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Bad Preg rates on fescue

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Triple_S

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Finally got all the cows preg checked. Yeah, I know I'm running late. The fescue thing finally caught up with us I guess. Terrible bred rate of 77% over the whole herd. Vet said he suspected fescue combined with summer breeding is what's hurting us so bad. I've been breeding May 15-Aug 15 with heifers breeding May 1- August 1. So I've been researching as hard as I can the last few days trying to come up with a new plan. Some of you guys running on fescue may have some ideas that could help me. So far here's my plan.
1- Move breeding up as far as possible without cutting off too many late calvers. I think I may start breeding 45 days sooner this year and cut 15 days off the end. Next year cut another 15 days off the end and so on untill I get to a 90 day breeding season. That will cut out some of the breeding in the hottest weather. Most cows would be bred by June 1. I'd really rather not calve before the first of the year. My other job is really busy from Oct. to Christmas.
2- Keep pastures clipped to eliminate seed heads and stems. Through my research i've read this is where most of the endophytes are??? This will take a lot of diesel or more cows seeing how we have an abundance of grass most springs.
3- Keep oat or millet silage out through breeding season. Not sure how well the cows will eat it with green grass available but most studies are showing if you can get 2-5lbs a day in them of a non toxic forage you can reduce the effects. Thinking the baleage will be tastey enough to do this.
4- We already feed a high mag mineral year round but are open to suggestions if a certain mineral may help us. This is an area I'm not real educated on.
5- Overseeding clover. How am I going to control all the other broadleaf weeds without killing it?
Completely killing and going MaxQ is something I am really not fond of. May consider doing a pasture or two but I skeptical if that stuff will survive our hot dry summers.
Anybody got any ideas?
 

littlejoe

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Triple_S said:
Finally got all the cows preg checked. Yeah, I know I'm running late. The fescue thing finally caught up with us I guess. Terrible bred rate of 77% over the whole herd. Vet said he suspected fescue combined with summer breeding is what's hurting us so bad. I've been breeding May 15-Aug 15 with heifers breeding May 1- August 1. So I've been researching as hard as I can the last few days trying to come up with a new plan. Some of you guys running on fescue may have some ideas that could help me. So far here's my plan.
1- Move breeding up as far as possible without cutting off too many late calvers. I think I may start breeding 45 days sooner this year and cut 15 days off the end. Next year cut another 15 days off the end and so on untill I get to a 90 day breeding season. That will cut out some of the breeding in the hottest weather. Most cows would be bred by June 1. I'd really rather not calve before the first of the year. My other job is really busy from Oct. to Christmas.
2- Keep pastures clipped to eliminate seed heads and stems. Through my research i've read this is where most of the endophytes are??? This will take a lot of diesel or more cows seeing how we have an abundance of grass most springs.
3- Keep oat or millet silage out through breeding season. Not sure how well the cows will eat it with green grass available but most studies are showing if you can get 2-5lbs a day in them of a non toxic forage you can reduce the effects. Thinking the baleage will be tastey enough to do this.
4- We already feed a high mag mineral year round but are open to suggestions if a certain mineral may help us. This is an area I'm not real educated on.
5- Overseeding clover. How am I going to control all the other broadleaf weeds without killing it?
Completely killing and going MaxQ is something I am really not fond of. May consider doing a pasture or two but I skeptical if that stuff will survive our hot dry summers.
Anybody got any ideas?

I don't know how labor/time intensive your calving is.

You got about 82 days from when a cow calves to get her bred back so she'll calve no later than she just did.

45 days earlier might be a big leap---and if you add 45 days on the front and only take 15 off the back---you just strung it out for another mo.

Once you let a grass plant head out--it'll never reach it's max potential that yr---any chance of running a few stockers, maybe taking in some pasture cattle? Something that could leave, after spring flush.
 

George

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I'm not sure what extra is in it but I buy a "fescue mineral" all summer - - - the cows spend a lot less time standing in water and more time out eating.

The feed suplier says the mineral contains something to dialate the veins in the lower legs and thus reduce the temp in the feet.

Adds about $3.00 per 50# and I have not run any trials but I have faith in my dealer so I buy it may thru sept
 

Faster horses

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George said:
I'm not sure what extra is in it but I buy a "fescue mineral" all summer - - - the cows spend a lot less time standing in water and more time out eating.

The feed suplier says the mineral contains something to dialate the veins in the lower legs and thus reduce the temp in the feet.

Adds about $3.00 per 50# and I have not run any trials but I have faith in my dealer so I buy it may thru sept

I think, George, the right mineral is key. I know we have a Fescue
Balancer that makes a huge difference.
 

Triple_S

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Put in a email to Vigertone technical this morning. Hopefully will hear from them next week. It would deffinately be the easiest fix. Now what to do with the 3 pallets of mineral I just bought.
 

George

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According to my dealer you only need to feed the fescue mineral during the hot months and then go back to the normal mineral the other 9 months of the year.
 

4Diamond

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Triple_S said:
Finally got all the cows preg checked. Yeah, I know I'm running late. The fescue thing finally caught up with us I guess. Terrible bred rate of 77% over the whole herd. Vet said he suspected fescue combined with summer breeding is what's hurting us so bad. I've been breeding May 15-Aug 15 with heifers breeding May 1- August 1. So I've been researching as hard as I can the last few days trying to come up with a new plan. Some of you guys running on fescue may have some ideas that could help me. So far here's my plan.
1- Move breeding up as far as possible without cutting off too many late calvers. I think I may start breeding 45 days sooner this year and cut 15 days off the end. Next year cut another 15 days off the end and so on untill I get to a 90 day breeding season. That will cut out some of the breeding in the hottest weather. Most cows would be bred by June 1. I'd really rather not calve before the first of the year. My other job is really busy from Oct. to Christmas.
2- Keep pastures clipped to eliminate seed heads and stems. Through my research i've read this is where most of the endophytes are??? This will take a lot of diesel or more cows seeing how we have an abundance of grass most springs.
3- Keep oat or millet silage out through breeding season. Not sure how well the cows will eat it with green grass available but most studies are showing if you can get 2-5lbs a day in them of a non toxic forage you can reduce the effects. Thinking the baleage will be tastey enough to do this.
4- We already feed a high mag mineral year round but are open to suggestions if a certain mineral may help us. This is an area I'm not real educated on.
5- Overseeding clover. How am I going to control all the other broadleaf weeds without killing it?
Completely killing and going MaxQ is something I am really not fond of. May consider doing a pasture or two but I skeptical if that stuff will survive our hot dry summers.
Anybody got any ideas?

What breed do you have? We had a very hot summer with long periods of heat and humidity and preg rates haven't been very good. I hate to say but it's part of it. There are things you can do to help the problem and mineral would be a good start.
 

WVGenetics

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Fescue toxicity is not necessarily only a problem during the summer months. Even though the endophytes goal is to infect the seed so the next generation of plant material propagates the fungus as well, non reproductive fescue plants can and will still have some endophyte activity and content albeit usually much lower than reproductive plans. In general the solution is dilution. Overseeing legumes is one very good approach. Also, the other posts mention mineral and genetic components which are entirely correct. Genetic adaptability and hair oat are extremely important. I believe the mineral adaptive George was referring to is Tasco, an Elanco product that is often used in feedlot diets. Southern States coop used to produce a mineral with Tasco, not sure if they still do. Sorry for the randomness of this post. I will try to do better next time. Good luck and just remember everything you do for the year is dependent on when you turn out bulls.
 

Big Swede

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That last sentence is the understatement of the year. Everything revolves around when that calf is born. Nutrition of the cow, facilities needed, supplementation of the cow..... You could fill a whole page with those kind of things that revlolve around that calf.

Knowing that is a big step in improving your situation.
 

bgc

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Ok couple of points of advice.
1. Moving your breeding season earlier in the year is MUCH harder than moving it back. Getting those cows to cycle faster each year is really tough.
2. Fescue Mineral can help, and will help some. It will not make us the 15% you are looking for!

If it were me. I would move my calving to the fall. Middle of November to turn bulls in breed 60 days and out. This does two things. Changes the nutritional requirements for your cow going through winter to as low as they can be, and sets you up to get your breeding out of the heat and the fescue will be going dormant somewhere around that time. It also sets you up to market calves about September when they are high $.

Someone mentioned overseeding with legumes and this is a very important fact if you are trying to breed cows in the heat on fescue. You could also convery some ground to warm season grasses like a sorguhm-sudan hybrid to use in the summer breeding season.
 

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