Hay Quality 2019; It’s Déjà vu All Over Again!

Stan Smith, PA, Fairfield County OSU Extension

A forage probe for sampling hay might be the most valuable tool you can use in 2019!

Coming off a year where quality forages for beef cattle were in short supply throughout Ohio, now in mid-2019 we find that inventory remains critically low. With the National Ag Statistics Service (NASS) estimating only 60% of Ohio’s first cutting hay harvest was completed by the first of July, it’s apparent that Ohio cattlemen will again be faced with finding ways to make “feed” from hay that was harvested way past it’s prime.

As an example of the hay quality we’re seeing, a recent forage analysis on some Fairfield County mixed grass hay that was mowed on June 25th and baled on June 29 – after also getting lightly rained on once – came back showing 6.85% protein and 38.02% TDN (total digestible nutrients) on a dry matter basis. The ADF (acid detergent fiber) was 51.63% and the NDF (neutral detergent fiber) was 65.51%.

I could tell you that’s not good, but perhaps a better way is to compare it to wheat straw. When you look up the “book values” for the feed nutrient content of straw you find that Continue reading

Grazing Options for Supplementing Poor Quality Forages

Chris Penrose, OSU Extension Educator, Agriculture & Natural Resources, Morgan County (originally published in The Ohio Cattleman summer issue)

Many of us will be feeding poor quality hay again this winter, likely similar to last winter. When I mowed down hay over the weekend, the grass was past mature to the point that fescue had already dropped seeds and the tops were brown. Weeds were continuing to overtake the stand and I am not halfway done with first cutting. We have learned of many issues arising from feeding poor quality hay this past winter including lower body conditions, difficulty calving, not re-breeding, and even some cows starving to death with full stomachs. What can we do to avoid problems for this winter? One simple answer will be to add corn to the diet. Quite often, energy is the most limiting factor, maybe protein, maybe both. It is critical to take a forage test on your hay to determine what additional needs will be. Simply a few pounds of corn a day may work. Dr. Francis Fluharty recommended corn cracked into 3-4 pieces will maximize digestibility. When I supplement with corn, often I find a heavy sod and feed whole shell corn on the ground to cattle and they clean it up. If protein is limiting, protein tubs may help. Don’t forget that grinding hay will improve digestibility, but if protein and energy is too low, you still need to supplement.

We are still early enough in the year to consider Continue reading

There’s time to grow more feed!

Stan Smith, OSU Extension, Fairfield County and Allen Gahler, Extension Educator, Sandusky County (originally published in The Ohio Cattleman summer issue)

Oats planted soon on available acres have plenty of time to become high quality feed!

It’s not often we talk about forage shortages and above normal precipitation in the same breath. Regardless, that’s exactly where we are now throughout Ohio. Over the past year while abundant rainfall may have allowed us to grow lots of forage, unfortunately, it seems the weather has seldom allowed us to harvest it as high-quality feed.

Since last fall the demand for quality forages has been on the increase. It began with a wet fall that forced us from pasture fields early. Followed by constantly muddy conditions, cattle were requiring more feed and energy than normal. At the same time, even though temperatures were moderate during much of the fall of 2018, cows with a constantly wet hair coat were, yet again, expending more energy than normal to remain in their comfort zone. Then, as a cold late January 2019 evolved into February, in many cases mud had matted down the winter coats of cattle reducing their hair’s insulating properties, thus causing them to require even more energy in the cold weather.

Reduced supplies of quality forages coupled with increased demand over the past year have led us to a perfect storm that’s resulted in the lowest inventory of hay in Ohio since the 2012 drought, and the 4th lowest in 70 years. The spring of 2019 weather didn’t Continue reading

Filling the Gap with Forages: Cover crop forage options on Prevented Planting acres

If you’re looking to harvest or graze quality forage from Prevented Planting acres yet this fall, or next spring, this is a “must see” video presentation!

Throughout this fast paced webinar recording, Rory Lewandowski, OSU Extension Educator in Wayne County, offers a wide variety of considerations for planting cover crops on Prevented Planting acres that can also double as harvest-able or grazeable forage for livestock.

Dean’s Charity Steer Show

On July 30, 2019, Cathann A. Kress, Vice President for Agricultural Administration and Dean of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, along with Ohio Cattlemen’s Association and Telhio Credit Union, will host the inaugural Dean’s Charity Steer Show benefiting the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio (RMHC). This event brings together our community to celebrate agriculture and support children and their families that rely on RMHC during difficult times. The show and sale will feature local celebrity exhibitors partnered with a 4-H member and their steer. All funds raised will benefit the Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Central Ohio. Make a . . .

Continue reading Dean’s Charity Steer Show

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Weekly Livestock Comments for July 12, 2019

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

FED CATTLE: Fed cattle traded $3 higher compared to last week on a live basis. Live prices were mainly $112 to $115 while dressed prices were mainly $181 to $184.

The 5-area weighted average prices thru Thursday were $114.64 live, up $3.43 from last week and $183.06 dressed, up $2.94 from a week ago. A year ago prices were $110.00 live and $174.79 dressed.

Feedlots have been moving out inventory which has made managers hungry to fill those pens with feeder cattle. At the same time, feedlot managers found a way to push packers into higher finished cattle prices which is a rarity for the time of year. One might assume the higher prices this week means the market has reached its summer low and that may be the case. However, the finished cattle market will continue to be pressured the next several weeks moving through July and August. Thus, there is a good chance finished cattle prices Continue reading

Corn Price Impact on Feeder Cattle Prices

– Brenda Boetel, Professor, Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Wisconsin-River Falls

Feeder cattle prices are determined by several factors, with feed price and fed-cattle price having the greatest impact. The corn price has typically had an inverse relationship to both fed and feeder cattle prices. This means, as the price of corn increases, the price of feeder cattle decreases. This assumes that all other factors have remained constant, including other feeding costs as well as fed-cattle price.

Since the beginning of May 2019, new crop corn prices have increased approximately $0.70 on late planting and concerns over prevented planting. The USDA reports highlighting fundamental corn data on planting, yield and storage would indicate that corn price should be decreasing. The July 11 World Ag Supply and Demand Estimates reported the corn acreage at the June estimate of 91.7 million acres. Additionally, old crop stocks increased due to a reduction in export estimates.

The market obviously isn’t believing the USDA data. On top of that disbelief, the July 15 crop progress report indicates Continue reading

Weaner Cattle Need Their Own Trainer

– Kirsten Nickles MSc and Anthony Parker PhD, The Ohio State University Department of Animal Sciences

The addition of a social facilitator cow seems to reduce the negative walking behaviors associated with weaning.

The most common weaning method in the United States beef industry is the abrupt removal of calves from cows at 5-8 months of age (Enríquez et al., 2011). Natural weaning in beef cattle however, occurs later in life for a calf at 7-14 months of age (Reinhardt and Reinhardt, 1981). The immediate cessation of milk supply and complete maternal separation causes calves to exhibit stereotypical behaviors such as walking and vocalizing at weaning. Calves will engage in these stereotypical behaviors for three to four days and the excessive activity and lack of feed intake result in body weight loss and fatigue (Weary et al., 2008). The anxiety and frustration experienced at weaning by the calf are critical factors that negatively affect the growth rate of the calf and can contribute to the onset of disease such as bovine respiratory disease. This is why we should aim to manage calves in a way that reduces these negative stereotypical weaning behaviors.

The use of a “trainer cow” or “social facilitator” has been proposed as a method to Continue reading

Grazing Workshop to Focus on Forage Diversity and Grazing Efficiency

– John Kellis, ODA Grazing Management Specialist

Summer grazing paddocks with warm season grasses allow cool-season fescue pastures to be rested for strip grazing in late fall and winter.

Livestock producers are being invited to an important grazing workshop at Millstone Creek Farm near Hillsboro on Tuesday July 16th from 6:00 till 9:00 PM.  Tim and Sandy Shoemaker have been working with grazing specialists and wildlife professionals to develop a more efficient and diversified grazing operation since 2004.

The workshop will highlight the recent transition of the Shoemaker’s CRP filter strips to warm-season grass mixed pastures.  This will complete the final major piece of their Grazing Management Plan.  The Shoemakers established a rotational grazing system soon after they started their grazing operation some 15 years ago.  One goal Tim and Sandy set for their new operation was to be efficient as producers, and they integrated fall stockpiling of their fescue pastures to reduce the need to produce hay as supplemental feed for their Black Angus herd.  Adding the summer grazing paddocks will allow them to Continue reading

Pasture-Raised Livestock and Pasture Consultant Farm Tour

Both cattle and sheep will be observed on pasture, much like these fall lambing ewes that you see here on oats.

You’re invited to a pasture walk and tour at Bob Hendershot’s Windy Hill Farm east of Circleville on July 25. The walk will begin at 5 p.m. and will include a close-up look at his cattle and sheep grazing operation.

Hendershot began his career with the Soil Conservation Service (later changed to the Natural Resources Conservation Service or NRCS) as a soil scientist mapping soils for the soil survey program. He was promoted to a Conservation Agronomist and he and his young family moved to Circleville. He later was promoted to Resource Conservationist and finally State Grassland Conservationist in 1985.

Bob presently lives on the same pasture farm that his family moved Continue reading