Price Risk Management Tools

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

A couple of questions have come up recently about price risk management tools and how certain tools can be used in cattle operations. The simple answer to this question is there is Livestock Risk Protection insurance for any size operation, futures contracts for operations that can either fill a 50,000 pound feeder cattle contract or a 40,000 pound live cattle contract, and then there are forward contracts if they can be had.

For small cattle producers, there are no good price risk management tools worth using or worth the cost of the insurance. That does not mean there are not some local opportunities when working with an individual, but those opportunities are Continue reading

U.S. Cattle Inventory Growth Slows

– Josh Maples, Assistant Professor & Extension Economist, Department of Agricultural Economics, Mississippi State University

The USDA Cattle report was released last week and it showed an estimated 0.5 percent growth in all cattle and calves for a total of 94.8 million head in the U.S. on January 1, 2019. The U.S. calf crop estimate of 36.4 million head showed 644,500 (1.8%) more calves were born in 2018 than in 2017 which marked the fourth consecutive year of calf crop increases. This report was mostly the expected mix of slight growth and hints of lower growth in the future. A larger calf crop in 2018 implies beef production will again be higher in 2019 and likely into 2020 but the cow and heifer numbers point toward smaller increases in calf crops in the future.

The inventory of beef cows was 31.8 million head which was up about one percent. However, the number of beef replacement heifers was Continue reading

Calves = Very Valuable; Bulls Deemed “Satisfactory Potential Breeders” = Priceless!

John F. Grimes, OSU Extension Beef Coordinator and Stan Smith, OSU Extension PA, Fairfield County

Perhaps to the inexperienced, or uniformed, it sounds simple enough: purchase bull; put bull with cows; calves appear in ~ 283 days; collect calves 205 days later; sell calves for good prices! Well maybe it should be that simple, but . . . I think most Ohio cattlemen will agree it is not!

When considering all of the traits of importance to today’s cattleman, a primary focus of any cow-calf producer must be getting a live calf on the ground. That starts with fertility. While both the male and female contribute to the herd’s level of fertility and its ultimate productivity, the herd sire is the more important component. An individual cow with poor fertility will certainly affect one potential calf a year. However, the bull affects every potential calf in Continue reading

Beef AG NEWS: Considerations for Selecting your Next Herd Sire

With calving season in full swing throughout much of Ohio, breeding season is right around the corner. That means bull buying season is here.

In this edition of Beef AG NEWS, show host Duane Rigsby visits with OSU Extension Beef Coordinator John Grimes about herd sire selection considerations including everything from selecting a breeder to work with, to the specifics of actually selecting the bull you ultimately choose to purchase.

Bull Buying Tips

– Dr. Darrh Bullock, Extension Professor, University of Kentucky

We are rapidly approaching bull buying season in Kentucky so there are few basics I would like to share. The genetics in the bull you are buying now will have a huge impact on your herd immediately and could linger for years to come if you keep replacements from him. For this reason it is important to get this decision right.

For commercial cattlemen, the first suggestion is to evaluate your crossbreeding program and make sure you are taking full advantage of heterosis (hybrid vigor). If your cow herd is made up of predominantly one breed then you might consider introducing a second breed and start a rotation system with those breeds. This can improve the productivity of your herd by greater than Continue reading

Frost Seeding Tips

– Mark Landefeld, OSU Extension Agriculture Educator, retired, Monroe County

Round bales had been fed here and the area was very rough from unusually wet conditions. Paddock before being lightly disc and drug one morning when the overnight temperature was 24°F.

Last week we discussed how this year many producers have more than normal amounts of pasture that has been moderately to heavily tracked-up by livestock due to the extensive wet soil conditions. Many of these pastures can use a little help in recovering by adding grass and or clover seed to these fields. Spending a few minutes to calibrate your seeder will help you get the desired amount of seed on the pasture. This will be particularly helpful if you have large areas needing seeded.

Calibrating a hand held seeder or broadcast seeder mounted on an ATV is not too hard to do. You will need a scale to weigh the seed, a few plastic bags, a measuring wheel or tape measure and maybe a Continue reading

Ohio Beef Expo Kicks Off March 15

The Ohio Beef Expo, the premier event of Ohio’s beef industry, will take place March 15-17 at the Ohio Expo Center in Columbus, Ohio. This annual event, coordinated by the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA), includes a kickoff social; breed sales, shows and displays; beef quality assurance sessions; a multi-day trade show and a highly competitive junior show.

OCA members and Expo exhibitors are invited to attend The Social, on Thursday evening, March 14, at the Expo headquarters hotel, the Hilton Columbus/Polaris. The kickoff event will auction items for OCA’s PAC fund such as two VIP parking spaces at the 2019 Ohio Beef Expo, an Ohio State fire ring and other great items.

For the first time in Expo history, the trade show will open on Thursday, March 14 from 3:00 – 6:00 p.m. This allows more Continue reading

Posted in Events

Weekly Livestock Comments for March 1, 2019

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

FED CATTLE: Fed cattle traded $3 higher on a dressed basis compared to last week. Dressed prices were mainly $205 while live trade appeared set for $127 to $128.
The 5-area weighted average prices thru Thursday were $128.00 live, up $3.02 from last week and $202.51 dressed, up $1.51 from a week ago. A year ago prices were $126.80 live and $204.29 dressed.

The April live cattle contract is running more than a $9 premium to the June con-tract and more than a $13 premium to the August contract. At the same time, the finished cattle market is trading between a negative $1 to negative $2 basis compared to the April contract. Considering this scenario, there is a large price gap to fill between now and the June contract. As likely or as unlikely as it may seem that finished cattle prices will decline $9 between April and June, the market could actually have more swing than what is being represented by futures. Steer slaughter the first couple of months of 2019 has been below previous year levels which likely means Continue reading

The Role of Soil Health in Water-Logged Fields

Erika Lyon, OSU Extension Educator, Jefferson & Harrison Counties (originally published in the Expo 2019 issue of The Ohio Cattleman)

Healthy soils = productive pasture. And, water-logged soils that resulted in mud is just one component that might have led to decline in soil health in 2018!

It was just a little while ago when we wanted the rain to stop and the temperatures to drop below freezing to end the accumulation of mud in our fields. We got our wish later in January, but what will be the long-term implications of these muddy fields?

First, we need to understand what created these water-logged conditions in the first place. While excessive rainfall certainly has a role to play, the health of the soil affected will determine how long mud persists and whether forages will be able to recover in the following spring.

Before going into what soil health is, let’s explore what soil is. Soil is not just made up of “dirt.” It consists of mineral material derived from the bedrock below, pore space filled with air and water, and organic matter generated by microbes and macro-invertebrates. Healthy soils will have all of the aforementioned components and function as a living ecosystem – if a component is missing or one occurs in excess, we will begin to see Continue reading

Posted in Pasture

Mud Damaged Pastures: We Gotta Play the Hand We’re Dealt

Mark Landefeld, OSU Extension Agriculture Educator, Monroe County

Few Ohio cattlemen are without areas like this that must be addressed after soil conditions permit this spring.

Winter always creates challenges for livestock producers. Keeping ice out of water buckets and off our water troughs can be a challenge, especially with sub-zero temperatures like we had a few weeks ago. Of course that did provide solid ground for a few days, something we have not seen much of this fall or winter. Pastures and feeding areas have really taken a “hit” this year causing mud to sprout and grow everywhere it seems. Every livestock owner I have talked to the last few weeks has the same situation, more mud and more tracked-up fields than they can ever recall before.

Mud increases stress for the livestock and the farm manager. The way you manage, or don’t manage, muddy conditions affects your livestock’s performance and may have a big impact on damaging forage plants in your pastures. Multiple research studies have shown that, when Continue reading