Manure: Is it a waste product or a valuable asset?

– Randy Pepin, University of Minnesota Extension Educator

The answer to this question may get you varied responses depending on who you ask. Some non-farm neighbors may detest it solely because of the smell. Others may blame any water impairment on livestock manure, justified or not. Some may view manure as an opportunity for capturing methane as a “green” energy source through anaerobic digestion. Still others wish to burn the whole product for energy production. Of course, there is the standard option of using manure as fertilizer. All sources of livestock manure contain Continue reading

Dealing with the Effects of Fescue Toxicosis

– Michelle Arnold, DVM, University of Kentucky Ruminant Veterinarian


Summer Slump-Photo M. Arnold (University of KY) The expected response to hot summer temperatures is an increase in blood flow to the skin and extremities in order to remove heat from the body core to the skin surface. However, with fescue toxicosis, the blood flow to the skin is reduced by the constrictive effects of the ergot alkaloids on the blood vessels, severely limiting the ability of the body to cool itself.

Tall fescue (Lolium arundinaceum (Schreb.) Darbysh.) is a cool season, perennial grass. The KY-31 variety is usually infected with the fungal endophyte Neotyphodium coenophialum (also called Epichloë coenophiala) which grows within the intercellular spaces of the leaf sheaths, stems, and seeds.  An “endophyte” is a fungus or bacteria that lives Continue reading

Posted in Health

Problems Beget Problems!

– Dr. Roy Burris, Beef Extension Professor, University of Kentucky

Did you hear about the guy that got his nose broken in six places?  He said that he needed to quit going to those places!  Cattle producers are a lot like that guy. We keep making a lot of the same mistakes. However, there are some problems that we should work to eliminate in our effort to have “trouble-free” cow herds.

Let’s start with a few things that should be obvious. Cows should be Continue reading

June Cattle on Feed Report

– Kate Brooks, Assistant Professor, Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Nebraska – Lincoln

The monthly Cattle on Feed Report was released last Friday, June 24th, by the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (USDA, NASS). Numbers came in very similar to the average pre-report estimates. Total cattle on feed (U.S. feedlots over 1,000 head capacity) on June 1 was up 2.2% over Continue reading

Practice Good Grazing Management During the Summer

Rory Lewandowski, OSU Extension Educator, Wayne County

Our recent period of above 80 degree days with no rainfall demonstrates how quickly we can go from saturated soils to looking forward to some rain.  For the livestock owner dependent upon pasture growth, our recent weather pattern of 80 degree plus days with no rainfall demonstrated how quickly growth rates of our cool season pasture grasses can be reduced.  Looking ahead to summer its likely we will see more of this kind of weather and even hotter and drier possibly.   There are management practices that can give the grass plant some advantages during hot, dry periods and help to keep cool season grass pastures productive during summer months.  Two big keys are Continue reading

Future of North America’s Beef Industry . . .

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

I had the pleasure last week to provide a joint talk with Dr. Ted Schroder at the 2016 Beef Improvement Federation Annual Meeting & Symposium[1].  Our presentation sketched a broad vision of how the integrated U.S. and Canadian beef industry may look in 20 years[2].  To set the stage for our assessment, we outlined comparative advantages in comparing major global beef producers.

The key comparative advantages currently enjoyed by North America’s integrated industry include a Continue reading

Choice Select Spread Hits Record

– David P. Anderson, Professor and Extension Economist, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

The Choice-Select spread hit a record high weekly average of $23.81 per cwt.  The week included a record high day on June 8th of $24.55.  This record reflects the cutout values for 600-900 pound carcasses and the data begins in January 1999.  Choice-Select spreads exceeded Continue reading

Kentucky Beef Cattle Market Update

– Kenny Burdine, Livestock Marketing Specialist, University of Kentucky

This spring market continues to be one that can’t seem to make up its mind.  As I write this (on 6/14/16), the feeder cattle market has given back most of its gains from the previous week. The futures market continues to suggest lower prices from summer to fall, and the August contract continues to trade at a discount to the CME© feeder cattle index.  For the week ending June 11th, 550 lb steer calves were moving in the Continue reading

Poison Hemlock: “It’s Everywhere!”

Stan Smith, PA, OSU Extension, Fairfield County

A few weeks ago I posted a piece about identifying and controlling poison hemlock on the Fairfield County Extension Facebook page and the response I got back immediately was simply, “It’s everywhere!” Indeed, in recent years it seems to have become widespread throughout many Ohio counties, Fairfield included. Perhaps we are seeing it spreading most quickly in road and other right-of-ways that are difficult to mow and seldom ever sprayed with a herbicide. From there this noxious weed seems to be spreading into fence rows, barn lots, hay fields and areas of pasture fields that lack enough competition to keep it crowded out. Last week I received a note from a friend in Seneca County explaining he suspects Hemlock poisoning is what recently killed Continue reading

Tannins, Alkaloids, and Other Plant Compounds That Effect Livestock

Dan Lima, OSU ANR Extension Educator, Belmont County

There is a family of compounds engineered by plants collectively referred to as phenolic compounds because they contain what is known as a phenol group:


This phenol group is the base for over 10,000 individual compounds engineered by plants used: to deter herbivory, as pathogen defense, as structural support (lignin), as photo protection, and even to Continue reading