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

National Beef Quality Audit Results are Released

Steve Boyles, OSU Beef Extension Specialist

The 2016 National Beef Quality Audit was rolled out at the 2017 Cattle Industry Summer Business Meeting held recently in Denver. Since 1991, the beef checkoff-funded National Beef Quality Audit (NBQA) has delivered a set of guideposts and measurements for cattle producers to help determine quality conformance of the U.S. beef supply.

Transportation, Mobility and Harvest Floor Assessments

Nearly 97% of cattle received a mobility score of 1, with the animal walking easily and normally, with no apparent lameness. There was a decrease in Continue reading

USDA Detects a Case of Atypical Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy in Alabama

– USDA APHIS, Washington D.C., July 18, 2017, Contacts: Donna Karlsons and Lyndsay Cole

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced an atypical case of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), a neurologic disease of cattle, in an eleven-year old cow in Alabama.  This animal never entered slaughter channels and at no time presented a risk to the food supply, or to human health in the United States.

USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s (APHIS) National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) have determined that this cow was positive for atypical (L-type) BSE.  The animal was showing clinical signs and was found through routine surveillance at an Alabama livestock market.  APHIS and Alabama veterinary officials are Continue reading

Priming the Calf Immune System for the Challenges Ahead

Justin Kieffer, DVM, Clinical Veterinarian, Assistant Professor, Office of the Attending Veterinarian and Department of Animal Sciences, The Ohio State University

Now that calving is completed, the days are longer, and the grass is growing (hopefully), it is time to start preparing for the weaning and eventual sale or feedlot finishing of your calf crop and development of your replacement females. Once the cow calf pairs have been kicked out to pasture in the spring, there is a tendency to put off or ignore the steps needed not only to set the feedlot calf up for success, but also to lay the groundwork for proper health for your new heifers.

Management techniques such as castration and dehorning should take place Continue reading

Now Is Not The Time To Relax

John F. Grimes, OSU Extension Beef Coordinator

April is an exciting time of the year for cow-calf producers.  The 2017 calf crop is taking shape and breeding season is currently or soon will be underway.  We have begun to emerge from the doldrums of winter to the warmth and new growth of spring.  The drudgery of feeding hay to the herd is coming to an end as pastures begin their early spring flush of growth.  It is certainly a great feeling to see cow-calf pairs turned out to fresh pastures for the first grazing of the season.

Nutrition

However, this is not necessarily a Continue reading

Longevity in the Cow Herd

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

Longevity can be defined many different ways by beef producers. However, I’ll just use the definition – how long a beef cow or bull stays in your herd. They may leave your herd for a variety of reasons but every time it happens it represents a significant expense to your operation. This is generally the difference in their salvage value and what it costs to replace them. However, you could possibly be replacing an inferior animal with one that is more profitable. That is what we hope for.

A cow doesn’t have to be highly productive to stay in the herd. Longevity might simply be due to Continue reading

Castration; Earlier is Better

– Justin Sexten, Ph.D.  Director, Supply Development Certified Angus Beef (reprinted with permission)

Everybody knows bull calves sell at least $5/cwt back of steers at weaning, and the discount grows for any still intact as yearlings. That’s because virtually all of them are bound for the feedyard, where steers are the rule. The only question revolves around when the bulls become steers.

Castration at weaning means one more stress at a stressful time and mandates a Continue reading

Rendered Ingredients Significantly Influence Sustainability, Quality and Safety of Pet Food

– Meeker and J. Meisinger, J. Anim. Sci. 2015.93:835–847, condensed by Steve Boyles, OSU Extension Beef Specialist

The United States currently produces, slaughters, and processes approximately 112 million pigs, 32 million cattle, and 8.5 billion chickens annually. The current volume of raw material rendered in the United States and Canada is nearly 25 million tons.  Meat consumption worldwide is expected to increase to about 100 pounds per capita by 2030. This large increase is mostly due to the increase in meat consumption by people in developing countries.

A DESCRIPTION OF RENDERING:  Rendering is one of the Continue reading

Regulating Livestock Welfare Remains an Issue Around the Country

Ellen Essman, Law Fellow, OSU Agricultural & Resource Law Program

While livestock producers in Ohio have been subject to standards for the care of livestock since 2011, animal welfare remains a topic of debate around the country. Most recently, attention turned to the care of livestock raised under the National Organic Program and animals raised in confinement in Massachusetts.   In this post, we examine the proposed federal organic standards and a livestock care ballot initiative passed in Continue reading

Transportation Issues Affecting Cattle Wellbeing and Considerations for the Future

– Schwartzkopf-Genswein, J. Ahola, L. Edwards-Callaway, D. Hale, and J. Paterson, The Professional Animal Scientist 32 (2016):707–716 and condensed here by Steve Boyles, OSU Beef Extension Specialist

Transporting cattle safely, humanely, and in an expeditious manner is the goal of the seller, transporter, and buyer of cattle. Almost all beef and dairy animals are transported at least once in their lives and often as many as 6 times.

Loading Density: Over- or under-loading has the potential to decrease welfare. Bruise scores documented for cattle transported at high and low densities were Continue reading