Forage, Frostbite, and Fescue Foot

Christine Gelley – OSU Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator, Noble County, Ohio

In January, I had the opportunity to attend the American Forage and Grassland Council Annual Conference with some of our other Ohio Extension Educators. It was a wonderful experience to learn from others and share what we have learned with forage producers and professionals across the country.

An example of fescue foot in the winter, which could be the result of fescue toxicosis last summer. Photo: Dr. David Bohnert, Oregon State University

Two sessions that specifically caught my interest were “Managing Clovers in the 21st Century” and “Understanding and Mitigating Fescue Toxicosis.” Both are struggles for many producers in my region of Ohio.

The clover session included a presentation by Dow Agrosciences about a new product they are developing for treating broadleaf weeds in clover stands. It was definitely intriguing and Continue reading

Tall Fescue and its endophyte – Implications for your farm

– Dr. Jimmy Henning, Livestock Forage Specialist, University of Kentucky (From Jan 18 Farmers Pride)

The story of Kentucky 31 tall fescue reads like a soap opera. Found on a Menifee County Kentucky hill side in 1931, it quickly became a rival to Kentucky bluegrass as the most important grass in Kentucky. Its yield and persistence made it look unbeatable, but its animal performance numbers were sometimes poor or worse. The decision by the University of Kentucky to go forward with the release of Kentucky 31 was filled with about as much drama as you will ever find in an academic setting.

Figure 1: Tall fescue is the dominant grass of Kentucky, and most is infected with a toxic endophyte. Much is known about this unusual combination of pasture plant and internal fungus. Management, clover interseeding and replacement will improve livestock performance.

We now know the poor animal performance AND the persistence of that early fescue was due to Continue reading

A Little Background May Help

– Justin Sexten, Ph.D., Director, CAB Supply Development

Let’s say you weaned calves last fall but didn’t sell. Instead, you helped them cross the bridge to independent life in your dry lot pen and maybe on to a grazing program. Chances are, those “backgrounded” calves have moved on to a finishing yard or the next phase of heifer development.

You’ve got calving on your mind now, but that means weaning will surely follow this fall and some of your decisions then will be framed by decisions made this spring. So back to those pens and fields, perhaps empty now, but ready for planning.

Researchers at the University of Nebraska recently compared three backgrounding systems, and at least one of them might be Continue reading

Be Careful When Disposing of Taxus Shrub Trimmings

– Diane Gerken, DVM, PhD, Fairfield County Master Gardener Volunteer

English yew (Taxus baccata)

Since the season for yard work and clean-up is fast approaching, please remind the public that Taxus shrub trimmings should be disposed of properly. Trimmings should never be disposed of in the pasture or areas where large animals may be exposed to them. The trimmings are so dangerous to animals when ingested that it only takes about 1-2 mouthfuls to cause death, sometimes in as short of time as 10-60 minutes.

Family members and neighbors need to be reminded also about this hazardous situation since in the past, they have been known to unintentionally cause death in livestock, show animals and pets.

Anglojap yew (Taxus x media)

Posted in Health

Livestock Risk Protection Insurance; Does it Effectively Manage Price Risk?

– Andrew P. Griffith, University of Tennessee

Recently a question was asked concerning the use of Livestock Risk Protection (LRP) insurance for managing price risk in feeder cattle. LRP is the only nationally available price risk management product available to small cattle producers that are unable to produce and market 50,000 pounds or more of feeder cattle at one time. LRP has a few advantages in that it is an insurance product and as few as one animal can be covered under a policy.

However, LRP does not Continue reading

Continued Strong Everything through a Normally Temped Season

– Stephen R. Koontz, Colorado State University

The USDA Cattle on Feed report was released Friday and the news was neutral to longer term bearish. Marketings matched pre-report expectations, on-feed inventories were slightly heavy but again close to expectations, while placements were above the highest estimate for the range of expectations. Marketings for January were 106.1 percent of the prior year, on-feed inventories were 107.9 percent of the prior year, and placements 104.4 percent of the prior year. Pre-report expectations anticipated placements at a 100% of the prior year with a range of 96.0%-102.9%. Clearly, the dry weather in the southern plains is pushing Continue reading

Colostrum is the Key

John F. Grimes, OSU Extension Beef Coordinator

A newborn calf needs to receive adequate levels of colostrum as quickly as possible. Research shows the first 6 – 12 hours are critical.

The winter of 2017-18 has certainly been challenging for beef producers across Ohio and the Midwest. The bitter cold that we experienced through the holiday season into mid-January has given way to milder temperatures and plenty of moisture over the past month. This has resulted in extremely muddy conditions that have made basic feeding and care of cattle difficult at best.

The weather conditions thus far this winter have been tough for producers choosing to start their calving season earlier in the calendar year. Environmental extremes can add to the stress of a Continue reading

Can Small Ohio Cow Herds Compete in the Marketplace?

Stan Smith, OSU Extension PA, Fairfield County

Frequently over the years we’ve talked about Ohio’s average cow herd size – between 16 and 17 cows at any given time – and how it impacts management and marketing decisions on that ‘average’ size beef farm. Related to that, recently I was asked, “What are the key beef herd management concerns Ohio’s small herd owners can address to compete with those who have the cow numbers that allows them to capture the advantages of economics of scale?

Working facilities are a vital component for allowing small cow herds to compete with the economics of scale of larger herds.

As we think about what numbers it might take to capture the benefits of size and scale, keep in mind that most cattle travel to and from the feedlot in pot loads carrying 48,000 pounds of cattle. Also, the question of how smaller herds can compete on a scale with larger herds is not unique to just Ohio’s cattlemen. As we look to our neighbors we find the average cow herd size in Indiana is 16, Michigan’s average herd is 13.5 cows, West Virginia averages almost 19, Pennsylvania has an average of 12.5 cows per farm, and Kentucky has the most of any neighbors averaging 29 cows. Even when we look to Texas, we find their average cow herd size is 32. It’s obvious the challenges of Continue reading

Beef AGRI NEWS Today

Below, the February podcast of Beef AGRI NEWS Today with OSU Extension Beef Coordinator John Grimes and host Duane Rigsby focuses on a variety of timely management concerns including US beef herd expansion, exports, trade agreements, calving season challenges, breeding season decisions and upcoming programs.

Does the Severity of Winter Temperatures Have an Impact on Spring-Born Calf Birth Weights?

– Dr. Glenn Selk, Oklahoma State University Emeritus Extension Animal Scientist

Does the severity (coldness or mildness) of the winter have an impact on spring-born calf birth weights? Ranchers have asked that question during many springs and veterinarians have speculated for years. The debate rages on! This is obviously a difficult subject to research because you cannot have a “control” group of cows to compare to a “treatment” group that is exposed to a cold winter while still running on the same pasture. Therefore research data on this subject is limited.

University of Nebraska researchers have done the next best thing. They have Continue reading