Steers raised on fungus-infected tall fescue treated with seaweed extract weighed more and were more hardy than those on unsprayed fungus-infected fescue.

That's according to researchers at the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station.

Animal scientist Richard Evans and agronomist Roscoe Ivy, based in Monroe County, sprayed both fungus-free and fungus-infected tall fescue with the marine algae during a two-year trial.

“Treating fescue with a seaweed emulsion produced steers with increased resistance to diseases and better weight increase,” Evans reports.

“Seaweed is an environmentally friendly product,” adds Ivy. “Harvested like hay from oceans, seaweed has shown it can help in producing cattle that have slightly increased weight gains and improved immunity.”

Wrong Feeder Wastes Forage

Round bale storage method had little impact on nutritional quality or palatability in Penn State University research. But the type of feeder used greatly affected the amount of feed wasted.

Nearly four times more hay or silage was wasted in a ring-type feeder than in a cone-type feeder.

Researchers evaluated grass bales stored inside as dry hay or baled at 40% moisture and either wrapped in stretch-wrap plastic or placed in a plastic tube to ferment. After 170 days, the three types of forage were fed to mature beef cows using a conventional ring-type feeder and one with an inverted cone.

The forages were equally palatable, says animal scientist John Comerford. “Cattle didn't care how it had been stored,” he adds. Ring feeders wasted 149 more pounds of hay per ton than cone feeders, and 305 more pounds of bale silage per ton.

“For the average cow fed hay valued at $70/ton for five months, that's an average loss of $10.33 a bale,” Comerford says. A cone feeder costs $550 more than a ring feeder, but would soon pay for itself, he adds.