Valuing Standing Oat or Spring Triticale Cover Crops for Feed

Mark Sulc, Extension Forage Agronomist, Dianne Shoemaker, Extension Field Specialist, Dairy, Bill Weiss, Extension Dairy Nutritionist, Stan Smith, OSU Extension PA, Ben Brown, Agriculture Risk Management

Oats planted in late summer and originally intended as a cover crop are also high quality and valuable feed.

Considering the current shortage of quality forages, and the abundance of cover crops that were planted in Ohio this summer, the question has been asked, “How do I set a price to buy a oat/spring triticale forage crop still growing in the field?”

In response we’ve assembled a spreadsheet based tool to help determine an appropriate value for standing oat and spring triticale cover crops that could be harvested as feed.

At best, how to value a standing oat/triticale summer seeded forage crop is challenging. Assigning an appropriate value includes the buyer and seller agreeing on the market value for the forage and then adjusting for Continue reading Valuing Standing Oat or Spring Triticale Cover Crops for Feed

Study Shows Premium in Cattle from BQA Certified Producers

CENTENNIAL, Colo. (July 30, 2019) – While producers have traditionally participated in Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) because it’s the right thing to do, there is sound research that indicates BQA certified producers can benefit financially as well. According to a recent study by the Beef Checkoff-funded BQA program and conducted by Colorado State University (CSU), results show a significant premium for calves and feeder cattle sold through video auction markets.

The research study “Effect of Mentioning BQA in Lot Descriptions of Beef Calves and Feeder Cattle Sold Through Video-based Auctions on Sale Price,” led jointly by CSU’s Departments of Animal Sciences and Agricultural and Resource Economics, was conducted to determine if the sale price of beef calves and feeder cattle marketed through video auction companies was influenced by the mention of BQA in the lot description. Partnering with Western Video Market, CSU reviewed data from 8,815 video lot records of steers (steers, steer calves or weaned steers) and heifers (heifers, heifer calves or weaned heifers) sold in nine western states from 2010 – 2017.

The result was a premium of $16.80/head for cattle that had BQA listed in the lot description. This value was determined by . . .

Read more Study Shows Premium in Cattle from BQA Certified Producers

Cattle Handling and Carcass Value

Steve Boyles, OSU Beef Extension Specialist

Utilization of proper cattle handling is key. It can eliminate carcass bruising and the presence of dark cutters. Although the industry has observed a decrease in the presence of carcass bruising according to the 2016 National Beef Quality Audit results, the “2016 Lost Opportunities in Beef Production” publication indicated that carcass bruising cost the industry approximately $62.15 million. Additionally, the presence of dark cutters cost the beef industry $132 million.

These include the elimination of side and multiple brands, proper cattle handling/transport techniques and facility design, and the elimination of improper IM injections. Proper administration of animal health products, branding only in the shoulder or hip areas, marketing cattle at an optimum time, and reducing stress placed on when handling cattle are just some of the management practices that can Continue reading Cattle Handling and Carcass Value

Feed Situation

– Matthew Diersen, Risk & Business Management Specialist, Ness School of Management & Economics, South Dakota State University

Large rainfall events have made it a challenging growing season in South Dakota and neighboring states. The quantity and quality of feed from pastures and crops have been affected. The resulting feed situation is influenced by both local and national factors. Cattle inventories are expected to be constant to slightly lower locally and nationally, meaning steady demand for feed. The supply side is more variable. At the national level, pasture conditions are better than last year at this time. Conditions in California and other western states are relatively worse, while conditions in South Dakota, Maine, and Florida are relatively better than the national level. Ample pasture supplies limit demand for other feeds.

The national hay situation began the 2019/20 marketing year with very low May 1 stocks and prices high enough to discourage cattle expansion. Higher yields, so far, suggest a larger supply of hay compared to a year earlier. The result has been some downward pressure on hay prices. In South Dakota higher yields boosted production in 2019. Fall use locally is highly variable. However, when coupled with solid pasture conditions, use is likely Continue reading Feed Situation

Feedbunk Management; Key to Animal Health and Performance

Steve Boyles, OSU Extension Beef Specialist (originally published in The Ohio Farmer)

A properly managed bunk impacts profitability of the feedyard!

Feedbunk management plays an important role in both animal performance and preventing acidosis in the feedyard.

A part of feedbunk management is estimating how much feed cattle will eat. Factors such as cattle size, weight, breed, ration-type, weather and health must be taken into account. Previous history of feed intake for a pen of cattle can help in estimations.

How much work do you want to put into gaining an estimate of how your steer or a group of cattle are eating? Estimates can be made prior to a morning feeding, if you are providing a morning feeding, with two additional observations made during the day. A common method is Continue reading Feedbunk Management; Key to Animal Health and Performance

Should we plan for another long, wet, muddy winter?

– Victor Shelton, NRCS State Agronomist/Grazing Specialist

Whether winter predictions are correct or not, it’s time to start preparing!

The Old Farmer’s Almanac has released their forecast for this winter. “Mild, with soakers” is how Indiana is labeled. I don’t put a lot of weight on these forecasts, but they often line up with other forecasts and occasionally are completely correct. If this forecast holds true, I think we all need to prepare for a winter similar to last year.

This past winter, I kept hoping for some free concrete—frozen ground. I only had about a dozen days and that’s not enough. To add true misery for both me and the livestock, it seemed to rain every two or three days, picking up momentum as we got closer to spring.

I don’t like to see pastures or crop fields torn up. Grazing under wet conditions is bad enough during the growing season, but it’s an Continue reading Should we plan for another long, wet, muddy winter?

Posted in Pasture

Geez, what a mess!

– Dr. Les Anderson, Extension Beef Specialist, University of Kentucky

Have you ever looked at your cow-calf operation and had the thought “Geez, what a mess?!” Even if we don’t want to admit it, often our lack of organization and planning sometimes really hinder our opportunity to succeed especially in our cattle operations.

An example; it’s September. Have you pulled your bull? If a bull pen is not available, is your breeding season over? The first step in becoming an efficient, profit-possible operation is controlling the calving season.

How do we transform the calving season? A great example of controlling the calving season occurred on a farm enrolled in the UK Farm Program. This producer had huge Limousin-cross cows (1700-1800 pounds), calved all year long (see table The Beginning), 16 of 17 cows calved and 13 calves were weaned from 2015 calvings. This producer wanted to move to a fall-calving herd because of his time commitments to his grain enterprise.

Steps taken: Continue reading Geez, what a mess!

Mineral Supplementation: The Benefits You May Not See

– Caitlin Hebbert, Livestock Consultant (originally published by the Noble Research Institute,

It’s no secret that good nutritional management is one of the most vital contributions to a profitable herd.

Within the realm of cattle nutrition, protein and energy tend to receive the most hype due to their direct relationships to growth performance and overall body condition. This hype is rightfully placed since the first step to a good nutrition program is to identify and meet protein and energy requirements. The second step involves the lesser-discussed dark horse of the ruminant nutrition world: minerals.

Much of the discussion surrounding minerals is vague, and information is more often accepted by producers than is understood since the world of minerals is complicated and tedious to navigate. As a result, I often find myself on the receiving end of this conversation: “Mineral is so expensive and consumption seems to be hit-or-miss. What will happen if I stop feeding mineral?”

Mineral consumption does indeed vary — from animal to animal as well as from one month to the next. This is often reflective of Continue reading Mineral Supplementation: The Benefits You May Not See

The Impact of Basis in Fed Cattle

– Josh Maples, Assistant Professor & Extension Economist, Department of Agricultural Economics, Mississippi State University

A relationship sometimes overlooked but important to the flow of cattle is the difference between the cash and futures price or the basis. For example, at the end of last week, the 5-area weekly weighted average cash price for all grades of live steers was $101.73. The nearby fed cattle futures price averaged $97.76 last week which was for the October contract. Thus, the average basis was +$3.97.

Changes in basis influence returns from hedging using the futures market. Hedgers swap price risk for basis risk and for those selling cattle, a Continue reading The Impact of Basis in Fed Cattle

Spring Forage; Looking Beyond Cereal Rye

Jason Hartschuh, OSU Extension Crawford County, AgNR Educator

Winter wheat, barley, triticale, and cereal rye planted in the fall can produce high quality forage in the spring when harvest is in the boot stage. These forages are not equal though in there speed of maturity or quality in the soft dough growth stage. Rye grows and matures faster than the other cereals making it the ideal choice for double cropping with corn silage but is also the hardest to manage harvest timing on so that it is not over mature. After this past spring is it time to diversify our spring forage options to spread out harvest timing and risk?

Each of these crops has slightly different management strategies but many are the same. Planting date has been critical for maximizing tonnage with highest yields being achieved with planting dates 10 days sooner than the hessian fly free date but be cautious of hessian fly infestation and barley yellow dwarf virus. Timely planting leads to plants absorbing more nitrogen from last year’s crop improving tillering. Variety selection can also be an important factor in yield and rate of maturity. Most of the cereal rye planted is Continue reading Spring Forage; Looking Beyond Cereal Rye

Posted in Forages