture content. All hay baled at moisture contents between 15 and 20 percent will undergo some elevation in temperature in the first 2 to 3 weeks after baling. This temperature increase will continue for up to 10 days. At a moisture level of about 30 percent, a bale may maintain a higher temperature for up to 40 days regardless of the forage species or bale shape. Typically, as bale size and density increase so does spontaneous heating. Though the amount of heat produced per unit of forage does not change, the more forage packed in the bale, the more difficult it is for heat to dissipate. The temperature of hay that has been baled at a high moisture content should be checked twice a day for six weeks after baling. 

The temperature inside a stack of hay can be determined using a commercial temperature probe or thermometer. An 18 to 24 inches long electronic hay moisture and temperature probe can monitor changes in moisture and temperature in many samples quickly. At least 15 to 20 random samples within the same lot are necessary to determine forage moisture accurately. However, one of the disadvantages of using a commercial temperature probe is that it is often too short to monitor the maximum interior temperature zone within a haystack. If this tool is not available, there are makeshift alternatives for checking hay temperature as well. Using a 3/4-inch pipe with one end closed to a point and 3/16-inch holes drilled in the bottom is one option. Lower a thermometer on a string into the pipe and leave it in the bale or stack for 15 minutes to get an accurate reading. Be sure to check the temperature in the center of the stacked hay. Do not walk directly on the stacked hay. Instead, use boards, plywood, or a ladder to spread body weight over a larger area and prevent falling into possible burned-out cavities. Retrieve the thermometer from the haystack after 10 to 15 minutes and read the temperature. If the temperature reading is 150 to 175ºF, immediately remove the hay bales from the barn to increase air circulation and reduce the risk of fire. Continue monitoring the temperature every two or three hours. If hay reaches 175°F or higher, call the fire department immediately. Remove any machinery or livestock from the barn first, then remove hot hay with the assistance of the fire service. Be prepared for a fire to occur and keep tractors wetted down if they are in contact with the hay. Remember that when dealing with wet hay moisture can easily lead to combustion, and moisture should be used to fight fire, not ignite one. 

Embrace food safety while enjoying summer produce

Each summer, Oklahomans find themselves celebrating weekends with backyard barbeques, and while the grilled meats may be the main attraction, a summer cookout is incomplete without the perfect summer salad.  

Just as there are safety protocols for handling meat, there also are recommendations for the proper handling of produce. Food handling misconceptions are threatening to consumers, said Ravi Jadeja, food safety specialist for Oklahoma State University’s Robert M. Kerr Food and Agricultural Products Center. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, raw fruits and vegetables can contain harmful germs, such as Salmonella, E. coli and Listeria. A large percentage of U.S. foodborne illnesses is caused by germs on fresh produce. 

“A common misconception I see is about the food washing process,” Jadeja said. “Washing pre-washed refrigerated salads, typically labeled as a triple-washed salad, does not make the produce safer.” 

Washing a pre-washed salad may cause contamination, if any present, to spread in the product and make it unsafe to consume, he said. 

“One of the safest produce washing methods is to wash any produce under potable running water,” Jadeja said. “Only use approved sanitizers for washing produce and many chlorine solutions are not suitable for washing produce.” 

An excessive amount of chlorine in wash water may produce carcinogens, which would make produce unsafe for consumption.

“Consumers should always be careful when handling and storing produce,” Jadeja said. “Contact with an unsanitary surface, such as a cutting board used to handle raw meat, can easily contaminate the produce.”

FAPC recommends the following food safety tips when enjoying produce this summer:

Purchasing 

• Find produce that is not bruised or damaged

• Separate produce from raw meat, poultry and seafood 

Storing 

• Refrigerate pre-cut fruits and vegetables

• Within 2 hours after you cut, peel or cook fruits or vegetables, refrigerate in a clean container

Preparing

• Wash hands, kitchen utensils and countertops before and after handling produce

• When possible, use one cutting board for fresh produce and a separate for raw meat, poultry and seafood

• Clean produce by washing under running water to prevent germs on the peel or skin from getting inside fruits or vegetables 

• Washing fruits and vegetables with soap or detergent is not recommended

• Cut away damaged or bruised areas on produce and throw away any produce that looks rotten 

 

Extension Corner is written by Payne County Extension educators Nathan Anderson, Agriculture, Dea Rash, FCS, Keith Reed, Horticulture and Summer Leister, 4-H.

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