Like many, my family is currently in the throes of delivering bulls to our customers, moving cows to pasture, fixing fence and getting calves started on creep feed. While it's nice to have the pairs out to pasture, it doesn't eliminate the worries of a cattle rancher. Today, I have found a few great articles at The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation for best management practices for optimal pasture grazing and dealing with the summer heat.
Are You Working Your Pastures "Hard" or "Smart"? by Hugh Aljoe...The "summer" growing season in our geographical region is usually considered to be from about mid-April through mid-November. Most of the grass growth should occur by early July. In fact, 70 percent of the annual production of summer perennial grasses is expected by the first of July. If you are not purchasing hay to extend the grazing season (i.e., providing all forages for your livestock from your property as standing hay or baled hay), you should be about halfway there by the first of June. Now is the time to make an assessment of your pastures, think about what you are seeing and determine if your forage production is on track.
Monitor and Manage Heat Stress by Deke Alkire... Heat stress can greatly impact cattle producers through decreased milk production and subsequent calf growth, decreased reproductive performance in cows and bulls, and decreased stocker and feeder performance. It has been estimated that heat-related events in the Midwest have cost the cattle industry over $75 million in the past 10 years. As summer approaches, make preparations to reduce the risk of heat stress in your cattle.
Quick BEEF Daily Fact: The ideal temperature range for beef cattle is between 41° F and 77° F. When temperatures exceed this, cattle are at risk of heat stress. (Source: The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation)