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News Update

March 27, 2013

NCBA, PLC, NMCGA Oppose President’s Designation of
National Monuments in New Mexico

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), the Public Lands Council (PLC) and the New Mexico Cattle Growers’ Association (NMCGA) expressed concern Monday, March 25, over the recent announcement by President Barack Obama that, despite efforts to curb spending and tighten the belts on state and federal budgets, his administration has designated five new national monuments under the Antiquities Act of 1906. The Act grants the president the authority to designate “national monuments” for purposes of protecting specific landmarks and structures of historical significance on public lands.

While NCBA, PLC and NMCGA recognize that four of President Obama’s five designations fit within the original intent of the Act, the organizations oppose the roughly 240,000-acre designation in New Mexico as its expansive size violates the spirit of the law and is likely to serve only as a hindrance to multiple-use of those public lands.

“Livestock producers disagree with the President’s use of the Antiquities Act in designating the sprawling Rio Grande del Norte National Monument in New Mexico,” said NCBA President Scott George, a cattleman from Cody, Wyo. “We have long advocated the economic and environmental importance of multiple-use on our public lands in the West. In the past, similar such inappropriately large monument designations have a bad track record of putting in place tight restrictions that harm ranchers, local rural economies and the proper management of natural resources.”

A 2011 study from Southern Utah University and Utah State University showed the damaging economic impacts of inappropriate monument designations. In a case study of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (GSENM), per-capita income in counties located within the monument was shown to be $1,799 below that of comparable counties. Communities in and around the GSENM have suffered from a heavy reduction of multiple uses such as livestock grazing. School closures in the area are just one manifestation of the economic distress caused by the designation.

For more information and the full release, click here.

First Green Grass of Spring is Not Enough to Supply
Nutrient Needs of Grazing Cows

Turning cow herds out to graze pastures at the first sign of green grass harms forage growth later in the season. There’s another big reason to wait, says a University of Missouri (MU) beef nutritionist.

Cows don’t benefit from early grazing as much as most herd owners believe.
Early grazing provides little quality and a small quantity of grass, says Justin Sexten, Columbia. Herds need more nutrients than they get from early grass.

“Early pasture growth contains mostly water, only 25% dry matter,” Sexten warns. “Producers see this when they describe their cows as being ‘washy.’ ” Early grass has a high rate of passage through a cow’s digestive tract. In other words, don’t stand behind them.

After a hard winter, a cow nursing a calf needs extra feed until pastures are ready for grazing.

“With only 25% dry matter in the diet, a cow must eat 150 pounds of grass to meet her needs,” Sexten says.

A cow would walk constantly trying to find that much grass.

Quantity of growth at first green-up is minimal. “A cow can’t get a full mouthful of grass with each bite.”

The answer won’t appeal to farmers tired of winter feeding chores. Cows need continued feeding before grass grows large enough to supply nutrient needs. That means more hay and possible grain supplement.

Delayed grazing helps cows and pastures, Sexten says.

Rob Kallenbach, MU Extension forage specialist, agrees. “Grass that is nipped too short too early removes plant reserves needed for spring growth. Cool-season grasses stored sugar reserves in the lower stems last growing season. The reserves jump-start growth.”

Nipping too early removes reserves and the green leaves needed for photosynthesis. Early removal slows growth all season.

Early grazing makes a lose-lose situation, the specialists say.

Management may be more critical than usual this year as pastures recover from last summer’s record-breaking drought.

For more information and the full release, click here.

Experts Summarize Livestock Lessons Learned from
2012 Drought

Eastern Corn Belt livestock producers heading into breeding, calving and grazing seasons have much to learn and apply from last year’s drought, two Purdue Extension specialists say.

While climatologists don’t expect a repeat of last summer’s extreme conditions, parts of the region are known for variable weather and milder late-season drought that can affect feed supplies.

“Producers need to start out the season knowing what is in supply,” said Keith Johnson, Purdue Extension forage specialist. “If there is any amount of hay or silage that’s laid back, know the number of days’ supply available in case you get in a pinch because of dry weather.”

Early spring also is a good time to evaluate grazing strategies. Both Johnson and Purdue Extension beef specialist Ron Lemenager agreed that rotational grazing can keep pastures in better shape longer — whether conditions are stressful or not.
By dividing pastures into paddocks and rotating animals from one section to the next, producers are giving pastures a chance to recover between grazing sessions.

Producers should be scouting pastures and alfalfa stands, as well, and deciding how they will revamp those that sustained damage from drought and overgrazing. Johnson said the earlier scouting is done, the better.

“Seed is limited for many forages this year,” he said. “If producers plan to plant a forage crop, they should check with seed suppliers about availability and be prepared to place an order sooner than later.

“When asking suppliers about availability of seed, producers also should inquire about seed quality.”

Equally as important for livestock producers is knowing animals’ body conditions coming out of winter and heading into calving and breeding seasons, Lemenager said.

“I think during last year’s drought, we reconfirmed that body condition scores at calving and breeding season are really important reproductively,” he said. “Cows in breeding season need to have at least moderate body condition scores.”

Resources for evaluating body condition scores for beef cattle are available on Purdue Extension’s Beef Blog by clicking here.

For more information and the full release, click here.

Management Decisions Critical for New and
Inexperienced Ranch Owners

Management Decisions Critical for New and Inexperienced Ranch Owners
All ranchers may be “planning for profit,” but some might have a hard time capitalizing on it without key advice offered at the annual Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Ranch Management University, coordinators said.

This workshop opens with a Planning for Profit discussion and continues for five days addressing topics that can help new landowners improve their understanding of how to manage various resources they find on their ranch properties, said Larry Redmon, AgriLife Extension state forage specialist.

The workshop is scheduled April 15-19 at the G. Rollie White Visitor’s Center, 7707 Raymond Stotzer Parkway, on the Texas A&M University campus in College Station.
Registration is $500 and attendance is limited to the first 50 people enrolled. To register online and for more information, go to and enter “ranch management” into the search window.

The workshop is divided into the following segments:

For more information and the full release, click here.


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