The Real Cost of Limiting Nutrients

– Dr. Les Anderson, Beef Extension Specialists, University of Kentucky

Fall is rapidly approaching and all cow-calf producers need to access the body condition score (BCS) of their herd. Spring-calving cows are nearing weaning time and the fall is the most economical time to put weight back on. Now is also a key time to manage BCS score in fall-calving cows. Most realize the link between body condition score and reproductive rate but what is the economic impact of allowing BCS to decline? Each year producers faced the decision of how much money should I put into my cows? Can I afford to feed them? So, what is the cost of letting your cows get thin? What is more cost effective; reducing costs by limiting nutrition to your cows and living with reduced reproductive performance or feeding your cows to perform?

Let’s use a real world example. Continue reading

Best Beef Cuts for Grilling and Smoking

Before you make your choices of beef for your next gathering, see the 3 minute video linked below from the Ohio State University Meat Science Department. Learn what’s best for the grill, what’s better to smoke, which may be more flavorful, or which will be most tender. And, share the video with your friends!

Simply click on this link:



Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. Offers Free BQA Training

Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. (BIVI) will once again be partnering with the Beef Quality Assurance program (BQA) to offer free BQA training through the online training platform housed at the Beef Cattle Institute. Starting today, Wednesday, September 15th, the Fall Campaign for free online BQA training begins and runs until November 20th.

By completing the program and maintaining certification, the BQA program Continue reading

Kentucky Beef Cattle Market Update (9/14/15)

– Dr. Kenny Burdine, Livestock Marketing Specialist, University of Kentucky

Over the last couple months, the focus of most of my questions has shifted from “how long will these prices last” to “how low can these prices go”? To put the recent market drop in perspective, the October CME© Feeder Cattle futures contract, which was trading around $220 for most of June is now trading in the mid-$190’s. Based on state average prices, weaned calf prices have lost more than this on a per cwt basis in many markets since early summer. I really don’t think the fact that calves are cheaper has surprised that many people, but I do think many (including myself) have been surprised by how quickly things have changed. And, calf markets usually don’t reach their Continue reading

Retaining Ownership in the Midst of Declining Prices

– Brian Williams, Assistant Extension Professor, Department of Agricultural Economics, Mississippi State University

Under normal market conditions, it can be profitable for cow-calf producers to wean and background their calves in the fall. Historically, feeder cattle prices dip in early fall when many producers choose to market their calves before bouncing back to higher levels in the late fall and early winter months. Producers who wean and background their calves during this time frame are often able to ride out the seasonal price slump and take advantage of this cycle in normal years. Is that still the best strategy if the market is in the midst of a price decline that is not expected to fully recover? Some larger producers may be able to Continue reading

Grazing Harvested Corn Residue, a Feed Alternative

Stan Smith, PA, OSU Extension, Fairfield County

Not only is the lack of hay quality a concern this year, but many are suggesting that the equivalent of at least one entire cutting of volume has been lost due to the weather. Now with dry weather having crept across much of the state throughout August and early September, pasture growth is also suffering. Perhaps getting the calves weaned and allowing the cows to be placed onto lower quality feed may offer some relief. With Ohio farmers expecting to harvest 3.5 million acres of corn this fall, the crop residue that remains creates the potential for the cow herd’s feed supply to be extended well into fall.

Corn crop residue is practical for feeding dry, gestating beef cows in mid gestation providing they have Continue reading


Steve Boyles, OSU Extension Beef Specialist

While extreme heat decreases feed consumption in calves, the effect on adults is usually greater. High heat and humidity can affect cow comfort and reproduction; feed intake will decrease, and water intake will increase. Unlike humans, cattle cannot perspire, so finding relief from heat is more difficult for them. Shade and airflow help, and in extreme heat.

Shades provide comfort and cooling for cattle in pastures and open lots. If feed and water are provided under the shade, the long dimension of the shade should be Continue reading

Watching Cattle for Sickness

Steve Boyles, OSU Extension Beef Specialist

Make sure you have plenty of time to watch cattle. One of the best times to watch cattle for illness is feeding time. Appetite depression can indicate illnesses like pneumonia. This is best done during the cooler times of the day if there is hot weather. Working sick cattle in hot weather is stressful.

Strive for 25-50-25 Continue reading

Beneficial Uses of Manure and Environmental Protection

Steve Boyles, OSU Extension Beef Specialist

Thanks to a long-term, collaborative effort, a new fact sheet detailing the Beneficial Uses of Manure and Environmental Protection has been released. NCBA and other livestock groups, in partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency recently released the document which details the importance of manure and demonstrates to the public the ways in which it can benefit the economy while also being managed in ways that Continue reading

Beef Demand is Key: Aim at the Correct Goal

Glynn T. Tonsor, Associate Professor, Department of Agricultural Economics, Kansas State University

Analysts and producers alike are keenly monitoring ongoing adjustments in economic fundamentals underlying cattle markets. While some of the recent cattle price declines are associated with recognition that the industry is (albeit slowly) moving out of the “tight supply” situation of recent years, arguably the biggest driver of downward price pressure has been expanding bearish sentiment regarding global economic strength (recognize corresponding equity market reactions) and associated impacts on beef demand. As bearish signals on beef demand grow, market forces Continue reading