Brandy E. Brabham
WVU Extension Agent

Many parts of the county have gotten some rain. However, the drought this year has done damage to forage yields. Many farms will need to develop plans on how to cope with the yield losses that occurred.

Below is a list of suggestions that WVU Extension Specialist - Forage Agronomist, Dr. Ed Rayburn recommends that can help in this planning process.

1 - Early wean calves feed on pasture with supplement

2 - Sell lower quality/performance cows

3 - Stockpile forage when moisture returns

4 - Tall fescue the best will hold up to freezing weather

5 - Orchardgrass good but does not stand up well under snow

6 - Smooth bromegrass and reed canarygrass go dormant early

7 - N fertilizer (urea best if rain soon after application, nitrates more expensive)

8 - Clover (25-30% stand of legumes use no N since it will not be cost effective)

9 - P, K, pH and lime at proper rates are needed to get the most out of legumes or N

10 - Strip-graze stockpiled forage to get the most out of it

11 - Purchased hay based on forage test, from within region, From outside of the region (use a reliable dealer to ensure quality)

12 - Alternative feeds (nutrients on an as fed basis, feeds about 90% DM) *Soybean hull pellets (70% TDN, 11% CP) energy and moderate protein feed; *Soybean meal (76% TDN, 46% CP) high protein feed; *Wheat bran (63% TDN, 16% CP) energy and moderate protein feed; *Corn gluten feed (72% TDN, 22% CP) energy and moderate protein feed; *Dry distiller's grain (80% TDN, 27% CP) energy and bypass protein feed; *Shelled corn (80% TDN. 8% CP) energy and low protein feed

Shelled corn is not well suited for feeding with low quality hay due to its high carbohydrate level and reducing the digestibility of low quality hay. It can be used at low rates with high quality hay for feeding growing cattle. High fiber supplements such as soybean hulls and wheat bran or high protein feeds such as soybean meal and corn gluten feed will be the best supplements for low quality hay. The value of a supplemental feed is based on the quantity of TDN and CP it carries.

To find out more about drought management, contact your local WVU Extension Office.