Livestock Handling Safety

Kent McGuire – OSU Ag Safety and Health Coordinator

There are many activities during the summer that involve working with livestock. No matter if you are moving animals to different pastures, providing veterinary care, or youth working with 4H animals for the fair, safety should be a priority when handling livestock. Animal behavior can be unpredictable at times and livestock can revert to instinctual reactions when they feel threatened or stressed. Individuals can be injured due to preoccupation, haste, impatience, or even anger. Injuries that are common when working with livestock include bites, kicks, being stepped on, pinned against a solid surface, or overcome by a single animal or the whole herd. Some general guidelines when working with livestock include:

Weekly Livestock Comments for June 15, 2018

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

FED CATTLE: Fed cattle trade was not well established at press. Asking prices on a live basis were mainly $115 to $117 while bid prices were mainly $110.

The 5-area weighted average prices thru Thursday were $110.81 live, down $3.44 from last week and $177.94 dressed, down $2.96 from a week ago. A year ago prices were $130.23 live and $210.12 dressed.

Cattle feeders and packers continue to delay finished cattle trade until the end of the week. Packers, who would seem to hold leverage over cattle feeders due to the large number of market ready cattle, have consistently bid $5 to $8 lower than cattle feeder ask prices. However, cattle feeders have consistently refused lower bids with hopes of higher prices. Some packers may not have as much urgency to purchase cattle for next week because they had contracted several cattle for delayed delivery and those cattle will be rolling in this week. Cattle feeders have been successful in sup-porting the market, but there remains potential for the live cattle market to move to the $103 to $105 area depending on Continue reading

Hay Moisture Levels

Chris Penrose, OSU ANR Extension Educator, Morgan County and Dan Lima, OSU ANR Extension Educator, Belmont County

With the limited opportunities and short windows many have had to make hay so far this year, some hay may have been made at higher moisture levels than we would like. Moisture levels have a direct effect on hay quality. What we have found to be a consistent number in the literature is 20% moisture maximum. To be more specific:

    1. Small squares to be 20% or less,
    2. Large round, 18% or less and
    3. Large squares, 16%

Hay baled at 20% moisture or higher has a high probability of developing mold, which will decrease the quality of hay by decreasing both protein and total nonstructural carbohydrates (TNC) AKA energy! The mold will also make the hay less palatable to livestock and could potentially be Continue reading

Determining a Manure Application Rate

On a recent show from WQKT Farm Hour Radio, OSU Extension Educator Rory Lewandowski discussed how to determine a proper application rate for livestock manure. You can find that 12 minute conversation embedded below.

A Comparison of Continuous vs. Management Intensive Grazing Systems

Brady Campbell, Program Coordinator, OSU Sheep Team, with DeVaughn Davis, Nathaniel Kinney, Kristy Payne, Dalton Shipley, OSU Animal Science Undergraduate Students

While this grazing project was conducted with small ruminants, it also relates easily to pasture management of beef cattle.

Another school year has passed and I am happy to say that I have completed my third year of being involved in AS 4004, Small Ruminant Production at The Ohio State University. This year Dr. Liz Parker and myself co-instructed this course and worked diligently to expose our students to every aspect of the small ruminant industry, including extension outreach and producer education. As a part of the course curriculum, students were challenged to compose an Ag-note (educational poster) to highlight a specific topic that is related to sheep or goat production, management, and husbandry. As viewers, you will see these unique postings appear periodically and will be noted in the title as “Ag-note.”

For our first Ag-note (linked below), OSU students DeVaughn Davis, Nathaniel Kinney, Kristy Payne, and Dalton Shipley share an economic perspective on the comparison of Continue reading

Multiflora Rose Problems in Pastures? Control it Now!

– Dwight Lingenfelter, Penn State Extension Associate, Weed Science

It’s the right time to be scouting and managing multiflora rose in your pasture. Photo credit: Penn State Extension

As spring progresses, multiflora rose aggressively grows and eventually blooms in late May/early June. Several tactics can be used to control this problem weed and these methods will be briefly discussed.

Mechanical control methods include mowing, which requires repeated mowings per season for several years, and excavating, which involves pulling individual plants from the soil with heavy equipment, can be costly, time-consuming and laborious. However, these are viable means for multiflora rose management. Also, management techniques which include Continue reading

Calf Castration Considerations

– Lew Strickland, Extension Veterinarian, University Of Tennessee

One of the questions that I hear the most concerning castration is; when should I castrate my calves Doc? Many producers will castrate their calves when they are two or three days old, which is my preferred period. Castration should occur when the calf is rather young. The older the calf, the more likely that calf will suffer a setback (which cost the producer money). In addition, larger calves are more difficult to handle and restrain for the procedure. The latest castration should be done is one month prior to weaning to avoid any extra stress from the weaning process. Bull calves castrated at or following weaning can retain a stag like appearance and attitude that the feedlot operator discounts. Purebred operators can still castrate bull calves that are culls and still realize some profit.

The choice of castration method is the preference of the operator, age and weight of the calf, and the time of year performing the procedure. In all techniques, sanitize the hands and castration instruments between each calf to prevent the spread and/or introduction of disease.

There are three methods of castration, which range from Continue reading

Fed Heifer Marketings Surge over Last 6 Weeks

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

Cattle slaughter surged over the last 6 weeks with weekly slaughter over 650,000 head every week since the first of May, except the Memorial Day shortened week. Total cattle slaughter is up about 9 percent compared to the same period a year ago. Much of the year-over-year increase in slaughter is from heifers.

Fed heifer slaughter is up about 17 percent over the last six weeks, using the daily slaughter data and estimating the first two weeks of June. Going back to the first of April fed heifer slaughter is up about 16 percent compared to a year ago. Weekly slaughter levels were the largest since May 2013.

Steer, heifer, beef cow, and dairy cow slaughter tend to have their own different seasonal pattern. These depend, in large part, on Continue reading

Beef Quality Assurance National Guidelines

Steve Boyles, OSU Beef Extension Specialist

Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) is a nationally coordinated, state implemented program to ensure that beef and dairy cattle are maintained in a manner which will result in a safe and wholesome beef product for the consumer. Times and locations for the series of upcoming BQA certification programs being held for producers throughout Ohio are posted under the EVENTS/PROGRAMS link at our OSU Beef Team website:

Producers interested in getting BQA certified can also do it on-line at the National BQA website

The following are the BQA Guidelines being relayed at the Ohio BQA events. Continue reading

The Cost of a Windrow

– Dan Undersander, Extension Forage Specialist, University of Wisconsin

When harvesting hay or haylage we tend to think in terms of how long it takes to get the hay off the field. However, the first concern for quality hay/haylage should be how long it takes to lose the first 15-20% moisture. Forages have 75-80% moisture when cut; they will continue to respire sugars (break down and give off heat and carbon dioxide) at a high rate until the plant is dried to 60% moisture. If we want to save the energy of the starch and sugars for our cattle, we need to dry off the first 15-20% moisture as quickly as possible.

Most of the respiration takes place in the leaves. We should remember that conditioning is for drying the stems but has little impact on drying the leaves.

A wide swath has the biggest effect on rate of leaf drying. Leaves dry faster in a wide swath because Continue reading