Members of the Dallas County Cattlemen’s Association met Sept. 11 at the O’Bannon Community Center in Buffalo and heard from three University of Missouri Extension specialists about “Surviving the Drought of 2018.”  

With much needed rain in recent weeks, pastures are looking better. However, with hay in short supply and many parched pastures still recovering, the 84 producers in attendance received advice and suggestions for fall and winter feeding. 

First to address the group was University of Missouri agriculture business specialist Wesley Tucker. He told the group that there are options for winter feeding. With a lot of the corn states predicting 200 plus bushels per acre, he said that feeding grain as a supplement will be cheaper than hay.  

He urged producers, “Calculate the cost of a pound of protein and the cost of a pound of energy, and do what works best for you.”  

Tucker mentioned that in normal years it would cost about $1.50 to feed a cow per day, but he estimates that this winter he thinks it will cost about $2.50 per head per day.

Next to talk to the group was agronomist Terry Halleran. He told the audience that “good farming practices pay off in a drought year.” He cautioned everyone to not panic and buy hay sight unseen. Also, buy by the ton, not by the bale. Halleran said to be careful where you feed if you don’t know what’s in the hay. He told cattlemen to probe purchased hay and soil test now to strengthen pastures as the No. 1 thing robbed from the ground is phosphorus, not lime. 

Livestock specialist Andy McCorkill gave tips about weaning of fall calves early at 150 days if forage is short. He said he thinks cows can get by on 10 pounds of hay a day if producers supplement with byproducts, such as grain or alfalfa hay. He recommended pregnancy checking and culling cows for the four “O’s” — anything open, old, ornery or other (such as bad feet, udders, etc.).

Earlier that evening the group enjoyed sloppy Joe sandwiches and hot dogs furnished by Billy Bolch of Stoutland, where he and his wife raise Scottish Highland cattle. Bolch is also a dealer for Lewis Cattle Oilers. He displayed one of his oilers and gave a brief presentation about his products. He uses red diesel mixed with permethrin, and a 45-degree wick pumps the mixture out of an 8 1/2-gallon tank. He estimates it costs $4 per cow per month for fly control.  

Also speaking at the meeting was John Crawford, representing state Sen. Sandy Crawford and state Rep. Jeff Knight. Both are DCCA members and strong advocates for agriculture. DCCA is very proud to have sponsored two local youth to attend the recent Sho-Me Beef Leadership Conference, which was held in southeast Missouri and coordinated by the Missouri Cattlemen’s Association. Buffalo FFA students Devyn Rackley and Mackenzie Gann gave an excellent presentation about their trip and thanked DCCA for sponsoring them. 

Sixteen DCCA members volunteered recently to work in the Beef House at the Missouri State Fair. DCCA members also cooked for two days at the annual Southwest Missouri Celtic Festival. Next on the schedule will be firing up the grill for the Fair Grove Heritage Reunion at the end of September, and members also will work in the OEF Beef House during FarmFest.   

The next membership meeting will be held Oct. 9 at the O’Bannon Community Center.  

For more information about DCCA or joining the Missouri Cattlemen’s Association, contact Lynette Miller at (417) 733-2078 or Pam Naylor at (417) 345-8330.

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