Preconditioning Calves; Is it in the Cards?

– Adam Hady, UW Extension Agriculture Agent, Richland County (article recently appeared in the Wisconsin Agriculturist Magazine)

As the summer grazing season winds down and the time is getting near for cow calf producers to wean calves, they might be asking themselves, with the prices of many agricultural commodities, can I add some value to my calves by preconditioning my calves or just sell them right off the cow? For starters, what is preconditioning, and why would we do it? Preconditioning is a practice that gets calves ready for the next phase of production and done with proper management can add a few dollars into the cow/calf producer’s pocket. In general, these are programs that are done for 30-60 days with 45 being the most common. During this time, calves are weaned, vaccinated, bunk broke, and water tank broke.

So, how does holding these calves for 45 days actually make the cow/calf operator any money? They have the cost of feeding the calves, vaccinating, yardage, and death loss. Knowing feed cost and price slides are the key factors adding extra dollars through preconditioning. Understanding these factors can also help you make the decision on the possibility of backgrounding longer into the winter or sell the calves outright versus preconditioning. Overall, the goal to preconditioning is to sell a few more pounds of calf by being able to put on some cheap pounds of gain and add some value to the calf by having an Continue reading

Economic Greats – 93 Percent of Cow’s Weight Harvested

– Kris Ringwall, Beef Specialist, NDSU Extension

As I was reviewing Cow Herd Appraisal Performance Software (CHAPS) records recently, cow Y1002’s record popped up.

Because of the weight of her calves at harvest (93 percent of her weight), she is one of the economic greats of the Dickinson Research Extension Center’s herd.

Y1002’s dam is half-Red Angus and half-Angus, and Y1002 was sired by an Aberdeen bull called Cadet Quartermaster. I would call Y1002 a frame score 3, 1,100-pound cow. Her weight has averaged 1,069 in the fall, but as she ages, she will put on some weight.

Y1002 has weaned a calf every year. Her 2015 calf (C5132), born on a late spring day, May 26, comes to mind as Continue reading

Nomination Deadline for 2018 OCA Replacement Female Sale is October 1

John F. Grimes, OSU Extension Beef Coordinator

Nominations are due October 1 for this November 23rd sale in Zanesville.

The Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) is providing an opportunity for both the buyers and sellers of beef breeding cattle this fall. On Friday evening, November 23, the OCA will be hosting their sixth annual Replacement Female Sale. The sale will be held at the Muskingum Livestock facility in Zanesville and will begin at 6:00 p.m.

The 2018 Ohio Cattlemen’s Association Replacement Female Sale will provide an opportunity for both buyers and sellers to meet the need for quality replacements in the state. Consignments may include cow-calf pairs, bred cows and bred heifers. Females must be under the age of five as of January 1, 2019 and may be of registered or commercial background. Bred females must be Continue reading

Posted in Events

Eastern Ohio Beef & Forage School Begins October 2nd

The 2018 Eastern Ohio Beef and Forage School will consist of three consecutive Tuesday evening classes beginning October 2, 2018 at the Eastern Agricultural Research Station (16870 Bond Ridge Road Caldwell, OH 43724). Classes will be held from 5:30 to 8:00 PM and include a meal. The cost to attend is $25 flat rate for one or all three classes combined.

Call Guernsey County Extension at 740-489-5300, or complete this registration form to participate.  Please register by September 24.

  • October 2 will include Beef Quality Assurance Certification Training and Newborn Calf Care.
  • October 9 will focus on farm costs and profits with sessions on identifying and framing key factors in the cost of production and the cost of replacement cows.
  • October 16 will focus on forages and grazing with sessions on regenerating pastures after pipelines & winter feeding and improving water quality with forages.

Contact the Belmont, Guernsey, Monroe or Morgan County OSU Extension office for more information.

Weekly Livestock Comments for August 31, 2018

– Dr. Andrew Griffith, Assistant Professor, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of Tennessee

FED CATTLE: Fed cattle trade was not well established at press. Asking prices on a live basis were mainly $111 to $112 with bids from $106 to $107. Dressed bids ranged from $168 to $170.

The 5-area weighted average prices thru Thursday were $107.17 live, down $1.91 from last week and $169.31 dressed, down $3.51 from a week ago. A year ago prices were $104.67 live and $165.65 dressed.

Despite Labor Day weekend looming, cattle feeders and packers found little to no common ground early in the week. The failure to agree on a price pushed cattle trade to a late week occurrence which has become common place the past several months. Live cattle futures are hollering for lower prices, which is a welcome sound for packers. However, cattle feeders are holding firm because closeouts plunging deeper into the red is not acceptable. It would seem inevitable that finished cattle prices will hit Continue reading

Get After the Weeds Yet This Fall

Mark Landefeld, Extension Educator, Monroe County (originally published in The Ohio Cattleman)

Left: no herbicide, Right: dicamba. Label requires livestock be removed from treated fields at least 30 days before slaughter. No waiting period between application and grazing for non-lactating animals. Don’t graze lactating dairy animals for 7 to 60 days after application, depending upon rate applied. Always read herbicide labels for restrictions.

You may not want to put the sprayer away for winter just yet. Weeds can be a problem that reduce quality, quantity and stand life of our forages. We generally think of battling weeds in the spring or early summer, as crops begin to grow, because we naturally want to reduce competition for our forage crops. However, the best time to control many winter annuals, biennials and cool season perennial weeds is mid/late-September through early November.

Highly productive pastures and hay fields do not happen just by accident. Good grazing management, weed and pest control, nutrient management and properly timed harvests all have an important role. Weeds often reduce the palatability of forages and certain weed species are potentially poisonous to grazing livestock making plant identification even more important.

The Ohio State University Extension Weed Control Guide (Bulletin 789) suggests the best way to control weeds in established stands Continue reading

Pasture and Forage Weed Control; Mow or Spray?

Clif Little, OSU Extension Educator (Discussion of herbicides in this publication is strictly for educational purposes)

It is important to remember that each herbicide varies in terms of target weed response. In other words, herbicides vary in ability to kill specific weeds and always refer to product labels prior to use. Always wear the personal protective equipment recommended on the product label. Be aware of product restrictions and recommendations relating to the environment, sensitive crops, and bees. To properly apply herbicides it is important to calibrate the sprayer and utilize the correct nozzle. When a label permits, utilizing surfactants may improve the effectiveness of herbicide application. Be aware of water quality issues that may affect herbicide performance and spray product soon after mixing since solution pH may change reducing formulation effectiveness.

Other useful tools are University pasture and hay weed response tables that rate overall product response to various weeds. In addition, weed response can vary based on stage of plant growth and timing of herbicide application. Prior to selecting a herbicide be sure to Continue reading

Forage Focus: Is it a Weed, or Wildflower?

This month on the Forage Focus podcast, host Christine Gelley, an Extension Educator with The Ohio State University Agriculture & Natural Resources in Noble County, talks about Weeds versus Wildflowers. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and many have differing opinions on what is actually a “weed” and what is a “wildflower.” Christine shares examples pointing out differences between being weeds and wildflowers.

Soil Compaction When Grazing in a Wet Summer

– Sjoerd Willem Duiker, Ph.D., CCA, Associate Professor of Soil Management and Applied Soil Physics, Penn State

Calves grazing in warm season annuals as part of the USDA-NRCS Management Intensive Grazing demonstration at Ag Progress Days (S. Duiker)

Two weeks ago at Ag Progress Days I participated in a Management Intensive Grazing demonstration with USDA-NRCS Grazing and Soil Conservation Specialists. It rained much of Tuesday, after which it became sunny on Wednesday and was dry on Thursday. The soil of our grazing demo was an Andover poorly drained channery silt loam soil on an 8-15% slope. This soil has a shallow fragipan which is almost impervious to water, so it has a seasonally high water table. In fact, water was still standing in some pockets of the field while cattle were grazing. Half of our field was in a tall fescue/ orchardgrass sod that had been in place for many decades, while others were sod that had been terminated last year and planted in summer annuals for our demonstration. We managed this half as no-till. In early July of last year we planted a highly diverse mixture of summer annuals in this field (Iron and Clay Cowpeas, AS 6501 Sorghum Sudangrass, Daikon Radish, Wonderleaf Hybrid Pearl Millet, AS6401 Sorghum Sudangrass, Peredovik Sunflower and T-Raptor Hybrid Brassica), which was followed by a spring triticale/spring pea mix this spring that was terminated with glyphosate, after which we planted different summer grazing mixes in this field.

Here are some of the take home lessons for managing Continue reading

Posted in Pasture

Weekly Livestock Comments for August 24, 2018

– Dr. Andrew Griffith, Assistant Professor, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of Tennessee

FED CATTLE: Fed cattle traded $1 lower than last week on a live basis. Prices on a live basis were mainly $108 to $109 while dressed prices ranged from $170 to $174.

The 5-area weighted average prices thru Thursday were $109.08 live, down $0.44 from last week and $172.82 dressed, down $0.34 from a week ago. A year ago prices were $106.78 live and $169.74 dressed.

Cattle feeders are seeing red on closeouts when calculating on a cash to cash basis. However, many of these cattle would have been hedged which means many cattle feeders are making a modest return. The one bright spot is that prices are much higher today than they were one year ago. However, downside price risk will continue into the fall months before finding fundamental support at the end of the year. It would appear cattle feeders are betting on Continue reading