Record keeping key management practice for cow calf producer

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN BY STEVE TONN
Good management begins with good records, whether you?re selling cars or producing beef. As long as beef producers are selling their product by the pound, keeping records may be the most important thing they can do all year.



If you want to set up an identification and record-keeping system that will allow you to keep track of the performance of both the cow and the calf, contact the K-State extension office in Marion. A good time to start an identification and record-keeping system is now, before calving season ends and cows are sent to green grass.



To make sure there are no identification slip ups, cattle producers are advised to use both an ear tag and an ear tattoo. This is especially important for keeping accurate track of each individual cow.



Ear tags allow the producer to keep track of at least four critical pieces of data: (1) positive relationship of the calf to its mother; (2) weaning weight; (3) weight 60 days after weaning; (4) vaccination, castration, dehorning and parasite control information.



Keeping records is not particularly enjoyable. But in today?s agricultural climate, survival depends on evaluating all aspects of the operation?and that means keeping and using good records.



— Controlling fescue in native pastures and hay meadows. I recently visited with two producers about the problem of fescue invading and wanting to take over native pastures. Gary Kilgore, extension agronomist, prescribed spring burning of native pastures as an excellent way to remove the fescue and improve the native pastures.



A spring prescribed burn in early to mid-April is the best way to control fescue. Producers may need to move up the burning date in order to get a fire through the fescue. Producers need to manage pastures to make sure there is enough fuel or old growth from the previous year to carry a fire. Spring burning should be continued for a few years to remove the fescue and improve the native grass.



If burning is not a possibility, then a second option would be to apply Roundup on the fescue in November, after the native grass has gone dormant. Then follow up the next spring with a prescribed burn. A spring burning would help to control any fescue seedlings and favor warm-season grass development.



— Saline County range tour. The Saline County Extension Council is sponsoring a range tour March 17. They will be touring water developments, Korean lespedeza, pasture burning for tree control, Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) that has been burned and grazed and the afternoon session will feature Clenton Owensby discussing burning equipment and fire and range management.



A noon meal will be served at a cost of $2. Call the Saline County Extension Office by March 15 at 785-826-6645 for more information and to make a meal reservation.



— Modernization versus expansion for small dairies. ?Modernization versus Expansion?Small Dairies Can Survive? will be the topic of an area-wide meeting in Wichita from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Wednesday, March 29, at the Sedgwick County Extension Center.



Speakers will discuss knowing business factors is key to modernization and total containment dairy?an environmental issue.



Cost for the meeting is $10. Registration is due by March 22 and registration forms are available at the Marion County Extension Office. Producers can contact the office for a ride to the meeting.

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