The goal is to have a winter feeding program meets the cow’s requirements and is economical. There is a biological priority for nutrients. The needs for maintenance, growth and milk production must be met before we can optimize reproduction.
The period from approximately 60 to 90 days prior to calving is affects the calf and the subsequent reproductive performance. Fetal growth is at its maximum and fat stores will be used for lactation. Nutrition during this time also affect colostrums quality. Underfeeding during this time period include:
Lighter calf birth weights (although calving difficulty won’t be reduced).
Lower calf survival.
Lower milk production and calf growth.
A longer period for cattle coming back into heat.
Cold Temperatures: The only adjustment in cow rations necessitated by weather is to increase maintenance energy. Protein, mineral and vitamin requirements are not Continue reading →
– Warren Rusche, South Dakota State University Extension Beef Feedlot Management Associate
Winter weather conditions often present challenges to cattle managers in the Northern Plains (and upper Midwest). Although we can’t alter the weather, there are management steps that can be taken to help maintain cattle health and performance.
Bedding: Providing bedding is the most useful tool to improve cattle comfort, especially in outside yards. Bedding helps cattle preserve body heat and mitigate the negative effects of cold stress on maintenance energy requirements.
Feeders should consider bedding sooner rather than later when extreme cold weather is expected. Waiting until cattle are exhausted before providing bedding results in calves simply “resting up” on the bed pack instead of maintaining dietary intake. This could result in diminished Continue reading →
– W. Mark Hilton, DVM, PAS, DABVP (beef cattle), Clinical Professor Emeritus, Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine
One of my passions in veterinary medicine, besides beef production medicine, is teaching veterinarians and producers an easier way to deliver calves. I always start off my dystocia talks with the numbers 15 and 3. If you have to assist more than 15% of your heifers and 3% of your adult cows, you have a problem that needs attention and it’s most likely your genetics.
That being said, anyone who calves out heifers will likely have to assist one every so often. The Utrecht technique that I learned about 30 years ago from Bob Mortimer at Colorado State University is the easiest way to deliver a calf, in my opinion. It’s easy on the human, the cow and the calf.
– Ellen Essman, Sr. Research Associate, OSU Agricultural & Resource Law Program
Nationwide, it seems as though “ag-gag” laws are being challenged and overturned left and right. “Ag-gag” is the term for laws that prevent undercover journalists, investigators, animal rights advocates, and other whistleblowers from secretly filming or recording at livestock facilities. “Ag-gag” also describes laws which make it illegal for undercover persons to use deception to obtain employment at livestock facilities. Many times, the laws were actually passed in response to under-cover investigations which illuminated conditions for animals raised at large industrial farms. Some of the videos and reports produced were questionable in nature—they either set-up the employees and the farms, or they were released without a broader context of farm operations. The laws were meant to protect the livestock industry from reporting that might be critical of their operations—obtained through deception and without context, or otherwise.
Here in Ohio, we do not have an ag-gag law; instead we have the Ohio Livestock Care Standards, which are rules for the care of livestock in the state. The rules are made by the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board, which is made up of farmers, food safety experts, farmers’ organizations, veterinarians, the dean of the agriculture department from an Ohio college or university, consumers, and county humane society representatives. There are standards for the care of different species of livestock, as well as standards for euthanizing livestock, feeding and watering livestock, transporting livestock, etc. Violating the standards could lead to Continue reading →
– Dr. Andrew Griffith, Assistant Professor, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of Tennessee
FED CATTLE: Fed cattle traded $1 lower compared to last week on a live basis. Prices on a live basis were mainly $123 while dressed prices were primarily $197.
The 5-area weighted average prices thru Thursday were $123.04 live, down $1.96 from last week and $196.49 dressed, down $0.51 from a week ago. A year ago prices were $123.05 live and $194.00 dressed.
Cattle feeders were able to hold the line this week as prices were mainly steady. The wet and cold pen conditions have cattle feeders on edge because it is negatively impacting feed efficiency and average daily gain. However, the same conditions could be one factor contributing to strong finished cattle prices as slaughter weights are sure to be declining due to the unfavorable conditions. The conditions will eventually improve, but winter does not appear to be coming to an end anytime soon. This may continue to provide Continue reading →
Feeding hay to cattle is expensive. Hay costs between $0.02 and $0.07 per pound of dry matter; usually more than double the cost for the same amount of nutrients from pasture. Hay is expensive because (1) it requires a large investment in equipment, (2) it requires labor to make and feed, and (3) more than 50 percent of it is wasted by either poor storage methods or improper feeding practices. This article focuses on the last of these expenses — losses associated with feeding hay.
You wouldn’t dream of throwing away one-third of your hay. That is what happens, though, when livestock are allowed unlimited access to hay. Livestock trample and waste 25 to 45 percent of the hay when it is fed with Continue reading →
Record rainfall in 2018 has had major impacts on cattle health in KY. Despite relatively mild temperatures this winter, submissions at the UKVDL and telephone conversations with veterinarians and producers confirm cattle are losing body condition and some are dying of malnutrition. The very prolonged cloudy, wet weather with regular bouts of rain has resulted in muddy conditions that require substantially more energy in feeds just to maintain body heat. In addition, the hay quality is exceptionally poor this year as much of it was cut very ripe (late stage of maturity), rained on while curing, and baled with enough moisture to support mold growth. Many cows presented to the laboratory for necropsy (an animal “autopsy”) revealed a total absence of fat and few, if any, other problems. This indicates winter feeding programs on many farms this year are not adequate to support cattle, especially cows in late pregnancy or early lactation, or their newborn calves, even though bitter cold has not been a factor.
The body of the animal has several defenses against cold. The first is the hair coat which grows longer in winter and offers considerable help in conserving heat and repelling cold. Under winter conditions, if an animal’s coat cover is wet and muddy, then energy requirements for maintenance can easily double, particularly if the animal is not protected from the wind. Energy from intake of hay that is adequate for maintenance in normal years is falling far short of the requirement this year. Cold conditions are not too difficult for cattle but when rain and wind are added, heat loss is multiplied several times by the effects of conduction and evaporation. Under these circumstances the “wind chill factor” referred to by the weatherman has real meaning to Continue reading →
The OSU Extension Beef Team will be hosting the 2019 Ohio Beef Cattle School. The School will be held on Tuesday, February 5, 2019 starting at 7:00 p.m. As in year’s past with the Beef School, county or area Extension offices will serve as hosts for local clientele.
Cattlemen have faced many environmental and production challenges thus far in the winter of 2018-2019. Strategies need to be implemented immediately to improve the chances for efficient and profitable production this year. Listed below is the agenda for the webinar:
“Winter Management of the Cow Herd to Insure a Productive 2019”
* Introduction: Analyzing the Current Situation: What is the quality and quantity of your hay supply and what is the Continue reading →
In this month’s Forage Focus podcast, host Christine Gelley, an Extension Educator with The Ohio State University Agriculture & Natural Resources in Noble County, talks with Jefferson/Harrison County ANR Educator Erika Lyon about soil health, especially as it relates to the damage down to Ohio’s forage fields during a year of constantly waterlogged and trampled soils.
– Victor Shelton, NRCS State Agronomist/Grazing Specialist
Extreme frost-heaving of the soil. (Photo: NRCS Victor Shelton)
It is 45 degrees outside today as I write this article. I normally appreciate mild winter weather, but when it rains, and temperatures remain above freezing, except for a frivolous teasing of heavy frosts, a pasture can get pretty ugly. I for one wouldn’t mind a little free concrete right now, you know, frozen ground. For many of us, 2018 was an extremely wet year. Some parts of Indiana, including where I live ended up with over 60 inches of rain. That makes me think of a Clint Eastwood quote, “If you think it’s going to rain, it will.”
Strip grazing stockpiled forage is usually a delight. Of course, it is best accomplished under dry or frozen conditions. If the pasture of stockpile is heavy (at least 3,000 pounds of dry matter per acre), then it can often be grazed even under fairly wet conditions without too much long-term damage but, you will need to have a watchful eye.