The Markets: 2018 to Date

– Brenda Boetel, Professor, Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Wisconsin-River Falls

Steer and heifer slaughter levels for the year to date have been slightly lower than forecasted, but up almost 2.3% over 2017. Slaughter will continue to have year-over-year increases but the year-over-year increases will be smaller. September slaughter will likely be smaller than July. Live weights are up on average for 2018 almost 6 pounds. Beef production was previously anticipated to be up approximately 3.7% but the year-to-date increase will be closer to 4%. First quarter beef production was up 2.6% from 2017, whereas second quarter beef production was up just over 5%.

Cash market prices topped out for the year in February when the weekly 5-market average was $129.75 per cwt. (live basis) and prices eroded only to rebound slightly in May to $124.81. By the last week of June the price had fallen to $106.87 per cwt. In the half of this year, the 5-market price was 8.3% below 2017’s. The first quarter of 2018 saw prices that were 2.8% above 2017, but April-June prices have been 12% below the same 2017 time period. Given the expected increase in beef production, prices were anticipated to be Continue reading

You Finally Got the Hay Made, How Good is It?

Mark Landefeld, ANR Educator, Monroe County

“You gotta make hay while the sun shines”. How many times have you heard that said throughout the years? We’ve had some sunshine this spring/summer, but making first cutting “dry” hay has really been challenging for most farmers this year. Getting two or more days in a row without rain has been rare in the spring of 2018.

Making timely first cutting dry hay in Ohio always has challenges with weather it seems, but this year it definitely has been more than usual. Extremely good, high quality hay is made from young leafy forage at boot stage, not fully mature long brown stems with dried up seed heads like we have been seeing everywhere now in July. The combination of maximum yield and highly digestible dry matter is usually obtained at the late boot, to early head stage of maturity for grasses and in the mid-to-late bud stage of maturity for our legumes. Forages that can be harvested at that time, most often meet nutrient requirements of beef cattle, but accomplishing that this year has really been the exception, not the rule for most producers.

Beef cows do not require the same level of nutrition dairy cows need to maximize production. However, this year is going to be challenging to have enough nutrients in most beef producers first cutting hay to maintain the cow’s minimum requirements without Continue reading

Heat Stress in Feedlot Cattle

Steve Boyles, OSU Extension Beef Specialist (This article derived from: Kevin F. Sullivan and Terry L. Mader. June 2018. Managing heat stress episodes in confined cattle. Vet Clin Food Anim 34: 325–339

Feedlot cattle consuming large amounts of feed and gaining rapidly generate significant amounts of metabolic heat begin to challenge and animals ability to handle heat stress. An animal can endure high ambient temperatures if heat gain during the daytime hours is balanced with heat loss during the nighttime hours. If nighttime ambient temperatures remain high, especially if the relative humidity is also high, there is no time for recovery.

Assessing Heat Stress in Feedlot Cattle

The ability to predict a heat stress event allows for preparation and mitigation of the effects on animal well-being and animal performance. Temperature-Humidity Indexes have been used for more than 40 years to assess heat stress in cattle. There are also Heat Load Indexes for cattle. Such indexes exits in Continue reading

Water; Vital to Beating Summer Heat

– Aerica Bjurstrom, UW-Extension Kewaunee County

Water is the most important nutrient an animal requires and consumes daily. Depending on weight, production stage, and environmental temperature, cattle require varying amounts of water. A University of Georgia publication suggests for cattle in 90 °F temperatures, a growing animal or a lactating cow needs two gallons of water per 100 pounds of body weight. A nonlactating cow or bull needs one gallon of water per 100 pounds of body weight. Using these figures, a single cow/calf pair can require roughly 25 to 40 gallons of water daily. A nursing calf with have a portion of its daily water needs from its dam’s milk. Providing multiple water sources or tanks in the pasture will increase consumption and decrease competition and fighting at the water tank.

Water quality is just as important as water volume intake. Compromised quality can reduce water intake, which can lead to illness and metabolic issues. Testing water for salinity, nitrates, and sulfates is recommended. Cattle prefer water that contains small amounts of salt, however, water that contains high amounts of total dissolved salts (TDS) can result in reduced performance. Guidelines suggest that water containing Continue reading

Adequate Vegetative Cover Vital for Efficient Moisture Utilization

– Victor Shelton, NRCS State Agronomist/Grazing Specialist

This paddock may look messy, but what looks like a weed is actually a fantastic, highly nutritious native legume, tick foil (Desmodium).

I certainly didn’t expect the blessed amount of rain that has fallen on most of Indiana in the last month. In some areas, the amount could be considered more of a curse than blessing, especially on cropland. It certainly has made making dry hay a challenge. I am still happy to have the moisture.

My pasture was getting fairly dry before the rains started; dry enough that growth was slowing down. I had already slowed down the speed of the livestock to allow a little extra rest and now I have picked up momentium again. I’m delighted to see good regrowth of forage in paddocks not far behind where livestock had just been.

With more vegetation now and new growth still coming, it is not hard to maintain excellent cover and let the livestock take the Continue reading

Manure Science Review – Wednesday, July 25

Mark Badertscher, Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator, OSU Extension

The 2018 Manure Science Review is being held at the Watkins Farm near Forest, Ohio on July 25th

The 2018 Ohio State University Manure Science Review is scheduled for Wednesday, July 25 at the Watkins farm located at 18361 Township Road 90, Forest, OH 45843 in Hardin County. The program will begin at 8:45 am, while registration, coffee and donuts will be offered in the morning starting at 8:15 am before the field day kicks off with the afternoon activities ending by 3:30 pm.

The morning educational sessions in the main tent will focus on Waterhemp and Other Weed Seeds in Manure, Avoiding Manure Spills, Manure Application: Rules and Liability, Reducing Phosphorus Runoff, Regulations Update, and Valuing Manure. There will be indoor demonstrations of Continue reading

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Weekly Livestock Comments for July 6, 2018

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

FED CATTLE: Fed cattle traded $5 to $6 higher than last week on a live basis. Prices on a live basis were mainly $112 to $114 while dressed prices were mainly $175 to $180.

The 5-area weighted average prices thru Thursday were $110.00 live, up $3.65 from last week with no dressed trade occurring through Thursday. A year ago prices were $117.52 live and $187.87 dressed.

Cattle feeders did not have any intention of doing any business prior to the mid-week holiday and then held out until Friday to do most of their marketing. The strategy paid off this week with strong gains on finished cattle prices. The higher prices may not pull closeouts completely out of the red, but it will reduce losses significantly and may make a few cattle profitable. This price resurgence does not necessarily mean fed cattle prices have hit their summer low as the potential to move to the $105 area re-mains feasible. However, higher prices this week may be shedding some light that moving that low is Continue reading

Abundance of Feedstuffs Lend Strength to Calf Prices

– Stephen R. Koontz, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Colorado State University

Last Friday’s (6/29/18) USDA NASS Acreage report showed 89.1 million acres of corn planted and 89.6 million acres of soybeans. The corn acreage is an increase from the 88.0 million acres of intentions from the March Prospective Plantings report. The record cold April transitioned into a record warm May for most of the upper Midwestern states. The slow start to planting finished on schedule and crop conditions are largely good to excellent. Harvest corn futures have decreased almost $1 per bushel and cow-quality hay is clearly abundant. The only places in the country without much pasture are south and west of southwestern Kansas. The weakening feed market has translated into strengthening calf prices relative to the fed cattle and beef market. The overall protein market outlook is Continue reading

Avoiding Forage Shortages

John F. Grimes, OSU Extension Beef Coordinator (originally published in The Ohio Farmer on-line)

Any successful beef producer understands the importance of effective management of grazed and harvested forages. Cow-calf producers, stocker operators, and feedlot managers share a common need for plentiful supplies of high quality forages for the entire year. Unfortunately, environmental factors can make the availability of consistent supplies available from year to year.

USDA NASS reported hay stocks on Ohio farms on May 1, 2018 were 280,000 tons, down 33% from this time last year. All hay stored on United States farms May 1, 2018 was down 36 percent from a year ago. As the summer months move along, producers have made one or more cuttings of hay to accumulate supplies for the winter of 2018-2019. This year’s harvest and carryover stocks from the previous winter will determine the forage management strategies that will be necessary to carry supplies through to the 2019 production season.

If producers are concerned that hay supplies will be tight to carry them through to the next growing season, they should consider a variety of strategies to supplement or preserve existing supplies. Here are a few management decisions to consider to insure Continue reading

When Rain Wrecks Your Pasture Plan!

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

A common site throughout Ohio this year, managing flood waters and muddy forage fields continues to be a challenge!

Mud, nutrient leaching, and erosion are a few of the ailments pastures across our region are experiencing in 2018. It can be a challenge to be thankful for rain in years like this. You’ve likely witnessed it wash away freshly planted seed, topsoil, and nutrients while trudging through swamps that should be access roads, watching seed heads develop on valuable hay, and cutting fallen limbs off damaged fence.

Nature has taunted many this season. In Southeast Ohio, opportunities to make hay have been few and far between due to soggy soil conditions and high humidity. The longer harvest is delayed, the poorer Continue reading