Beef AG NEWS: Considerations for Selecting your Next Herd Sire

With calving season in full swing throughout much of Ohio, breeding season is right around the corner. That means bull buying season is here.

In this edition of Beef AG NEWS, show host Duane Rigsby visits with OSU Extension Beef Coordinator John Grimes about herd sire selection considerations including everything from selecting a breeder to work with, to the specifics of actually selecting the bull you ultimately choose to purchase.

Bull Buying Tips

– Dr. Darrh Bullock, Extension Professor, University of Kentucky

We are rapidly approaching bull buying season in Kentucky so there are few basics I would like to share. The genetics in the bull you are buying now will have a huge impact on your herd immediately and could linger for years to come if you keep replacements from him. For this reason it is important to get this decision right.

For commercial cattlemen, the first suggestion is to evaluate your crossbreeding program and make sure you are taking full advantage of heterosis (hybrid vigor). If your cow herd is made up of predominantly one breed then you might consider introducing a second breed and start a rotation system with those breeds. This can improve the productivity of your herd by greater than Continue reading

Time to Step Up Your Game

John F. Grimes, OSU Extension Beef Coordinator (originally published in the Winter issue of The Ohio Cattleman)

Nearly every business is faced with evolving business models due to changing consumer preferences. History provides us plenty of examples of how traditionally accepted products or services can quickly be replaced by a newer or “better” version. Some call this progress while others prefer simpler, more traditional choices.

The beef industry is certainly no stranger to the concept of changing types and preferences. The size and shape of cattle have changed significantly over the years of modern history. The smaller framed British breed cattle prevalent in the 1950’s and 1960’s were forever changed by an influx of Continental breeds staring around the beginning of the 1970’s. This started a trend towards larger framed, growthy, leaner cattle that were very popular through the 1980’s and into the early 1990’s. The past 20-25 years have seen a trend towards Continue reading

Is Your Herd Focused on Meeting Demand?

Stan Smith, OSU Extension PA, Fairfield County (originally published in The Ohio Farmer on-line)

Despite the higher price, consumers want quality, and are willing to pay for it!

To say the least, suggesting it’s been a wild ride on the path to profitability in the cow-calf sector during this decade is an understatement. Beginning in 2009-10 cattlemen saw the most dramatic increase in cattle prices ever. From there prices climbed to the point where we experienced historic highs just four years later. As would be expected, at the same time consumers were experiencing historic high beef prices in the meat case.

What might not have been expected was that while lower overall beef supplies were causing these historically high live cattle and retail meat prices, demand by consumers for premium priced branded beef continued to climb Continue reading

Changes in Carcass Grade Over Time

– Andrew P. Griffith, University Of Tennessee (previously published by Drovers online)

The beef industry, similar to other industries, is constantly attempting to be more efficient and create more value in the product produced. Most cow-calf producers concern themselves with reproductive efficiencies and pounds of weaned calf per acre of land. These two things are important because a cow-calf producer cannot afford to have very many cows fail to wean a calf, and these producers are in the business of selling pounds with a limited quantity of land. Similarly, stocker producers work to reduce morbidity and mortality rates while also trying to pack on as many pounds as possible with their forage and feed resources. Producers from both of these sectors also attempt to add value by instituting management practices that reduce risk to downstream cattle buyers.

The feedlot perspective is very similar to stocker and backgrounding operations with focus on feed efficiency and cattle health, but there is also interest in carcass characteristics. Regardless of the marketing method (cash, formula, grid, etc.), cattle will be priced based on the actual or expected yield grade (YG 1-5) and quality grade (Prime, Choice, Select, etc.).

Quality grade and yield grade are two aspects of beef production that may or may not be considered at the cow-calf and stocker producer levels. There are certainly Continue reading

The Effect of Cow Udder Score on Calf Performance

Steve Boyles, OSU Extension Beef Specialist

Nebraska research shows hot carcass weights were lighter from bad uddered cows.

Scientists at the University of Nebraska (J. Beard, J. Musgrave, R. Funston and J. Mulliniks) used 812 cows and their udder scores to evaluate calf performance. Udders scores were recorded from a 1 (bad) to 5 (good) as reported in the Integrated Resource Management Guide (National Cattlemen’s Beef Association). They then separated the data into 2 groups of Bad Udders (1 and 2 scores) and Good Udders (3 or greater scores). There were 233 cows with Bad Udders and 1,742 cows with Good udders.

There was not a difference in Continue reading

Economic Greats – 93 Percent of Cow’s Weight Harvested

– Kris Ringwall, Beef Specialist, NDSU Extension

As I was reviewing Cow Herd Appraisal Performance Software (CHAPS) records recently, cow Y1002’s record popped up.

Because of the weight of her calves at harvest (93 percent of her weight), she is one of the economic greats of the Dickinson Research Extension Center’s herd.

Y1002’s dam is half-Red Angus and half-Angus, and Y1002 was sired by an Aberdeen bull called Cadet Quartermaster. I would call Y1002 a frame score 3, 1,100-pound cow. Her weight has averaged 1,069 in the fall, but as she ages, she will put on some weight.

Y1002 has weaned a calf every year. Her 2015 calf (C5132), born on a late spring day, May 26, comes to mind as Continue reading

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

Beef AGRI NEWS Today, the May Podcast

In this month’s podcast of Beef AGRI NEWS Today, show host Duane Rigsby visits with OSU Extension Beef Coordinator John Grimes about breeding season and the multitude of management considerations that come into play this time of year. (FYI, there’s likely an audio glitch that begins about 5 minutes into the podcast. Slide past it and the audio resumes properly for the balance of the recording.)

What Are Your Priorities?

John F. Grimes, OSU Extension Beef Coordinator

Calving season is underway to some degree for many producers. If you have not started your calving season, you likely will soon. Calving time is an exciting period for producers as they are seeing the results of their genetic choices and management decisions coming to reality. Warmer weather and green pastures will develop in the coming weeks. The calf crop will grow and develop quickly through the spring and summer months. While this is taking place, the producer will set the 2019 calf crop motion with the onset of the breeding season.

Before the start of this breeding season, I would encourage producers to critically evaluate the production goals for your herd. Do the type of cattle that you produce adequately target your chosen market? If you sell your calves as feeder calves in the fall, your goal should be to sell as many healthy feeder calves with excellent weaning weights as possible. If you retain ownership after weaning and finish your calves to harvest weights, your priorities will Continue reading