Are You Ready and Willing to Change?

John F. Grimes, OSU Extension Beef Coordinator (originally published in The Ohio Farmer)

There is no doubt that in nearly every aspect of life, change is inevitable. You don’t have to look too hard to find examples of this in everyday life. Changes such as automated steering in farm equipment, self-driving cars, the home delivery of meal kits, “smart” phones, DNA tests in humans and animals to identify genetic traits and defects, Facebook, and YouTube are a few of the changes that have impacted countless lives since the turn of the century. These changes remind me of the phrase that goes “Not all change is progress but progress is certainly change!”

The cow-calf sector of the beef industry is currently undergoing Continue reading

5 ways we are getting better at cattle handling

– W. Mark Hilton, DVM, PAS, DABVP, clinical professor emeritus, Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine; and senior technical veterinary consultant, Elanco Animal Health.

We like to pat ourselves on the back (and rightly so) for improvements in nutrition and animal health. But we never give ourselves enough credit for the major improvements in cattle handling. Cue the applause.

Think about your beef operation today, and then reflect back 10 to 20 years. What has improved, and what is the same? My guess is that Continue reading

ODA Announces Changes to Ohio’s Livestock Care Standards

REYNOLDSBURG, Ohio (Nov. 13, 2017) – The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) wants to remind producers and livestock owners about upcoming changes to Ohio’s livestock care standards.

Effective January 1, 2018, veal calves must be housed in group pens by ten weeks of age. Additionally, whether housed in individual stalls or group pens the calves must be allowed to turn around and cannot be tethered. Also effective January 1, tail docking on dairy cattle can only be performed by a licensed veterinarian and if only medically necessary.

The above changes were recommended by the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board, a group of 13 members from Continue reading

She’s Been A Good ‘Un

– Dr. Roy Burris, Beef Extension Professor, University of Kentucky

I mentioned in last month’s article that picking a time to cull cows could be tricky. It is usually a straightforward decision in cases of open cows, lame cows or those with bad dispositions. However, culling old cows that have been “good ones” and are still producing can be a difficult decision. Despite all the “chatter” from our critics, we are the ultimate animal welfare people! We want to treat animals humanely but still be economically responsible. So culling cows while they are still healthy and have value but before they suffer the ill effects of old age is a part of good management.

Let’s take the case of cow no. 311N Continue reading

Temperament; Convenience or Performance Trait?

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

We often consider temperament a convenience trait. Looking for bulls to use, we study pedigrees, pictures, performance data and now videos until we develop a list of prospective herd sires. The final call before bidding: is he docile enough? Replacement heifer candidates will follow a similar pattern with “attitude” a deciding factor after you consider many other traits.

Even if it’s the last thing you think about at decision time, recent work at Texas A&M suggests disposition affects performance at many points in Continue reading

Effect of feeding distillers grains during different phases of production and addition of postmortem antioxidants on shelf life of ground beef

– B.D.Cleveland, J.O.Buntyn, A.L.Gronli, J.C.MacDonald, G.A.Sullivan (Condensed by Steve Boyles, OSU Beef Extension Specialist)

In 2013, 35.5 million metric tons of distillers grains was produced as coproducts of the fuel ethanol industry, and beef cattle account for almost half of distillers grains consumption. Feeding distillers grains to cattle can increase Polyunsaturated fatty acids concentration, increase lipid oxidation, and decrease color stability of beef.

The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of feeding distillers grains and the postmortem addition of antioxidants on the shelf life of ground beef products. Continue reading

Cull Cows and Stockpiled Forage

Mark Landefeld, OSU Extension Educator, Ag/NR Monroe County (previously published in Farm & Dairy)

At this time of year many cow-calf operators are weaning/selling calves and determining which, if any, cows are going to be culled and sent to market. The sale of cull cows can be a significant source of cash flow for cow-calf operators. Data shows that 15-25% of cow-calf business’ returns are a result of selling cull cows in the fall, after weaning. For this reason, cow-calf operators should carefully consider how and when they market their cull animals.

If you decide to delay marketing cull cows in an effort to add weight, improve quality, and capture a stronger early spring market, stockpiled forage makes a good feed source.

Glen Selk, Oklahoma State University Extension Cattle Specialist, said, “It is important to understand the Continue reading

Poor Temperament Adversely Affects Profit

– Glenn Selk, Oklahoma State University Extension

October is a traditional weaning and culling time for spring-calving herds. Weaning for value-added calf sales is already underway. This is a time when producers decide which cows no longer are helpful to the operation and which heifer calves will be kept for future replacements. Selecting against ill-tempered cattle has always made good sense. Wild cattle are hard on equipment, people, other cattle, and now we know that they are Continue reading

Reducing Shipping Fever in Beef Calves

– Dr. Roy Burris, Beef Extension Professor, University of Kentucky

Kentucky is a major feeder calf producing state but our calves are generally shipped to other parts of the country where they are “finished”. Feedlots are generally about a 1,000 miles from our farms and calves are sometimes “weaned” on trucks and might even be commingled from several sources. These procedures may represent stress, exposure to disease pathogens and, consequently, economic losses to the beef industry and our cattle producers.

Shipping Fever, or Bovine Respiratory Disease, is the major health problem encountered by beef calves upon arrival at cattle feeding operations. There are many management practices, in addition to vaccinations, that can aid in reducing the occurrence of Continue reading

Addition by Subtraction

John F. Grimes, OSU Extension Beef Coordinator

Balloon teats are one example of an unsound udder. Udder problems affect milk production and consumption that in turn, impact weaning weights.

Weaning time is an excellent time to evaluate your cow herd and decide which cows get to remain in your herd as productive females. If they are not being productive for you, they need to be replaced by heifer calves retained from within the herd or by purchased bred females.

Cows and heifers leave operations for a variety of reasons. Ask a room full of cow-calf producers for the key reasons to cull a female from the herd. I would feel confident that the reasons would include any or all of the following factors: 1. Age or bad teeth; 2. Continue reading