Beef AG NEWS: Vaccination Programs Considerations for the Beef Breeding Herd

With calving season into full swing throughout much of Ohio, breeding season is around the corner. A well planned breeding herd vaccination program can improve fertility and conception rates.

In this edition of the Beef AG NEWS, host Duane Rigsby and OSU Extension Beef Coordinator John Grimes offer considerations for implementing your pre-breeding season whole herd vaccination program.

Sanitation Procedures When Implanting

Stephen Boyles, OSU Beef Extension Specialist

Sanitation is paramount when administering implants for beef cattle. Manure, dirt and bacteria must be removed and a disinfectant solution should be applied to the implant injection site area of the ear. Growth implant efficacy and return on investment decreases if an abscess forms because of unsanitary practices. In one study, average daily gains were decreased 8.9% (3.18 versus 2.92 pounds) and feed efficiency decreased 8.5% (5.62 versus 6.14 pounds of feed per pound of gain) by abscessed growth implants.

A number of years ago a method called “scrape, brush and disinfect” was introduced to raise the awareness of ear sanitation prior to implanting by cattle processing personnel. Make an initial assessment of ear Continue reading

When is the best time to castrate bull calves?

– W. Mark Hilton, DVM, PAS, DABVP (beef cattle), Clinical Professor Emeritus, Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine

A Kansas State University study showed that bulls castrated and implanted at an average of 3 months of age weighed 2 pounds more at 7.5 months of age than did the intact bull calves in the same study. At 7.5 months, the bulls were castrated, and then both groups were weighed 28 days later to assess gain.

The steers castrated as calves gained 48 pounds, while the bulls that were cut at an average of 578 pounds only gained 33 pounds. That is a lost potential gain of 15 pounds, as these late-castrated bulls had to deal with the stress of healing from surgery.

The fallacy is that there is a positive “testosterone effect” that justifies not castrating until bulls weigh 500 pounds or more. This is a myth. When bull calves were Continue reading

Time to Step Up Your Game

John F. Grimes, OSU Extension Beef Coordinator (originally published in the Winter issue of The Ohio Cattleman)

Nearly every business is faced with evolving business models due to changing consumer preferences. History provides us plenty of examples of how traditionally accepted products or services can quickly be replaced by a newer or “better” version. Some call this progress while others prefer simpler, more traditional choices.

The beef industry is certainly no stranger to the concept of changing types and preferences. The size and shape of cattle have changed significantly over the years of modern history. The smaller framed British breed cattle prevalent in the 1950’s and 1960’s were forever changed by an influx of Continental breeds staring around the beginning of the 1970’s. This started a trend towards larger framed, growthy, leaner cattle that were very popular through the 1980’s and into the early 1990’s. The past 20-25 years have seen a trend towards Continue reading

New Year, New Expectations for Beef

– Christine Gelley, Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator, OSU Extension Noble County

If you have consistently, or even occasionally, read my column in 2018, you should be aware that there are changes in store for the beef industry as we ring in 2019.

Some segments of the beef supply chain will expect cattle producers to be certified in Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) at the turn of the year. Ohio State Extension has been working with the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association and the Ohio Beef Council to provide certification programs for interested producers across the state throughout 2018.

Certification programs will continue to be offered in 2019. Upcoming Ohio BQA training opportunities are listed here. Training can also be Continue reading

Is Your Herd Focused on Meeting Demand?

Stan Smith, OSU Extension PA, Fairfield County (originally published in The Ohio Farmer on-line)

Despite the higher price, consumers want quality, and are willing to pay for it!

To say the least, suggesting it’s been a wild ride on the path to profitability in the cow-calf sector during this decade is an understatement. Beginning in 2009-10 cattlemen saw the most dramatic increase in cattle prices ever. From there prices climbed to the point where we experienced historic highs just four years later. As would be expected, at the same time consumers were experiencing historic high beef prices in the meat case.

What might not have been expected was that while lower overall beef supplies were causing these historically high live cattle and retail meat prices, demand by consumers for premium priced branded beef continued to climb Continue reading

It Is a Matter of Trust

John F. Grimes, OSU Extension Beef Coordinator

Changes on the horizon suggest that simply having the best PRODUCT is no longer enough, merely telling the best STORY is no longer enough, and delivering great CUSTOMER SATISFACTION is no longer enough. We must also elevate consumer TRUST.

Over the past week or so, two of the largest buyers of beef in the U.S. have placed stronger requirements for the beef they will purchase in the future. McDonald’s and Wendy’s have both announced major policies that no doubt have their customers and societal pressures in mind. These policies will surely have an impact on all facets of the beef industry.

McDonald’s has announced that they will be collaborating with suppliers and beef producers to measure and understand the current usage of antibiotics in their top 10 beef sourcing markets. They will establish reduction targets for medically important antibiotics for these markets by the end of 2020. Starting in 2022, McDonald’s will be reporting progress against antibiotic reduction targets across our top 10 beef sourcing markets.

McDonald’s stated overall approach to responsible use of antibiotics focuses on refining Continue reading

BEEF 509 Set for February 16 & 22, 2019

Dates have been set for the 2019 edition of BEEF 509.

BEEF 509 will take ‘awareness’ and quality assurance to a whole new level for participants!

The BEEF 509 program is held to raise the awareness level about the beef that is produced and what goes into producing a high-quality and consistent product. The program will take place on two consecutive Saturdays, February 16 and 23, 2019.

The part of the program held on February 16 will include a live animal evaluation session and grid pricing discussion. Carcass grading and fabrication are among the activities that will take place February 23. The program will take Continue reading

What Are We Doing For Our Customers?

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

“Today’s consumer appears to be more willing than ever to pay for quality.”

Few enterprises are as productive as American agriculture. The American farmer is very good at their specialization: efficient food production. Farmers and ranchers are at their best when it comes to using recommended practices and modern technologies to achieve profitable yields from their available resources. However, one area that the typical producer is not as comfortable with is the subject of marketing.

For any business to achieve long-term success, they must strive to satisfy the wants and desires of their customers. The beef industry is no exception to this concept. Our competition for the consumer’s protein purchasing dollars is a fierce battle with the pork and poultry industries. This battle takes place domestically and across the globe. How is the beef industry working to meet the needs of our customers?

Today’s consumer is more demanding about Continue reading

Changes in Carcass Grade Over Time

– Andrew P. Griffith, University Of Tennessee (previously published by Drovers online)

The beef industry, similar to other industries, is constantly attempting to be more efficient and create more value in the product produced. Most cow-calf producers concern themselves with reproductive efficiencies and pounds of weaned calf per acre of land. These two things are important because a cow-calf producer cannot afford to have very many cows fail to wean a calf, and these producers are in the business of selling pounds with a limited quantity of land. Similarly, stocker producers work to reduce morbidity and mortality rates while also trying to pack on as many pounds as possible with their forage and feed resources. Producers from both of these sectors also attempt to add value by instituting management practices that reduce risk to downstream cattle buyers.

The feedlot perspective is very similar to stocker and backgrounding operations with focus on feed efficiency and cattle health, but there is also interest in carcass characteristics. Regardless of the marketing method (cash, formula, grid, etc.), cattle will be priced based on the actual or expected yield grade (YG 1-5) and quality grade (Prime, Choice, Select, etc.).

Quality grade and yield grade are two aspects of beef production that may or may not be considered at the cow-calf and stocker producer levels. There are certainly Continue reading