Beef AG NEWS Today, the January Podcast; Cow Stress, and Addressing the Nutritional Concerns

In this month’s podcast of Beef AG NEWS Today, show host Duane Rigsby visits with OSU Extension Beef Coordinator John Grimes about the weather related stress cows have been under, and addressing the resulting nutritional concerns. That conversation evolves into a preview of the 2019 Ohio Beef School being hosted in several Ohio counties on February 5.

Winter Application of Manure

Glen Arnold, CCA, OSU Extension Field Specialist, Manure Nutrient Management

During winter, solid manure application should be limited to five tons per acre and liquid manure application amounts to 5,000 gallons per acre.

This past fall was particularly tough on livestock producers and commercial manure applicators trying to land apply livestock manure. Weather conditions were warmer and wetter than normal with the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) station at South Charleston recording 32 days with measurable rainfall totaling 9.91 inches in November and December. In these same two months the OARDC station at Hoytville recorded 24 days with measurable rainfall totaling 6.04 inches. The wet weather prevented many acres of cover crops being planted and has severely limited the number of days that field conditions were dry enough or frozen enough for manure application equipment to operate.

A substantial number of livestock producers across the state will be Continue reading

Calving Seasons of the Mind

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

Winter came early for much of cow-calf country, and now calving season is at the gate. Even those who call it “spring calving” often start in January, but if you’re not out checking a heifer, this is a good time of year to catch up on reading. Calving dates and “housing” options for the herd were explored in a 2019 Nebraska Beef Report article by Terry Klopfenstein and others, who evaluated March, June, or August calving dates on the range, or two July calving systems in year-round confinement or in semi-confinement with grazed corn stalks from fall to April weaning. Even if none of these models fit your operation, the production and cost principles they illustrate can help develop a system that does match your resources.

Confinement for beef cows ranges from enclosed buildings to a more extensive dry-lot model, with greatly varying costs based on capital investments. Confinement in an open dry lot costs less, but if you have to deal with inclement weather, heat, cold, rain or snow, the added shelter may be worth the added investment.

Either of the confinement options could also make sense where expansion on range or pasture is limited by land availability. Confinement models can increase ranch stocking rates by using use forage resources more efficiently, with options for strategic supplementation and preventing overgrazing.

The top concern for any herd management system may be Continue reading

Now is the Time to Reflect, and Plan

Chris Penrose, OSU Extension Educator, Agriculture & Natural Resources, Morgan County

At times I wonder what is worse; a drought like we had in 2012 or 1988, or a wet year like we had this year? As a beef and forage producer, I guess I would rather have a year like this one but it has and still is providing challenges. In 2012, hay and pasture was short but the panic set in when I started to run out of water. We have had plenty of pasture and water this year but making hay was a real challenge. I was able to get some up in May but I still had some first cutting that I did not get in until July.

This is where reflecting and planning can meet. What are the needs of our cattle right now and what type of hay should we feed first? For me, the first hay I fed to my cows was some late cut hay that got rained on. The calves have been weaned and there was still some pasture that could be grazed. Feeding higher quality hay, especially that protected from the elements, can be fed closer to calving.

Do you still have some hay fields that may not have had a last cutting that can be grazed or pastures that still have grass? For many situations, now is a Continue reading

It Is a Matter of Trust

John F. Grimes, OSU Extension Beef Coordinator

Changes on the horizon suggest that simply having the best PRODUCT is no longer enough, merely telling the best STORY is no longer enough, and delivering great CUSTOMER SATISFACTION is no longer enough. We must also elevate consumer TRUST.

Over the past week or so, two of the largest buyers of beef in the U.S. have placed stronger requirements for the beef they will purchase in the future. McDonald’s and Wendy’s have both announced major policies that no doubt have their customers and societal pressures in mind. These policies will surely have an impact on all facets of the beef industry.

McDonald’s has announced that they will be collaborating with suppliers and beef producers to measure and understand the current usage of antibiotics in their top 10 beef sourcing markets. They will establish reduction targets for medically important antibiotics for these markets by the end of 2020. Starting in 2022, McDonald’s will be reporting progress against antibiotic reduction targets across our top 10 beef sourcing markets.

McDonald’s stated overall approach to responsible use of antibiotics focuses on refining Continue reading

Time to Begin the Early Evening Feeding of the Spring-Calving Cows

– Glenn Selk, Oklahoma State University

Each year in December, it is time for a reminder to change the feeding schedule for part, if not all of the spring-calving cow herd.

It is generally accepted that adequate supervision at calving has a significant impact on reducing calf mortality. Adequate supervision has been of increasing importance with the higher price of live calves at sale time. On most ranching operations, supervision of the first calf heifers will be best accomplished in daylight hours and the poorest observation takes place in the middle of the night.

The easiest and most practical method of inhibiting nighttime calving at present is by feeding cows at night; the physiological mechanism is unknown, but some hormonal effect may be involved. Rumen motility studies indicate the frequency of rumen contractions falls a few hours before parturition. Intraruminal pressure begins to fall in the last 2 weeks of gestation, with a more rapid decline during calving. It has been suggested that night feeding causes intraruminal pressures to rise at night and decline in the daytime.

The concept is called the Continue reading

Time to Roll Up the Sleeves

– Dr. Les Anderson, Extension Professor, University of Kentucky

Unfortunately, the beef industry sits in the middle of a downturn in the market. When the market is low and margins get slimmer, pressure is on cattlemen to get more efficient in their production. Efficiency is a word that is thrown around in the beef industry but what does efficient production look like?

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines efficient operation as “effective operation as measured by a comparison of production with costs (as in energy, time, and money)”. Interesting. Unfortunately, in the commercial beef cow-calf industry, we don’t spend enough time discussing or thinking about being an efficient operation.

Efficient beef cow-calf operations control the calving season. Having a short calving season establishes the base for efficient production allowing producers to implement their health, nutrition, and marketing programs more easily. Research from Oklahoma State University and Texas A&M University (Parker et al., 2004) has shown that Continue reading

Managing in Mud

Stan Smith, OSU Extension PA, Fairfield County

Trudging through mud that’s only dew claw deep can reduce animal performance by as much as 7%

As most of Ohio quickly approaches the record for the wettest year in history, cattlemen continue to deal with the ramifications caused when it gets wet in February, stays wet throughout the spring, and summer, and continues wet into winter. The result is more than just a forage quality issue . . . it results in MUD! Whatever happened to the adage, “One extreme follows another.” We’ve certainly got to be due for a stretch of “extremely dry!”

While mud is, at best, an inconvenience when it comes to managing most any aspect of a farm – especially a beef cattle farm – it also can easily evolve into a livestock health and nutrition issue. In an article on Feedlot Mud Management that OSU Extension Specialist Steve Boyles published here a few years ago he suggests that Continue reading

Cause and Effect

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

We sometimes associate cause and effect without knowing the real link, or as an academic buzz phrase has it, “correlation does not equal causation.” A quick search provides a humorous example. Did you know ice cream sales and shark attacks are highly correlated? While true in a broad sense, the actual reason for similar seasonal trends is that hot weather brings greater ice cream consumption as well as more swimming along beaches where sharks lurk.

Examples in the beef production model are many: vaccines’ ability to prevent pinkeye, growth attributed to a change in feed ingredients, treatment success with the most recent antibiotic. Then there’s the supposed link between weaning success and the moon’s position relative to constellations of stars. While I have never seen any data on the relationship between lunar or zodiac signs and calf weaning success, I wonder if another factor comes into play. Those who follow the signs must plan ahead, so this Continue reading

Beef AG NEWS Today, the November Podcast

In this month’s podcast of Beef AG NEWS Today, show host Duane Rigsby visits with OSU Extension Beef Coordinator John Grimes about a variety of herd management tools, tips and their associated costs.