Safety is Key for Young Farm Workers

Emily Buxton Adams, OSU Extension Educator, Coshocton County (This article appeared on May 7, 2017 in the Coshocton Tribune)

It won’t be long until hay season will be upon us. For some farms that means more labor than usual is required to get all the jobs done. That labor may include your own children or grandchildren. Today we’ll take a look at what the law allows and also consider what types of jobs kids are capable of handling from a developmental standpoint.

One great reference to guide these considerations are Continue reading

Implanting the Suckling Calf

While castrating and tagging young calves, consider using calfhood implants as a management strategy to maximize returns. Photo courtesy of Mitzi Goodman.

– Erin Laborie, Nebraska Extension Educator

The use of growth implants has shown to be an effective tool in increasing production from the ranch to the feedlot. Implants cause a delay in fat deposition and an increase in lean tissue accretion while ultimately changing frame size. These growth promotants have been reported to increase gains of suckling calves by four to six percent (Griffin and Mader, 1997). This can result in an additional 15 to 30 pounds of weaning weight, which equates to approximately $20 to $40 in returns per head. With the cost of a calfhood implant (Ralgro®, Synovex® C, Component® E-C) being Continue reading

Consider the Consequences of Bad Behavior

– Dr. Justin Rhinehart, Assistant Professor, UT Beef Cattle Extension Specialist

Temperament of cattle has long been recognized to influence production efficiency by having an impact on cattle handling and performance. More recently, scientists have suggested that flighty behavior of individual cattle can also affect the performance of the entire group. So, letting just one flighty calf slip past the sort could decrease the performance of the entire group. For humans, temperament is defined as the way a person thinks, behaves or reacts. For cattle, a good definition for temperament is the intensity of their “fight or flight” instinct.

Some of the performance measures that are impacted by temperament are health, feed efficiency, weight gain, dressing percentage and Continue reading

Cow Disposition Affects Pregnancy Rate

– Glenn Selk, Oklahoma State University Extension

Now we have another good excuse to cull cows due to bad temperament. Producers that routinely breed cows artificially realize that cows that are unruly and nervous are less likely to conceive to artificial insemination.

Presumably the lowered conception rates were because they have been stressed as they are passed through the working facilities and restrained while being synchronized and inseminated. Now it seems that, even in the serenity of a natural breeding pasture, cows with bad dispositions are less likely to conceive Continue reading

A Breeding Soundness Exam: Insurance for Your Breeding Season

– Dr. Les Anderson, Beef Extension Specialist, University of Kentucky

I received the call on Monday. I seem to receive this call 6-8 times each year. This particular rancher had just finished getting his cows diagnosed for pregnancy. He had 43 fall calving cows. Last fall, these cows were synchronized for artificial insemination and were exposed to one bull for about 5 weeks and a second bull for 7 weeks. Only 22 cows conceived and all of them conceived to the AI. The first question I asked this rancher was the obvious one; did you get a breeding soundness exam (BSE) performed on your bulls? His response; the bulls Continue reading

The Lowly Dung Beetle Plays an Important Role on Livestock Farms

– Sjoerd Willem Duiker, Associate Professor of Soil Management and Applied Soil Physics, Penn State University

In my interactions with livestock graziers I learned about beetles that you can find in the manure patties. Recently I found some on a farm in Leola, Lancaster County and on a farm in Forest County. They just started activities on the northern farm. These lowly animals prove to be a lot more important than you’d think – and our livestock and pasture management affects how well they Continue reading

Effective Management of the Breeding Season

John F. Grimes, OSU Extension Beef Coordinator

For spring-calving beef herds, the breeding season is currently or soon will be underway.  Many decisions have already been made in terms of the genetic makeup of the 2018 calf crop.  Natural herd sires or sires to be used through artificial insemination have been selected.  Mature cows have been retained and replacement heifers have been introduced to the breeding herd.  Hopefully the genetic decisions that have been made will prove profitable when next year’s calf crop is sold.

Nearly every beef specialist or researcher that I am familiar with will tell the cow-calf producer that reproduction is the Continue reading

The Goal is $1,000 Per Cow Exposed, Including Market Beef

– Kris Ringwall, Beef Specialist, NDSU Extension Service

Pondering and goals are good.

At the Dickinson Research Extension Center, a goal of $1,000 of income from every cow exposed was set. This income goal includes the calf and the market beef that a cow herd generates. If a cow does not sell a calf valued at more than $1,000, the cow or heifer is sold with the same expectation of $1,000 or more generated as market beef.

But in reality, earned dollars pay the bills and bring into question if the center’s goal is realistic. The center budgets are prepared, reviewed, implemented, reviewed, modified and implemented again because income and expenses drive the cattle discussions.

The center has driven down expenses by changing long-standing management options and replacing them with Continue reading

Baleage Mistakes Can Lead to Major Health Consequences

– Michelle Arnold, DVM (Ruminant Extension Veterinarian, UKVDL), Dr. Ray Smith, Livestock Forage Extension Specialist, and Krista Lea –UK Dept of Plant and Soil Sciences

Baleage or “wet wrapped hay” is simply forage of a relatively high moisture content that is baled with a round baler and then sealed in a plastic bag or wrapped in plastic, to keep oxygen out. Anaerobic bacteria (those that live without air) convert sugars in the forage to lactic acid which in turn lowers the pH and preserves the forage as silage, with full fermentation completed within 6-8 weeks. Round bale silage (“baleage”) is an alternative to baling dry hay that allows shorter curing time and saves valuable nutrients by avoiding rain damage, harvest delays, spontaneous heating and weathering if stored outdoors. Grasses, legumes and small grains can be effectively preserved by this method but only if proper techniques are followed. Forages should be cut at early maturity with high sugar content, allowed to wilt to a 40-60% moisture range, then tightly baled and quickly wrapped in plastic to undergo fermentation (“ensiling” or “pickling”), a process that should drop the pH of the feed below 4.5 where spoilage organisms will not grow. Problems arise when Continue reading

Now Is Not The Time To Relax

John F. Grimes, OSU Extension Beef Coordinator

April is an exciting time of the year for cow-calf producers.  The 2017 calf crop is taking shape and breeding season is currently or soon will be underway.  We have begun to emerge from the doldrums of winter to the warmth and new growth of spring.  The drudgery of feeding hay to the herd is coming to an end as pastures begin their early spring flush of growth.  It is certainly a great feeling to see cow-calf pairs turned out to fresh pastures for the first grazing of the season.


However, this is not necessarily a Continue reading