Stockpiling Fescue and Orchardgrass

Clif Little, OSU Extension Guernsey County

Stockpiling fescue and orchard grass is generally considered an economical way to extend the grazing season and cut feed costs. The cost of fertilizer and application of nitrogen too late in the growing season will affect the economics of stockpiling. In order to maximize yield from stockpiled forage, one must select a field that is suitable for late season grazing, and one that will not be utilized after July 31st.

A timely application of nitrogen can grow an additional ton of high quality forage yet this fall, and significantly extend the grazing season.

Stockpiling has some inherent risks. In order for it to work correctly, the following conditions are required; application of nitrogen six weeks prior to the end of the growing season, rain shortly after this application, and favorable growing conditions. When all variables are met, one can grow enough additional forage to cover the cost. Stockpiling requires the application of approximately fifty units of actual nitrogen (roughly 110lbs of urea) per acre.

To analyze the economics of stockpiling, review the example in the table below. For the example, the assumed Continue reading

Cutting it Close

Christine Gelley, Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator, Noble County OSU Extension (originally published in the Ohio Farmer on-line)

We find more dead tissue in grass stands that are mowed too close. Photo by author

All of us have a bad habit here or there that we have developed over time. Bad habits are often questionable actions that can cause some stress, but rarely have direct negative consequences immediately after. Usually the negative consequences are compounded over time into large problems and that is when realize we have gone wrong.

A bad habit that many grass managers have in lawn and hay systems is cutting it too close. By “it,” I mean the grass. There are some misconceptions about what the best height is to cut grass. It can also be confusing, because ideal cutting height varies with type of grass. The common denominator is Continue reading

Johne’s Disease and Detection in Beef Cattle – Part I, Frequently Asked Questions

– Michelle Arnold, DVM, MPH UK Ruminant Extension Veterinarian

What is Johne’s Disease? Johne’s (pronounced Yo-knees) Disease is a chronic disease of profuse, watery diarrhea and weight loss or “wasting” in adult cattle (Figure 1) caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis, commonly referred to as “MAP”. This is a slow, progressive disease that begins when calves (not adult cattle) are infected with the MAP bacteria, most often around the time of birth but infection can occur up to 6 months of age and very rarely after. Once MAP gains entry into a calf, the organism lives permanently within the cells of the large intestine where it multiplies and causes the intestinal lining to slowly thicken. With time, the thickened intestine loses the ability to absorb nutrients, resulting in watery diarrhea. There is no blood or mucus in the feces and no straining. The clinical signs of diarrhea and extreme weight loss in spite of having a good appetite, do not show up until 2-5 years of age or even older. There is no treatment available and the animal eventually Continue reading

Posted in Health

Weekly Livestock Comments for July 26, 2019

– 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 in the South were mainly $113 to $114 while ask-ing prices in the North were $186 to $187.

The 5-area weighted average prices thru Thursday were $115.43 live, up $2.41 from last week and $183.77 dressed, up $0.80 from a week ago. A year ago prices were $110.10 live and $176.09 dressed.

Packers and feedlot managers reverted to their usual tactics of battling it out to get cash deals done. Feedlot managers may have a little leverage in that packers are making an extremely strong margin in today’s market. It is doubtful packers are willing to pass those dollars on to cattle feeders, but the decline of beef in cold storage may point to Continue reading

Planning for Winter 2020 Cow Herd Feeding

Francis L. Fluharty, Ph.D. Professor and Head, Department of Animal and Dairy Science, University of Georgia

Poor quality long stem forages, reduced forage supplies, and increased feed and supplementation costs all demand that we look at nutrition management even more closely this year!

The spring and summer of 2019 have set records for rainfall throughout much of the United States, having negative impacts on corn planting and hay production. In addition, areas of the southeast have been exceptionally dry, and hay production has been limited.

Feed costs are high, and with the poor planting season, this coming winter’s grain and grain byproducts could be much higher. Current corn prices are maintaining around the $4.40 level in the eastern corn belt, with transportation costs increasing this to around $5.40 in areas of the southeast. This works out to $.079 to $.096 per pound, depending on location. Dried distillers grains are currently in the price range of $130 to $170 per ton, FOB, or $.065 to $.085 per pound, and the prices of corn gluten feed is keeping pace on an energy and protein basis, at approximately $110 to $140 per ton, or $.055 to $.07 per pound. These prices are based on last year’s corn crop. With reduced corn acres planted this year, next winter’s prices are likely to be much Continue reading

My first cutting is just ‘cow hay’ – now what?

– Dr. Jimmy Henning, Forage Extension Specialist, University of Kentucky (First published in May 30 issue, The Farmer’s Pride)

Late cut or rain damaged first cuttings can still be part of a sound feeding program for your beef cows. Don’t let a less-than-perfect first cutting stop the conversation on hay testing, feeding and forage management.

Late cut hay is a fact of life in Kentucky. There are worse things. Drought, for example. It is no failure if some first cuttings of hay are late. Or rain damaged for that matter. The list of things that have to ‘get done’ in May never ends for the part-time, diversified farmers that form the bulk of the beef cattle producers in Kentucky.

Farmers face a never-ending set of ‘what to do first’ decisions. Something has to be second, or third. So late cuttings of hay happen. The real mistake is to let a less-than-perfect first cutting stop the conversation hay management because a farmer thinks we in Extension are disappointed. Frankly, it is amazing that anybody in Kentucky gets a good first cutting of hay in the barn.

Next steps if you think your first cutting is just ‘cow hay’

The first thing to do is to get a Continue reading

Late Summer Establishment of Perennial Forages

Rory Lewandowski, OSU Extension Educator, Wayne County and Mark Sulc, OSU Extension Forage Specialist

No-till seeding in August is an excellent time for establishing perennial forage stands.

We are quickly approaching the second good opportunity of the year for establishing perennial forage stands, which is in the month of August. Most of us were not able to establish forages this spring, and many existing stands were damaged by the winter followed by the heavy rainfall this year. It is time to make preparations and be ready to plant perennial forage stands in the next few weeks.

Typically, the main risk with late summer forage seedings is sufficient moisture for seed germination and plant establishment. However, many parts of Ohio have adequate soil moisture from recent rains, and the outlook for the first half of August is for normal precipitation levels. Prepare now and be ready to take advantage of planting ahead of storm fronts as they occur in late July and early August.

Advantages to late summer forage establishment include . . .

Continue reading Late Summer Establishment of Perennial Forages

Understanding Management of Poison Weeds in Hay

– Justin Brackenrich, PA Extension Educator, Field and Forage Crops and Jessica A. Williamson, Ph.D., PA Extension Forage Specialist

A field with many noxious weeds, including Canada Thistle and Milkweed which would be undesirable to a hay producer. Photo Credit: Jessica Williamson, Penn State Extension

Much like 2018, the unpredictable weather of 2019 has led to later and more “between rain” cuttings of hay in Pennsylvania. The biggest concerns of this unpredictable cutting schedule are reduced forage quality, damage to fields due to wet conditions, and the encroachment and establishment of weeds. Reducing forage quality due to late cutting is always concerning, and muddy meadows are not something pleasurable to deal with, but the management of weeds, especially when we consider their potential to contain toxins, can quickly become a producer’s biggest nightmare.

In the spring of the year, that small patch of milkweed, or those few stalks of hemlock that were on the wood line, may have now developed into a thriving stand that has spread into your hay field. What do Continue reading

Kentucky Beef Cattle Market Update

– Dr. Kenny Burdine, Livestock Marketing Specialist, University of Kentucky

As is often the case, an extremely wet start to the summer has given way to much drier conditions. While most Kentucky producers would not describe their situation as a drought, many would welcome some moisture to keep pastures growing. As I write this article (July 16, 2019), CME© feeder cattle futures had fallen by nearly $20 per cwt from their spring highs. As has been the case all summer, heavy feeder cattle prices in Kentucky have held reasonably well given the drop in futures with groups of 8wt steers trading in the upper $130’s and $140’s. Calf prices have fallen by roughly $15 per cwt from their April highs and are currently moving in the mid-$140’s.

In terms of market drivers, both trade concerns and rising grain prices continue to dampen cattle markets. Ample beef supplies and less than ideal summer grilling weather has also not helped box beef movement through summer. And, not surprisingly, Continue reading