Options for Improving Damaged Pastures

Rory Lewandowski, OSU Extension Educator, Wayne County and Stan Smith, OSU Extension PA, Fairfield County

As trampled and pocked up winter feeding areas begin to dry out, consider all the alternatives that will allow these beat up paddocks to recover and become productive again.

Ohio’s roads and highways aren’t the only things that have suffered from a winter that’s alternated between sub-freezing temperatures, and abundant rainfall on top of saturated surfaces. As spring quickly approaches, pastures and paddocks that have served as cattle feeding areas this winter are a sea of pocked up mud. While road crews are out repairing damaged roads by tamping cold patch into the pot holes, it’s simply not that easy to repair soils that are expected to breathe life into growing plants during the coming months.

That said, a key decision many are facing regards whether or not Continue reading

Managing Mud

– Victor Shelton, NRCS State Agronomist/Grazing Specialist

Mud . . . not good for man or beast.

It wasn’t too long ago that you were hearing that some parts of the state were actually still in drought status. I believe it is safe to say, without even looking it up, that that is no longer a problem. Instead, completely thawed and very soggy ground is prevalent.

It’s been a few years since I’ve seen this wet of an early spring. In fact, maybe about twenty years. We are quite often still blessed with some free “concrete” this time of year. As much as I like the warmer days right now, I probably wouldn’t turn down some frozen ground to reduce mud and the impact of very saturated ground. One guy told me that if it were just a hair warmer, he might go barefoot since he was tired of getting his boots stuck in the mud.

If you are not prepared for such wet weather, then it can be quite frustrating. Mud is certainly worse around feeding, watering, and other concentrated areas. One of the best solutions for these concentrated areas is to Continue reading

Expect to Hang Two-thirds of the Cow’s Weight on the Rail

– Kris Ringwall, Beef Specialist, NDSU Extension Service

I enjoy pondering over numbers collected from the Dickinson Research Extension Center beef herds.

One number I ponder over, for example, is cow size and how it relates to carcass size. Just like the industry, the discussion of cow size is complex, and pondering includes searching for ways or numbers that help me understand and ultimately explain the impact of cow size within the industry.

Ultimately, the producer decides what gate to open and what bull to buy, and entwines all the pieces into a cow-calf operation.

We do know that carcass size is very relevant because it is a driver of income. Recently, the center dispersed two cow herds due to the lack of feed. The long-term essence of these two herds was a targeted 300-pound difference in the Continue reading

Ohio Beef Expo Kicks Off March 16

Don’t miss Ohio’s premier beef cattle event, March 16-18!

The Ohio Beef Expo, the premier event of Ohio’s beef industry, will take place March 16-18 at the Ohio Expo Center in Columbus, Ohio. This annual event, coordinated by the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA), includes a kickoff social; breed sales, shows and displays; an educational seminar; a three-day trade show and a highly competitive junior show.

OCA members and Expo exhibitors are invited to attend The Social, sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim, on Continue reading

Tariffs and Beef Trade

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

Wherever you get your news, you likely couldn’t avoid hearing a particular T word last week: tariffs. On the heels of the announcement that the U.S. will impose a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports, many prognosticators were taking sides on the impact the tariffs would have on businesses and consumers. Don’t worry, this article is not about metals and I’m no forecaster of those industries. However, tariffs are something that those in the beef industry have been talking about for a long time. Also released last week were the latest monthly U.S. beef trade data that show continued impressive growth of U.S. beef exports. So while we have a tariff example fresh in the news and a report of strong beef exports, perhaps it’s a good time to touch on Continue reading

USDA’s Outlook Forum Gives a Preview of What Lies Ahead for the Cattle Industry

– Brian R. Williams, Assistant Extension Professor, Department of Agricultural Economics, Mississippi State University

The United States Department of Agriculture held its annual Agricultural Outlook Forum a couple of weeks ago in which many topics relevant to the agricultural industry were discussed at length. Topics of discussion ranged from trade to regulation and from policy to rural development. But the one topic that is always a mainstay at the annual forum are the market outlooks for most of our major commodities. The outlooks at the forum include information regarding the current supply and demand situation as well as projections for the current production year and a discussion of the factors that are the driving forces behind those projections.

The most important aspect on the supply side of the cattle industry comes back to the Continue reading

Understanding Customer Relations in a Changing Beef Industry

Garth Ruff, Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension Educator, OSU Henry County Extension (originally published in the Ohio Farmer on-line)

The customer is always right.” If they want to purchase cattle only from feeders with a BQA certification, then to access their market that’s what we’ll need to do.

Things are at a high pace in Ohio’s Extension offices as we move towards spring with not only agriculture programming but 4-H as well. One of the programs that combines both the agriculture and youth is Quality Assurance, a program required for youth in order to exhibit livestock projects at the various fair and expositions across the state. The youth QA program began twenty some years ago in Ohio as the result of some food safety concerns regarding exhibition livestock.

Introduced in 1989, Continue reading

Do Some Selection Tools Result in Unintended Consequences?

– Justin Sexten, Ph.D., Director, CAB Supply Development

You hear more about mature cow size and growth potential of calves, now that profit ebbs and flows with the cycle. We’ve written about mature size, but not much about how to use the relevant tools to change it. So now, let’s examine the strategies and tools available, and the unintended consequences of ignoring them.

Commercial breeders can draw on more selection tools than ever before to improve the next generation of cows to match the market and ranch environments. Genomic testing can identify sires in multi-bull pastures while indexing heifer genetic potential and sorting outliers for adaptability and docility. You could start with Continue reading

Finding the Right Cow Size is Not Simple

– Kris Ringwall, Beef Specialist, NDSU Extension Service

The beef industry has tremendous potential for growth within individual cattle.

But just because we can, does that mean we should?

Sound cattle management focuses on maintaining growth and efficiency and, in many operations, pushing for improvement. The fear of paths that may take an alternative route is real. Like life, management of alternatives with only a partial knowledge of the outcome amplifies concerns.

Without question, the incorporation of alternative management programs is Continue reading

A Cheap Bull May Be Just That

– Andrew P. Griffith, University of Tennessee

There have been several discussions recently concerning bull sales and expected progeny differences (EPDs) which is probably a factor of the impending breeding season. The discussions have ranged in topic and have included the timing of a bull sale, saturation of the bull market, bulls that should be steers, and matching EPDs to a herd of cattle or individual cattle to get the best end product from the dam. This is a wide range of topics, but they are all related to understanding the herd sire market and the intended market of the sire’s offspring.

Producers must first know and understand the Continue reading