Spring Seeding of Forages

Mark Sulc, OSU Extension Forage Specialist

Late this month (depending on the weather) and on into April provides one of the two preferred times to seed perennial cool-season forages. The other preferred timing for cool-season grasses and legumes is in late summer, primarily the month of August here in Ohio. The relative success of spring vs. summer seeding of forages is greatly affected by the prevailing weather conditions, and so growers have success and failures with each option.

Probably the two primary difficulties with spring plantings are finding a Continue reading

Why Your Cows Need Those Expensive Vitamins

– Jaymelynn Farney, Beef Systems Specialist, Kansas State University

Anybody who’s strolled through the feed store or co-op lately to price mineral-vitamin mixes knows that vitamins have shot up in price. A logical question then, is this: Are vitamins necessary or just an expensive luxury that the cows can get by without?

Bottom line is yes. Vitamins, especially A and E, are important around calving.

Green, growing forages are high in vitamin A. However, until forages are available for grazing, supplemental vitamins remain vital during late gestation and early lactation.

Vitamin A is vital in cow rations in the last trimester through the first couple of months of lactation. It has been found to help manage calf scours, as colostrum is high in vitamin A, and help cows to “clean” and reduce the risk of retained placenta. To minimize calf scours, intake needs to be 30,000 to 45,000 IU per day. The actual requirement of vitamin A for pregnant cows is 1,269 IU/lb. of dry feed intake and for lactating cows 1,769 IU/lb.

Many green forages such as alfalfa are high in vitamin A, so the amount to Continue reading

Determine Estrous Response to Optimize Artificial Insemination Costs

– Sandy Johnson, Extension Beef Specialist, Kansas State University

For an increasing number of producers, artificial insemination (AI) and estrus synchronization are tools that help them reach their production goals and allow them to take advantage of genetic choices only available through AI. Reduced risk of calving difficulty from use of high accuracy calving ease sires on replacement heifers is a great advantage to AI users.

Fixed-time AI protocols have allowed producers to eliminate the time and expense of heat detection and still achieve industry-acceptable pregnancy rates to AI. However, information about estrous status at AI may allow producers to target expenditures for AI more effectively. While this may seem hard to understand coming from someone who has spent years talking about fixed-time AI, let me share some research that will explain further.

First, a low cost, accurate method of heat detection is now available in the form of Continue reading

Semen Placement is Critical to Success with AI

– Joseph C. Dalton, Ph.D., Professor, University of Idaho

One of the most frequent questions about AI technique focuses on the site of semen deposition, specifically, whether uterine horn breeding results in greater fertility than traditional uterine body breeding.

First, a quick review of anatomy. The cow and heifer reproductive tract includes the vagina, cervix, uterine body, two uterine horns, two oviducts and two ovaries. Following ovulation, the ovum (egg) moves down the oviduct to the site of fertilization, the ampullary-isthmic junction (AIJ). The AIJ is where the ampulla (upper portion) of the oviduct transitions into the isthmus (lower portion) of the oviduct. Following fertilization, the embryo enters the uterus a few days later.

The thought process is horn breeding, in which semen is deposited in each uterine horn during AI, should result in Continue reading

Will Dean Foods’ Dairy Announcement Affect the Beef Cattle Industry?

– Andrew P. Griffith, University of Tennessee

A few weeks ago, Dean Foods announced they were discontinuing milk contracts with 100 or so dairies which included a dozen or so operations in Tennessee. Essentially, the dairies impacted have until the end of May to find a new outlet for their milk or they will be forced to exit the industry due to having no method to market milk. This has brought several questions across my email and through personal communication.

From the beef sector side, this could Continue reading

Low Steer Slaughter Fuels Spring Cattle Prices

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

A nice Spring (or we might say late winter) rally has had fed cattle in the upper $120s for most of the last 8 weeks. While a first reaction might be “well, its Spring and we usually get a grilling season demand bump” there is a supply contribution to this story. Steer slaughter has been below a year ago while heifer and cow slaughter have been boosting beef production.

After January steer slaughter was up 5.5 percent, February steer slaughter was 2.1 percent below that of February 2017. March is even with a year ago, through mid-month including an estimate of steer slaughter using the preliminary data.

Heifer slaughter is up about 5.5 percent for the year to date. In contrast Continue reading

What Are Your Priorities?

John F. Grimes, OSU Extension Beef Coordinator

Calving season is underway to some degree for many producers. If you have not started your calving season, you likely will soon. Calving time is an exciting period for producers as they are seeing the results of their genetic choices and management decisions coming to reality. Warmer weather and green pastures will develop in the coming weeks. The calf crop will grow and develop quickly through the spring and summer months. While this is taking place, the producer will set the 2019 calf crop motion with the onset of the breeding season.

Before the start of this breeding season, I would encourage producers to critically evaluate the production goals for your herd. Do the type of cattle that you produce adequately target your chosen market? If you sell your calves as feeder calves in the fall, your goal should be to sell as many healthy feeder calves with excellent weaning weights as possible. If you retain ownership after weaning and finish your calves to harvest weights, your priorities will Continue reading

Schedule the Breeding Soundness Exams Soon

– Glenn Selk, Oklahoma State University

Although the spring calving season may still be ongoing, the next breeding season is only a few weeks away. Now is the time to schedule the old and new bulls for their pre-breeding soundness examination.

For the breeding soundness evaluation to be successful, bulls should be evaluated 30 to 60 days before the start of breeding. It is important to allow sufficient time to replace questionable bulls. Bulls could also be evaluated at the end of breeding to determine if their fertility decreased. A breeding soundness exam is administered by a veterinarian and includes Continue reading

Beef AGRI NEWS Today, the March Podcast

In this month’s podcast of Beef AGRI NEWS Today, show host Duane Rigsby visits with OSU Extension Beef Coordinator John Grimes and about trade tariff’s, ELDs, alternatives for managing mud, and restoring the cattle feeding areas that have been destroyed this winter!

The Value of Selling Steer Calves vs Bull Calves

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

Producers will often ask about the magnitude of the price premium for steers over bulls. Most agree that steers will outsell bulls of similar weight, but it is also well established that castrating bulls requires facilities, time and some expense. Further, it is generally accepted that bulls will outgain steers, which further complicates the discussion. While there is no way that this short article can completely address this topic, it should help provide a framework to help producers make this basic management decision.

We will start with the basic notion of price differentials, and even this is not completely without question. We will occasionally get a call or email asking why bulls are outselling steers at a given time or location. The first thing to understand is that there are thousands of cattle sold at Kentucky markets every single day. Inevitably, a group of bulls will Continue reading