The Benefits of Pregnancy Diagnosis

John F. Grimes, OSU Extension Beef Coordinator

We are entering an exciting time of the year for cow-calf producers.  They have started or soon will be weaning their spring-born calves.  Weaning is an excellent time to prepare the calf crop to become herd replacements or for future marketing opportunities by implementing health programs and transitioning to feed rations.  It is also a great time to determine the pregnancy status of the breeding herd.  Management practices for both these groups can go a long way to determine the ultimate profitability of herd.

The factor that should ultimately sort a female to the keep or cull pen is pregnancy status.  The three primary methods used Continue reading

Won’t Bicarb Keep My Cattle From Bloating?

Stan Smith, PA, OSU Extension, Fairfield County

Two weeks ago in this publication Dr. Francis Fluharty discussed concerns regarding acidosis and classic feedlot bloat in his article Did My Feed Grinder Cause My Cattle to Bloat? One of the many responses from readers came in the form of this simple question:

If feed grade sodium bicarbonate – or bicarb – is the overall standard rumen-buffering supplement for dairy cows, why don’t we include it in beef feedlot rations in an effort to reduce the incidence of acidosis?

Dr. Fluharty’s response: Continue reading

Last Alfalfa Cutting and Risk Management

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

It’s the end of August and some alfalfa growers will need to make a decision if they should take another cutting of alfalfa, and if so, when. The recommendation in the newly revised 15th edition of the Ohio Agronomy Guide is to complete the last regular harvest of alfalfa by September 7 in northern Ohio, September 12 in central Ohio and by September 15 in southern Ohio. At this point, undoubtedly some alfalfa growers are saying that they have taken a last cutting at the end of September or early October without any harm to the stand. True though that be, the fact is that the last or fall harvest of alfalfa is a question of Continue reading

Manage for High Quality Corn Silage

Rory Lewandowski, OSU Extension Educator, Wayne County

Corn silage harvest will have an extended season this year, reflecting the range of corn planting dates. Some of the late April planted corn will soon be ready for chopping. Producing a consistent, high quality corn silage requires planning and management. The goal is to provide an environment conducive to a quick and favorable anaerobic (without air) fermentation process. Characteristics of high quality silage include a pH below 4.5 and a lactic acid content of 65% or greater of the total volatile fatty acids. To accomplish this requires Continue reading

Helping Fall-calving Cows and Heifers During the Calving Process

– Glenn Selk, Oklahoma State University Extension

Fall calving season is (or soon will be) upon ranches that have fall and winter calving. An issue facing the rancher at calving-time, is the amount of time heifers or cows are allowed to be in labor before assistance is given. Traditional text books, fact sheets and magazine articles stated that “Stage II” of labor lasted from 2 to 4 hours. “Stage II” is defined as that portion of the birthing process from the first appearance of the water bag until the baby calf is delivered. Research data from Oklahoma State University and the USDA experiment station at Miles City, Montana clearly show that Stage II is much shorter, lasting Continue reading

Feedlot Profitability Turns Negative

– Josh Maples, Assistant Professor, Department of Agricultural Economics, Mississippi State University

Current and expected fed cattle prices have declined by approximately $10/cwt over the past five weeks. This decline has eroded the projected profitability for feedlots through the rest of 2017. According to K-State’s Kansas Feedlot Net Return series, the projected net return for steers in Kansas feedyards was $136 per head for July closeouts. In fact, each month in 2017 has seen positive returns with some months in the late Spring showing more than $300 per head returns. The projections for the next nine months, however, are negative. August closeouts show Continue reading

Cattle on Feed Lower Than Pre-Reports

– Katelyn McCullock, Economist, American Farm Bureau Federation

On August 1st there were 10.6 million head of cattle on feed, up 4% from the previous year. Cattle placed onto feed saw a noticeable slowing up only 3% from 2016, and the first month without double digit placements since February. Although last February was a leap year leading to one additional calendar day, and resulting in a 1% decline in cattle placed when comparing last year to this year’s Cattle on Feed numbers. Every other month in 2017 placements have been between 11%-16% above a year ago.

As pointed out in last week’s ICM feedlot returns have eroded rather sharply over the last couple of weeks, largely driven by Continue reading

Livestock Manure; an Option for Replenishing Soil Nutrients in Hay Fields

Glen Arnold, OSU Extension Field Specialist; Rory Lewandowski, Eric Richer and Sam Custer, OSU Extension Educators (This article appeared originally in the Early Fall 2017 issue of the Ohio Cattleman)

When hay is harvested nutrients are removed from the field. A ton of alfalfa removes approximately 13 pounds of phosphorus (as P2O5) and 50 pounds of potash (as K2O). According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service, Ohio harvested 2.6 tons per acre of alfalfa in 2016.

Many hay fields are not pure alfalfa. The acidic soils of the southern and eastern parts of the state make it difficult to maintain an alfalfa or clover stand so a mixed stand of grass and alfalfa/clover is common. Stands in older fields are often just mostly grass. A grass hay crop will remove just as many nutrients per ton as an alfalfa crop. The big difference is Continue reading

The Annual Beef and Forage Night, This Thursday

John F. Grimes, OSU Extension Beef Coordinator

Consider this your final invitation to attend the upcoming 2017 Beef and Forage Field Night scheduled for Thursday, August 24, from 5-8:30 P.M.  This event will be held at the Jackson Agricultural Research Station of the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC), 019 Standpipe Rd. Jackson, OH 45640.

The agenda for the program is as follows: Continue reading

“Preg” Check and Cull “Open” Replacement Heifers

– Glenn Selk, Oklahoma State University Extension

Many ranchers choose to breed the replacement heifers about a month ahead of the mature cows in the herd. In addition, they like to use a shortened 30 to 60-day breeding season for the replacement heifers. The next logical step is to determine which of these heifers failed to conceive in their first breeding season. This is more important today than ever before.

The bulls were removed from the replacement heifers about 60 days ago, therefore, this would be an ideal time to Continue reading