To suggest the past year has been a challenge for Ohio’s cattlemen is, at best, an understatement. The weather made it nearly impossible throughout 2018 to harvest high quality forage in a timely fashion, the constantly muddy conditions caused animals to utilize more energy than normal, and even though temperatures were moderate during much of the fall, cows with a constantly wet hair coat were expending more energy than normal. Then, as late January evolved into February, in many cases mud was matting down the winter coats of cattle reducing their hair’s insulating properties, thus causing them to utilize even more energy in cold weather.
In combination, this created potential for the “perfect storm” that reportedly is resulting in a challenging calving season in parts of Ohio, as well as concern for conception rates as we move into the subsequent breeding season.
Taking all those concerns into account, the 2019 Ohio Beef School consisted of a single ‘live’ webinar on February 5th that featured three different speakers. Collectively, the overall theme of Beef School was Winter Management of the Cow Herd to Insure a Productive 2019. Each of the Beef School’s approximately 30 minute presentations are embedded below under the Continue reading →
Dr. Boyles, last week, gave us all the nuts and bolts for providing the necessary energy and protein to fulfill the cow’s nutritional needs. However, we should also monitor our livestock’s body condition scores to insure the feed being provided coincides with what we see in our livestock’s physical appearance.
Timid animals may not always get enough nutrients even though we are providing them. Our calculations could be wrong also. We hear about so many 1000-1200 pound cows, but there are very few of them at my place. Of my mature cows, more will tip the scale over Continue reading →
The goal is to have a winter feeding program meets the cow’s requirements and is economical. There is a biological priority for nutrients. The needs for maintenance, growth and milk production must be met before we can optimize reproduction.
The period from approximately 60 to 90 days prior to calving is affects the calf and the subsequent reproductive performance. Fetal growth is at its maximum and fat stores will be used for lactation. Nutrition during this time also affect colostrums quality. Underfeeding during this time period include:
Lighter calf birth weights (although calving difficulty won’t be reduced).
Lower calf survival.
Lower milk production and calf growth.
A longer period for cattle coming back into heat.
Cold Temperatures: The only adjustment in cow rations necessitated by weather is to increase maintenance energy. Protein, mineral and vitamin requirements are not Continue reading →
– Warren Rusche, South Dakota State University Extension Beef Feedlot Management Associate
Winter weather conditions often present challenges to cattle managers in the Northern Plains (and upper Midwest). Although we can’t alter the weather, there are management steps that can be taken to help maintain cattle health and performance.
Bedding: Providing bedding is the most useful tool to improve cattle comfort, especially in outside yards. Bedding helps cattle preserve body heat and mitigate the negative effects of cold stress on maintenance energy requirements.
Feeders should consider bedding sooner rather than later when extreme cold weather is expected. Waiting until cattle are exhausted before providing bedding results in calves simply “resting up” on the bed pack instead of maintaining dietary intake. This could result in diminished Continue reading →
Feeding hay to cattle is expensive. Hay costs between $0.02 and $0.07 per pound of dry matter; usually more than double the cost for the same amount of nutrients from pasture. Hay is expensive because (1) it requires a large investment in equipment, (2) it requires labor to make and feed, and (3) more than 50 percent of it is wasted by either poor storage methods or improper feeding practices. This article focuses on the last of these expenses — losses associated with feeding hay.
You wouldn’t dream of throwing away one-third of your hay. That is what happens, though, when livestock are allowed unlimited access to hay. Livestock trample and waste 25 to 45 percent of the hay when it is fed with Continue reading →
Record rainfall in 2018 has had major impacts on cattle health in KY. Despite relatively mild temperatures this winter, submissions at the UKVDL and telephone conversations with veterinarians and producers confirm cattle are losing body condition and some are dying of malnutrition. The very prolonged cloudy, wet weather with regular bouts of rain has resulted in muddy conditions that require substantially more energy in feeds just to maintain body heat. In addition, the hay quality is exceptionally poor this year as much of it was cut very ripe (late stage of maturity), rained on while curing, and baled with enough moisture to support mold growth. Many cows presented to the laboratory for necropsy (an animal “autopsy”) revealed a total absence of fat and few, if any, other problems. This indicates winter feeding programs on many farms this year are not adequate to support cattle, especially cows in late pregnancy or early lactation, or their newborn calves, even though bitter cold has not been a factor.
The body of the animal has several defenses against cold. The first is the hair coat which grows longer in winter and offers considerable help in conserving heat and repelling cold. Under winter conditions, if an animal’s coat cover is wet and muddy, then energy requirements for maintenance can easily double, particularly if the animal is not protected from the wind. Energy from intake of hay that is adequate for maintenance in normal years is falling far short of the requirement this year. Cold conditions are not too difficult for cattle but when rain and wind are added, heat loss is multiplied several times by the effects of conduction and evaporation. Under these circumstances the “wind chill factor” referred to by the weatherman has real meaning to Continue reading →
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.
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.
– 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.