When Expectations Become Reality

John F. Grimes, OSU Extension Beef Coordinator

For the past few years, beef cattle producers have been receiving strong economic signals to increase the size of the nation’s cow herd. While recent market prices have been historically high, expansion has been limited across much of the country due to large areas of significant drought. However, the situation has changed to the point where drought conditions currently exist only in the far west and in the southern tip of Florida.

Based on last week’s release of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service semi-annual Cattle report, expectations have become Continue reading

Managing Alfalfa Stands Damaged by Waterlogging

Rory Lewandowski and Mark Sulc, OSU Extension

We are receiving reports and have personally observed fields of alfalfa injured by the excessive soil wetness the first half of this growing season. Generally, waterlogging injury appears as stunting with a general yellowing of the entire plant, a result of nitrogen deficiency due to inactive N-fixation in waterlogged soils. Anaerobic respiration occurring in the plant under low soil oxygen also produces compounds that are toxic to the plant.

You should evaluate your stands in the next few weeks by Continue reading

2015 Manure Science Review

– Glen Arnold and Sam Custer, OSU Extension

The 2015 Ohio Manure Science Review (MSR) will be held in Darke County on Wednesday August 12 at Mississinawa Valley High School, 10480 Staudt Road, in Union City, Ohio, close to the border with Indiana. The MSR is an educational program designed for those involved in any aspect of manure handling, management, or utilization. The MSR consists of both classroom style presentations and field demonstrations of manure equipment. Registration opens at 8:15 am and the program begins at 8:45 am. The afternoon field demos Continue reading

Cattle and Beef Price Dynamics

– John Michael Riley, Assistant Professor, Department of Agricultural Economics, Oklahoma State University

Last Friday, USDA released their monthly retail beef prices and their farm-to-retail price spreads, with the latter indicating a decline in the “farm” share of the retail dollar. The farm share, which is a retail adjusted fed steer value, registered 51.7% of the retail value for the month of June. This was a 3.2 percentage point decline from the previous month, which was the largest monthly move in either direction since a 3.67 point increase from December 2013 to January 2014 and the largest month-over-month decline since July 2013.

Beyond the spread from feedlot to retail, a look at price dynamics Continue reading

Pasture Stability and Resiliency

Daniel Lima, OSU Extension Educator, Belmont County

Plants are biochemical factories that are at the base of the food pyramid for nearly all animals on earth (surface). The raw materials plants utilize for synthesizing essentially all components for life are found in the air, water, and in the soil.

To break it down further, 96% of plant requirements are CO2 and water. If you include Nitrogen, Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium, and Phosphorous, you arrive at 99.4% of all plant requirements. (Taiz and Zeiger, 2002) Proper soil health and environmental conditions such as sunlight, water and soil nutrients are essential for plant health and resiliency from pests and diseases. Continue reading

Supplemental Forage Options for Late Summer to Early Autumn Planting

Mark Sulc, OSU Extension Forage Specialist


Sorghum-Sudan planted July 19th; 60 days growth

This has obviously been a difficult year for mechanically harvested forages. Not only has it been nearly impossible to harvest dry forage, but reports are becoming more numerous of damaged forage stands due to the excessive rainfall we’ve experienced. This is especially true of alfalfa. Summer regrowth of alfalfa is poor in many fields and many stands are declining, especially Continue reading

Trucking Cattle

Steve Boyles, OSU Extension Beef Specialist

A cattle transportation symposium was held this past May. A point of emphasis was that two years of hard work can be undone by poor handling during the last ride. Transportation is not the first part the beef and dairy business that may come to mind. However, transportation is very important to both. For many in the general public, their only exposure to livestock production occurs when they see animals being transported on roadways. Continue reading

Feeding Sprouted or Otherwise Damaged Wheat to Beef Cattle

Steve Boyles, OSU Extension Beef Cattle Specialist

In light of the delay in wheat harvest caused by the weather, last week I was asked if sprouted or otherwise damaged wheat had much feed value in a beef ration. The answer is, “Yes, it does.”

Wheat can be used to replace a part of the grain ration when protein prices are high and wheat is relatively cheap compared to other grains. As a general rule, limit mold-free wheat to 50% of the grain portion in finishing diets. Continue reading

What’s in your Balage? Inadequate fermentation may lead to Botulism

– Dr. Michelle Arnold, DVM- Ruminant Extension Veterinarian (UKVDL) and Dr. Jeff Lehmkuhler, Beef Extension Specialist, University of Kentucky

Round bale silage (or “balage”) is an alternative to baling dry hay that allows shorter hay curing time and saves valuable nutrients in the face of approaching adverse weather conditions. It is a combination of hay and silage making and has certain advantages and disadvantages over other forage preservation systems. Balage is simply forage of a relatively high moisture content that is baled with a round baler and then stored in a sealed container, usually a plastic bag or wrapped in plastic, to keep oxygen out. Both grasses and legumes can be preserved by this method if proper techniques are followed. Forage cut at the correct stage of maturity, allowed to wilt to a 40-60% moisture range, then baled and wrapped at the proper moisture content will undergo fermentation, a process that drops the pH of the feed below 4.5 where spoilage organisms (especially bacteria from the Clostridial family) will not grow. Problems arise when Continue reading

Hay Facilitating Expansion

– Matthew A. Diersen, Professor, Department of Economics, South Dakota State University

A common metric that indicates expansion or contraction in the cattle herd is the availability of forage. Pasture conditions are one indicator of the short-run amount of grass, while measures of current and expected stockpiled forage indicate the level of feed available to mitigate short-run changes. A look at the U.S. all-hay balance sheet gives a few insights into the amount of forage available to facilitate expansion. Ending hay stocks had been low or tight for several years as U.S. hay acres gave way to other crops. In May of 2015, the U.S. stocks level was 24.5 million tons. The stocks increase was caused by a relatively high hay yield in 2014 and only a modest increase in consumption. The large stocks should encourage cattle expansion across a broad area as both South Dakota and Texas had large ending stocks. Continue reading