Grazing Stocker Cattle on Warm-Season Annual Forges

In the areas of the Southern U.S. that received adequate rainfall this spring and summer, grazing warm-season annual forages have remained an economically viable option for many.

A warm-season annual forage mix was planted on April 20th containing several species (Sorghum-Sudangrass, Pearl Millet, Forage Sorghum, Cowpeas, Sunn Hemp, etc.). It received 50 pounds of nitrogen (N) fertilizer in one application after planting. Stocker steers weighing 625 lbs. began grazing on June 5th and are expected to graze for 120 days, finishing around October 5th. During the growing season, forage quality was tested at 65% total digestible nutrients (TDN) and 15% crude protein (CP).

The following are our expectations for our warm-season annual forage mix:

  1. Forage Production: 8,000 DM lbs./acre,
  2. Level of Forage Utilization: 40%
  3. Production Costs: $175/acre

The table below provides a detailed view of the variables and equations used to determine the total cost of growing and grazing a warm-season annual forage mix per dry matter ton consumed. The resulting total cost of growing and grazing warm-season annual forages was $109/DM ton consumed

It’s important when making the comparison to other feedstuffs, such as Soyhulls (77% TDN, 13% CP, $255/ton) or Corn Gluten (80% TDN, 22% CP, $260/ton) to factor in the cost to store, mix, and feed, as well as any waste that occurs.

For those that have the resources and management to grow and graze warm-season annual forages, I don’t think there are any readily available feedstuffs that can compete. Every ranch is different. Play with the numbers and see if grazing warm-season annual forages will work for your operation.

Prevatt, Chris. “Grazing Stocker Cattle on Warm-Season Annual Forages“. Southern Ag Today 2(34.2). August 16, 2022. Permalink

image_pdfimage_print

State Specialized Extension Agent II- Beef Cattle and Forage Enterprise Budgeting and Marketing
Range Cattle Research & Education Center
University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences

Value of Bred Heifers in 2023

Value of Bred Heifers in 2023

Most livestock marketing and management discussions over the past six to nine months have focused on the drought, high feed prices, and increased cow and heifer slaughter. These discussions generally pertain to what cattle producers need to do in the immediate future....

Drought Continues to Impact Cattle Flow

Drought Continues to Impact Cattle Flow

The latest USDA Cattle on Feed report was released on Friday and showed drought conditions continued to impact cattle movement into feedlots during August. Dry weather and poor pasture conditions in some areas have likely led to producers selling cattle...