Poison Hemlock: Time to Take Action!


Stan Smith, PA, OSU Extension, Fairfield County

Poison hemlock plants in Seneca County, Ohio in January of 2017

As we’ve discussed a couple of times in the past, poison hemlock is a biennial member of the carrot family that can be fatal to livestock if ingested in sufficient quantities. That said, while much of the poison hemlock we’re seeing today has been alive but dormant much of the winter, those plants are now in the early stages of bolting across much of Ohio, and also positioned nicely to be controlled at this time.

While the taste of poison hemlock leaves to livestock is unpleasant and toxic quantities are seldom consumed, if grazing animals are turned out in early spring onto pastures with less than adequate forage, the risk Continue reading

Castration; Earlier is Better

– Justin Sexten, Ph.D.  Director, Supply Development Certified Angus Beef (reprinted with permission)

Everybody knows bull calves sell at least $5/cwt back of steers at weaning, and the discount grows for any still intact as yearlings. That’s because virtually all of them are bound for the feedyard, where steers are the rule. The only question revolves around when the bulls become steers.

Castration at weaning means one more stress at a stressful time and mandates a Continue reading

Understanding the BVD Virus

– Michelle Arnold, DVM (Ruminant Extension Veterinarian, UKVDL)

Concern is mounting in KY regarding the identification and subsequent movement of cattle persistently infected with the Bovine Viral Diarrhea virus (or “BVD-PI” animals) into livestock sales. The BVD virus is known to cause severe immunosuppression and also works synergistically with other viruses to make them more deadly, resulting in substantial respiratory disease and death loss in the stocker/backgrounder industry. What is largely unrecognized is the effect of a BVD-PI calf on the cow/calf operation where it was born or raised. Infection can cause Continue reading

The 3 Stages of Parturition

– Glenn Selk, Oklahoma State University Emeritus Extension Animal Scientist

As the spring calving season approaches, an increased understanding of the parturition process is helpful. The more we understand about the physiology of the process, the more likely we are to make sound decisions about providing assistance. Parturition or “calving” is generally considered to occur in three stages.

Stage 1: The first stage of parturition is dilation of the cervix. The normal cervix is tightly closed right up until the cervical plug is completely dissolved. In stage 1, cervical dilation begins Continue reading

Beware of Johne’s Disease

– Michelle Arnold, DVM (Ruminant Extension Veterinarian, UKVDL)

Johne’s  (pronounced Yo-knees) Disease is a chronic disease of severe, watery diarrhea and weight loss in adult cattle caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis, commonly referred to as “MAP”. These bacteria are very hardy due to a protective cell wall that can withstand harsh conditions and allows survival for long periods in the environment. Once MAP gains entry into an animal, the organism Continue reading

Starting Calves on Amaferm Improves Performance in Transitioning Feedlot Diets

Alejandro Relling, Ph.D., Department of Animal Sciences, The Ohio State University (this article first appeared 12/14/16 in Ohio Farmer on-line, and will appear in the February 2017 issue of The Ohio Farmer magazine)

Weaning is a normal process in beef production, where the newly weaned calf is denied both its dam’s milk and social contact with her and other adults (Stookey et al., 1997).  Newly weaned calves are subjected to a numerous nutritional, behavioral, and immunological stressors immediately prior to and during the weaning, marketing, and transportation process, as well as upon arrival at the feedlot or backgrounding facility.  The result is a period of prolonged Continue reading

“Scours” Vaccine – Give it Now for Protection in the Spring

– Michelle Arnold, DVM (Ruminant Extension Veterinarian, UKVDL)

A scours outbreak in baby calves on a cow/calf operation can be a nightmare in real life. Ask any producer who has been through this ordeal and he/she will tell you it made them want to quit the cattle business. Once the outbreak begins, it spreads quickly throughout all of the youngest calves. Bacteria, viruses and parasites can attack the lining of the calf’s intestine and cause diarrhea and dehydration. Without a healthy gut lining, essential nutrients are not absorbed from milk which leads to weakness and weight loss. During a scours outbreak, each day begins with Continue reading

Deciding Who to Cull

– Michelle Arnold, DVM, Ruminant Extension Veterinarian, UKVD

Which cows in your herd are making you money and who is losing you money? Every year, the cow-calf producer needs to critically evaluate each animal in the herd and decide if she is paying her upkeep. Open cows (those that are not pregnant) at the end of breeding season obviously are the top of the cull list. With variable costs running $400-$500 per year per head and an additional $100-$300 in fixed costs, keeping open cows is a financial black hole. Beyond pregnancy status, what other variables are Continue reading

Five Tips to Prevent Acidosis and Its Costs

– Justin O’Flaherty, Rock River Laboratory nutrition analytic consultant

We’ve all seen it: that one steer standing in the dry lot looking miserable, staring into nothingness with its head down like his favorite football team just lost a national championship. A football disappointment would be a less costly diagnosis, but this case is likely acidosis.

Acidosis is the most commonly seen nutritional disorder on cattle operations. However, it can be prevented fairly easily with Continue reading

Corn Ear Rots

Rory Lewandowski, OSU Extension Educator, Wayne County

As corn harvest continues across our area, I have received a few questions about corn ear rots and mycotoxins.  Across the state, particularly from the central part and west there have been lots of reports of diplodia ear rot.  In recent weeks, Pierce Paul, OSU Extension Corn and Wheat Extension Pathologist has received corn samples with Trichoderma, Fusarium and Continue reading