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Farm & Ranch

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch…

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By Rayford Pullen | [email protected]

Is spring yet? If you are like me, this seems like the longest winter we have ever had. When spring does arrive in full force, it will be a photo finish regarding our hay inventory and the emergence of green grass.

With the winter we have had, regarding costs, this has also been the most expensive when it comes to the price of hay and feed. Happiness is winter in our rearview mirror around here.
Spring will arrive this month in most parts of Texas, and with it will come new calves and breeding decisions.

Those cows that made it through the winter are probably in fair to decent shape and will need a month or so of great grazing to get back in shape, while they are also nursing a calf.
In the case of first calf heifers, they are trying to grow and put on weight without their permanent incisors.

These young females are asked to do a lot and may need a little extra help, nutrition wise, to get rebred on time and continue calving during the target months. Around here, if a heifer is born in February or March, we expect her to calve at age two in the same month she was born. It does not always work out, but that is our goal.

With bull turn out for spring calving cows and heifers being mid-April to mid-May, we certainly hope and expect them to be gaining weight and be in shape to conceive as early in the breeding season as possible.

To read more, pick up a copy of the March issue of NTFR Magazine. To subscribe call 940-872-5922.

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Farm & Ranch

Grass Tetany (Hypomagnesemia)

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By Barry Whitworth, DVM

With spring approaching, producers should be aware of a disease associated with rapidly growing forages. Hypomagnesemia is commonly referred to as grass tetany. The disease is a serious and often fatal metabolic disease that occurs in cattle and less commonly in sheep and goats. The disease is characterized by low blood and cerebral spinal fluid levels of magnesium.
Low level of magnesium in animals is associated with tetanic convulsions. The disease is often associated with grazing lush green pastures during cold rainy weather in early spring. Other names for hypomagnesemia are grass staggers, hypomagnesmic tetany, lactation tetany, or wheat pasture poisoning.

Magnesium is an important mineral because it activates many enzymes in chemical reactions in the body. Without this mineral, cells are unable to produce energy, transport genetic information, transport materials across cell membranes, and nerves cease to respond in a normal manner. Magnesium also plays a role in electrolyte balances in the body.

Maintaining magnesium levels requires adequate daily intake to meet the needs of the animal. Factors that increase magnesium requirements are fetal growth during pregnancy, milk production, soft tissue growth, and bone growth. Failure to absorb magnesium may lower blood levels as well.

To read more, pick up a copy of the February 2024 issue of NTFR magazine. To subscribe by mail, call 940-872-5922.

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Farm & Ranch

Ag Elsewhere: Montana

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By Lindsey Monk

Hope someone is whispering sweet nothings in your ear this Valentine’s Day!

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Farm & Ranch

Ag Elsewhere: Wyoming

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By Tressa Lawrence

May you find yourselves bedded down and cozy this February!

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