Considerations for Feeding Rained on Hay

HayStackJosh Davy, Tehama County Cooperative Extension Farm Advisor and Peter Robinson, Cooperative Extension Nutrition Specialist

 

This blog post was adapted from the UCCE Tehama – Livestock and Rangeland News – April 2016*

 

The series of storms this spring across Northern California was welcome on rangelands during the continuing drought.  Although these storms helped rangeland managers, the rains made for some risky decisions on timing hay cuttings – resulting in a lot of rained-on hay. As every rancher knows, this can lead to a lot of hay on the market with various levels of mold.

 

Although moldy hay can be inexpensive to buy, it may result in expenses later. Mold that grows on rain damaged hay can cause feed avoidance (and so wasted $ spent on purchasing the hay), sub-acute toxicity (sick livestock) and even acute toxicity (death). Here are some important points to consider about moldy hay….

 

  1. Horses should never be fed moldy hay, while cattle can consume some moldy hay.

 

Generally the mold itself does not make cattle sick.  It is the toxins created by some types of molds that are the culprits.  Molds that do not create toxins are not particularly dangerous to cattle, although they may still result in feed avoidance. While drying hay in the sun stops mold growth, the toxins and not impacted and can still be a threat to cattle if consumed.

 

  1. Cattle will naturally avoid consuming most moldy hays.

 

This is presumably due to learned behavior that mold makes them sick. In the case of bales with moldy exteriors, they will generally avoid exterior hay in favor of the center of the bales. The center is less moldy due to a lack of oxygen and moisture. 

 

  1. When you combine hungry cattle and moldy hays there is potential for disaster.

 

Hunger may overcome the cattle’s’ learned avoidance behavior and result in overconsumption of mold and toxins.

 

  1. Including moldy hay in a total mixed ration can also create risk.

 

This is because animals can no longer easily avoid moldy hay and thus toxins. However, this can also reduce risk by diluting the molds in the total diet consumed. 

 

  1. Bottom-line it is the mold count in the whole diet that determines risk.

 

It is not difficult or expensive to send hay samples to the lab for mold count analysis. There are guidelines (see below) on how much risk is associated with feeding moldy hay based on these counts. It is assumed that the higher the mold count the greater the likelihood that there will be toxins. While the actual mold species can be identified this is expensive and may only identify some of the dangerous molds.  In other words if the molds are identified that are known toxin producers it does not mean that they produced molds and a toxin producing mold could be missed and so its toxins could be present.

 

Below is a 6 tier risk scoring system based on mold counts. This is useful when feeding total mixed rations where cattle selectivity is very limited. It is also useful when the diet is primarily hay.

 

Risk Tier Mold Count So What?
1 <500,000 Suggests low mold levels and no threat
2 <1,000,000 Safe to feed
3 <2,000,000 Caution is advised
4 <3,000,000 Closely observe cattle for abnormal symptoms
5 <4,000,000 Dilute prior to feeding with mold free feed to reduce levels in the diet
6 >5,000,000 Do not feed unless at very low levels and in a very well mixed ration

 

If abnormal symptoms are observed, then access to the feed by the cattle should immediately be stopped.

 

You can read more details on feeding rained on hay here, here or find a forage testing lab here.

Also, more recent news about hay found here!

 

Statewide University of California Cooperative Extension Specialists

UCCEThis is the third in a series of blog posts to highlight individuals within the UC Cooperative Extension (CE) working to bring science-based solutions to challenges facing ranchers and rangeland stakeholders.  This post features campus-based statewide CE Specialists.

Find a local UCCE range professional here!

 

Rob Atwill, D.V.M., Ph.D.Director of Vet Med Extension

Contact: (530) 754-2154 ●Ÿ ratwill@ucdavis.edu Ÿ UC Davis

Focus: Research on wildlife and livestock contributions to water quality impairments. Dr. Atwill’s specialties include the study of waterborne zoonotic disease, best water quality management practices for livestock and agricultural producers, along with microbial food safety.

 

Roger Baldwin, Ph.D. – Cooperative Extension Specialist

Contact: 530-752-4551 Ÿ●  rabaldwin@ucdavis.edu Ÿ UC Davis

Focus: Dr. Baldwin is a wildlife ecologist whose program focuses on wildlife management with a particular interest in human-wildlife conflict. His rangeland research topics include ground squirrels, feral horse, and feral pig.

 

Joseph DiTomaso, Ph.D.Weed Cooperative Extension Specialist

Contact: (530) 754-8715 Ÿ● jmditomaso@ucdavis.edu  Ÿ UC Davis

Focus: Research investigating invasive weeds, where he has identified mechanisms to manage invasive species in California’s diverse landscape.  Dr. DiTomaso has assisted local UCCE advisors to bring rangeland management tools to producers and has published numerous technical guides as a resource for rangelands managers to reduce species such as medusahead and starthistle.

 

Elise Gornish, Ph.D.Restoration Ecology Cooperative Extension Specialist

Contact:  (530) 752-6314 ●Ÿ egornish@ucdavis.edu Ÿ UC Davis

Focus: Researches invasive species management, grassland ecology, population ecology, climate change, grazing management and fire. Dr. Gornish kicked off her research in California in 2013 focusing on medusahead head and fire interaction on invasive species, including post-fire grazing.

 

Thomas Harter, Ph.D. – Groundwater Cooperative Extension Specialist

Contact:  (530) 752-2709 ●Ÿ thharter@ucdavis.edu Ÿ UC Davis

Focus: Researches the impacts of agriculture and human activity on groundwater flow and contaminant transport, supporting the development of tools to effectively address groundwater management and water quality issues in agricultural regions.

 

Luke Macaulay, Ph.D. – Assistant Cooperative Extension Specialist

Contact: (703) 798-8459  ●Ÿ luke.macaulay@berkeley.edu Ÿ UC Berkeley

Focus: Research on economic and environmental impacts of wildlife management in rangelands. Dr. Macaulay’s goal is to meet the needs of people who use or enjoy rangelands with the goal of enhancing the conservation of rangeland ecosystems.

 

Frank Mitloehner, Ph.D.Air Quality Cooperative Extension Specialist

Contact: (530) 752-3936 ●Ÿ fmmitloehner@ucdavis.edu Ÿ UC Davis

Focus: Research on livestock systems air quality, along with quantification and mitigation of agricultural air pollutants. Dr. Mitloehner has conducted extensive research on air quality, specifically looking at dust emission and microbial sampling in feedlot settings.

 

Deanne Meyer, Ph.D.Livestock Waste Management Cooperative Extension Specialist

Contact:  (530) 752-9391 ●Ÿ dmeyer@ucdavis.edu Ÿ UC Davis

Focus: Researches current and future needs of livestock operators related to environmental sustainability, regulatory compliance, and economic feasibility.

 

Jim Oltjen, Ph.D.Animal Management Systems Cooperative Extension Specialist

Contact:  (530) 752-5650 ●Ÿ jwoltjen@ucdavis.edu UC Davis

Focus: Building computer decision support software and strengthening the beef quality assurance program, along with developing standardized performance analysis for cattle and sheep ranches.

 

Alda Pires, DVM, Ph.D. – Assistant Cooperative Extension Specialist

Contact: (530) 754-9855 Ÿ● apires@ucdavis.edu Ÿ UC Davis

Focus: Research and outreach to identify mitigation strategies to reduce food safety risks at the interface of animals and crops on mixed crop-livestock farms.

 

Dan Putnam, Ph.D.Alfalfa and Forage Cooperative Extension Specialist

Contact:  (530) 752-8982 ●Ÿ dhputnam@ucdavis.edu Ÿ UC Davis

Focus: Researches alfalfa and forage crop systems, forage quality and utilization, alternative field crops, cellulosic energy crops (e.g. switchgrass) and crop ecology.

 

Peter Robinson, Ph.D. Dairy Nutrition and Management Cooperative Extension Specialist

Contact: (530) 752-7565 ●Ÿ phrobinson@ucdavis.edu Ÿ UC Davis

Focus: Research on cattle nutritional management and developing ration evaluation software. Dr. Robinson has collaborated with county UCCE advisors to explore the ability to utilize rice straw as a livestock forage, along with studying the nutritional value of various other agricultural by products.

Leslie Roche, Ph.D.Rangeland Management Cooperative Extension Specialist

Contact: (530) 752-5583 ●Ÿ lmroche@ucdavis.edu Ÿ UC Davis

Focus: Research that looks at the effectiveness of adaptive grazing management to restore and enhance soil, plant, water, and agricultural production services. Additionally, Dr. Roche serves as a resource to ranchers and land managers on ecosystem management, soil, plant ecology and wildlife topics.

 

Tina Saitone, Ph.D. Livestock and Rangeland Economics Cooperative Extension Specialist

Contact: (530) 752-1870 ●Ÿ saitone@primal.ucdavis.edu Ÿ UC Davis

Focus: Researches a broad range of topics in agricultural economics including food quality and safety, agricultural cooperatives, industry competition, generic commodity promotion, federal and state marketing orders, and supplementary feeding programs.

 

Ken Tate, Ph.D., CRMRangeland Watershed Sciences Cooperative Extension Specialist

Contact:  (530) 754-8988 ●Ÿ kwtate@ucdavis.edu Ÿ UC Davis

Focus: Research investigating water quality, riparian areas, mountain meadows, and grazing management. He has assisted ranchers in providing factual data to determine access to public lands grazing leases and creating sustainable stocking rates.

 

Alison Van Eenennaam, Ph.D. Animal Genomics and Biotechnology Cooperative Extension Specialist

Contact: (530) 752-7942 ●Ÿ alvaneenennaam@ucdavis.edu Ÿ UC Davis

Focus: Research investigating animal genomics and biotechnology in livestock production systems. Dr. Van Enennaam’s current research projects include selection for cattle that are less susceptible to bovine respiratory disease, identifying fertility genetic markers in beef cattle and software to manage recessive genetic conditions in mating decisions.

Central California UC Cooperative Extension Advisors Serve Stakeholders

This is the second in a series of blog posts to highlight individuals within the UC Cooperative Extension (CE) working to bring science-based solutions to challenges facing rangeland stakeholders.  This post features 7 county-based CE Advisors in Central California.

Find a local UCCE range professional here!


County-based Central California CE Advisors listed from North to South…

Santa Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa, San Mateo and San Francisco: Sheila Barry, Livestock and Natural Resources Advisor

Contact: (408) 282-3106 ● Ÿ sbarry@ucanr.edu Ÿ ● 1553 Berger Dr., San Jose

Highlight: Promoting an understanding of beef production and the value of cattle grazing and the ecosystem services it provides to an urban public.

 

Stanislaus and San Joaquin Counties: Theresa Becchetti, Livestock and Natural Resource Advisor

Contact: (209) 525-6800 ● Ÿ tabecchetti@ucanr.edu Ÿ● 3800 Cornucopia Way, Modesto

Highlight: Investigating practical management options for a variety of invasive species on rangelands, including Medusahead.

 

El Dorado, Amador, Calaveras, and Tuolumne: Scott Oneto, Agriculture and Natural Resources Advisor

Contact: (209) 223-6834 ●Ÿ sroneto@ucanr.edu ● Ÿ 12200B Airport Rd., Jackson

Highlight: Developing chemical control strategies for the invasive weed – oblong spurge (Euphorbia oblongata).

 

Mariposa, Merced, and Madera: Fadzayi Mashiri, Livestock and Natural Resources Advisor

Contact: (209) 626-9449 ●Ÿ fmashiri@ucanr.edu Ÿ ● 5009 Fairgrounds Rd., Mariposa

Highlight:  Comparing the effects of different spring and fall application rates of Aminopyralid (Milestone) on medusahead.

 

San Benito, Monterey, and Santa Cruz: Devii Rao, Livestock and Natural Resources Advisor

Contact: (831) 637-5346 x 14 ● Ÿ drorao@ucanr.edu ●Ÿ 3228 Southside Rd., Hollister

Highlight: Setting up forage production plots across counties to understand how forage production changes between years and across regions. 

 

Monterey and San Luis Obispo: Royce Larsen, Watershed and Natural Resource Advisor

Contact: (805) 434-4106 Ÿ● relarsen@ucanr.edu Ÿ● 350 North Main St., Templeton

Highlight:  Created the Rancher Sustainability Self-Assessment Project – a voluntary self-assessment of all aspects of livestock operations to ensure the sustainability of production, lands and families.

 
Kern, Tulare, and Kings: Julie Finzel, Livestock and Natural Resources Advisor

Contact: (661) 868-6219 ●Ÿ jafinzel@ucanr.edu ●Ÿ 1031 S. Mt. Vernon Ave., Bakersfield

Highlight:  Working on a project that will quantify the economic impact mountain lions have on livestock production.

Northern California UC Cooperative Extension Advisors Serve Stakeholders

This is the first in a series of blog posts to highlight individuals within the UC Cooperative Extension (CE) working to bring science-based solutions to challenges facing rangeland stakeholders.

This first post features 11 county-based CE Advisors in Northern California.

Find a local UCCE range professional here!


County-based Northern California CE Advisors listed from North to South…

Humboldt and Del Norte: Jeff Stackhouse, Livestock and Natural Resources Advisor

Contact:              (707) 445-7351 ● jwstackhouse@ucanr.edu ● 5630 S. Broadway, Eureka

Highlight:            Working on creating a smart phone application “BeefTracker” for cattle producers to track: livestock grazing and pasture utilization, livestock transactions, field observations, and ranch improvements.

Siskiyou: Carissa Koopmann Rivers, Livestock and Natural Resources Advisor

Contact:              (925) 216-0615 ● ckrivers@ucdavis.edu ● 1655 S. Main St., Yreka

Highlight:             Conducting a comprehensive analysis of livestock production and water quality conditions on rangelands. The analysis covers primary pollutants, examines environmental fate of these pollutants, and identifies practical management practices to protect water quality.

Modoc: Laura Snell, Livestock and Natural Resource Advisor

Contact:               (530) 233-6400 ● lksnell@ucanr.edu ● 202 W. 4th St., Alturas

Highlight:            Monitoring wild horse utilization of springs on the Devil’s Garden Management Area of the Modoc National Forest. Specifically, analyzing the interactions between wild horses, wildlife and domestic livestock.

Shasta and Trinity: Larry Forero, Livestock Advisor

Contact:               (530) 224-4900 ● lcforero@ucanr.edu ● 1851 Hartnell Ave, Redding

Highlight:             Launched the “Ranch to Rail” program to improve California beef cattle producers understanding of the feeding attributes of their cattle. Ranchers receive feedlot performance data for cattle (e.g., ADG, cost of gain, carcass data).

Lassen, Plumas, and Sierra: David Lile, Natural Resources and Livestock Advisor

Contact:               (530) 251-8133 ● dflile@ucanr.edu ● 707 Nevada St., Susanville

Highlight:            Currently is in the process of correlating and quantifying grazing management practices and US Forest Service annual use standards with long-term condition and trend of mountain meadows and riparian areas.

Mendocino and Lake: John Harper, Livestock and Natural Resources Advisor

Contact:               (707) 463-4495 ● jmharper@ucanr.edu ●890 N. Bush St., Ukiah

Highlight:            Developing a smartphone application to help ranchers estimate feral pig damage and calculate forage loss. Information provided could be potentially used to calculate economic losses and for the development of ecosystem service payments.

Tehama, Glenn, and Colusa: Josh Davy, Livestock and Natural Resources Advisor

Contact:               (530) 527-3101 ● jsdavy@ucanr.edu ● 1754 Walnut St., Red Bluff

Highlight:            Currently working on mineral supplementation for beef cattle, economic drought forage supplementation, dryland range improvement including plant materials and planting strategies, and both dryland and irrigated pasture weed control.

Placer, Nevada, Sutter, Yuba Counties: Roger Ingram, Livestock and Natural Resources Advisor

Contact:               (530) 889-7385 ● rsingram@ucanr.edu ● 11477 E Ave, Auburn

Highlight:             Currently working on USDA inspected slaughter and processing business planning. Annually conduct the California Grazing Academy, as well as regular workshops regularly relating to soil health on range and irrigated pasture to grazing management.

Sonoma and Marin: Stephanie Larson, Livestock and Range Management Advisor

Contact:               (707) 565-3442 ● slarson@ucanr.edu ● 133 Aviation Blvd., Santa Rosa

Highlight:             Over 2.5 million people visit grazed open space annually in the Bay Area. In cooperation with regional parks, developed the “Understanding Working Rangelands” project to educate park decision makers, interpreters, and users about beef cattle production in this shared use landscape.

Napa, Solano, Yolo and Sacramento: Morgan Doran, Livestock and Natural Resources Advisor

Contact:               (530) 666-8738 ● mpdoran@ucanr.edu ● 70 Cottonwood St., Woodland

Highlight:             Working with ranchers to develop strategies and ranch plans to proactively resolve agency concerns about potential water quality impairments due to livestock. Revised the California Ranch Water Quality Planning (RWQP) short course curriculum to include the latest research findings on this topic.

Marin: David Lewis, Watershed Management Advisor

Contact:               (415) 473-4204 ● djllewis@ucanr.edu ● 1682 Novato Blvd., Novato

Highlight:             Documenting increased carbon and nitrogen in revegetated stream channels resulting from ranch stewardship to improve the environment. Analyzing bacteria water quality in the Tomales Bay Watershed to demonstrate the benefits of 20 years of ranch management to protect water quality.

1st Rustici Rangeland Tour a success!

1stRRSTour_GroupActionPhotoLast week, we held our 1st Rustici Rangeland Tour in the beautiful Warner Mountains in Alturas, Calif. The tour continued the conversation from our 3rd Rustici Rangeland Science Symposium, providing additional opportunities for networking as well as field-based learning. The day included on-site demonstrations and discussions of post-wildfire grazing management, meadow and riparian health, grazing lands water quality, and aspen and juniper ecology management on California’s public rangelands.

“We’ve got some challenges and the only way we’re going to solve them is by working together,” said Barnie Gyant, Deputy Regional Forester of the USDA Forest Service Region 5.

The tour drew 72 participants including local ranchers, public lands permittees, leadership and field representatives from federal and state agencies, and representatives from the agricultural and policy communities.

David Lile, UCCE Lassen County, and Laura Snell, UCCE Modoc County, were instrumental partners and local hosts for the 1st Rustici Rangeland Tour. We look forward to holding similar events across the state!

For more information and tour handouts, click here!

Tracy Schohr and Leslie Roche

Foothill Abortion Vaccine Progress

Carissa Koopmann Rivers, UCCE Siskiyou County Livestock and Natural Resources Advisor

This blog post was adapted from the UCCE Siskiyou Stockman – Livestock and Rangeland News – April 2016*

UC Davis’s Dr. Jeffery Stott has reached a new milestone is his work to address a major economic loss for California cattle producers—foothill abortion, a tick-borne bacterial disease that is estimated to cause the death of 45,000 to 90,000 calves each year. The first year of field trials is wrapping up, in which Stott’s team successfully vaccinated nearly 10,000 animals in California, Oregon, and Nevada against this deadly disease.

 

Researchers at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine worked with producers across California’s coastal and foothill regions, Southern Oregon, and Northern Nevada—where foothill abortion is endemic. To be eligible for the trials, producers had to have a minimum of 20 heifers/open cows to vaccinate. The experimental vaccine was administered to open females at least 60 days prior to breeding. Participating producers are asked to donate $800 for every vial (30 doses/vial) of the vaccine, which will support continued production, distribution and record-keeping.

 

Following 50 years of research by UCCE farm advisors and UC Davis faculty and specialists, the field trials are another major step forward in finding a solution to this deadly disease. The cattle producers participating in these trials have been and will continue to be an integral part in developing a vaccine. At this time, a local pharmaceutical company is working on commercializing the vaccine. However, there has been no announcement of a release date of when the vaccine will be available for commercial purchase. Dr. Stott presumes it is at least one year out.

 

So far, no formal studies have been conducted to determine if any interference may occur, reducing effectiveness of either the foothill abortion vaccine or other concurrently administered treatments; however, no evidence has emerged suggesting that other vaccines have a negative impact on the efficacy of the foothill abortion vaccine. Additionally, while vaccine efficacy has been confirmed in animals treated at one year of age; the age of females at time of vaccine administration has not been a focus of the trials. However, there’s been no evidence suggesting vaccination of animals as young as 8 months of age compromises efficacy. You can read more details on foothill abortion here, here or watch a presentation from Dr. Stott here.

For information about the vaccination field trials, please contact California Cattlemen’s Association at 916-444-0845.

*Information in this article was provided by Dr. Jeffery Stott, UC Davis.

UC Rangelands May 2016 Newsletter

happycows smA New Name in Rangelands!

We are excited to release UC Rangelands, a new initiative launched by Leslie Roche, Ph.D. and Ken Tate, Ph.D. at UC Davis, in cooperation with other faculty and researchers at the University of California and UC Cooperative Extension.

The mission of UC Rangelands is to develop and advance science-based knowledge to diverse management and policy stakeholders to promote agricultural and environmental sustainability on California’s grazing lands.

As part of this initiative, we are building a new one-stop-shop for rangeland research information and resources at rangelands.ucdavis.edu/. At this new web-based information center, you will find updates on current projects by the UC Rangelands team, as well as highlights of future and past research and outreach activities.

Our Team is Growing!

In the past year a number of new faces have joined our team, and some familiar faces have taken on new roles!

  • Leslie Roche, UCCE Specialist in Rangeland Management at UC Davis.
  • Dan Macon, Assistant Specialist at UC Davis.
  • Kelsey DeRose, Junior Specialist at UC Davis.
  • Janyne Little, Junior Specialist with UCCE Lassen and Modoc Counties.
  • Cari Koopmann Rivers, UCCE Livestock and Natural Resources advisor in Siskiyou County.

You can learn more about the UC Rangelands team and get links to all UCCE Livestock and Natural Resources advisors by vising rangelands.ucdavis.edu/.

NEW Project Profile – Drought Impacts on California Ranches

Drought is nothing new for ranchers; in fact, ranchers largely depend on dryland grazing and are among the first impacted by drought. Over 90% of California has endured severe to exceptional drought since 2012. Given the extent and severity of the current drought, the team at UC Rangelands is interviewing livestock producers to learn more about the real impacts of this drought on their operations.

The Drought Impacts on California Ranches Survey is a collaboration between UC Davis, UCCE, the California Cattlemen’s Association, and the California Wool Growers Association. We are conducting telephone surveys with ranchers to examine drought management strategies, economic and ecological impacts, and drought adaptation and recovery strategies resulting from one of our most severe droughts on record.

Project Outcomes

  • Compile expertise of experienced ranchers on effective drought planning and strategies for recovery.
  • Quantify real-world economic, social, and ecological impacts of drought to inform future drought planning and policies.
  • Develop a California Ranch Drought Hub that integrates existing research and outreach resources with survey information.

Our goal is to interview 200 beef and sheep producers. Interested in participating or want more information? Please contact Dan Macon (dmacon@ucdavis.edu; (530) 889-7324), Leslie Roche (lmroche@ucdavis.edu; (530) 752-5583), or Tracy Schohr (tkschohr@ucdavis.edu; (530) 754-8766).

 

Upcoming Newsletter Topics

  • Irrigated Pasture
  • Monthly Blogs
  • Post Fire Grazing
  • Water Quality Partnership