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Animal Nutrition
A dash of oregano, please

Alex Hristov is onto something big — greenhouse gas big! Cows chew and belch all the time. It’s what they do. And when they do it, they emit methane gas — big time, says the Penn State University dairy scientist.

Feed advice: Test quality of your hay, make plan

Too much rain early and too little late squelched both quality and quantity of normal forage sources. For some, “winter hay feeding” started in October. How can you chart a course to survive winter without breaking the bank?

How to survive a tough forage year

If you’re an Indiana forage producer, you know 2010 was challenging. In many parts of Indiana, persistent rains prevented timely harvesting, resulting in poor-quality hay. In parts of southern Indiana, lack of moisture produced a serious lack of quantity.

Corn syrup covers, protects silage pile

When people ask Andy Hall what he’s spreading on top of his silage pile after filling the bunker with silage or husklage, he could say peanut butter. What looks like peanut butter is really a thick coat of corn syrup, a coproduct of the ethanol industry. When it dries, this coat seals the pile for fermentation and keeps out rain.

Revere residue

Many beef cow-calf and dairy producers overlook one of the most economical feed sources that’s readily available.

Save a horse by feeding cornstalk bales to beef cattle

The short supply of hay in 2012 is placing farm families and other owners of hay-consuming animals in difficult situations as much of the United States begins entering winter. Hay yields for the year were down 20% to 50% across many states because of drought and reduced hay acreage.

CSA farming of meat by the numbers adds up to success

Kim Denney knows and works the numbers — crucial ones to Chestnut Farms. The former educator, who holds an MBA, successfully runs the community-supported agriculture livestock operation with her husband, Rich Jakshtis, in Hardwick, Mass.

Farmer-built mixer handles wet DGS

Imagine there’s a new ethanol plant nearby. There’s a plentiful supply of protein and energy-rich feed. The challenge? Mixing wet distillers grains with other feedstuffs without investing in a full-size vertical mixer.

Technology key for young producer

If you were to make a list of high-tech careers, it is doubtful that chicken farming would be among them.

Grove Cattle Co. finds its own niche

Most folks have seen them in Westerns — imagine the scene with dramatic music where a herd of Texas Longhorns is driven across a plain.

Ask the Vet

Veterinarian Monty Belmer details the cause and symptoms of rumen acidosis and explains how long to segregate castrated bulls.

Up management intensity, keep profit

Think back a few years. If someone had predicted that fed-cattle prices would pass $1 a pound, that the national cow herd would keep shrinking despite feeder prices being more than $1.25 a pound and that we’d still be facing beef shortages, you’d think they were “short a few bricks.”

Questions to ask your dairy cows

When your next feed bill arrives, you’re not going to want to open it. And when you do, it’s tempting to log on to the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and look for the lowest-priced feed ingredients.

More questions to ask your cows

Your cows are never wrong! So spend more time “interrogating” them. Ask about what you can do to improve feed efficiency — changes that won’t mean huge costs and diet changes.

Not all coproducts are created equal

Nebraska is known as the Cornhusker state for good reason. But the state also boasts one of the nation’s most prolific ethanol production industries with a capacity of 2 billon gallons, or 13% of the nation’s overall ethanol production capacity — second only to Iowa.

Make the most of corn silage; figure all the angles

Raising corn silage was a struggle in early spring for the Phillips brothers. The weather just wouldn’t cooperate on Northpointe Farm, their operation in Augusta County, Va. It was hot and dry in March, and cold, damp and wet in April, just when they needed to plant corn.

Pasture-fed pigs have the right stuff

Demand for pasture-fed pigs prompted farmer Craig Hagaman to try his hand in the business. Hagaman now raises purebred Berkshires, as well as poultry, in the countryside near Berryville, Va. He doesn’t farrow the hogs out, but purchases them from a couple in Berkley County, W.Va. He may farrow them in the future, however, once he builds the infrastructure.

What DDGS means to ethanol equation

Most people talk about the number of bushels of corn going to ethanol plants. Few note that a portion of that ends up as byproducts, primarily livestock feed. Chris Hurt, a Purdue University Extension ag economist, says that distinction makes a difference when you’re embroiled in the food vs. fuel debate surrounding ethanol production.

Tips to manage pastures during drought

Droughts are an act of Mother Nature and cannot be controlled. However, proper management can help maintain pastureland during a period of drought by following this advice:

Focused on beef

Rancher Watt Matthews Casey, DVM, of Shackelford County, Texas, turns 90 on Aug. 11. For 62 of those years, he has been with Casey Beefmasters, which he founded in 1948.

Hold off opening that silage bunker

Nothing’s more exciting than opening a corn silage bunker to see how this year’s crop turned out. OK, so maybe there are a few things that might be more exciting.

Removing bull evens up the calf crop

Calf herd uniformity goes back to the calving season, which goes back to the breeding season, which goes back to taking the bull out sooner. The longer the bull is left with the cows, the longer the calving season.

February tests skills of cow-calf producer

Don’t tell cow-calf producers that February is a short month. February can stretch into weeks of misery, worry and calving-night thoughts of “Why me, Lord?”