Calf Castration Considerations

– Lew Strickland, Extension Veterinarian, University Of Tennessee

One of the questions that I hear the most concerning castration is; when should I castrate my calves Doc? Many producers will castrate their calves when they are two or three days old, which is my preferred period. Castration should occur when the calf is rather young. The older the calf, the more likely that calf will suffer a setback (which cost the producer money). In addition, larger calves are more difficult to handle and restrain for the procedure. The latest castration should be done is one month prior to weaning to avoid any extra stress from the weaning process. Bull calves castrated at or following weaning can retain a stag like appearance and attitude that the feedlot operator discounts. Purebred operators can still castrate bull calves that are culls and still realize some profit.

The choice of castration method is the preference of the operator, age and weight of the calf, and the time of year performing the procedure. In all techniques, sanitize the hands and castration instruments between each calf to prevent the spread and/or introduction of disease.

There are three methods of castration, which range from Continue reading

Beef Quality Assurance National Guidelines

Steve Boyles, OSU Beef Extension Specialist

Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) is a nationally coordinated, state implemented program to ensure that beef and dairy cattle are maintained in a manner which will result in a safe and wholesome beef product for the consumer. Times and locations for the series of upcoming BQA certification programs being held for producers throughout Ohio are posted under the EVENTS/PROGRAMS link at our OSU Beef Team website: http://beef.osu.edu.

Producers interested in getting BQA certified can also do it on-line at the National BQA website https://www.bqa.org/

The following are the BQA Guidelines being relayed at the Ohio BQA events. Continue reading

Gaining Greater Market Access for Ohio Feeder Calves

John F. Grimes, OSU Extension Beef Coordinator

You do not have to look long and hard to find plenty of evidence that feeder calf marketing is undergoing significant changes across the country. The market is currently sending a clear message that buyers are demanding more for their purchasing dollars. Significant discounts are occurring in the market place for feeder calves that are not weaned 45-60 days, castrated & healed, dehorned, and given 2 rounds of a modified live vaccine for the shipping fever complex. In 2019, a major restaurant chain is going to start requiring their suppliers of fed cattle to be Beef Quality Assurance certified. This will in turn be pushed down to the producer level. Exports to China and other countries are going to require age and source verification. These are growing realities for cow-calf producers if they want access to as many markets as possible.

The OSU Extension Beef Team is pleased to announce that they have completed two pre-recorded presentations under the theme of “Gaining Greater Market Access for Ohio Feeder Calves”. These videos contain Continue reading

Why ‘veggie meat’ Won’t Replace Beef

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

Lately the news is overrun with features on how we humans plan to shift away from meat as we’ve always known it to plant protein alternatives. Personally, I refuse to call it meat; vegetables and legumes in a meat-like form perhaps, but meat it is not.

“Lab meat,” despite not being commercially available, continues to garner news coverage with the implication it may be coming soon to a store near you. The troubling aspects of these products are the claims they make against the Continue reading

Ohio Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) Frequently Asked Questions

Garth Ruff, ANR Extension Educator, OSU Henry County Extension

Q: What is BQA?
A: Beef Quality Assurance is a nationally coordinated, state implemented program that provides systematic information to U.S. beef producers and beef consumers of how common sense husbandry techniques can be coupled with accepted scientific knowledge to raise cattle under optimum management and environmental conditions.

Q: I’ve Never Been BQA Certified, Why do it Now?
A: By 2019 Wendy’s has committed to sourcing beef from only BQA Certified producers and Tyson has pledged to follow suit, also by January 1, 2019. We expect other retailers and packers will do the same. Being BQA Certified will be a producer’s ticket to market access, much like the pork industry.

Q: Who Needs to be BQA Certified?
A: Anyone selling beef animals to be harvested for meat. This includes producers of fed beef, dairy beef, cull cows and bulls including dairy cull cows. Continue reading

“No, you don’t need to switch to chicken”

Recently on her WLRY 88.9 FM weekly radio show, The Farm Page, OSU Extension PA Connie Smith visited with Ohio State University graduate student Jerad Jaborek about the Jersey crossbreeding beef research project he’s been working on that also includes Wagyu, Angus and SimAngus genetics. That conversation evolved from a discussion about the human health aspects of beef, and more specifically whether Connie needed to eat less beef and more chicken. Listen in and hear what they had to say:

 

Early Path to Quality Beef

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

You know the role health and nutrition play in feedlot performance, carcass quality grade and profitability. Yet many readers challenge the idea that these benefits can be realized at the ranch, unless they retain ownership beyond the farm or ranch gate.

The increasingly transparent market with buyers tracking results by source underscores that producing high-quality beef takes a systematic approach no one segment can afford to ignore. Ever. The time required to influence your herd’s genetic potential is measured in years, so managing for quality is always important.

It takes four years, really: Select a superior sire, gestate for nine months and nurse the cow for another seven months. Develop heifers prior to breeding for seven months, breed those superior replacements, repeat the nine months of gestation and add Continue reading

Understanding Customer Relations in a Changing Beef Industry

Garth Ruff, Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension Educator, OSU Henry County Extension (originally published in the Ohio Farmer on-line)

The customer is always right.” If they want to purchase cattle only from feeders with a BQA certification, then to access their market that’s what we’ll need to do.

Things are at a high pace in Ohio’s Extension offices as we move towards spring with not only agriculture programming but 4-H as well. One of the programs that combines both the agriculture and youth is Quality Assurance, a program required for youth in order to exhibit livestock projects at the various fair and expositions across the state. The youth QA program began twenty some years ago in Ohio as the result of some food safety concerns regarding exhibition livestock.

Introduced in 1989, Continue reading

Gaining Greater Market Access for Ohio Feeder Calves

Stan Smith, OSU Extension PA, Fairfield County

The World is expecting a lot more information about the food they buy.”

During the first segment of the Ohio Beef School, OSU Extension Beef Coordinator John Grimes visits with Bill Tom of United Producers, and Henry Zerby from Wendy’s, about the rapidly changing demands in the beef cattle market

Consumers are concerned for animal health, and the sustainability of the production systems their food’s raised in.”

Traceability and transparency are of growing concern to consumers.”

Vaccination is not necessarily the same as immunization when it comes to preventing health issues.”

Feed and bunk management, and avoiding nutritional stress are keys to calf health.”

These are just a few of the comments that will be emphasized, and Continue reading

A Little Background May Help

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

Let’s say you weaned calves last fall but didn’t sell. Instead, you helped them cross the bridge to independent life in your dry lot pen and maybe on to a grazing program. Chances are, those “backgrounded” calves have moved on to a finishing yard or the next phase of heifer development.

You’ve got calving on your mind now, but that means weaning will surely follow this fall and some of your decisions then will be framed by decisions made this spring. So back to those pens and fields, perhaps empty now, but ready for planning.

Researchers at the University of Nebraska recently compared three backgrounding systems, and at least one of them Continue reading