U-Idaho Extension Offers October Seminars to Help Cattle Producers Cut Winter Feeding Costs

Tuesday, September 4 2012


A series of four University of Idaho Extension seminars in October will offer tips for cattle producers who are facing higher feed costs and losses of winter range to fire and drought across southern Idaho.

“One of the things that’s really concerning producers is the lack of winter range,” said John B. Hall, superintendent of the Nancy M. Cummings Research, Extension and Education Center near Salmon.

University of Idaho Extension will conduct Beef Cow Winter Feeding Strategies Seminars in four locations: Salmon, Oct. 23; Pocatello, Oct. 24; Burley, Oct. 29; and Caldwell, Oct. 30.

Each seminar will feature expert beef nutritionists from the Northwest. The College of Agricultural and Life Sciences’ new beef nutritionist, Mary Drewnoski, will speak at each location.

Tim DelCurto of Oregon State University will be the keynote speaker at Burley and Caldwell. Steve Paisley from University of Wyoming will present the keynote talk at Salmon and Pocatello.

Breakout sessions are customized for each location by extension educators and producers. These breakout sessions may include information on using crop residues, alternative feeds and nutrition for improved reproduction.

“The dry weather has hurt range productivity this year. So in areas where cattle producers use winter range, it will be lacking. Producers are concerned about how they’re going to get through the winter with limited feed supplies,” Hall said.

The workshop speakers will focus on helping producers develop ways to use feed more efficiently and economically, said Benton Glaze, Twin Falls-based University of Idaho Extension beef specialist.

“Winter feed costs represent a major share of their expenses. In drought years or when range is lost to fire, it is valuable for them to have strategies to efficiently feed their cattle,” Glaze said. “That’s true even in normal years.

“Some of the things we normally use as alternative feeds are extremely high priced or limited in availability because they’re being used as substitutes for corn,” Hall said. “Wheat midds, distiller’s grains and corn gluten feed are all things we traditionally can use as supplements with lower quality hays or even straws and do pretty well with feeding that dry, pregnant cow.”

Both Glaze and Hall said cattle producers will learn how to better match their feed rations to their cattle’s actual needs.

“I hope they can walk away knowing how to get their feed analyzed and how to balance the diet for the needs of the cows. Or learn how they can seek the help of extension educators for help in balancing their cows’ diets,” Hall said.

Heifers carrying their first calf or a cow carrying her second have different nutritional needs than a mature cow because the younger animals are still growing themselves, in addition to supporting a calf, Glaze said

More information about the Beef Cow Winter Feeding Strategies seminars is available from local University of Idaho Extension educators or Kara Kraich, University of Idaho Extension beef quality assurance coordinator, at kkraich@uidaho.edu or (208) 454-7655.