Timely Frost Seeding Improves Pasture, Hay Stands!

Chris Penrose, Extension Educator, OSU Extension, Morgan County

If and when the seed can reach the soil in late winter while there is still freezing and thawing activity, clover can fill in bare spots and add to the density of the pasture stand.

In the past as we’ve talked about the virtues of frost seeding, we’ve suggested it’s something that is best to occur in February or March during the period when the ground is freezing and thawing almost daily. In recent years freezing and thawing temperatures haven’t always happened after mid-February. Since it’s the freezing and thawing over time that gives frost seeding a great chance to work, the time for frost seeding may be upon us soon.

Frost seeding is a very low cost, higher risk way to establish new forages in existing fields by spreading seed over the field and let the freezing and thawing action of the soil allow the seed to make “seed to soil” contact allowing it to successfully germinate. When you see soils “honeycombed” in the morning from a hard frost, or heaved up from a frost, seed that was spread on that soil has a great chance to make a seed to soil contact when the soil thaws. I think the two biggest reasons why frost seeding fails is Continue reading

Antibiotic Stewardship in Calves – Part 1

Haley Zynda, Extension Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources, Wayne County, Ohio State University Extension

You’ve likely heard of Beef Quality Assurance, but what about Veal Quality Assurance? Essentially, it is the same type of certification for the well-being and proper handling of veal calves. However, a new addition to the certification training is antibiotic stewardship – a concept translatable to almost every livestock operation out there. The goal of the program is for farm personnel to correctly identify calves for treatment using a treatment protocol written by the herd veterinarian, thus improving responsible use of antibiotics. Drs. Jessica Pempek and Greg Habing put together a three-part training, of which I’ll summarize each with their own article.

Part 1 of the Antibiotic Stewardship in Calves is titled “Antibiotic Use and Resistance.” Before we jump into details, do you know the specifics on different types of medication? What do antibiotics treat? If you answered viral, fungal, protozoal, or parasitic infections, unfortunately you’d be incorrect. An antibiotic is a medicine that inhibits the growth of or kills bacteria. Antibiotics are not . . .

Continue reading Antibiotic Stewardship in Calves – Part 1

Virtual Beef School Begins Next Week With ‘Outlook’

Register today and listen in on one, or all!

The OSU Extension Beef Team isl offering a Virtual Beef School with one webinar per month beginning next week and concluding in April. The first webinar features economist Dr. Andrew Griffith of the University of Tennessee presenting on Beef Markets and Outlooks at 6:00 p.m. on Monday, January 24, 2022. Interested attendees can register for this and any of the other webinars for free by visiting: https://go.osu.edu/beefschool22.

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USDA offers free RFID tags

Ohio cattlemen can request the free, white 840 tags.

In further support of their effort to transition to 840 radio frequency identification (RFID) tags for official identification for cattle and bison throughout the U.S., the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is making 840 RFID tags available free to cattlemen and veterinarians. In Ohio, both the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association and the Ohio Department of Agriculture have been approved to distribute these free tags while they last.

The RFID tags are only intended for use in replacement stock. There are both white “840” button tags and orange “840” calfhood vaccination (OCV) button tags available. All RFID tags are low frequency tags. Veterinarians may receive both white and orange tags, while cattle producers may only receive the white 840 tags.

A Premises Identification Number (PIN) is required to order the free RFID tags. To obtain a PIN, Continue reading

Hay Production and Prices

– James Mitchell, Livestock Marketing Specialist, University of Arkansas

Last week USDA-NASS published their 2021 Crop Production Summary. The report includes information about U.S. hay production and December 1 hay stocks. USDA splits hay data into two categories, alfalfa and all other hay. All other hay is the relevant category for the Southeast.

All other hay production totaled 70.951 million tons in 2021, down 3.8% from the prior year. Several southern states had year-over-year declines in hay production. All other hay production declined Continue reading

Cold Stress and Beef Cows

Steve Boyles, OSU Extension Beef Specialist

Factors that create stress during the winter months are cold, wind, snow, rain and mud. The primary effect on animals is due to temperature. All these factors alter the maintenance energy requirement of livestock. Maintenance requirement can be defined, as the nutrients required for keeping an animal in a state of balance so that body substance is neither gained or lost. An interesting thing to note is that while energy requirements increase, protein requirements remain the same.

Some published sources contain nutrient requirements for beef cattle that include guidelines for adjusting rations during winter weather. Even without published sources, competent livestock producers realize the need for more feed during cold weather. Make sure that Continue reading

The Top Ten New Years’ Resolutions for Cow/Calf Producers

Dr. Michelle Arnold, UK Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

We have all heard this phrase, often attributed to Albert Einstein, and it certainly applies when it comes to the health and care of cattle. If you want to improve health and prevent as many problems as possible, think of adopting one or more of the following resolutions.

In 2022, I resolve to . . Continue reading

Three Questions for the 2022 Cattle Market

– Kenny Burdine, Livestock Marketing Specialist, University of Kentucky

From my perspective, cow-calf operators have been as frustrated over the last couple of years as I have ever seen them. Several commodity markets improved a great deal during 2021, but the improvement in calf prices was pretty minimal. In reality, the cow-calf sector has been handed 4-5 consecutive challenging years. Fundamentals appeared to be setting up for price improvement two years ago, but between COVID in 2020 and sharply higher grain prices in 2021, calf markets have struggled to gain any traction at all. I remain bullish on the 2022 market and think we will see our best spring calf market since 2016, but unknowns always exist. So, I wanted to focus this week’s discussion on three key questions that I think will drive this year’s calf market.

How high will fed cattle prices go?
Fed cattle prices typically make their highs in the spring of the year and move downward through summer and fall. Last year, slaughter cattle prices improved by about $17 per cwt from early October to early December, but did pull back a bit as we moved through December. As I write this on the morning of January 10th, April CME© Live Cattle futures are on the board above $140 and the break to Continue reading

Questions a Plenty Going Forward

Garth Ruff, Beef Cattle Field Specialist, Ohio State University Extension

What is driving recent cash fed cattle higher prices at auction? What is the cattle market going to look like in 2022?  Those have been common questions as of late, especially after record setting fed cattle auction prices during the first week of December at several Ohio auction markets.

Auction Price Dynamics

As we know in agriculture, the law of supply and demand still has a great impact on commodity prices. Let’s talk about demand first.

We often do not know, especially with regards to fed cattle is the balance between supply and demand of a given packer on a given harvest day. For a plant to operate efficiently, it needs to operate at capacity to cover fixed costs associated with daily operations.

From the supply side of things, most packers fill a day’s harvest with a combination of cattle that are forward contracted, negotiated or formula priced, and cattle purchased on the cash market. Depending on where, and who the packer is, the ratios between the three purchasing avenues will vary greatly.

Without getting too into the weeds on how cattle are scheduled for harvest, one can deduce that if the supply of contracted or negotiated price cattle is limited, there is a need to purchase fed cattle on the cash or spot market.

When more than one packer at an auction is caught short handed on supply, the need to fill Continue reading

Dealing with fertilizer costs and shortages: “No Silver Bullets”

– Victor Shelton, Retired NRCS State Agronomist/Grazing Specialist

This might be a good year to only apply fertilizer if you really need it – when soil tests indicate below moderate levels.

It might not seem like it much yet, but every day we are starting to get a bit more daylight.  I like heading this direction again, but we are still a long way from spring.  I like to use cold January days to catch up on reading and planning for the upcoming season.

One of the bigger challenges for this season is going to be fertilizer costs.  If you have “stockpiled” some soil fertility in your pastures and hay fields, then you certainly look pretty smart right now.

Banking some fertility is easier to do on pastures than it is on hay fields.  The majority of nutrients on pastures are returned to the soil for new plant growth with good grazing management.  If hay is removed from a site, those nutrients in the forage leave the field – mechanical harvest of forages does deplete nutrients over time if not replaced.

Dr. Chris Teutsch of UK Research and Education Center recently released a Continue reading