Ohio State Fair; a place to get “meals served by the Ohio farmers who grow it!”

Stan Smith, Fairfield County PA, OSU Extension

The Taste of Ohio Cafe’ offers the opportunity for consumers to meet the farmers that grow their food.

The free market system will ultimately have a significant voice in how our farm animals are managed . . . the bottom line is that our clientele wants to know more about the food we are producing.

Those words were shared in this publication eight years ago by John Grimes as he discussed the 2010 agreement that initiated the creation of the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board. Little has changed today in that regard, and little is expected to change anytime soon. With the majority of our consuming public two, three, or even four generations removed from the farm, whether we like it or not, public concern for how our food is produced, by whom, and the sustainability of methods we use is the Continue reading

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Our Best Winter Forage May be Stockpiled Fescue

Chris Penrose, OSU Extension Educator, Agriculture & Natural Resources, Morgan County (originally published in the Summer issue of the Ohio Cattleman)

As I drove around Morgan County in late June and even on my farm, there was still a lot of hay to make. Stems and seed heads on orchardgrass and fescue had turned brown and the quality was poor. We still have a great and inexpensive option for quality forages this fall and winter, and without much effort or cost: stockpiling pastures and even hayfields for grazing.

Stockpile beginning sometime during the next month can result in some of our highest quality and most affordable winter feed.

After feeding corn stalks, probably the lowest cost way to feed cattle in the fall and winter is to stockpile forages. Stockpiling means to make the last harvest by clipping or grazing of a hay field or pasture and then let it grow for grazing latter; in this situation, in the fall or winter. While most predominantly cool season grass based fields will work, fescue works the best as it maintains quality into and throughout the winter better. Many studies have demonstrated that one way to improve the quality and yield is to Continue reading

Beef AGRI NEWS Today, the July Podcast

In this month’s podcast of Beef AGRI NEWS Today, show host Duane Rigsby visits with OSU Extension Beef Coordinator John Grimes about the winding down of breeding season, pregnancy checking, culling considerations, and late summer forage and hay management options.

A Blast from the Past, Genetic Decisions, Yellow Fat and Niche Markets

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

It was 1974 and I had just started my career as a beef cattle researcher for Mississippi State University. I was part of projects on grazing systems and crossbreeding but was also starting a new project on finishing cattle in south Mississippi. We were in the process of building a research feedlot but I needed to get something going right away. Fortunately, at that time, finishing cattle on grass was receiving a lot of attention in the southern region. Since I had ryegrass and cattle, one of my first trials was “Finishing Steers on Ryegrass-clover Pastures with Supplemental Grain”. Some of the things that we learned then are still relevant 42 years later.

Steers were grazed for 150 days during the winter and received either (1) no grain, (2) one percent bodyweight (BW) of cracked corn throughout, or (3) cracked corn the last 64 days. Dr. Neil Bradley (UK) always said that it takes Continue reading

Kentucky Beef Cattle Market Update

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

I always like to see the fed cattle market put in its summer lows and there are some indications that this has already happened for 2018. August CME© Fed Cattle Futures have rallied from late May and deferred futures are trading at a premium to August. Kentucky feeder cattle markets were relatively flat from May to June. Heavy feeder prices in Kentucky were basically unchanged over the last two months, but it was very encouraging that they held the ground they gained after April (see figure 1).

Calf prices decreased slightly, but that is very much in line with seasonal expectations. A quick visual comparison of Continue reading

The Markets: 2018 to Date

– Brenda Boetel, Professor, Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Wisconsin-River Falls

Steer and heifer slaughter levels for the year to date have been slightly lower than forecasted, but up almost 2.3% over 2017. Slaughter will continue to have year-over-year increases but the year-over-year increases will be smaller. September slaughter will likely be smaller than July. Live weights are up on average for 2018 almost 6 pounds. Beef production was previously anticipated to be up approximately 3.7% but the year-to-date increase will be closer to 4%. First quarter beef production was up 2.6% from 2017, whereas second quarter beef production was up just over 5%.

Cash market prices topped out for the year in February when the weekly 5-market average was $129.75 per cwt. (live basis) and prices eroded only to rebound slightly in May to $124.81. By the last week of June the price had fallen to $106.87 per cwt. In the half of this year, the 5-market price was 8.3% below 2017’s. The first quarter of 2018 saw prices that were 2.8% above 2017, but April-June prices have been 12% below the same 2017 time period. Given the expected increase in beef production, prices were anticipated to be Continue reading

You Finally Got the Hay Made, How Good is It?

Mark Landefeld, ANR Educator, Monroe County

“You gotta make hay while the sun shines”. How many times have you heard that said throughout the years? We’ve had some sunshine this spring/summer, but making first cutting “dry” hay has really been challenging for most farmers this year. Getting two or more days in a row without rain has been rare in the spring of 2018.

Making timely first cutting dry hay in Ohio always has challenges with weather it seems, but this year it definitely has been more than usual. Extremely good, high quality hay is made from young leafy forage at boot stage, not fully mature long brown stems with dried up seed heads like we have been seeing everywhere now in July. The combination of maximum yield and highly digestible dry matter is usually obtained at the late boot, to early head stage of maturity for grasses and in the mid-to-late bud stage of maturity for our legumes. Forages that can be harvested at that time, most often meet nutrient requirements of beef cattle, but accomplishing that this year has really been the exception, not the rule for most producers.

Beef cows do not require the same level of nutrition dairy cows need to maximize production. However, this year is going to be challenging to have enough nutrients in most beef producers first cutting hay to maintain the cow’s minimum requirements without Continue reading

Heat Stress in Feedlot Cattle

Steve Boyles, OSU Extension Beef Specialist (This article derived from: Kevin F. Sullivan and Terry L. Mader. June 2018. Managing heat stress episodes in confined cattle. Vet Clin Food Anim 34: 325–339 https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0749072018300161)

Feedlot cattle consuming large amounts of feed and gaining rapidly generate significant amounts of metabolic heat begin to challenge and animals ability to handle heat stress. An animal can endure high ambient temperatures if heat gain during the daytime hours is balanced with heat loss during the nighttime hours. If nighttime ambient temperatures remain high, especially if the relative humidity is also high, there is no time for recovery.

Assessing Heat Stress in Feedlot Cattle

The ability to predict a heat stress event allows for preparation and mitigation of the effects on animal well-being and animal performance. Temperature-Humidity Indexes have been used for more than 40 years to assess heat stress in cattle. There are also Heat Load Indexes for cattle. Such indexes exits in Continue reading

Water; Vital to Beating Summer Heat

– Aerica Bjurstrom, UW-Extension Kewaunee County

Water is the most important nutrient an animal requires and consumes daily. Depending on weight, production stage, and environmental temperature, cattle require varying amounts of water. A University of Georgia publication suggests for cattle in 90 °F temperatures, a growing animal or a lactating cow needs two gallons of water per 100 pounds of body weight. A nonlactating cow or bull needs one gallon of water per 100 pounds of body weight. Using these figures, a single cow/calf pair can require roughly 25 to 40 gallons of water daily. A nursing calf with have a portion of its daily water needs from its dam’s milk. Providing multiple water sources or tanks in the pasture will increase consumption and decrease competition and fighting at the water tank.

Water quality is just as important as water volume intake. Compromised quality can reduce water intake, which can lead to illness and metabolic issues. Testing water for salinity, nitrates, and sulfates is recommended. Cattle prefer water that contains small amounts of salt, however, water that contains high amounts of total dissolved salts (TDS) can result in reduced performance. Guidelines suggest that water containing Continue reading

Adequate Vegetative Cover Vital for Efficient Moisture Utilization

– Victor Shelton, NRCS State Agronomist/Grazing Specialist

This paddock may look messy, but what looks like a weed is actually a fantastic, highly nutritious native legume, tick foil (Desmodium).

I certainly didn’t expect the blessed amount of rain that has fallen on most of Indiana in the last month. In some areas, the amount could be considered more of a curse than blessing, especially on cropland. It certainly has made making dry hay a challenge. I am still happy to have the moisture.

My pasture was getting fairly dry before the rains started; dry enough that growth was slowing down. I had already slowed down the speed of the livestock to allow a little extra rest and now I have picked up momentium again. I’m delighted to see good regrowth of forage in paddocks not far behind where livestock had just been.

With more vegetation now and new growth still coming, it is not hard to maintain excellent cover and let the livestock take the Continue reading