Why Do the Heifers Get to Decide Who Breeds the Cows?

John F. Grimes, OSU Extension Beef Coordinator

Late April is a busy and exciting time of year for the typical cow-calf producer in Ohio. Winter has given way to spring as temperatures slowly rise and grass begins to green up and grow. The 2013 calf crop has hit the ground and we see the early returns on breeding and management decisions from the previous year. Will these results have a direct bearing on the upcoming breeding season?

The 2007 National Animal Health Monitoring System’s (NAHMS) Beef Survey indicated that the typical beef cow herd in Ohio averaged 17 cows in size. This number would indicate the typical beef operation is a part of a larger farming operation or an enterprise managed by someone that obtains their primary source of income away from the farm. In either situation, the cow-calf operation must “peacefully” coexist with the primary farming operation or other employment.

As I visit with commercial cow-calf producers in the region in my roles as an Extension Educator and a seedstock producer, I have come to realize that these individuals have some unique circumstances upon which they base many of their management decisions. Regardless of the situation, a common theme Continue reading

Disease and Animal Health Diagnosis

Dr. William Shulaw, Extension Veterinarian, Cattle and Sheep, Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine,The Ohio State University

Lambing, kidding, and calving seasons are well underway and the typical questions about abortions, calf scours, and other problems have been asked. This week I was asked if I would provide some general guidelines about obtaining help with disease diagnosis.

First of all, getting at least a tentative diagnosis is crucial to formulating appropriate and cost-effective treatment, control, or prevention plans. Sometimes this Continue reading

Tall Fescue: Renovation or Eradication?

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

Many cow/calf beef enterprises across the state utilize tall fescue as their primary pasture forage. In most instances, it is Kentucky 31 endophyte infected forage, and while this is a great option for a late fall and winter stockpiled forage, there are some significant downsides to using this forage during the growing season, particularly summer. The endophyte is a fungus, specifically Neotyphodium coenophialum and it is responsible for multiple livestock disorders including fescue foot, bovine fat necrosis and fescue toxicity. Fescue toxicity is the most common disorder and is associated with poor animal performance characterized by Continue reading

“Keep an eye on Momma!”

Stan Smith, OSU Extension PA, Fairfield County

. . . remind fellow farmers something they already know, keep a eye on momma!” In part, that’s the message I received last week from a reader who was telling me that while working with a newborn calf, his father-in-law had been attacked by the momma cow. The result was multiple broken ribs, a collapsed lung, and a stay in the hospital. While Continue reading