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.

Feedlot Management Mistakes that Can be Prevented

Regardless if you’re a “beginner” or an experienced cattle feeder, this recent one hour presentation by Dr. Francis Fluharty provides a comprehensive and fast moving overview of the basics of feedlot management. Many of you will remember Dr. Fluharty as the recently retired Research Professor in the OSU Department of animal Sciences, and currently the Head of the Department of Animal and Dairy Science at the University of Georgia.

Feeding Raw Whole Soybeans to Beef Cattle

– Ruth Correll, UT Extension-TSU Cooperative Extension Agent, Wilson County

Soybean harvest in Wilson County was hit and miss this fall. Rainy weather prevented timely harvest. Some beans remain in the field and may not make the grade at grain elevators when harvested.

This leaves the dilemma of what to do with these beans to try and recover some of the costs of production. There is potential for feeding these beans to beef cattle but certain precautions should be followed.

Whole soybeans are usually processed by cooking. Unprocessed soybeans have several enzymes that can make them potentially a risk. Whole raw soybeans should never be fed to monogastrics such as horses and swine or young calves less than 300 pounds.

One of the risks is raw soybeans contain Continue reading

Moldy Feed and the Potential Effects on Cattle

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

Record-setting rainfall in 2018 has resulted in moldy hay and feed throughout the Commonwealth. Many questions regarding the safety of these feedstuffs and how to test them have come to the UK Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (UKVDL) as producers begin to feed these moldy products. While mycotoxins (mold poisons) are the main concern, molds themselves can adversely affect health and productivity of cattle. Ingestion of moldy feed or hay can potentially cause mycotic (fungal) abortion, respiratory effects, decreased feed consumption and rate of gain, and digestive problems. Additionally, molds can have effects on humans that handle the moldy feed. A wide variety of mycotoxins, not all of which can be tested for, can be produced in moldy feeds and hay under the right conditions, and ingestion of sufficient amounts of various mycotoxins can result in a large array of clinical effects. Testing is recommended but proper sample collection is crucial as samples must be representative of the whole field, cutting or batch. Although there is no foolproof approach to avoiding health effects, a practical approach involves testing suspect feeds in the ration, avoiding moldy feed if possible, and dilute with clean feed to minimize effects.

The presence of considerable mold in hay is a fairly common occurrence but when is too much mold a problem? Several laboratories have the ability to run mold spore counts (reported in mold spore count per gram) to help quantify the extent of mold present. Recommendations from Penn State Extension (https://extension.psu.edu/mold-and-mycotoxin-problems-in-livestock-feeding) regarding feed risks with various mold counts are presented in Table 1. Generally, moldy hay is 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

Hay Quality: Trash versus Treasure

Christine Gelley, Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator, OSU Extension Noble County (originally published in The Ohio Farmer on-line)

That saying “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” usually does not apply to hay, but with as difficult as haymaking was in Ohio this year, it may be true.

Is your 2018 hay crop trash or treasure? There’s really only one way to know! Photo By: Brooke Beam, AgNR, Educator, Highland Co.

The “man” mentioned could be yourself in 2017 versus yourself in 2018. Based on what is available this year, you may be inclined to lower your standards of hay quality to make it through the winter.

But, how low is too low when it comes to hay quality? The answer depends on your class of livestock, their nutritional needs, and your access to supplemental feed.

Without knowing the actual nutritive value of the hay, all recommendations are relative and subject to error. The only way to confidently adjust your feeding program in relation to hay quality is to have hay analyzed by a laboratory.

Characteristics like Continue reading

Hay Buying Help, and Preparation for Next Year

– Garth Ruff, ANR Extension Educator, OSU Henry County Extension

With last week’s rain showers leaving much of the area saturated, there were limited opportunities for farming or even yardwork. I took advantage of the soggy conditions here in NW Ohio and headed south on Friday to a fairly productive couple of days in Morgan County. We had a good chance to winterize and store all of the hay equipment and tractors that we typically don’t use during winter time.

Regarding hay implement storage, we make an effort blow off the chaff, seeds, and dust with a leaf blower shortly after use and then pressure wash the piece prior to pulling in to the machinery shed for the down season. Once everything is cleaned off, each machine is greased and gear boxes are checked for fluid levels. Any major repairs or maintenance such as changing mowing knives can be done during the winter months as time allows. Given the unpredictability of the weather the past few years, it is nice to be able to pull the hay equipment out of storage, hook up to a tractor and head directly to the field. This eliminates the need of Continue reading

Too Much, Too Early

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

Fall- and spring-calving herd managers don’t often find themselves facing the same decision as those who buy calves for backgrounding, but this is one of those times. Should you implant the calves and if so, what product should be used? Answers will vary, of course.

It’s simple if increasing gain is the singular goal. Given adequate nutrition, the return on investment to growth-promoting implants makes it one of the best dollars you can spend. But let’s examine that given: are there adequate dietary resources to support the implant? Data suggests calves need enough nutrition to gain at least a pound per day to make any implant pay. Few operations plan for gains lower than that, but for those who try to hold calves back to change marketing windows, this may be a consideration.

Another reason implants may not make sense is a contradiction with your marketing plans, such as those who sell natural or non-hormone treated calves (NHTC) at a premium. Implanting would limit marketing to conventional outlets, where facts may not support perceptions. I hear of ranchers forgoing the calf performance from implants because they think non-implanted calves bring more in the everyday market, but there’s evidence to the contrary. Calves that are verified Natural or NHTC may Continue reading

The Real Cost of Limiting Nutrients

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

Fall is rapidly approaching and all cow-calf producers need to access the body condition score (BCS) of their herd. Spring-calving cows are nearing weaning time and the fall is the most economical time to put weight back on. Now is also a key time to manage BCS score in fall-calving cows. Most realize the link between body condition score and reproductive rate but what is the economic impact of allowing BCS to decline? Each year producers faced the decision of how much money should I put into my cows? Can I afford to feed them? So, what is the cost of letting your cows get thin? What is more cost effective; reducing costs by limiting nutrition to your cows and living with reduced reproductive performance or feeding your cows to perform?

Let’s use a real world example. The farm we will discuss had 100 fall-calving cows. The average body weight of these cows was about 1300 lbs. at a BCS of 5. These cows calved in good condition, averaging a BCS of a nearly 6. However, lack of rain resulted in limited pastures and the producer began to feed hay approximately September 1st, which coincided with the onset of calving. The hay was below average in quality (TDN of 48, CP of 7%). Money was tight for this operation so they made the decision NOT to supplement these cows. Making the assumption that these cows were average lactating cows and that they would consume about 27 pounds of hay (as fed) daily, the hay provided only 82% of their maintenance energy needs and would result in a loss of one BCS in about 57 days. This producer decided to synchronize and AI his cows. On November 21st when the timed AI was performed, the average BCS had decreased, as predicted above, averaging a strong 4. Remember each BCS equals about 75 pounds so these cows were losing weight rapidly. After the insemination, the Continue reading