Minimizing the Damage

John F. Grimes, OSU Extension Beef Coordinator

The 2015 growing season has proven to be challenging to producers in Ohio. Nearly all crops have been impacted by plentiful and in many cases too much rain. Forage production is certainly no exception to this reality as both hay and pasture production have felt the effects of excessive moisture. One doesn’t want to complain too loudly about excessive rainfall given that large areas of the country are still under significant drought. However, this growing season has created some significant management decisions for forage producers.

Very little hay production has not been impacted by excessive rains. Timely harvest has been nearly impossible as evidenced by the fact that some first cuttings have yet to be completed and second cuttings have been significantly delayed. This reality will probably reduce yields in some cases and will certainly reduce feed quality nearly everywhere. Continue reading

Oats: An Annual Forage to Consider

Stan Smith, OSU Extension PA, Fairfield County

As John mentions in the previous article, both hay quality and quantity throughout Ohio has suffered this year. At the same time, there are a number of acres – especially in Northwest Ohio – that remain unplanted from spring as a result of abundant rainfall. Further, considering the rain delays we are experiencing in wheat and straw harvest, few acres of wheat stubble will be double cropped to soybeans this year. That means there are acres available where some high quality cover crops – aka: forage – might still be grown this year.

Considering the present soil conditions (in northern Fairfield County we received another 1.9 inches of rain last evening and overnight on already saturated soils), it’s going to be some time until wheat harvest is complete, straw is baled, and soil conditions permit planting an annual crop this summer. That makes oats planted anytime in the next month a great option to consider. Continue reading

Feed Prices Rising Along with the Water

– John D. Anderson, Deputy Chief Economist, American Farm Bureau Federation (originally published by the Livestock Marketing Information Center on 6/30/2015)

It is a truism in the commodity markets that “rain makes grain.” This month, that old adage is bumping up against another equally-valid axiom that “too much of a good thing is a bad thing.” Persistent rains across the Midwest have had the combined effect of degrading the condition of the corn crop and also preventing the planting of the last of soybean crop. Both of these factors are supportive of prices across the entire grain/oilseed complex. Continue reading

Hay Moisture Levels

– Daniel Lima, OSU Extension Educator, Belmont County

We had a very wet June this year and baling hay has been a tough thing for most farmers in the state. Moisture levels have a direct effect on hay quality. What I have found to be a consistent number in the literature is 20% moisture maximum. To be more specific:

Small squares to be 20% or less,
Large round, 18% or less and
Large squares, 16%

Hay baled at 20% moisture or higher has a high probability of developing mold, Continue reading

Haylage in a Day?

Rory Lewandowski, Extension Educator Wayne County

Given our recent weather pattern, the topic of haymaking is almost certain to come up in any conversation with farmers. Last week while bemoaning the havoc our rainy weather is inflicting upon harvest schedules and hay quality, a member of my program advisory committee brought up the topic of haylage in a day. This is a concept that is being promoted in New York by forage folks at Cornell. Later, that member sent me a copy of a newsletter from Cornell that outlined some of the important principles of the haylage in a day concept. Those principles include maximizing photosynthesis, maximizing cutting widths, and wide swaths. Now let’s look at each of these factors in a little more detail. Continue reading

Improved Grazing Conditions Limit Lightweight Placements

– Tim Petry, Livestock Economist, North Dakota State University Extension Service

USDA-NASS released the monthly Cattle on Feed Report on June 19. Cattle and calves on feed for slaughter market in the U.S. for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 10.6 million head on June 1, 2015. That number was 0.6% higher than last year, and just under the average 0.9% increase that a pre-report survey of market analysts expected.

A question that has surfaced the last couple of years is how can cattle on feed numbers be above previous years when the cow herd was declining with smaller calf crops being produced. Now that beef herd rebuilding has started the same question relates to the increased heifers that are being retained for breeding purposes and not entering feedlots.

Several contributing factors have enabled feedlots to maintain cattle on feed inventories. Continue reading