The current cattle market can be distracting. Record high prices, while certainly a good thing, can leave many cattlemen in a state of awe and amazement. Instead of getting caught watching high prices this fall, your time will be better spent monitoring the cost side of your cattle business.

Cow/calf producers can significantly reduce costs by extending the grazing season, delaying feeding of purchased feeds. Common sense and research both tell us cattle are most profitable when they are harvesting their own feed. Allowing cattle to graze into late fall and early winter is crucial to reducing costs. Even with lowering commodity prices, grazing is still the cheapest way to feed cows. Stockpiled forages, cover crop forages, and grazing crop residue are all options for extending the grazing season.

Stockpiling fescue

Cool season forages, especially fescue, are excellent candidates for stockpiling. While fescue may garner a bad reputation for endophyte issues and poor production in the summer months, fall is a time to shine for fescue. Cool temperatures in the fall negate complications with elevated body temperatures when cattle are consuming endophyte infected fescue. Re-growth in the fall is….

Read full article here: http://web.extension.illinois.edu/oardc/eb275/entry_9050/

Wrote by Travis Meteer, University of Illinois Beef Cattle Specialist