Managing Drought Stressed Hay Fields

Mark Sulc, Extension Forage Specialist, The Ohio State University

The dry weather combined with high temperatures and low humidity across many regions of Ohio this summer has limited summer growth of many hay fields. This is especially true of grass and mixed grass-legume hay stands. There are fields where very little regrowth has occurred since the second cutting. In some pockets of the state, regrowth has been Continue reading

Plan Last Alfalfa Cutting

Rory Lewandowski, Extension Educator, Wayne County and Mark Sulc, Extension Forage Specialist, The Ohio State University

Drought conditions, high leafhopper numbers, and a more frequent harvest schedule are common factors for alfalfa fields this year in many parts of the state. All of these factors can contribute to shorter stand life. In general, 5 or more cuttings of alfalfa per year can shorten Continue reading

CRP ‘Hay’ Requires Unique Management

Stan Smith, OSU Extension PA, Fairfield County

In response to forage shortages created by the drought, CRP acres were made available for “Emergency” haying and grazing. Deadline for mechanical harvest of those acres is this Friday, August 31.

Unfortunately, the very mature cool season grasses that are in most of our CRP fields will require a little extra effort to turn them into “feed.” They will be so mature Continue reading

Traditional Marketing May Not Work This Time Around

John F. Grimes, OSU Extension Beef Coordinator

Nearly every facet of production agriculture is currently feeling the drought that has hit much of the country this year. We are about to learn the extent of grain yield reductions as harvest has begun in portions of the Corn Belt. The market obviously expects significant yield reductions given the rapid price increases we have seen for corn and soybeans. These price increases have quickly been reflected in feed costs not only in the raw commodities but in by-product feeds as well.

The drought has certainly impacted the livestock industry and Continue reading

Winter Feed Options

Rory Lewandowski, Extension Educator, Wayne County (A reprint and revision of the September 26, 2007 newsletter article)

The drought of 2012 will be one for the record books and for livestock owners the drought is already affecting winter feed options. Competition for scarce hay supplies is driving the price for even low quality hay to record highs. At hay auctions around the Wayne County area within the last month or so it is not uncommon to see lots of hay selling for $400 per ton or higher. I saw some hay that sold for $500 per ton. With those kinds of prices, it is not easy to make a forage purchase decision. In these circumstances what options can be considered Continue reading

Does it Pay to Stockpile Fescue and Orchardgrass?

Clif Little, OSU Extension Guernsey and Noble Counties

Stockpiling fescue and orchardgrass is generally considered an economical way to extend the grazing season and cut feed costs. However, high fertilizer costs and applications of nitrogen too late in the growing season may call this practice into question.

It goes without saying stockpiling does have some risks. We have to apply Continue reading

Salvaging Standing Corn as Baleage

– Dr. Jeff Lehmkuhler, Extension Beef Specialist, University of Kentucky

This summer’s high temperatures and lack of precipitation has played havoc on grain fields. In some cases the standing corn looks fair while other fields it is completely burned up. In many fields in which the standing corn looks decent, upon further inspection it is seen that the ears are poorly pollinated or completely barren. Some producers are looking into options for salvaging this corn crop as silage for feeding to their cows and feeder calves by baling the crop into round bales and wrapping it in plastic Continue reading

Determining Pregnancy Status of Beef Cattle

John F. Grimes, OSU Extension Beef Coordinator

Determining the pregnancy status of beef cattle continues to be one of the most underutilized yet relatively easy to implement management practices available to beef producers. Results from the 2007-08 National Animal Health Monitoring System Beef Study indicated that approximately 18% of cow-calf operations utilized palpation as a tool for diagnosing pregnancy status. The conditions we are experiencing in 2012 warrant a significant increase in the number Continue reading

The Impact of Hot Weather on Bull Fertility

– Glenn Selk, Oklahoma State University Emeritus Extension Animal Scientist

Several research trials have been conducted throughout the years looking at the effect of high temperatures on bull fertility. Certainly that research has importance to many Southern Plains cattlemen in the summer of 2012. As far back as 1963, researchers exposed bulls to temperatures of 104 degrees F. and 54% humidity for an 8 period and then allowed the temperature to drop to 82 degrees F with 72% humidity for the remainder of the 24 hour period. This temperature regimen was continued for 7 days and was designed to resemble natural conditions in the subtropics. They found the high temperatures resulted in major detrimental effects Continue reading

Is This the Time to Add Cows?

Stan Smith, OSU Extension PA, Fairfield County

Here’s my thought for the day: The drought is so extreme in parts of Ohio that we may have more high quality feed available to feed cows and background calves than ever before! Yes, you read that correctly . . . the result of this drought may ultimately provide for us more feed for some classes of ruminants than we might have available in a typical year. Let me explain.

About a week and a half ago corn silage harvest began locally. This corn was planted early, didn’t get very tall, and was quickly drying up from the heat and lack of precipitation. Like much of the corn belt, since May 1, the county is about 7 inches below normal on precipitation.

Here’s the bottom line . . . Continue reading