Hay, just how bad is it?

Ted Wiseman, and Dean Kreager Extension Educators in Perry and Licking County

Much of Ohio’s 2019 first cutting grass hay was beyond optimum maturity when it was harvested. Laboratory analysis indicates little if any first cutting has adequate quality to meet the nutritional needs of bred cows in late gestation or lactation.

You may be thinking enough already with the hay quality talk. Many articles have been sent out on this topic starting before some people even baled their first cutting. Last year a lot of the hay was very poor quality and many animals lost significant weight through the winter. Some animals even died with hay in front of them because the hay did not have enough nutritional value. Hay quality affects all types of livestock but I will concentrate on beef cows since they are less likely to receive supplemental feed than most other animals.

Thin cows are more likely to produce calves that are less healthy and will not grow as well. Those cows often take longer to breed back which will carry into the next year with later born calves. Below is a summary of 45 forage samples from hay made this year. This data represents 2 important test numbers. These 2 items do not tell the whole story when it comes to Continue reading

Ohio Beef Winter Programs; Save the Dates!

– Al Gahler, OSU Extension Educator, Sandusky County

Dr. Francis Fluharty returns to Ohio in January to teach during the first sessions of the Ohio Beef Cattle Nutrition and Management School

Mark your calendars now for the Ohio Beef Cattle Nutrition and Management School, to be held in 2 locations, with 2 sessions at each locale.  Session 1 will focus on utilizing small grains in the diets of all ages and production groups of beef cattle, utilizing alternative forages, and managing your herd or feedlot with lower quality feedstuffs.  This discussion will be led by our former OSU research nutritionist and current University of Georgia Department of Animal Sciences Chair, Dr. Francis Fluharty.  Session 1 will take place from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. in Sandusky County at Luckey Farmers Inc. main office on January 29th, and 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. at the OSU Newark Campus in Licking County on January 30th.

Session 2 will also be Continue reading

Posted in Events

Assessing the 2019 Production Year, Including Forages

Greg LaBarge, CPAg/CCA; Dee Jepsen; Ben Brown; Anne Dorrance; Sam Custer; Jason Hartschuh, CCA

This year, the challenges have been many, and varied. Help us help you by taking a few minutes to complete the survey linked below.

The 2019 production year has presented many challenges. Ohio State University Extension wants to be responsive to needs of the agricultural community.

A short survey aimed at farmers to identify both short- and long-term outreach and research needs of Ohio crop and livestock/forage producers based on the 2019 farm crisis year has been developed. Questions relate to crop production, livestock forage needs, emergency forage success, economic and human stress concerns. Since challenges and concerns varied across the state, this survey is designed to assess needs on a county, regional and statewide basis. The study will be used to determine Extension programming and future research needs.

Please consider sharing your experiences at  https://go.osu.edu/ag2019.

First step in marketing; Identify an endpoint!

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

I have been asked to do a program early next year that focuses on step-by-step marketing. At first thought this would seem extremely elementary to most readers and maybe it is to some. However, my experience has been that many producers who have been in the cattle business for decades do not even consider that every decision they make influences their final product and the marketing scheme.

Thinking about the basics, the breeding season, breed of cattle, and cattle genetics would be the starting point for most producers. However, those decisions should not be made until an intended market is identified such as selling feeder cattle at the auction market, retained ownership through the feedlot, direct marketing of beef or whatever market is the intended endpoint. After identifying an endpoint, every management decision can influence the final market, but a producer does not have to stay with the initial endpoint if market conditions present a better opportunity.

This is a fluid business which is one reason it is so enjoyable.

Inventory Insights

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

The October Cattle on Feed report was very close to trade expectations. Placements during September were 2.1 million head, slightly above expectations. Marketings during September were 1.7 million head, even with expectations. The 11.3 million head on feed is 99 percent of a year ago. The placements by weight categories reflected a slight decrease in the volume placed at the heaviest weight classes, which should be somewhat supportive of prices in the short run. There was also a slight decrease in placements in the lightest weight class, suggesting limited selling pressure from cow-calf producers.

As it was the beginning of the quarter, there was also a breakdown of inventory levels by steers and heifers. The heifer mix, at 39.1 percent of cattle on feed, is larger than last quarter and a year ago. The continued high proportion of heifers confirms fewer held as replacements. It also suggests that lower production is expected as heifers are harvested at lighter weights than steers. The higher heifer mix should be supportive of live cattle prices for the next quarter.

Using data from recent Livestock Slaughter reports, beef cattle slaughter volume for the third quarter was Continue reading

Consider By-product Feeds in Rations This Winter

Erika Lyon, OSU Extension Educator, Jefferson & Harrison Counties (originally published in The Ohio Farmer)

By-products such as distillers grains, gluten or soyhulls can serve as lower cost feed alternatives.

The last two years made it challenging for many producers to find good quality, let alone a good quantity of, feed for livestock. Spoilage and high costs for subpar hay and grain can be discouraging. Health issues associated with poor quality feed may range from starvation-like symptoms due to lacking nutritional value of feed to death from contamination. Producers may want to consider supplementing other types of feeds into winter rations to make up for the loss in nutritional value of traditional feeds and to help off-set costs. Feeds produced from by-products can often provide an adequate amount of protein and energy and are often cheaper than conventional feeds, especially when conventional feeds are in short supply.

Feedstuffs such as soybean hulls and corn gluten are often used to replace poor quality hay during the winter months. Soybean hulls are the product of soybean oil and meal production and may require heat treatment to prevent enzyme activity that results in nutrient loss. The fibrous content of soybean hulls can Continue reading

Winter Annual Grazing Plots

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

Food plot with purple top turnips that are suitable for wildlife, or livestock! Photo by Clif Little, Ohio State University Extension.

Some people take great pride in providing superior forage for grazing animals in the late fall utilizing combinations of annual, biennial, and perennial forages. In areas like ours, it seems like the most popular animal this smorgasbord of delightful feed is planted for is the white tailed deer. It makes sense to do this if deer are your passion.

In late fall-early winter the selection of leafy green forbs, legumes, and grasses dwindles and they will be seeking ways to add protein and carbohydrates to their diets. Deer are browsers. They consume between 30-50 percent of their diet as “browse”, which is material from shrubs and trees. Legumes and broadleaf weeds make up 30-50 percent of their intake. The remaining 10-30 percent consumed is Continue reading

Posted in Pasture

Forage Focus: Nitrate concerns in late-season harvested forages and supplemental feed options

FORAGE FOCUS – Host Christine Gelley, an Extension Educator with The Ohio State University Agriculture & Natural Resources in Noble County will be joined by Clif Little, OSU Extension- ANR Educator for Guernsey County, for a segment on nitrate concerns in late-season harvested forages and supplemental feed options for cattle, sheep, and goats.

Pastures for Profit, Noble County Grazing School

Register early, space is limited!

Noble SWCD and OSU Extension have teamed up to bring local producers practical steps for improving their grazing systems, and upgrade their pasture profitability through the program Pasture for Profit. Topics during these workshops will include: Starting Management Intensive Grazing, Pasture Fertility, Mineral Supplementation, Weed Control, along with a guided Pasture Walk.

These workshops will be held at the Eastern Agriculture Research Station from 6-9 p.m. on November 5, 12, and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. on Saturday, Nov.16. Thanks to the support of our sponsors, we are able to offer this class for free for the first 20 participants who Continue reading

Posted in Pasture

Exports and the Impact of the U.S. Dollar Value on Beef Trade

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

The latest Livestock and Meat Monthly Trade data from the Economic Research Service (ERS) was released on October 7th and included the month of August 2019 as the most recent data available. The purpose of this article is not just to discuss the export data from this report, but also to discuss an important but complex factor that impacts trade: the value of the U.S. dollar.

To the ERS report first, beef exports were lower in August 2019 as compared to July 2019 and also to August 2018. For January-August, beef exports were 3.8 percent lower than in the same period of 2018. Exports to Japan, the top U.S. beef export destination, were down 8.6 percent during this time period. Exports to South Korea were up 8 percent. Together, these two countries accounted for 50.5 percent of U.S. beef exports during data available for 2019. The October USDA World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report lowered the 2019 projection for beef exports to 3.126 billion pounds which would be about a 1 percent decline compared to 2018.

Now let’s shift focus to the value of the U.S. dollar. For many of us, we might first think about Continue reading