Constructively Thankful

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

In the season of Thanksgiving, we gravitate to each other to express gratitude for blessings of all kinds. It feels good to be thankful and to be with grateful people. I hope that as you prepare for the Thanksgiving holiday that you take the time to meditate on the blessings in your life and on the farm and that it fills you with satisfaction.

When listing our many blessings, we often skip expressing thankfulness toward are the learning experiences we gain through less than perfect scenarios. Yet, I think those scenarios are often more worthy of recognition than our obvious successes, because through challenges, we grow.

Along with your lists of blessings, I suggest making a list of things that Continue reading

Winter Application of Manure

Glen Arnold, Field Specialist, Manure Nutrient Management

Although not required by law, winter manure application should follow the NRCS 590 standards.

An unusually dry fall has allowed manure application to farm fields to be ahead of the normal schedule. Nevertheless, there will still be some application of manure to frozen ground or snow-covered ground.

Permitted farms are not allowed to apply manure in the winter unless it is an extreme emergency, and then movement to other suitable storage is usually the selected alternative. Several commercial manure applicators have established manure storage ponds in recent years to help address this issue.

In the . . .

Continue reading Winter Application of Manure

Meat Judging Programs and Why They Matter

Meat judging programs expose students to a multitude of skills.

Meat judging programs are currently the most effective tool for the recruitment and development of future meat science technologists. Meat judging is more than just the determination of the quality and lean meat yield of a carcass or wholesale cut; the program serves as a training tool to develop young leaders in the meat and livestock industries. Judging is a competitive event for youth through collegiate-age students and it has a deep-rooted history with the meat industry.

To learn more about meat judging programs and why they matter, see this new OSU Extension fact sheet authored by Dr. Lyda G. Garcia, Associate Professor Meat Science Extension Meat Specialist Fresh Meat Processing, and Meat Judging Coordinator in the OSU Department of Animal Sciences: Meat Judging Programs and Why They Matter

Do Beef Prices Drive Consumption or Does Beef Consumption Drive Prices?

– Dr. Kenny Burdine, Extension Professor, Livestock Marketing, University of Kentucky

I open a lot of my Extension programs by showing the retail price chart seen below and discussing general trends in production levels for our three main meats (beef, pork, and chicken). By the end of 2022, pork production is going to be down year-over-year and the increase in broiler production is going to be relatively small. Beef production will actually be a little bit higher than last year, primarily due to very high cow and heifer slaughter. However, that trend is likely to reverse in a big way for 2023 and we should see a reduction in beef production of 5% or more.

As I walk through this discussion, someone in the audience will sometimes ask something like, “given that retail beef prices are already very high, and production is likely to get even smaller next year, will retail beef prices get so high that consumers move away from purchasing beef at the grocery store?” When this comes up, the person asking the question is genuinely concerned that beef could price itself off the average plate. I thought this idea would be worth discussing in this week’s article.

I want to begin by Continue reading

Cattle on Feed

– Matthew Diersen, Risk & Business Management Specialist, Ness School of Management & Economics, South Dakota State University

The expectations before the November Cattle on Feed report were for fewer placements, more marketings, and fewer cattle on feed compared to a year ago. Several analysts expected placements to be down about five percent. The actual placements came in below the average expected as did the actual on-feed total. Feedlots in Colorado and Kansas have on-feed totals sharply lower than a year ago. Texas had a sharp decline in placements compared to last year, and those were uniformly lower across weight classes. Perhaps tight feed supplies are pressuring those feedlots. Idaho and Washington stood out slightly with increased placements compared to a year earlier. Overall, the report would be slightly supportive of nearby fed cattle prices as it indicates tighter supplies of market-ready cattle.

The on-feed situation is a continuation of a couple of longer-run patterns. In the October report the heifer mix in feedlots was reported at 39.7 percent of cattle on feed. This was an increase from a year earlier and from the prior quarter. It was also the highest heifer mix since 2001. The supply of feeder cattle outside of feedlots as of October 1 continued to decline. Note that the supply level outside feedlots was down Continue reading

Tenth Annual OCA Replacement Female Sale Features 86 Lots

Selling bred heifers, bred cows and and one pair, all less than 5 years old.

Details for the 86 bred females consigned to the 10th annual OCA Replacement Female Sale have been posted. The sale is being held Friday, November 25, at the Muskingum Livestock facility located at 944 Malinda Street in Zanesville and will begin at 6:00 p.m. This sale represents an excellent opportunity for anyone looking to add quality young replacement females to their herd.

Approximately 64 bred heifers, 21 bred cows and 1 cow/calf pair are being offered at this year’s sale. Females selling will have pregnancy status verified within 60 days of sale and are eligible for interstate shipment. Breeds represented include Angus, Red Angus, Hereford, Crossbred, LimFlex and Simmental.

All females selling are less than five years of age at sale time.  Find breeding information along with more detail including videos of the consignments on the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association web site at:

Take advantage of this opportunity to add quality and quantity to your herd.  If you have questions about the sale, contact Garth Ruff, sale manager, 740-651-7140 or or the OCA office at 614-873-6736 or

Making EPDs Understandable

– Jason Duggin, Dylan Davis, and Pedro Fontes, University of Georgia Beef Team

EPDs were designed to use in the comparison between two individual animals.

Expected progeny differences (EPD) are essential tools in the beef industry. Thus, it is important to understand their basic usage in beef herds. By utilizing the following key steps, EPDs can be readily understood. Let’s overview the following three steps to better understand how to use them effectively.

Continue reading Making EPDs Understandable

Cow and Heifer Slaughter Implications for Cattle Inventory

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

We are approaching the end of 2022 and are getting a more complete picture of beef cow and heifer slaughter and its implications for future supplies. Through October 29th, heifer slaughter is up about 5 percent in 2022 as compared to a year ago. Beef cow slaughter is approximately 13 percent higher than a year ago. Combined, approximately 765,000 more beef cows and heifers were processed in the first 10 months of 2022 as compared to the same period in 2021.

Trend lines are often useful for forecasts of all types. Shown in the graph above is a regression trend line that was estimated by LMIC using the relationship between beef cow/heifer slaughter and the prior year’s inventory. For 2022, this relationship would be the number of beef cows and heifers slaughtered this year relative to the total inventory of beef cows on January 1, 2022. Or put differently, it is how Continue reading

Lower Retail Beef Prices

– David P. Anderson, Professor and Extension Economist, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

The October Consumer Price Index (CPI) was released last week to a lot of headlines given the importance of the latest inflation numbers. Retail beef prices are included in the CPI and beef is one of the items that has been below a year ago and falling further. Two average retail beef prices are reported: Choice beef and the All Fresh beef. The Choice beef price is an average beef price of USDA Choice quality grade. The All Fresh includes fresh beef of any USDA grade. They both represent a number of different cuts.

The Choice beef retail price was reported to be $7.42 per pound in October. That was 6.1 percent below the record high of $7.90 per pound in October 2021. The Choice beef price was below a year ago for the third consecutive month. The All Fresh average retail price was $7.25 per pound, about 4 percent below a year ago. Prices are typically compared to a year ago because many items exhibit a seasonal trend and beef is no exception. Summer grilling tends to boost ground beef and some steaks. Fall and colder weather tends to boost roasts. And the rib primal gets a boost at the holidays. Over the last 5 years, on average, Choice and All Fresh beef prices tend to peak seasonally during May and June. This year, both exhibited fairly Continue reading

Are You Still Grazing?

Chris Penrose, Professor and Ag & Natural Resource Educator, Morgan County

I still am but I am not sure how much longer. My goal is to make it well into December then stop feeding most of the cows hay in early March. I started to stockpile some of my fields in August and everything was going great and growing through September. I even tried a technique that has been used on the east coast to lightly graze well stockpiled fields while there is still time for regrowth. The principle behind that is to stimulate new growth on the stockpiled grass that has slowed down. I took the cattle off the field around the first of October assuming another month of growth but guess what? Grass does not grow much when you get no rain. I actually had one of the best forage growing seasons I can recall until October, so I do have plenty of hay. The way things are going, I will likely start feeding hay by the end of November. When you farm, things rarely go as planned.

I do have a nice, stockpiled field on fairly level ground (for Morgan County, Ohio) that I will save until early March and place my spring calving cows there. My goal is to feed no more hay and have a nice, thick sod for the cows to calve on.

At this point, what can we do to help get us through the Continue reading