What Are Your Priorities?

John F. Grimes, OSU Extension Beef Coordinator

Calving season is underway to some degree for many producers. If you have not started your calving season, you likely will soon. Calving time is an exciting period for producers as they are seeing the results of their genetic choices and management decisions coming to reality. Warmer weather and green pastures will develop in the coming weeks. The calf crop will grow and develop quickly through the spring and summer months. While this is taking place, the producer will set the 2019 calf crop motion with the onset of the breeding season.

Before the start of this breeding season, I would encourage producers to critically evaluate the production goals for your herd. Do the type of cattle that you produce adequately target your chosen market? If you sell your calves as feeder calves in the fall, your goal should be to sell as many healthy feeder calves with excellent weaning weights as possible. If you retain ownership after weaning and finish your calves to harvest weights, your priorities will Continue reading

Schedule the Breeding Soundness Exams Soon

– Glenn Selk, Oklahoma State University

Although the spring calving season may still be ongoing, the next breeding season is only a few weeks away. Now is the time to schedule the old and new bulls for their pre-breeding soundness examination.

For the breeding soundness evaluation to be successful, bulls should be evaluated 30 to 60 days before the start of breeding. It is important to allow sufficient time to replace questionable bulls. Bulls could also be evaluated at the end of breeding to determine if their fertility decreased. A breeding soundness exam is administered by a veterinarian and includes Continue reading

Beef AGRI NEWS Today, the March Podcast

In this month’s podcast of Beef AGRI NEWS Today, show host Duane Rigsby visits with OSU Extension Beef Coordinator John Grimes and about trade tariff’s, ELDs, alternatives for managing mud, and restoring the cattle feeding areas that have been destroyed this winter!

The Value of Selling Steer Calves vs Bull Calves

– Dr. Kenny Burdine, Livestock Marketing Specialist, University of Kentucky

Producers will often ask about the magnitude of the price premium for steers over bulls. Most agree that steers will outsell bulls of similar weight, but it is also well established that castrating bulls requires facilities, time and some expense. Further, it is generally accepted that bulls will outgain steers, which further complicates the discussion. While there is no way that this short article can completely address this topic, it should help provide a framework to help producers make this basic management decision.

We will start with the basic notion of price differentials, and even this is not completely without question. We will occasionally get a call or email asking why bulls are outselling steers at a given time or location. The first thing to understand is that there are thousands of cattle sold at Kentucky markets every single day. Inevitably, a group of bulls will Continue reading

Don’t Forget Tetanus Prevention when Banding Bulls!

– Michelle Arnold, DVM (Ruminant Extension Veterinarian, UKVDL), University of Kentucky

In the United States, more than 17 million bulls are castrated yearly that range in age from 1 day to 1 year-old. Tetanus (Clostridium tetani infection) is a potentially life-threatening neurologic disease affecting all species of domestic livestock, including cattle. The clinical signs of tetanus are subtle and often missed until the disease is advanced. At that point, treatment and management of the affected animal is very difficult and the chance for recovery is poor. Recognition of the initial signs of stiff legs, an anxious expression with ears held back toward the poll, moderate bloat, erect tail, and the unusual “flick” of the third eyelid across the eye leads to an accurate early diagnosis and allows treatment to begin when it is most effective. Any calf castrated with an elastrator band should be given tetanus prevention in the form of either tetanus toxoid (two doses required with the 2nd given two weeks prior to castration), tetanus antitoxin (given the day of banding) or, in some cases, both are Continue reading

Weekly Livestock Comments for March 16, 2018

– Andrew P. Griffith, University of Tennessee

FED CATTLE: Fed cattle traded steady to $1 higher compared to a week ago on a live basis. Prices on a live basis were mainly $127 to $128 while dressed prices were mainly $205 to $206.

The 5-area weighted average prices thru Thursday were $127.94 live, up $1.18 from last week and $205.81 dressed, up $1.97 from a week ago. A year ago prices were $128.75 live and $208.01 dressed.

Despite all the rumblings of the high cattle on feed numbers and the soon to be glut of beef on the market, finished cattle prices continue to find support. Sure, this is the first week in which finished cattle prices dipped below year ago prices from the same week since mid-September of last year, but finished cattle have consistently Continue reading

Options for Improving Damaged Pastures

Rory Lewandowski, OSU Extension Educator, Wayne County and Stan Smith, OSU Extension PA, Fairfield County

As trampled and pocked up winter feeding areas begin to dry out, consider all the alternatives that will allow these beat up paddocks to recover and become productive again.

Ohio’s roads and highways aren’t the only things that have suffered from a winter that’s alternated between sub-freezing temperatures, and abundant rainfall on top of saturated surfaces. As spring quickly approaches, pastures and paddocks that have served as cattle feeding areas this winter are a sea of pocked up mud. While road crews are out repairing damaged roads by tamping cold patch into the pot holes, it’s simply not that easy to repair soils that are expected to breathe life into growing plants during the coming months.

That said, a key decision many are facing regards whether or not Continue reading

Managing Mud

– Victor Shelton, NRCS State Agronomist/Grazing Specialist

Mud . . . not good for man or beast.

It wasn’t too long ago that you were hearing that some parts of the state were actually still in drought status. I believe it is safe to say, without even looking it up, that that is no longer a problem. Instead, completely thawed and very soggy ground is prevalent.

It’s been a few years since I’ve seen this wet of an early spring. In fact, maybe about twenty years. We are quite often still blessed with some free “concrete” this time of year. As much as I like the warmer days right now, I probably wouldn’t turn down some frozen ground to reduce mud and the impact of very saturated ground. One guy told me that if it were just a hair warmer, he might go barefoot since he was tired of getting his boots stuck in the mud.

If you are not prepared for such wet weather, then it can be quite frustrating. Mud is certainly worse around feeding, watering, and other concentrated areas. One of the best solutions for these concentrated areas is to Continue reading

Expect to Hang Two-thirds of the Cow’s Weight on the Rail

– Kris Ringwall, Beef Specialist, NDSU Extension Service

I enjoy pondering over numbers collected from the Dickinson Research Extension Center beef herds.

One number I ponder over, for example, is cow size and how it relates to carcass size. Just like the industry, the discussion of cow size is complex, and pondering includes searching for ways or numbers that help me understand and ultimately explain the impact of cow size within the industry.

Ultimately, the producer decides what gate to open and what bull to buy, and entwines all the pieces into a cow-calf operation.

We do know that carcass size is very relevant because it is a driver of income. Recently, the center dispersed two cow herds due to the lack of feed. The long-term essence of these two herds was a targeted 300-pound difference in the Continue reading

Ohio Beef Expo Kicks Off March 16

Don’t miss Ohio’s premier beef cattle event, March 16-18!

The Ohio Beef Expo, the premier event of Ohio’s beef industry, will take place March 16-18 at the Ohio Expo Center in Columbus, Ohio. This annual event, coordinated by the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA), includes a kickoff social; breed sales, shows and displays; an educational seminar; a three-day trade show and a highly competitive junior show.

OCA members and Expo exhibitors are invited to attend The Social, sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim, on Continue reading