Is it Bedding or is it Feed?

Steve Boyles, OSU Extension Beef Specialist

Alternative feedstuffs available to Ohio livestock producers include the crop residues and alternative forage and grain products mentioned below:

CEREAL GRAINS STRAW: Straw is an alternative for cows and sheep if properly supplemented with energy, protein, minerals, and vitamins. Satisfactory supplements include cereal grains, crop processing co-products such as wheat midds, or high quality hays. Oat straw is the most palatable and nutritious, followed by barley straw and wheat straw. Rye straw has little feed value. Continue reading

Options for Cattle Producers During a Summer Drought

Francis Fluharty, Research Associate Professor; Steven C. Loerch, Professor, The Ohio State University

Drought conditions are intensifying and quickly moving north, progressing over most of Ohio. This, following on the heals of a very poor yielding first cutting of hay is causing many cattle producers to begin to feed next winter’s hay supply, and/or consider selling light weight calves at a discounted values.

Researchers at The Ohio State University have several years of data and experience with managing early-weaning calves as well as alternative ways to feed the cow herd. From 100 to 205 days of age, calves that are fed high-concentrate diets convert 3.5 to 4.5 pounds of feed to a pound of gain. With the current price of corn, some may be concerned that it’s too expensive to feed. However, our data suggests this is not the case and there is no reason to sell light weight calves at a loss. Continue reading

Harvesting Stressed Alfalfa and Other Forages

Mark Sulc, Forage Specialist, OSU Extension

I have received several calls about harvesting alfalfa that appears to be under stress from dry weather. Alfalfa usually has a strong capacity to continue growth under dry conditions, and we would normally expect alfalfa to be growing better than it is at this stage in a dry cycle. The late spring frost injury combined with the first harvest taken before the crop had a chance to replenish taproot reserves has likely contributed to the weak regrowth now being observed. Continue reading

Oats, Turnips and Teff

A couple of weeks ago in this publication, Jeff McCutcheon mentioned “summer annuals for grazing” including a grass native of Ethiopia called Teff. Below is a photo of Teff the Burnworths from Bremen planted on May 28, 2007. The photo is taken at three weeks after planting “in dust” and having received a total of 0.6 inch rain since planting. Their goal is to harvest it on July 4 weekend. Continue reading

It’s Deja Vu . . . all over again!

Stan Smith, PA, Fairfield County OSU Extension

In the words of old Yankee Hall of Famer number 8, Yogi Berra, it sure seems like deja vu all over again. Much of Ohio and many parts of the Midwest saw it in 1999, and 2002, and again in 2005 . . . significantly below normal precipitation in spring and early summer which set the stage for below normal production of hay and pasture.

After experiencing a very wet fall and winter, this year’s 3 inch below normal precipitation in May was preceded by an extraordinary freeze in early April. All that adds up to what many are describing as only 30-60% of normal spring forage production. Continue reading

Grazing Management in Dry Times

Jeff McCutcheon, Extension Educator, Knox County

Graziers with whom I have the privilege to work are concerned. Many are reporting 0.4″ total rain for the month of May and the average temperature 10 degrees hotter than normal. This translates into grass growth slowing and even stopping, right in the peak production period for our cool season pastures. What is a grazier to do? Relax. Remember, we have been here before – dry periods are expected, but not enjoyed. Of course, if you just started Continue reading

Is it Time to Consider Early Weaning?

– Dr. Thomas B. Turner, Department of Animal Sciences, The Ohio State University

For most beef producers with spring calving cow herds, summer is a time to focus on other things. It seems like the one season of the year when we can reduce the hours per week spent with the beef enterprise. Things appear to be okay and they probably are “okay” but are there potential profits being lost? Consider the following Continue reading

Summer Annuals for Grazing

Jeff McCutcheon, Extension Educator, Knox County

It is the first of June and grass growth has slowed or stopped. You are grazing through your fields and considering your options. One option to consider is planting summer annuals for grazing in mid to late July.

If there is any land not planted in corn, we could still plant something that could be grazed in 45-60 days. Of course corn is a grass and could be grazed Continue reading