September 12, 2016

(Dan) Hey folks, welcome to DocTalk. Sure glad you joined us. I’m excited about the show. Dr. Dale Blasi is going to be with us and we’re going to talk about wheat pasture and cattle production. Thanks for joining us today and stay tuned after these messages.

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(Dan) Hey folks, welcome to DocTalk and welcome to the show Dr. Blasi. (Dale) Good to be here Dr. Thomson. (Dan) That’s great. Folks this is Dale Blasi. He’s a Professor and Extension Beef Specialist here at Kansas State University’s Department of Animal Sciences and Industry. Most of you out there who watch the show have either seen Dale at one of the CE offerings or producer meetings that he puts on. Or make sure that you come to the Stocker Unit here at Kansas State University for Stocker Day every September. Great education and a little bit of fun thrown in. (Dale) That’s right Dan. We try our best to allow producers to interact with themselves as well as to hear the talking heads who provide the information. (Dan) You bet. And folks, one of the neatest and probably one of the nicest stocker research facilities in the United States, if you haven’t seen it or haven’t been to Stocker Day you need to and you need to be there. But what we’re gonna talk about today is something that you know, we’re coming upon that time of year of turning cattle out on wheat. You have a lot of experience with wheat pasture, rye pasture and different things. And I thought, let’s just talk in general about some of the things that are going on out there and how we handle some of these. (Dale) Well you know, wheat pasture is an amazing forage resource. In certain parts of the country it affords people post weaning to allow for some post weaning growth on their calves prior to the actual marketing of their calves. And for many of our stocker as well as our feed yard operators, it affords them the opportunity to lay in calves at a light weight and develop some stretch on those calves prior to going into the yard. Or if they’re light enough, actually to fit in to the next spring’s grazing on our native grasses. (Dan) Oh sure. And so when we’re looking at…there’s obviously different types of systems associated with wheat but the main one being dryland versus center pivot right? (Dale) That’s right. Majority, of course, is dryland and whether or not the person who owns the operation wants to graze the cattle and of course that’s all complex with wheat prices and prevailing environmental conditions on whether there would be a sufficient stand of wheat for somebody to actually take advantage of that growth of wheat. (Dan) And you’re talking about that, the environmental concerns. There’s some years we don’t get enough rainfall. We don’t get enough wheat produced, not enough to put cattle out there, can be somewhat unpredictable. (Dale) Absolutely. And in my work prior to moving to Manhattan out of Hutchinson, a sweet spot is down there in that Cherokee, Oklahoma, area toward Enid, Oklahoma. There’s some really good areas there where the soil is somewhat sandy. Temperatures are such that they’re able to get wheat up and going, avoiding hessian fly and many of the mosaic wheat diseases and so forth. It really is a sweet spot for stocker production in that part of the state. (Dan) And just, we’ve got 30 seconds before we head to commercial here, but generally speaking, what is kind of the wheat turnout time period of the year? (Dale) Wheat turnout anywhere probably in November would be fair. As you move further south, it’s obviously much earlier. But in my work down in the southern tier of counties in Kansas, we were lucky if we were on dryland around the middle of November. (Dan) Perfect. Well let’s take a break. Folks, thanks for watching DocTalk. When we come back, more with Dr. Dale Blasi talking about grazing wheat and producing beef.

(Dan) Hey folks, welcome back to DocTalk. We’re lucky to be here today and lucky to have as a guest Dr. Dale Blasi. Dr. Blasi is a Professor and a State Beef Extension Specialist here at Kansas State University where he deals with stocker cattle, grazing systems and really has probably one of the nicest research facilities that I’ve ever been a part of right out here at the Stocker Unit at Kansas State University. And as we left we were talking about dryland and we talked about two different systems and the other one being that center pivot or irrigated type pastures as well. (Dale) Incredible opportunities for producing beef Dan. Many of these center pivots are perhaps not sufficient for normal corn production, but fit rather well with the development of forage. And a lot of producers are able to leverage that with the use of rye, as opposed to wheat because of the issues of infestation of rye into many of our wheat fields. A lot of our traditional farmers really do not like the idea of having rye anywhere in the vicinity of where they normally produce their wheat. So, a lot of folks will look at triticale, mostly rye is a great opportunity. One huge advantage with respect to center pivots and with rye is that producers are able to plant such that they’re able to be out on the forage source by the first part of October. So, we have a great opportunities to grow beef on center pivots. And having that mindset to stock accordingly, provides you an opportunity for a uniform watering source, as well as to provide a supplemental feed as needed to stretch out what forage is standing for feed for those cattle to graze. (Dan) And as you mentioned earlier in the dryland thing, it’s dependent on whether or not we’re going to have rain. Remove that variable, we can do a little bit more financial planning to move things forward. And as you mentioned probably get a few more cattle put on that pasture. (Dale) Absolutely. Much of the work that I’ve done in central Kansas traditionally or typically would stock upwards of 300 head to one center pivot and set it up in a four way pie and provide the watering source at the center of the center pivot. With the pump there to provide water source and rotate the cattle through accordingly to the growth of the feed. And providing a supplemental silage, or be it a grain mix, containing some Rumensin in there to take the head of steam off of the potential fermentation and bloat that may ensue. (Dan) You bet. (Dale) So it’s a great opportunity and another thing important too with respect to the dryland versus anything irrigated, is much of the irrigated circles tend to be fenced with hard wire. Much of our dryland wheat resources tend to have a hot wire. And we deal with potential blizzards and stuff, we have a tremendous risk with cattle being pushed going 15, 20, 30 miles south, finding their cattle after a heavy snow. So, that is one risk with respect to winter grazing and wheat pastures. (Dan) Yea just setting it up with the right rye then. They’re setting it up more with the cattle in mind, rather than with the wheat where we’re setting it up with the wheat in mind. (Dale) That’s right. Absolutely and in many cases as I indicated in the earlier segment getting out the middle part of November, in many cases it was Thanksgiving. And with concerns for first joining on our wheat, in many years we’re looking at somewhere in the middle part of February. So, your period of time to graze can be quite short if you have the eye for having not a significant impact on subsequent grain yields. (Dan) Well, we’re going to take a break. When we come back, we’re going to talk more with Dr. Blasi about some of the problems you can have, or some of the challenges you can have when grazing wheat pasture. Thanks for watching DocTalk. We’ll be back after these messages.

(Dan) Hey folks, welcome back to DocTalk, Dr. Dan Thomson here with Dr. Dale Blasi. Dr. Blasi is a Professor and he is the Extension Beef Specialist here at Kansas State University in the Department of Animal Sciences and Industry over in the College of Agriculture. Someone that Kansas State is very proud to have representing them, not only here in research at the Stocker Unit, but when he goes out and provides producer education and working on a day-to-day basis. This is one of the guys that actually has his boots on the ground and out in it. And Dale when we left we were talking about some of the supplemental feeding, but let’s get into some of your ideas on supplemental feeding for wheat pasture, rye pasture cattle and then that bloat prevention type strategies. (Dale) You bet Dr. Dan. I tell you one thing I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the lifetime work of Dr. Gerald Horn at Oklahoma State. (Dan) Yea. (Dale) So, I think as folks go and dig into the internet and look for information to help provide their information, the work of that gentleman in the whole area of developing supplements, limited amount of supplements with a targeted amount of Rumensin, Monensin Sodium in the supplement. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that his work is really foundation to everything that we all know about the use of this particular grazing resource. (Dan) Gerald is a good friend of both of ours, and someone that has just done so much great work. (Dale) That’s right. Well you know, providing the supplemental feed, there’s so many things about it that producers can leverage with it, management of calves, an opportunity to get really close to observe for any health issues, conditions that may occur, certainly any puffiness with respect to bloat. And as I alluded to earlier, bloat is a potential reality and I’ve seen tremendous differences across the road from one pasture to the other in terms of soil type, all the various manifestations that go in to whether or not we have a bloat provocative situation. But it’s always better to anticipate that. A lot of producers will provide a supplemental silage. It really depends on what they have available for feeding. But there’s been some work that Gerald and Dr. Terry Mader did years ago looking at use of supplemental straw to try to reduce the caloric, the potential for gas, provide some more rumin scratch and they didn’t see much of a response to that as my memory recalls. But providing a supplemental energy source, in the case of where your wheat stand may not be sufficient, is one way to target performance to get to drill in, especially if we’re experiencing a really harsh, cool, wet winter. I think we need to account for the incredible increase in maintenance requirements that those animals need. (Dan) Yea, it’s wintertime and if you don’t have food on the ground, you’re gonna have to get something out there to ’em and don’t wait too long. (Dale) That’s right. And as I alluded to in one of the earlier segments with respect to dryland wheat, we can have incredible years where gains over an 80 day period we saw three pounds, with no shrink applied. But there’s been some cases where gains are one and a half pounds at best. So, if you’re targeting a certain level and with the value of gain today being about a $1.10 to $1.15 there’s some opportunities there Dan to add some weight to those calves at less the cost of the supplement to get as much as you can out of those cattle. (Dan) Sure and still back ’em up on price so that when you get ’em out the door, they can do some good. (Dale) Absolutely. (Dan) Cool. Well, let’s take a break. When we come back, we’re gonna wrap up with Dr. Blasi and talking about wheat pasture. And what we’re gonna talk about are some of the expected performances and differences that Dr. Blasi has seen out there. Appreciate you being on the show. Appreciate you all watching the show. We’ll be back after these messages.

(Dan) Hey folks, welcome back to DocTalk, Dr. Dan Thomson and Dr. Dale Blasi. We’re from Kansas State University, where Dr. Blasi is a Professor and an Extension Beef Specialist. Folks, seen on stocker cattle and grazing cattle and basically anything within the beef cattle production area, we’re fortunate to have him take time to come over and be on the show. Make sure you go to Stocker Day every September here in Manhattan, Kansas. But Dale as we left, let’s kind of wrap up the show and talk about expected performances and what you see with cattle turned out on wheat and different grazing systems. (Dale) A lot of variables impact performance on the outcome of grazing wheat. But the condition of the calves going to grass, what kind of shape they’re in relatively, quality of calves. There’s a lot of things that impact that. Any degree of sickness. Severity of weather can have a tremendous impact on the outside finishing up those calves. (Dan) You bet. (Dale) And you’ll see performance somewhere in the ballpark as low as one and a quarter pounds, if you’re stocked too heavy and there’s nothing else besides a few blades of wheat and a lot of dirt out there. As opposed to some calves where there is unlimited intake. Conditions are such that they’re grazing it, the maturity of that wheat staying fairly immature, to where the quality is upwards of 15 to 18 percent protein. Energy approximating 60 percent or so TND, maybe even a little higher. But gains could be as high as three pounds…. (Dan) Wow, (Dale) …applying the shrink. I think it’s a function of the cattle, the environmental conditions, the conditions used to plant the wheat. Planting heavy and thick and making sure there’s adequate fertility as well on that soil. (Dan) Oh yea. (Dale) That will be the good outcome with respect to grazing in the winter. (Dan) Yep. And if you don’t have it, you’ve gotta make sure you get to work with a nutritionist or extension agent, something to figure out what kind of supplements work for the area that you’re in. (Dale) That’s right. And there’s a lot of great co-products. We used a lot of wheat midds out there, a grain mix. And again Rumensin works very well. I’m a big believer in that ionophore for taking the steam off of the fermentation going on in that rumin. It helps to minimize the provocative nature of showing up one morning and seeing three or four dead calves out there around the water tank. (Dan) Yea, and it also decreases intakes and curbs that intake pattern of those calves, especially when you get a big rain, or get that lush forage boom, that Rumensin will keep them from busting up on those intakes. (Dale) Yes. (Dan) Any closing comments or thoughts for folks on turn out this year. (Dale) Everything works well when there’s adequate moisture and you’re not trying…as dry as it is around the country, you need to be opportunistic with it when it’s available. A lot of people chase it and try to plant deep to meet the moisture, and fly it in and pray for it. We’re supposed to get moisture here in the coming week or so. It’s a challenge. You’ve just got to be ready to take advantage of it and have another plan if it doesn’t come to be. (Dan) Thanks for all that you do for the state, and thanks for all that you do for the beef industry. (Dale) You bet Dan, thank you. (Dan) Appreciate it. Folks, thanks for watching DocTalk. Remember always work with your local veterinarian. And if you want to find out what we do here at K-State, you can find us on the web at www.vet.ksu.edu. I’m Dr. Dan Thomson. I appreciate you watching Doc Talk today. And I’ll see you down the road.

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