Prepare to Evaluate Forage Stands for Winter Injury

Rory Lewandowski, OSU Extension Educator, Wayne County and Mark Sulc, OSU Extension Forage Specialist

Rapid freeze/thaw cycles and saturated soil conditions have created the potential for heaving with taprooted legumes like alfalfa and red clover.

Forage stands will begin spring greenup in the next few weeks, especially in southern Ohio. While winter injury in forages is very hard to predict, this winter has presented some very tough conditions for forage stands. This is especially true of legumes like alfalfa and red clover. Producers and crop consultants should be prepared to walk forage stands early this spring to assess their condition in time to make decisions and adjustments for the 2019 growing season.

We had some days with very cold air temperatures, but the soil temperatures have been much more moderate than you might expect. The soil temperature at the 2-inch depth is associated with the temperature of plant crowns. The coldest 2-inch soil temperatures recorded since January 1 at the Ohio State University Agricultural Research Stations occurred in late January to early February, falling to 17.8 F at Northwest, 25.4 at Ashtabula (mid-January), 30.3 F at Western, 32.3 F at Wooster, and 32.6 at Jackson. To put this in perspective, temperatures in the 5 to 15 F range as measured at or just below the soil surface can begin to damage Continue reading

Beef AG NEWS: Vaccination Programs Considerations for the Beef Breeding Herd

With calving season into full swing throughout much of Ohio, breeding season is around the corner. A well planned breeding herd vaccination program can improve fertility and conception rates.

In this edition of the Beef AG NEWS, host Duane Rigsby and OSU Extension Beef Coordinator John Grimes offer considerations for implementing your pre-breeding season whole herd vaccination program.

Henry County Beef School series begins March 25

Beef producers, are you interested in improving the efficiency and profitability of your beef operation? If so, the 2019 Henry County Beef School is the program for you. This free four week offering is designed to cover the fundamentals of raising beef cattle; Forage Production, Genetics, Nutrition, and Marketing.

I think we can all agree that the 2018 season was one of the poorest in terms of making high quality dry hay. On Monday evening, March 25, Jason Hartshuch from OSU Extension Crawford County will be covering forage quality and storage. Feel free to bring a forage analysis to compare and take notes.

Have you ever had questions regarding what to look for when Continue reading

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Price Risk Management Tools

– Dr. Andrew Griffith, Assistant Professor, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of Tennessee

A couple of questions have come up recently about price risk management tools and how certain tools can be used in cattle operations. The simple answer to this question is there is Livestock Risk Protection insurance for any size operation, futures contracts for operations that can either fill a 50,000 pound feeder cattle contract or a 40,000 pound live cattle contract, and then there are forward contracts if they can be had.

For small cattle producers, there are no good price risk management tools worth using or worth the cost of the insurance. That does not mean there are not some local opportunities when working with an individual, but those opportunities are Continue reading

U.S. Cattle Inventory Growth Slows

– Josh Maples, Assistant Professor & Extension Economist, Department of Agricultural Economics, Mississippi State University

The USDA Cattle report was released last week and it showed an estimated 0.5 percent growth in all cattle and calves for a total of 94.8 million head in the U.S. on January 1, 2019. The U.S. calf crop estimate of 36.4 million head showed 644,500 (1.8%) more calves were born in 2018 than in 2017 which marked the fourth consecutive year of calf crop increases. This report was mostly the expected mix of slight growth and hints of lower growth in the future. A larger calf crop in 2018 implies beef production will again be higher in 2019 and likely into 2020 but the cow and heifer numbers point toward smaller increases in calf crops in the future.

The inventory of beef cows was 31.8 million head which was up about one percent. However, the number of beef replacement heifers was Continue reading

Calves = Very Valuable; Bulls Deemed “Satisfactory Potential Breeders” = Priceless!

John F. Grimes, OSU Extension Beef Coordinator and Stan Smith, OSU Extension PA, Fairfield County

Perhaps to the inexperienced, or uniformed, it sounds simple enough: purchase bull; put bull with cows; calves appear in ~ 283 days; collect calves 205 days later; sell calves for good prices! Well maybe it should be that simple, but . . . I think most Ohio cattlemen will agree it is not!

When considering all of the traits of importance to today’s cattleman, a primary focus of any cow-calf producer must be getting a live calf on the ground. That starts with fertility. While both the male and female contribute to the herd’s level of fertility and its ultimate productivity, the herd sire is the more important component. An individual cow with poor fertility will certainly affect one potential calf a year. However, the bull affects every potential calf in Continue reading

Beef AG NEWS: Considerations for Selecting your Next Herd Sire

With calving season in full swing throughout much of Ohio, breeding season is right around the corner. That means bull buying season is here.

In this edition of Beef AG NEWS, show host Duane Rigsby visits with OSU Extension Beef Coordinator John Grimes about herd sire selection considerations including everything from selecting a breeder to work with, to the specifics of actually selecting the bull you ultimately choose to purchase.

Bull Buying Tips

– Dr. Darrh Bullock, Extension Professor, University of Kentucky

We are rapidly approaching bull buying season in Kentucky so there are few basics I would like to share. The genetics in the bull you are buying now will have a huge impact on your herd immediately and could linger for years to come if you keep replacements from him. For this reason it is important to get this decision right.

For commercial cattlemen, the first suggestion is to evaluate your crossbreeding program and make sure you are taking full advantage of heterosis (hybrid vigor). If your cow herd is made up of predominantly one breed then you might consider introducing a second breed and start a rotation system with those breeds. This can improve the productivity of your herd by greater than Continue reading

Frost Seeding Tips

– Mark Landefeld, OSU Extension Agriculture Educator, retired, Monroe County

Round bales had been fed here and the area was very rough from unusually wet conditions. Paddock before being lightly disc and drug one morning when the overnight temperature was 24°F.

Last week we discussed how this year many producers have more than normal amounts of pasture that has been moderately to heavily tracked-up by livestock due to the extensive wet soil conditions. Many of these pastures can use a little help in recovering by adding grass and or clover seed to these fields. Spending a few minutes to calibrate your seeder will help you get the desired amount of seed on the pasture. This will be particularly helpful if you have large areas needing seeded.

Calibrating a hand held seeder or broadcast seeder mounted on an ATV is not too hard to do. You will need a scale to weigh the seed, a few plastic bags, a measuring wheel or tape measure and maybe a Continue reading

Ohio Beef Expo Kicks Off March 15

The Ohio Beef Expo, the premier event of Ohio’s beef industry, will take place March 15-17 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; beef quality assurance sessions; a multi-day trade show and a highly competitive junior show.

OCA members and Expo exhibitors are invited to attend The Social, on Thursday evening, March 14, at the Expo headquarters hotel, the Hilton Columbus/Polaris. The kickoff event will auction items for OCA’s PAC fund such as two VIP parking spaces at the 2019 Ohio Beef Expo, an Ohio State fire ring and other great items.

For the first time in Expo history, the trade show will open on Thursday, March 14 from 3:00 – 6:00 p.m. This allows more Continue reading

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