Good Management Helps Reduce Grass Tetany

Mark Landefeld, OSU Extension Educator, AgNR, Monroe County (published originally in Farm and Dairy on-line)

Spring is here according to the calendar, but cold temperatures and many water-saturated soils have not made rotational grazing very favorable yet. However, the ground has firmed considerably the last few days in our area and predicted warmer temperatures should promote grass growth so that pasture rotations may be starting soon. As the number of daylight hours increase, temperatures warm, and pastures grow, farm managers should take steps to prevent hypomagnesemia or “grass tetany.”

Grass tetany is associated with cool weather in spring and fall because the metabolism of the plant is slower and its mineral uptake from the soil is reduced. This leads to lower amounts of magnesium (Mg) in the forages livestock graze. Grass tetany is more common on cool-season grass pastures than legume pastures because legumes such as clover and alfalfa tend to have higher magnesium levels in their leaves.

Turning cows out into new lush grass pastures can cause Continue reading

Breeding Season: Stretch It Out Then Cut It Short

John F. Grimes, OSU Extension Beef Coordinator

A few years ago, I wrote an article relating to shortening the breeding season titled “Utilize the K.I.S.S. Method!” The acronym used in the title of that article referred to my preference for the appropriate length of the beef cattle calving season and imminent breeding season. In this situation, K.I.S.S. refers to “Keep It Short and Sweet!” In this article, I want to remind you of the primary advantages of a shorter breeding season. I also want to discuss a potential marketing advantage of actually lengthening the breeding season.

There can be compelling arguments to make when choosing the best calving season for a particular operation. It is my experience that there is no single best choice for a calving season for all operations. Each operation is unique as to the assets available to devote to the cattle operation including labor, facilities, feedstuffs, etc. Ultimately, the selection of your particular calving season should be determined by Continue reading

“This is a Family Business!?”

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

After more than forty years of visiting farms, I still cringe when folks describe their farming operation as a “family” business. That’s the way it should be and there’s no better place to raise a family, but I still find that statement “cringe worthy”. It’s because family is family and Business is Business! A family business may have to ultimately decide whether it is a family or a business. And sadly, business principles usually win out. I’ve seen that too many times.

Dave Pratt, a ranch management consultant, says that we have only three choices in any business: (1) We can be profitable, (2) We can subsidize the business, or (3) We can go out of business (bankruptcy). Many family farms choose the second option until they are sometimes forced into the third one. Any business needs to be profitable and all family members or employees need to work toward that goal.

I was on a recent farm visit when I suddenly realized that I had been there before – many years before. This farm had been Continue reading

Dewormers – Are They An Extremely Valuable Non-Renewable Resources?

– Michelle Arnold, DVM (Ruminant Extension Veterinarian, UKVDL), University of Kentucky

A “non-renewable” resource is a resource with economic value that cannot be readily replaced on a level equal to its consumption. Petroleum and coal are two familiar examples of valuable non-renewable products used daily but known to exist in limited supply, and formation of new product takes billions of years. Dewormers, on the other hand, are products that can be purchased from almost any farm or veterinary supply store and online. There are many different kinds, fairly inexpensive, and seemingly effective at killing parasites in the digestive tract of cattle and certain types also control flies, ticks and lice. They come in many forms and can be delivered to cattle by mouth as a liquid, paste or in block form, by injection, or simply by pouring it down the topline. Given this situation, how could dewormers ever be classified as “extremely valuable non-renewable resources”? In a recent veterinary continuing education meeting at the UKVDL, Dr. Ray Kaplan, an internationally-known veterinary parasitologist from the University of Georgia, used that Continue reading

Weekly Livestock Comments for April 20, 2018

– Dr. Andrew Griffith, Assistant Professor, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of Tennessee

FED CATTLE: Fed cattle traded steady to $1 higher compared to a week ago on a live basis. Prices on a live basis were mainly $117 to $118 while dressed prices were mainly $187 to $188.

The 5-area weighted average prices thru Thursday were $117.47 live, up $1.14 from last week and $187.62 dressed, down $0.03 from a week ago. A year ago prices were $128.12 live and $205.34 dressed.

Cattle feeders will take any win they can get even if that means steady to only slightly higher prices. The slightly higher price may actually be what is Continue reading

Bread, Milk, and Forages!

Allen M. Gahler, OSU Extension Educator, AgNR, Sandusky County (originally published in Ohio Farmer on-line)

Well, winter has come and gone, and despite the many scares that mother nature provided, and the warnings well ahead of time that the local weather reports around the state gave with each storm that approached, many of us chose not to rush out to the store to get bread and milk prior to the storm. And miraculously, we survived! Hopefully, all of your livestock survived all the cold snaps and snow storms as well. And if they did, you likely have yourself to thank for proper planning and nutrition that was provided for them.

So now that we are moving into the growing season and will soon be, or maybe already are, grazing in some areas, all of those concerns about what to feed our livestock and when are over until next winter approaches, right?!

Progressive beef, dairy, goat, and sheep producers are constantly searching for the most Continue reading

Beef AGRI NEWS Today, the April 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 wars that include agriculture, transitioning from winter to spring, and preparations for spring planting.

Remember the Economic Basics in the Midst of Trade Turbulence

– Derrell Peel, Oklahoma State University Extension Livestock Marketing Specialist

U.S. agricultural trade is being threatened by a storm of policy challenges and political rhetoric. As the political discussions continue, it’s important to not lose sight of the basic economic principles that are the foundation for all trade. Trade between two economic agents adds value to both and is the basis for nearly all economic growth. These gains from trade are the result of specialization where market participants capitalize on their comparative advantage in some activity.

Comparative advantage allows all parties in a market to produce at their lowest opportunity cost thereby using scarce resources most efficiently. For example, it might be possible for Continue reading

Ohio Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) Frequently Asked Questions

Garth Ruff, ANR Extension Educator, OSU Henry County Extension

Q: What is BQA?
A: Beef Quality Assurance is a nationally coordinated, state implemented program that provides systematic information to U.S. beef producers and beef consumers of how common sense husbandry techniques can be coupled with accepted scientific knowledge to raise cattle under optimum management and environmental conditions.

Q: I’ve Never Been BQA Certified, Why do it Now?
A: By 2019 Wendy’s has committed to sourcing beef from only BQA Certified producers and Tyson has pledged to follow suit, also by January 1, 2019. We expect other retailers and packers will do the same. Being BQA Certified will be a producer’s ticket to market access, much like the pork industry.

Q: Who Needs to be BQA Certified?
A: Anyone selling beef animals to be harvested for meat. This includes producers of fed beef, dairy beef, cull cows and bulls including dairy cull cows. Continue reading

Cow-Calf Profitability Expectations for Spring 2018 (Fall Calving Herd)

– Dr. Kenny Burdine and Dr. Greg Halich, University of Kentucky Agricultural Economists

Spring is the time of year when fall calving cow-calf operations wean their fall-born calves and summer stocker operators place calves into summer grazing programs. The purpose of this article will be to examine the profitability of cow-calf operations that have recently sold, or will soon sell, their fall born calves. A very similar article was written last year that took this same basic approach and overall profitability is very similar to where it was at that time.

Table 1 summarizes estimated spring 2018 costs and returns to a traditional fall-calving cow-calf operation. Every operation is different, so producers should Continue reading