September 29, 1999 | By: Aimee D. Heald

A satellite conference titled, "Surviving the Drought of 99: Solutions for Livestock," was held Sept. 13 to address topics such as livestock health and nutrition, economics and marketing. The program was broadcast on KET Star Channel 703. Many University of Kentucky Extension specialists were on hand to discuss drought concerns with livestock producers who called.

Specialists presented important information to producers so they will be prepared to handle the effects of the 1999 drought. "We told them (livestock producers) they need to do careful inventory of animals on the farm," John Johns, UK beef specialist said. "They need to see what feed resources they have and determine if it's enough to get them through this time."

Johns said they also encouraged producers to do nutrient analysis on feeds. In drought-stressed times, some nutrients are not present in normal quantities. Producers were urged to enter a "feed-saving mode," and to match their current resources with animal needs.

From a beef standpoint, producers don't have to feed hay. Hay doesn't need to be the primary source for beef cattle rations. Dairy producers, on the other hand, do need to feed hay to maintain the butterfat production of their herd.

For beef cattle, producers can determine the cheapest source of adequate feed. If high-energy rations are cheapest, they need to be limited, meaning no free-choice feeding.

"We encourage farmers to feed available by-products, such as corn gluten feed, soybean hulls and wheat midds," Johns said. "We've been feeding commodities like these in Kentucky for a long time and it works."

Other topics discussed in detail on the satellite program included: the effect of the drought on forages; parasite control; pneumonia in young calves as a result of dry, dusty conditions; and horse rations in times of drought.

Anyone needing information about the drought should contact their county Extension office. Agents have been equipped with the latest drought information and are ready to assist their clients. The satellite conference is available on video tape from UK College of Agriculture's distance learning section. Call (606) 257-6875 for more information.


Writer: Aimee D. Heald 606-257-9764

Source: John Johns 606-257-2853