If there was ever a year to focus on hay quality over quantity, weather permitting, this has to be it! Most of the reasons should be obvious. Perhaps a few are less so. However, with some aggressive planning and a little cooperation from Mother Nature, perhaps we can have both quality and quantity this year. Following are some points to consider.
Generally speaking, we’re out of quality hay in Ohio. The condition of our cows confirms it, the prices of hay at auction markets confirm it, and laboratory forage analysis confirms it. Not only was 2018 a challenging year for forage harvest, but we started that year with less inventory. Last spring in their hay stocks report, USDA NASS reported hay inventory on Ohio farms on May 1, 2018 was down 33% from that same time in 2017.
As we’re now nearing the end of April, cows need feed and to add insult to injury, forages have been slow to get started this spring. It’s safe to assume first cutting hay will likely be short due to a late spring start of growth. Regardless, hay needs to come off in a timely fashion this year.
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 Washington County ANR Educator Marcus McCartney about pasture fertility. They also discuss ways to use management intensive grazing and soil testing to improve pasture productivity.
Reports from around the state suggest we have many injured forage stands.
I’ve been hearing more reports from around the state of winter injured forage stands, especially in alfalfa. The saturated soil during much of the winter took its toll, with winter heaving being quite severe in many areas of the state. So, what should be done in these injured stands?
The first step is to assess how extensive and serious is the damage. Review the CORN issue of the week of Continue reading →
This month provides one of the two preferred times to seed perennial cool-season forages, the other being late summer. Two primary difficulties with spring plantings are finding a good window of opportunity when soils are dry enough before it gets too late and managing weed infestations that are usually more difficult with spring plantings. The following 10 steps will help improve your chances for successful forage establishment in the Continue reading →
With more than 70 recognized beef cattle breeds in the U.S. it can be difficult to decide exactly which breed or combination of breeds work best in any given situation. In this broadcast, John Grimes and Duane Rigsby discuss considerations for choosing the beef breed or breeds that can best accomplish the breeding and marketing goals of the individual cattleman.
– Matthew A. Diersen, Professor and Extension Specialist, Department of Economics, South Dakota State University
The 2017 Census of Agriculture was released April 11. While the lag between collecting and reporting the information seems like a long time, the breadth and depth of information is substantial. Here are some early observations related to cattle at the national level. State- and county-level observations may be relevant also. Often the statistics are compared to the 2012 Census, which occurred while cattle inventories were lower and there were drought conditions in different parts of the U.S. The statistics and maps are available at: https://www.nass.usda.gov/Publications/AgCensus/2017/
There were 882,692 operations across the U.S. with cattle in 2017, and the total inventory was 93.6 million head. The inventory maps show where the cattle are located and serve as good reference pieces for assessing weather impacts on pastures, feed supplies and production. Cattle inventories are prevalent in central Florida, central Kentucky, southeast Pennsylvania, southern Idaho, central California, and various areas throughout the plains states. The long-run shift toward fewer yet larger Continue reading →
In this broadcast of the Beef AG NEWS, John Grimes and Duane Rigsby discuss how EPDs, genomics, genomic enhanced EPDs and selection indexes can be utilized for the selection of individual animals that best fit the criteria for your beef herd mating system.
Carcass characteristics are economically important but can be difficult to measure pre-harvest. Therefore, genetic markers associated with these traits may provide valuable information to decision makers. The success of genetic markers depends on the accuracy of molecular breeding values (MBV). Researchers at Oklahoma State University evaluated molecular breeding values for yield and quality grades for commercial beef cattle and reported it in their publication:
Yield and quality grade outcomes as affected by molecular breeding values for commercial beef cattle.
N. M. Thompson, E. A. DeVuyst, B. W. Brorsen, and J. L. Lusk.
J. Anim. Sci. 2015.93:2045–2055
Independent validations report significant correlations between molecular breeding values and the traits they predict. However, many of these molecular breeding values explain Continue reading →
– Dr. Les Anderson, Beef Extension Specialist, University of Kentucky
Jeff, Darrh, and I were chatting the other day and, amazingly, we all agreed on something! Over our many miles of travel this winter/spring, we have seen more ribs on cows that any of us can remember. The wet, cold winter and poor hay quality has really stressed cows and if we don’t watch out, it will impact rebreeding.
A successful breeding season begins with nutritional management decisions made prior to calving but most spring-calving herds are past that now. “Ribs” are best maintained over the winter during the two trimesters of pregnancy. Visible ribs are one component of body condition score. Body condition score (BCS) is a numerical estimation of the amount of fat on the cow’s body. It ranges from 1-9; with 1 being emaciated and 9 extremely obese. A change in a single BCS (i.e. a 4 to a 5) is usually associated with about a 75 pound change in body weight. Evaluation of BCS prior to calving and from calving to breeding is important to ensure Continue reading →
– Dwight Lingenfelter, Extension Associate, Weed Science and William S. Curran, Ph.D., Emeritus Professor of Weed Science, Pennsylvania State University
Continuously grazed pasture allows for selective grazing, reducing desirable forage competitiveness against weeds and leading to weed encroachment and spread.
Now is the time to scout grass pastures and hay in search of winter annual and biennial weeds. Both of these types of weeds are potentially susceptible to control right now and an effective herbicide application will prevent flowering and seed production.
Management of perennial weeds such as dandelion, Canada thistle and the woody perennials such as multiflora rose and autumn olive is best performed a bit later in early summer after plants reach the bud-to-bloom stage. Winter annuals including the mustard species, common chickweed, horseweed/marestail, deadnettle/henbit, fleabane, etc. are growing rapidly and have already or will begin to flower and set seed very soon. Biennials including musk and plumless thistle, burdock, wild carrot, etc. should be treated before they Continue reading →