Bread, Milk, and Forages!

Allen M. Gahler, OSU Extension Educator, AgNR, Sandusky County (originally published in Ohio Farmer on-line)

Well, winter has come and gone, and despite the many scares that mother nature provided, and the warnings well ahead of time that the local weather reports around the state gave with each storm that approached, many of us chose not to rush out to the store to get bread and milk prior to the storm. And miraculously, we survived! Hopefully, all of your livestock survived all the cold snaps and snow storms as well. And if they did, you likely have yourself to thank for proper planning and nutrition that was provided for them.

So now that we are moving into the growing season and will soon be, or maybe already are, grazing in some areas, all of those concerns about what to feed our livestock and when are over until next winter approaches, right?!

Progressive beef, dairy, goat, and sheep producers are constantly searching for the most Continue reading

Beef AGRI NEWS Today, the April Podcast

In this month’s podcast of Beef AGRI NEWS Today, show host Duane Rigsby visits with OSU Extension Beef Coordinator John Grimes and about trade wars that include agriculture, transitioning from winter to spring, and preparations for spring planting.

Remember the Economic Basics in the Midst of Trade Turbulence

– Derrell Peel, Oklahoma State University Extension Livestock Marketing Specialist

U.S. agricultural trade is being threatened by a storm of policy challenges and political rhetoric. As the political discussions continue, it’s important to not lose sight of the basic economic principles that are the foundation for all trade. Trade between two economic agents adds value to both and is the basis for nearly all economic growth. These gains from trade are the result of specialization where market participants capitalize on their comparative advantage in some activity.

Comparative advantage allows all parties in a market to produce at their lowest opportunity cost thereby using scarce resources most efficiently. For example, it might be possible for Continue reading

Ohio Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) Frequently Asked Questions

Garth Ruff, ANR Extension Educator, OSU Henry County Extension

Q: What is BQA?
A: Beef Quality Assurance is a nationally coordinated, state implemented program that provides systematic information to U.S. beef producers and beef consumers of how common sense husbandry techniques can be coupled with accepted scientific knowledge to raise cattle under optimum management and environmental conditions.

Q: I’ve Never Been BQA Certified, Why do it Now?
A: By 2019 Wendy’s has committed to sourcing beef from only BQA Certified producers and Tyson has pledged to follow suit, also by January 1, 2019. We expect other retailers and packers will do the same. Being BQA Certified will be a producer’s ticket to market access, much like the pork industry.

Q: Who Needs to be BQA Certified?
A: Anyone selling beef animals to be harvested for meat. This includes producers of fed beef, dairy beef, cull cows and bulls including dairy cull cows. Continue reading

Cow-Calf Profitability Expectations for Spring 2018 (Fall Calving Herd)

– Dr. Kenny Burdine and Dr. Greg Halich, University of Kentucky Agricultural Economists

Spring is the time of year when fall calving cow-calf operations wean their fall-born calves and summer stocker operators place calves into summer grazing programs. The purpose of this article will be to examine the profitability of cow-calf operations that have recently sold, or will soon sell, their fall born calves. A very similar article was written last year that took this same basic approach and overall profitability is very similar to where it was at that time.

Table 1 summarizes estimated spring 2018 costs and returns to a traditional fall-calving cow-calf operation. Every operation is different, so producers should Continue reading

A Need for Some Spring Optimism

– Stephen R. Koontz, Colorado State University

For the past three weeks the cattle markets have shown that they are not immune from concerns over trade disputes and the general volatility that has taken over in the equity markets. Cattle markets moved down sharply but possibly have turned a short-term corner higher.

It is unlikely that trade issues are responsible for the dramatic market softening in March. Rather, many of the underlying fundamentals are different between this year and this time in 2017. And different such that lower prices are to be expected. Most notable are the substantial Continue reading

Mud Control is Grazing Management

Rory Lewandowski, OSU Extension Educator, Wayne County (originally published in Farm and Dairy)

An unseasonably warm February led to mud management issues for many pasture-based livestock operations. Spring typically leads to our April showers and the “traditional” time of managing around mud. We just arrived in mud season a little earlier.

All this mud is an undesirable condition, from an animal performance, resource management and environmental perspective.

Graziers need to have a mud control plan as part of a comprehensive grazing management system.

Within a grazing system, mud does not just happen. Wet soils combined with livestock create mud.

How quickly mud is created depends upon the Continue reading

It’s Better to Feed More Hay, than Graze Too Soon!

– Victor Shelton, NRCS State Agronomist/Grazing Specialist

Nobody is short of moisture. I look forward to just having firm footing again. When you can’t walk across the yard without splashing water up on you, it’s wet.

A little bit of residual left from last year is a good thing!

The livestock are also getting tired of the wet conditions and continuous showers. I’ve had several calls from people looking for hay. This is a really bad time to be running out. The latest call was someone who had just fed their last bales and did not want to turn out on pasture yet until they had enough forage growth. That is exactly what I like to hear. If you turn out too early, the grass never gets much of a chance to get good leaf cover. Grazing too early in the spring does nothing but remove that solar panel the plants need to start building sugar and growing new roots. The forages really need to be able to canopy and get a good start before animals begin removing the top growth otherwise production will be reduced.

It is still better to find and feed poor hay and supplement it to meet nutritional needs than to Continue reading

Optimizing Efficiency with Estrous Synchronization and Sexed Semen

– Dr. Les Anderson, University of Kentucky

The easiest road to maximum breeding efficiency in the beef cow-calf industry is through estrous synchronization and AI (ESAI). Estrous synchronization helps shorten the calving season, increases herd pregnancy rates, and helps increase calf uniformity and weight (calves are typically older).

Use of ESAI can improve productivity and revenue. Recent research from Dr. Cliff Lamb examined the short-term economic impact of a breeding system that included FTAI + natural service or just natural service in about 1,200 females on 8 different farms (Table 1).[1] The breeding seasons began and ended on the same day in both groups on all farms. A partial budget was used to compare the positive economic impact (added revenue, reduced costs) with the negative Continue reading

A Long, Difficult Delivery of a Calf Will Affect Rebreeding of the Cow

– Glenn Selk, Oklahoma State University

In addition to being the greatest cause of baby calf mortality, calving difficulty markedly reduces reproductive performance during the next breeding season. Cattle suffering from calving difficulty have been reported (Brinks, et al. 1973) to have pregnancy rates decreased by 14% and those that did become pregnant to calve 13 days later at the next calving. Results from a Montana study (Doornbos, et al., 1984) showed that heifers receiving assistance in early stage 2 of parturition returned to heat earlier in the post-calving period and had higher pregnancy rates than heifers receiving traditionally accepted obstetric assistance. In this study, heifers were either Continue reading