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.


However, this is not necessarily a Continue reading

Preparing Cows for Breeding

– Dr. Les Anderson, Beef Extension Specialist, University of Kentucky

A successful breeding season actually begins with management decisions made at calving.  Cattlemen can impact rebreeding efficiency by focusing on body condition score (BCS), early assistance during calving difficulty, scheduling a breeding soundness exam for the herd sires, planning their herd reproductive health program, and developing a plan to regulate estrus in their first-calf heifers and late-calving cows.

Reproductive management begins with Continue reading

Bull Shopping Season!

John F. Grimes, OSU Extension Beef Coordinator (this article was published previously in the Ohio Farmer magazine at

Bull buying season is well underway throughout the cow-calf regions across the country.  Producers are constantly reminded of this through sale catalogs in the mail, glossy magazine advertisements, and social media posts.  These promotional efforts may make it seem like the Christmas shopping season has returned.  Both of these “shopping seasons” can be equally confusing and frustrating for the buyer that is uninformed and unprepared.

As an Extension professional and a seedstock producer, one of the most interesting discussions I can have with a producer is reviewing their thoughts on what they are Continue reading

Gestation Length: Calves Arrive Sooner Than They Used To

– Justin Rhinehart, University of Tennessee Extension

What is the gestation length of a cow? This question usually gets the answer of “it averages 283 days.” A better answer is “it can range from about 265 to as much as 295 days.” For breeds that have focused on low birthweight genetics for several generations, the average gestation length has shortened. But, there are several other factors that can shorten or lengthen gestation notwithstanding genetics.

Before considering those factors, it is important to learn what actually triggers the calving process. Since the calf has Continue reading

OSU Beef Cattle Artificial Insemination School

Clif Little, OSU Extension Guernsey County

Ohio State University Extension and the OSU Eastern Agriculture Research Station (EARS) in Belle Valley will be offering beef cattle artificial insemination (A.I.) school April 25, 26, & 27, 2017.  Classes will run from 9 a.m. to approximately 2 p.m. each day at EARS. Producers will learn the basics of utilizing Expected Progeny Difference (EPD’s), techniques for artificial Continue reading

The 3 Stages of Parturition

– Glenn Selk, Oklahoma State University Emeritus Extension Animal Scientist

As the spring calving season approaches, an increased understanding of the parturition process is helpful. The more we understand about the physiology of the process, the more likely we are to make sound decisions about providing assistance. Parturition or “calving” is generally considered to occur in three stages.

Stage 1: The first stage of parturition is dilation of the cervix. The normal cervix is tightly closed right up until the cervical plug is completely dissolved. In stage 1, cervical dilation begins Continue reading

Accepting Bull Consignments for Seedstock Improvement Sale – Deadline February 1

John F. Grimes, OSU Extension Beef Coordinator

The Ohio Cattlemen’s Association is currently accepting bull consignments to the Seedstock Improvement Sale. The sale, held on Saturday, April 8 at noon at the Union Stock Yards Company in Hillsboro, Ohio, offers an affordable way to market bulls from multiple breeds in one location and on one day.  Buyers have the assurance of buying bulls with Continue reading

Why Have a Calving Season??

– Dr. Glenn Selk, Oklahoma State University Extension Cattle Reproduction Specialist

One of the most asked questions in the cattle industry in the Southern United States: If I “pull” the bulls out for part of the year, won’t I lose an opportunity to get a few calves? Should I leave the bull out with cows year-round?

Here is the answer: A research analysis of 394 ranch observations from Continue reading

As You Tighten Your Belt, Think of Tightening Your Breeding Season

– Dr. Les Anderson, Extension Professor, Beef Extension Specialist, University of Kentucky

After a few years of record market highs for feeder calves, the markets have suddenly corrected and times have certainly gotten tougher. We can’t control the markets but we can control our productivity and our efficiency of production. The primary factor that reduces production efficiency for beef cow-calf producers is a low reproductive rate.

The first step to increasing reproductive rate is establishing and limiting the breeding season. Controlling the breeding season increases revenue and Continue reading

Looking to save money? It’s foolish to cut preg-checking

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

As cattle margins tighten, there is a temptation to cut costs to improve profits . . . and I’m all in favor of it if the cost cutting actually makes your beef business stronger.

The first place to look at cost cutting is in feed cost, which accounts for around 50% of the total cost of keeping a cow. Are you feeding Continue reading