Are You Ready and Willing to Change?

John F. Grimes, OSU Extension Beef Coordinator (originally published in The Ohio Farmer)

There is no doubt that in nearly every aspect of life, change is inevitable. You don’t have to look too hard to find examples of this in everyday life. Changes such as automated steering in farm equipment, self-driving cars, the home delivery of meal kits, “smart” phones, DNA tests in humans and animals to identify genetic traits and defects, Facebook, and YouTube are a few of the changes that have impacted countless lives since the turn of the century. These changes remind me of the phrase that goes “Not all change is progress but progress is certainly change!”

The cow-calf sector of the beef industry is currently undergoing Continue reading

How to get More out of your Pastures and Improve Water Quality

Bob Hendershot, Retired State Grassland Conservationist, NRCS

Improving your pasture management skills will grow more forage that will have higher quality that will better feed your livestock and make you more money. A better pasture should just keep getting better year after year including; improving the environment; improving the soil, water, air, plants, and animals as well as reducing your energy requirements. Healthy soils can grow healthy plants that can allow animals to grow quicker, stronger and healthier, which will reduce the cost of production. We will discuss ways to improve the water quality in the runoff from your grazing system; improve the soil fertility in your pasture; that will improve the pasture plant composition; and will Continue reading

There’s Still Time to Manage Pastures

– Victor Shelton, NRCS State Agronomist/Grazing Specialist

What percent of this pasture is clover?

It seems that we try and crowd way too much into some months, especially December, when we probably should be slowing down and enjoying family and friends and the reason for the season. I have a hard time accomplishing that.

I just spent a week on the Tennessee-Kentucky line with a national work team revising the NRCS pasture condition scoresheet. Pasture regions across the nation were represented, including Alaska. Our charge was basically to Continue reading

Cost of Wintering Cattle

– Jared Geiser, Research Assistant and Brenda Boetel, Professor and Extension Economist, Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Wisconsin-River Falls

As we move into the winter feeding months cow calf producers have additional opportunities to impact their bottom line. Winter feeding costs represent the single largest cost to cattlemen, typically representing 55-80% of total costs for their cowherd. This cost is important to consider when making the decision to cull open or unproductive cows or feed them through winter while trying to improve body condition score. Additional consideration should be given to feed resources available and market value for cull cows.

Cow calf producers should consider what their individual feed costs are, along with feed availability. The average cow can eat Continue reading

Weekly Livestock Comments for December 8, 2017

– Andrew P. Griffith, University of Tennessee

FED CATTLE: Fed cattle traded $3 to $4 lower compared to last week on a live basis. Prices on a live basis were mainly $117 while dressed prices were mainly $186 to $187.

The 5-area weighted average prices thru Thursday were $117.47 live, down $3.21 from last week and $187.03 dressed, down $3.02 from a week ago. A year ago prices were $108.89 live and $169.96 dressed.

The December live cattle futures price has plummeted since early November losing nearly Continue reading

Using Goats to Improve Cattle Pastures

Marcus McCartney, OSU Extension AgNR Educator, Washington County (originally published in Farm & Dairy)

Do you have leftover fair goats, or inherited some that did not make weight at the fair?

Perhaps your kids or grandkids have been bugging you for the small ruminant animal for some time. Or by chance, did you come into a small herd recently?

If so, then don’t perceive goat ownership as a chore or inconvenience but rather embrace it, think positive, and start letting the goats work for you.

There are several ways goats can be a useful management tool in Continue reading

Managing Forage Risk: Specie Diversification and PRF Insurance

– Andrew P. Griffith, University Of Tennessee

First question, who remembers the drought periods of summer and fall 2016, summer 2015, summer 2012, winter 2011, fall 2010, summer and fall 2008, and pretty much all of 2007? It is pretty easy to make the point that cattle producers have faced several challenging times as it relates to precipitation and forage production. Next question, knowing that drought periods have been fairly frequent and intense, what management decisions have been made to reduce the negative impacts of such events?

Managing forage risk is probably not at the top of most producers’ minds as hay feeding will soon dominate cattle diets. However, now is a prime time to Continue reading

Age and Source Verification Can Work

– Kris Ringwall, NDSU Extension Service

A decade has passed since the Dickinson Research Extension Center summarized a calf-tagging program to improve market traceability.

The data, when revisited, tells an old story. From 2004 to 2006, a total of 14,432 calves were tagged individually and followed. Data showed 19.5 percent remained on the ranch or farm of birth as replacement cattle.

Of the calves sold, 13 percent were traced to backgrounding lots (lots designed for slower growth prior to a full finishing program), 29.3 percent were traced to feedlots for finishing and 27.5 percent were traced to the point of harvest. Additionally, 10.3 percent were unable to be traced and effectively lost. Continue reading

Chronic Pneumonia in Feeder Calves? Thank Mycoplasma Bovis

– Michelle Arnold, DVM (Ruminant Extension Veterinarian, UKVDL), University of Kentucky

In this era of advanced vaccine technology and long-acting, expensive, powerful antibiotics, why do chronic pneumonia cases (“chronics”, “lungers”, “railers”) continue to occur? Mycoplasma bovis is considered the bacterial pathogen most often responsible for the development of chronic pneumonia in feeder operations. While Mannheimia haemolytica causes the dramatic pneumonia signs of fever, depression, appetite loss and rapid death, Mycoplasma bovis (M. bovis) is the underlying problem that continues to send calves back to the treatment pen. The organism has several unique survival mechanisms allowing it to dodge the immune system and Continue reading

Agriculture Today with K-State livestock economist Glynn Tonsor

In this podcast from December 4, K-State livestock economist Glynn Tonsor covers the cattle market scene: he comments on the perception of weakening domestic beef demand that led cattle futures to drop off late last week, and he talks about his recent budget analysis on how deep into 2018 one should retain their backgrounder calves.

Hear Tonsor’s comments linked here in mp3 format.