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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Lexington, Kentucky » Forage-animal Production Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #324232

Research Project: Optimizing the Biology of the Animal-Plant Interface for Improved Sustainability of Forage-Based Animal Enterprises

Location: Forage-animal Production Research

Title: From the Lab Bench: The invisible crystal ball

Author
item Aiken, Glen

Submitted to: Cow Country News
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/22/2015
Publication Date: 12/1/2016
Citation: Aiken, G.E. 2016. From the Lab Bench: The invisible crystal ball. Cow Country News. Pgs 42-43.

Interpretive Summary: Imagine the benefit of having a crystal ball in your head that could tell you weather patterns, cattle markets, calf crops, etc. If your crystal ball told you there would be a mild winter and wet spring then you could prepare and take advantage of a good growing season. On the other hand, if the crystal ball informed you there would be an extremely cold winter with ice storms then you would know to stock-up on hay, sell some cull animals, and possibly fertilize in the fall. It would be extremely helpful to know if there is an impending drought that would make you change your grazing management, if needed, to maintain grass stand vigor and health, and you may want to make sure there is plenty of hay and concentrate feed that could be fed to minimize the risk of overgrazing. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a crystal ball, but all livestock producers can have the next best thing to a crystal ball. Through experience and learning from good and bad management decisions, a producer can develop management practices that better prepare their pastures for adverse weather patterns and make it appear that they possess a crystal ball.

Technical Abstract: A column was written that pondered that advantages of a livestock producer having a crystal ball in their head that could tell you weather patterns, cattle markets, calf crops, etc. You would have such an advantage that there is no reason for your farming operation to fail. The column went through management modifications that could be implemented if you knew that in the future would bring a mild winter and wet spring, an extremely cold winter with ice storms, and frost occurring into April, or a summer drought. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a crystal ball, but a livestock producer can have the next best thing to a crystal ball. Through experience and learning from good and bad management decisions, a producer can develop management practices that better prepare their pastures for adverse weather patterns.