Now Is Not The Time To Relax

John F. Grimes, OSU Extension Beef Coordinator

April is an exciting time of the year for cow-calf producers.  The 2017 calf crop is taking shape and breeding season is currently or soon will be underway.  We have begun to emerge from the doldrums of winter to the warmth and new growth of spring.  The drudgery of feeding hay to the herd is coming to an end as pastures begin their early spring flush of growth.  It is certainly a great feeling to see cow-calf pairs turned out to fresh pastures for the first grazing of the season.


However, this is not necessarily a Continue reading

Longevity in the Cow Herd

– Dr. Roy Burris, Beef Extension Professor, University of Kentucky

Longevity can be defined many different ways by beef producers. However, I’ll just use the definition – how long a beef cow or bull stays in your herd. They may leave your herd for a variety of reasons but every time it happens it represents a significant expense to your operation. This is generally the difference in their salvage value and what it costs to replace them. However, you could possibly be replacing an inferior animal with one that is more profitable. That is what we hope for.

A cow doesn’t have to be highly productive to stay in the herd. Longevity might simply be due to Continue reading

Kentucky Market Update and Cull Cow Price Seasonality

– Dr. Kenny Burdine, Livestock Marketing Specialist, University of Kentucky

As is often the case, spring has brought some much needed energy to calf markets. At the time of this writing (April 12, 2017), CME© Feeder Cattle Futures have risen more than $10 per cwt from their early March levels. Rising feeder cattle futures and grass growth have supported calf markets as 550 lb steer calves have moved into the $140’s on a state average basis, with several groups breaking into the $150’s. This represents roughly a $20 per cwt increase from the lows set in fall of 2016.

This is the time of year when calf markets typically reach their seasonal highs as Continue reading

Clearing the Fence Row and Trimming Back Overhanging Branches

Chris Hogan, Law Fellow, OSU Agricultural & Resource Law Program

Farmers are gearing up for spring and preparing to plant crops and graze livestock. Part of spring-cleaning may involve clearing partition fence rows at the edge of fields and trimming back overhanging branches above the fence. Overgrown tree branches can affect crops and pose a hazard to agricultural equipment. Removing trees that obstruct the fence row, noxious weeds tangled in the fence, and other unwanted vegetation is a serious matter for Ohio farmers. Ohio law provides for ways to clear a partition fence shared between two neighboring properties. Ohio law also cautions against Continue reading

More Beef Exports and Less Imports Supports Beef Markets

– Derrell S. Peel, Oklahoma State University Extension

U.S. beef exports continue the 2016 trend with additional improvement so far in 2017. February total beef exports were up 19.3 percent and combine with the January total for a year to date increase of 20.1 percent year over year for the first two months of the year. This extends the annual 12.6 percent year over year increase in 2016.

Japan remains the top destination for U.S. beef exports, up Continue reading

Establishing New Forage Stands

Mark Sulc, OSU Extension Forage Specialist

This month provides one of the two preferred times to seed perennial cool-season forages. The other preferred timing for cool-season grasses and legumes is in late summer, primarily the month of August here in Ohio. The relative success of spring vs. summer seeding of forages is greatly affected by the prevailing weather conditions, and so growers have success and failures with each option.

Prepare a good seedbed for conventional forage seedings.

Probably the two primary difficulties with spring plantings are Continue reading

Grazing Bites: Questioning Grazing Efficiencies

– Victor Shelton, NRCS State Agronomist/Grazing Specialist

I’m a bit late getting this out this month and it has nothing to do with avoiding April fool’s Day; I’ve actually been under the weather. Amongst other things, that has made me stop and think a little about time, specifically the value of time. When I was young, time seemed endless and even summers seemed long. As we age, we start wondering not only what happened to the month that we are in, but what happened to the last year! There are certainly moments in time that I would give any amount of money to have back; those are high value moments. It is easy to find ourselves trapped in a set of habits or in a redundant pattern that holds us hostage and eats away our time; those are very low value. Every time I find myself doing something with no rhyme or reason. I often ask myself “Why am I doing this?” This is not true about time spent on grazing management.

There are certainly Continue reading

Managing Spring Grass: Going from 0 to 60!

– Dr. Chris D. Teutsch, Associate Extension Professor, Forage Specialist, University of Kentucky

Spring can often be one of the most challenging times of the year for graziers. Grass growth goes from nonexistent to excessive in a matter of weeks and in many cases grazing livestock have a hard time keeping up with it.  This can result in lower quality forage that is less palatable. The growth of new forage is also delayed by not removing the growing point of our cool-season grasses. The presence of the growing point suppresses tiller formation at the base of the grass plant. The following suggestions can Continue reading

Lush Spring Forages and Beef Cow Reproduction

– Ryan Sterry, UW Extension Agent- St. Croix County Agriculture Agent, and recently appeared in the Wisconsin Agriculturist

After a long winter, most of us relish the first few warm and sunny days of spring. For our beef farmers, those first spring days also signal that our pastures will be greening up soon. Making the transition from winter feeding to spring pasture often represents our most economical and labor efficient feeding of the year. While both farmers and their cows may be excited to get on the first grass of the year, recent research shows that easing the transition from stored feeds to pasture can impact the herd’s reproductive performance.

At the 2017 Driftless Beef Conference, Travis Meteer of the University of Illinois-Extension outlined three challenges with lush spring pastures for Continue reading

New OSU Extension Forage Website Launched

Mark Sulc, OSU Extension Forage Specialist

Our new Ohio Forages website has been launched, and can be found at  This is the same url as our old Ohio Forage Network site.

­­We intend for this website to be the go-to place to find all things forage within the Ohio State University Extension system. We are still in the process of Continue reading