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The answer is no

November 28, 2012

TOES AND TURNIPS — Cattle grazing in a field of turnip greens also turned up the turnips. Turnips are an option for cool season cattle forage. (U of A System Division of Agriculture photo by Don Hubbell)

Are conditions improving for Arkansas’ drought-cripple cattle industry? The answer, in at least one county, is “no.”

“No rain. No snow. No grass. No hay,” said Mike McClintock, Boone County extension agent for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.“If most of them put a pencil to what they have spent, they would sell out. It’s just plain tough on them.”

One mitigating factor has been the relatively mild temperatures, said Don Hubbell, director of the Livestock and Forestry Station in Batesville. Cold weather means the cattle need more calories to stay warm.

“The warmer weather is helping with the energy needs, but like always, as soon as it gets another 10 degrees colder it will double hay feeding for most herds,” he said.

Cattle producers had been pinning their hopes to a moist autumn to breathe life into the last of the summer’s bermudagrass and kick start cool season grasses and other fall and winter forages, including plants in the brassica family such as turnips. However, the Nov. 20 U.S. Drought Monitor map showed more than 81 percent of the state in drought.

“Due to dry weather and frosts, forage growth has basically stalled,” said John Jennings, professor-forages for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. “Some that planted annuals and brassicas early and protected the forage from armyworms have fall growth to graze now.”   READ MORE … 





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