Fescue Toxicosis-Knowing the Signs

Christine Gelley, Ohio State University Extension Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources, Noble County (Originally published in the Summer, 2017 issue of the Ohio Cattleman magazine)

Tall fescue “Kentucky-31” (KY-31) is one of the most predominant forages in the nation. Its popularity began in the 1930s when a wild strain of fescue was discovered on a Kentucky farm and it became recognized for wide adaptability. In the1940s, the cultivated variety was publically released and can now be found in most pastures in the United States. This cultivar is easy to establish, persistent, tolerant of many environmental stresses, resistant to pests, and can aid livestock managers in prolonging the grazing season. However, tall fescue does not accomplish all of these tasks unassisted.

An endophytic fungus called Neotyphodium coenophialum can be credited for many of these benefits. The fungus cannot be seen and can only be detected by laboratory analysis. The fescue endophyte forms a mutually beneficial relationship with the grass, but this symbiotic relationship does not Continue reading

Making Observations Count

– Justin Sexten, Ph.D, Director, Supply Development, Certified Angus Beef

This time of year, you probably spend more time observing than working cattle. Calving is complete and bulls have been turned out with the spring herd. Fall calves are weaned and grass cattle are moving through pastures.

As the temperature rises, so does water intake for cattle. Their grazing activity moves to early morning and late evening, which presents the best opportunities to check the herd because “shaded up” cattle can be hard to find. We check cattle to watch for estrus and bull activity, monitor flies and look out for early symptoms of pinkeye or foot rot.

In my youth, a disproportionate amount of time in the summer was spent Continue reading

Controlling Pasture Flies on Cattle

Rory Lewandowski, OSU Extension Educator, Wayne County

Horn flies and face flies are the two most common flies that bother cattle in pasture settings.  From an economic standpoint, horn flies cause the most damage.  Research indicates that a good horn fly control program can result in 12 to 20 pounds of additional weight gain for calves as well as reduced weight loss for nursing cows.  The economic threshold for horn flies is generally considered as equal to or more than 100 flies/side or 200 per animal.  Face flies do not cause the same type of economic damage and no economic threshold number is available, but they can Continue reading

Clipping Just for Aesthetics is Hard to Justify

– Victor Shelton, NRCS State Agronomist/Grazing Specialist

July 4th usually reminds me that half of the growing season is pretty much gone. After panicking for a moment or two, it is best to just come to the conclusion that everything is done that needs to be done, and if not, perhaps it just wasn’t that important. I long for those July 4th holidays in the past that were huge family get-to-gathers, those out-of-the back of the vehicles while putting nitrogen on knee high corn in the river bottoms or the leisurely porch gatherings eating watermelon and blackberry pie. I’m not sure why all of a sudden everyone seems so busy, and there is just never enough time.

By now, most have made the decision on whether to clip pastures or not. Like I said before, clipping just for aesthetics is Continue reading

Keeping Cows Pregnant Through the Summer

– Dr. Justin Rhinehart, Assistant Professor, UT Beef Cattle Extension Specialist

In previous articles, we’ve talked about how to concentrate your breeding season and how much value that adds to your calf crop each year. But, getting cows bred is only part of the story. Keeping them bred, especially through the summer months, also takes attention to detail.

In normal situations where the bull is fertile and covers cows at the right time, fertilization rates approach 100%. So, if a normally expected single-service conception rate is 60-80%, the difference comes from embryonic or fetal loss. Most of this loss occurs in the first few days of development and those cows or heifers come back in heat and Continue reading

USDA Detects a Case of Atypical Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy in Alabama

– USDA APHIS, Washington D.C., July 18, 2017, Contacts: Donna Karlsons and Lyndsay Cole

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced an atypical case of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), a neurologic disease of cattle, in an eleven-year old cow in Alabama.  This animal never entered slaughter channels and at no time presented a risk to the food supply, or to human health in the United States.

USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s (APHIS) National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) have determined that this cow was positive for atypical (L-type) BSE.  The animal was showing clinical signs and was found through routine surveillance at an Alabama livestock market.  APHIS and Alabama veterinary officials are Continue reading

The EU-Japan Agreement and Implications for U.S. Beef

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

It was announced two weeks ago that the European Union (EU) and Japan have agreed in principle to an Economic Partnership Agreement. The agreement will gradually lower import tariffs on EU beef and pork entering Japan with an expected start date in early 2019. This deal is significant to the U.S. beef industry because it will give EU beef and pork an advantage in one of the most prominent U.S. beef export markets. Approximately one-quarter of total Continue reading

Adding Value to Feeder Calves

John F. Grimes, OSU Extension Beef Coordinator (this article was published previously in the Ohio Farmer magazine at ohiofarmer.com)

As we move towards mid-summer, it is interesting to note the changing priorities of the cow-calf producer.  Back in the winter and early spring, we had the excitement of a new calving season and opportunity to evaluate the genetic choices made in 2016.  We then transitioned into the spring and early summer and the typical breeding season for most producers.  This marks the chance to make improvements in the breeding program or continue on the path of proven successful matings.

There is plenty of summer left to enjoy but it is not too early to start thinking about the fall.  Let’s not get ahead of ourselves by already thinking about cooler temperatures and the beautiful colors of fall foliage.  However, I am asking you to start thinking about management practices that can ultimately impact the value of the 2017 calf crop.

Most cattlemen will Continue reading

Priming the Calf Immune System for the Challenges Ahead

Justin Kieffer, DVM, Clinical Veterinarian, Assistant Professor, Office of the Attending Veterinarian and Department of Animal Sciences, The Ohio State University

Now that calving is completed, the days are longer, and the grass is growing (hopefully), it is time to start preparing for the weaning and eventual sale or feedlot finishing of your calf crop and development of your replacement females. Once the cow calf pairs have been kicked out to pasture in the spring, there is a tendency to put off or ignore the steps needed not only to set the feedlot calf up for success, but also to lay the groundwork for proper health for your new heifers.

Management techniques such as castration and dehorning should take place Continue reading

Should I clip/mow my pasture?

– Travis Meteer, Extension Educator, Commercial Agriculture, Orr Agricultural R&D Center

A frequent question for early summer time is “Should I clip my pasture?” In most cases, the farmer is seeking a yes or no answer…and hopefully validation of their current practice. Unfortunately, the answer is somewhat dependent on your previous pasture management and current grazing system.

If you have pastures with heavy weed pressure, encroaching woody species, and a predominantly continuous grazing system… then clipping pastures is most Continue reading