The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Local and State News

June 7, 2014

Major, Woods county extensions offering program on beef cattle, drought

Besides the high values beef cattle fetch when marketed, drought and drought-related topics by far top the list of things discussed when cattle owners get together.

Major County and much of western and northwest Oklahoma are now considered to be in the most severe drought category of exceptional drought as determined by U.S. Drought Monitor.

Beef producers are faced with many production challenges under the best of conditions. The recent absence of rainfall has most producers concerned about forage availability, water for livestock and a host of other beef production/drought-related issues.

In an attempt to assist cattle owners with tough decisions related to drought, Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Services of Major and Woods counties have developed an informative beef cattle program that will cover many drought topics that should assist producers as they develop management strategies for the coming months.

Leading the list of speakers will be David Lalman, Oklahoma State University beef specialist, to discuss the possibility of dry lot feeding alternatives, feed resources that are available, ration efficiency and cost to pursue this choice.

Dana Zook, OSU northwest area livestock specialist, will discuss the options early weaning might provide cattle owners with regard to stretching forage and feed dollars while saving cow body condition.

Justin Barr, extension educator in Ellis County, will share his observations of ranching operations that are well into the fourth continuous year of drought in Ellis County and far western Oklahoma.

Ranch finances are a concern during this time, and to discuss the financial impacts of various options possible for ranchers will be Rodney Jones, OSU ag economist.

Jeff Bedwell, Major County extension ag educator, and Greg Highfill, Woods County extension ag educator, will discuss other herd management considerations during situations of drought that need to be addressed, including animal water requirements, nitrates in hay, prussic acid toxicity in addition to pasture and range production loss.

The Drought Management Conference for 2014 will be 11 a.m. Thursday in the seminar room of the NW Technology Center, 801 Vo-Tech Drive just west of Fairview.

Lunch will be provided by sponsors Community National Bank of Fairview, Fairview Savings & Loan, Farmers & Merchants Bank, Cleo State Bank, Farmers Elevator Company, Sooner Cooperative Inc. and W.B. Johnston Grain.

Reservations should be made by Tuesday by calling (580) 227-3786 or emailing Bedwell at jeff.bedwell @okstate.edu.

Anyone unable to attend the conference in Fairview can attend one at 5 p.m. Thursday in Alva at NW Technology Center, 1801 S 11th. A meal will be served. To make reservations, call Woods County Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service at (580) 327-2786. �

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