Forage Options for “Prevented Planting” Corn and Soybean Acres

Stan Smith, PA, Fairfield County OSU Extension

Today, as we sit here on May 15, we know three things for certain:

  • Ohio has the lowest inventory of hay since the 2012 drought and the 4th lowest in 70 years.
  • Ohio’s row crops will not get planted in a timely fashion this year.
  • Grain markets have fallen to the point that in many cases – or, perhaps most cases – for those with coverage, Prevented Planting Crop Insurance payments will yield more income than growing a late planted corn or soybean crop this year.

Grazing oats planted on Prevented Planting acres in very late fall is an excellent alternative for harvesting this cover crop.

Prevented planting provisions in the USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) crop insurance policies can provide valuable coverage when extreme weather conditions prevent expected plantings. On their website, RMA also says “producers should make planting decisions based on agronomically sound and well documented crop management practices.”

Today, insured corn and soybean growers throughout Ohio find themselves at the crossroads of a decision that pits the overwhelming desire to want to plant and grow a crop against the reality that financially and agronomically it might be a more sound alternative to accept a Prevented Planting insurance payment. Adding further support to the notion that today Continue reading

Control Pasture Weeds Now

Christine Gelley, Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator, Noble County OSU Extension

Cressleaf groundsel is flourishing throughout Ohio this year in pasture, hay and crops fields!

With the combination of sunny warm days and more than adequate rainfall received so far in May, grasses and legumes in our hayfields are beginning to flower. Which means, according to our knowledge of grass maturity and forage quality, it’s already time to make hay. If the weather will cooperate, that is.

It’s also prime time to control pasture weeds. Thistles, docks, ironweed, asters, poison hemlock, and cockleburs are up and actively growing. Control on these species is most effective when they are small (less than six inches tall). Many are already past this point. The longer we wait, the greater impact they will have on overall production and the more difficult they will be to treat in both hayfields and grazed pastures.

The decision of how and when to wage war on damaging weeds is one based on many factors. Extension always recommends utilizing an integrated pest management program to control pests and weeds. The most effective programs are Continue reading

Body Condition Score and Getting Thin Cows to Rebreed

– Travis Mulliniks, UNL Beef Cattle Nutritionist, Range Production Systems

During the production year, livestock are faced with dynamic changes in nutritional and environmental stressors that create nutritional challenges.  The last year for many livestock producer have been one of those very challenging years. Many parts of Nebraska experienced high, early spring rainfall and tremendous forage growth, resulting in early maturing and low-quality forages.  This created a situation that many cows were thinner than normal years at weaning.  We coupled that with high moisture, extreme cold, blizzards, and flooding in last few months.  The end result has been really thin cows.

Body condition scoring (BCS) is an effective management tool to estimate the energy reserves of a cow.  If monitored multiple times across the production year, BCS is a good indicator of direction of body weight change.  Body condition score of beef cows at the time of calving has the greatest impact on subsequent rebreeding performance (Table 1). Traditional recommendations suggest cows need to be nutritionally managed at a BCS 5 or greater at breeding for optimal reproductive performance. However, the response is not absolute; some cows are capable of Continue reading

Udder Quality in Beef Cows – Does it Matter?

– Dr. Michelle Arnold, DVM, Ruminant Extension Veterinarian, University of Kentucky Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory and Dr. Darrh Bullock, Extension Professor, Breeding and Genetics, University of Kentucky

Picture 1: The two front quarters are blind (dry).

Udder and teat quality are two of the most important functional traits for a beef cow. Although much of the focus in selection of female replacements is on milk production, the milk delivery system (udder and teats) is equally important. It is easy to see that newborn calves have a difficult time nursing oversized teats, especially if hanging very close to the ground, which often results in inadequate colostrum intake. However, there is limited research regarding the occurrence of mastitis in beef cattle and its associated effects. “Mastitis” is infection (usually bacterial) of the milk-producing tissue or “mammary gland”. A cow with a case of mastitis will typically have one or more affected quarters that are swollen and produce abnormal milk. The milk may be thick with clots, thin and watery, or may not look unusual depending on the infecting bacteria. Some cows exhibit signs of illness such as Continue reading

Remember your BQA Ps and Qs

– Glenn Selk, Oklahoma State University Emeritus Extension Animal Scientist

There are many things a rancher can count on as spring makes its way across the landscape. Green grass, spring flowers and waving a happy adios to winter are among them.

Beyond that, spring means calving season for many. And calving season means calf working time isn’t far behind.

As the majority of the calves reach their second month of life, it is time to castrate the male calves if this has not already been done and immunize all of the calves to protect them against blackleg. In some situations, calves may be vaccinated for the respiratory diseases such as IBR and BVD. Check with your large animal veterinarian about these immunizations.

That’s where your Continue reading

Weekly Livestock Comments for May 10, 2019

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

FED CATTLE: Fed cattle traded $2 to $3 lower on a live basis compared to last week. Live prices were mainly $120 to $121 while dressed prices were mainly $191 to $193.

The 5-area weighted average prices thru Thursday were $120.40 live, down $3.30 from last week and $192.42 dressed, down $6.54 from a week ago. A year ago prices were $121.21 live and $191.75 dressed.

If the past two weeks are any indication of what to expect from the finished cattle market moving through the next few months then it is clear that it is going to be a tough few months. A $6 loss in two weeks adds to about $84 per head on an animal finishing at 1,400 pounds. There is good reason cattle feeders have been willing sellers at lower prices. That reason is the Continue reading

The Long-Term Impact of a Few Days

John F. Grimes, OSU Extension Beef Coordinator, retired (originally published in the Ohio Farmer on-line)

For spring-calving beef herds, the breeding season is currently or soon will be underway. Many decisions have been made in terms of the genetic makeup of the 2020 calf crop. Natural herd sires or sires to be used through artificial insemination have been selected. Mature cows have been retained and replacement heifers have been introduced to the breeding herd. Hopefully the genetic decisions that have been made will prove profitable when next year’s calf crop is sold.

Reproduction is the most economically important trait in beef cattle for the cow-calf producer. Numerous studies have shown that reproduction is several times more important than growth or carcass traits. Simply put, genetic superiority in any trait does not matter if the beef female is not bred and deliver a live calf for the producer.

Regardless of the size and scope of your operation or your preferred time of year to calve, there is little economic justification for a lengthy calving season. The arrival of breeding season for many herds seems like an appropriate time to revisit this issue. A 60-day breeding season is an ideal goal to shoot for and I would recommend nothing longer than 90 days. If you are currently involved in a longer breeding season, there are valid economic and management reasons to make a change. It requires a little discipline, some rigid culling, and a willingness to use technology and other resources available.

A joint study between Oklahoma State and Texas A&M Universities found a positive relationship between number of days of the breeding season and the production cost per hundredweight of calf weaned. In addition, they reported a negative relationship between Continue reading

Pre-breeding Nutrition Considerations for Cows That Have Struggled This Winter

– Katy Lippolis, Iowa State Extension Cow-calf Specialist

While spring may finally be here, harsh weather conditions over the winter, and cold and wet spring storms have taken a toll on late gestation and early lactation cows. Some have depleted body stores to make up for the cold weather, so making sure those cows bounce back prior to breeding is crucial to maintaining pregnancy rates.

There are many considerations and management strategies we can utilize to Continue reading

Changing the Calving Season: Different Answers to the Same Question

– Glenn Selk, Oklahoma State University Emeritus Extension Animal Scientist

The onslaught of a wet, cold winter, several blizzards, and unbelievable flooding has caused some Midwest cattle producers to re-examine the timing of future calving seasons. There will be popular press and social media articles suggesting that calving seasons need to be moved to late spring and early summer. For those regions of the country prone to late winter, spring snowstorms and blizzards, moving the calving season out of these stressful weather events makes sense.

If the calving season is moved to May and June, then the breeding season must be moved to August and September. In the upper Midwest, breeding seasons in the hotter months of summer may be feasible. Although, 90 to 100 degree days may occur, nighttime temperatures will often cool to 70 degrees or lower. However in Oklahoma and Texas, in August daytime temperatures often reach near or above triple digits and night time lows may only cool about 80 degrees. A high pressure heat dome may lock in very hot days and warm nights for an extended period of time. The number of hours each day that the temperature is above the thermal neutral maximum (80 degrees in the bovine) is sizeable. There is little if any opportunity for the cow to dissipate heat in this scenario. Therefore heat stress becomes a biological nemesis to good reproductive performance in late summer months in Oklahoma.

Research conducted several years ago at Oklahoma State University (Biggers, et al, 1986 OSU Animal Science Research Report) illustrated the possible impact of heat stress of beef cows on their reproductive capability. They found that Continue reading