Effective Management of the Breeding Season

John F. Grimes, OSU Extension Beef Coordinator

For spring-calving beef herds, the breeding season is currently or soon will be underway.  Many decisions have already been made in terms of the genetic makeup of the 2018 calf crop.  Natural herd sires or sires to be used through artificial insemination have been selected.  Mature cows have been retained and replacement heifers have been introduced to the breeding herd.  Hopefully the genetic decisions that have been made will prove profitable when next year’s calf crop is sold.

Nearly every beef specialist or researcher that I am familiar with will tell the cow-calf producer that reproduction is the Continue reading

The Goal is $1,000 Per Cow Exposed, Including Market Beef

– Kris Ringwall, Beef Specialist, NDSU Extension Service

Pondering and goals are good.

At the Dickinson Research Extension Center, a goal of $1,000 of income from every cow exposed was set. This income goal includes the calf and the market beef that a cow herd generates. If a cow does not sell a calf valued at more than $1,000, the cow or heifer is sold with the same expectation of $1,000 or more generated as market beef.

But in reality, earned dollars pay the bills and bring into question if the center’s goal is realistic. The center budgets are prepared, reviewed, implemented, reviewed, modified and implemented again because income and expenses drive the cattle discussions.

The center has driven down expenses by changing long-standing management options and replacing them with Continue reading

Moving Late Calving Cows Up in the Breeding Season

– Bethany Johnston & Jay Jenkins, Nebraska Extension Beef Educators

As the end of the calving season nears for many cattlemen, the last few cows in the heavy pen seem to last forever. Those late calvers are doing more than dragging out the calving season. They are costing you money. Their young calves are usually lighter at weaning, late calving cows usually rebreed later or not at all.

How can you move up a late calving cow in the breeding season? The answer is a CIDR. CIDR stands for Continue reading

Baleage Mistakes Can Lead to Major Health Consequences

– Michelle Arnold, DVM (Ruminant Extension Veterinarian, UKVDL), Dr. Ray Smith, Livestock Forage Extension Specialist, and Krista Lea –UK Dept of Plant and Soil Sciences

Baleage or “wet wrapped hay” is simply forage of a relatively high moisture content that is baled with a round baler and then sealed in a plastic bag or wrapped in plastic, to keep oxygen out. Anaerobic bacteria (those that live without air) convert sugars in the forage to lactic acid which in turn lowers the pH and preserves the forage as silage, with full fermentation completed within 6-8 weeks. Round bale silage (“baleage”) is an alternative to baling dry hay that allows shorter curing time and saves valuable nutrients by avoiding rain damage, harvest delays, spontaneous heating and weathering if stored outdoors. Grasses, legumes and small grains can be effectively preserved by this method but only if proper techniques are followed. Forages should be cut at early maturity with high sugar content, allowed to wilt to a 40-60% moisture range, then tightly baled and quickly wrapped in plastic to undergo fermentation (“ensiling” or “pickling”), a process that should drop the pH of the feed below 4.5 where spoilage organisms will not grow. Problems arise when Continue reading

Hardin County Pasture Walk Visits Underwood Stock Farm

You’re invited as Underwood Stock Farms (Sullinger Farm) serve as the location for the Hardin County Pasture Walk on Wednesday, May 3.  This program will be from 6:00-7:30 pm in a pasture located at 18917 County Road 155 near Ridgeway, Ohio.  A pasture walk is an educational program for beef, dairy, sheep, goat, and horse producers who would like to learn how to best manage their livestock pastures and grazing techniques.  Underwood Stock Farms is a beef cattle operation, but the principles discussed and questions answered at this event will Continue reading

Export Protocol Negotiation Will Decide the Timeline for U.S. Beef in China

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

It was reported last week that China has agreed to allow beef imports from the U.S. for the first time since 2003. This announcement follows a very similar announcement made in September of 2016, though no actual trade has occurred yet. Gaining access to the most populated country in the world would be a very positive development for the U.S. beef industry. China represents a multibillion-dollar market and has the greatest growth potential for beef consumption of Continue reading

Now Is Not The Time To Relax

John F. Grimes, OSU Extension Beef Coordinator

April is an exciting time of the year for cow-calf producers.  The 2017 calf crop is taking shape and breeding season is currently or soon will be underway.  We have begun to emerge from the doldrums of winter to the warmth and new growth of spring.  The drudgery of feeding hay to the herd is coming to an end as pastures begin their early spring flush of growth.  It is certainly a great feeling to see cow-calf pairs turned out to fresh pastures for the first grazing of the season.


However, this is not necessarily a Continue reading

Longevity in the Cow Herd

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

Longevity can be defined many different ways by beef producers. However, I’ll just use the definition – how long a beef cow or bull stays in your herd. They may leave your herd for a variety of reasons but every time it happens it represents a significant expense to your operation. This is generally the difference in their salvage value and what it costs to replace them. However, you could possibly be replacing an inferior animal with one that is more profitable. That is what we hope for.

A cow doesn’t have to be highly productive to stay in the herd. Longevity might simply be due to Continue reading

Kentucky Market Update and Cull Cow Price Seasonality

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

As is often the case, spring has brought some much needed energy to calf markets. At the time of this writing (April 12, 2017), CME© Feeder Cattle Futures have risen more than $10 per cwt from their early March levels. Rising feeder cattle futures and grass growth have supported calf markets as 550 lb steer calves have moved into the $140’s on a state average basis, with several groups breaking into the $150’s. This represents roughly a $20 per cwt increase from the lows set in fall of 2016.

This is the time of year when calf markets typically reach their seasonal highs as Continue reading

Clearing the Fence Row and Trimming Back Overhanging Branches

Chris Hogan, Law Fellow, OSU Agricultural & Resource Law Program

Farmers are gearing up for spring and preparing to plant crops and graze livestock. Part of spring-cleaning may involve clearing partition fence rows at the edge of fields and trimming back overhanging branches above the fence. Overgrown tree branches can affect crops and pose a hazard to agricultural equipment. Removing trees that obstruct the fence row, noxious weeds tangled in the fence, and other unwanted vegetation is a serious matter for Ohio farmers. Ohio law provides for ways to clear a partition fence shared between two neighboring properties. Ohio law also cautions against Continue reading