Another Wet Fall? Careful Grazing Management a Must!

Fall planted cereal rye and turnips are great feed, if we can graze them . . .

I walked across some pastures on the last day of November and shook my head as water splashed up from my gum boots and splattered my pants. I was honestly hoping that this winter wouldn’t be anything like last year, but so far it is. Ugh, I’m afraid that mud is coming.

Fall forage growth was delayed due to dry weather in most of Indiana. That dry spell didn’t last too long, but long enough to reduce fall regrowth and stockpiled forage. So, quite a bit of the area started the fall out with a little less forage than average. I estimate that my six-week dry spell cost me at least one third of my stockpile yield.

Now, with slightly less forage present and grazing of stockpiled forages already in motion, it’s going to be even more important to Continue reading

Beef 509 Program to be Held in February

Beef 509 is the result of a partnership with the Ohio Beef Council, Ohio Cattlemen’s Foundation, The Ohio State University Extension and The Ohio State University Department of Animal Sciences

The Ohio Beef Council (OBC) will hold its Beef 509 educational event at The Ohio State University. The Beef 509 program is held to raise the awareness level about the beef that is produced and what goes into producing a high-quality and consistent product.

The 2020 program will take place on two consecutive Saturdays, February 22 and 29, 2020. The part of the program held on February 22 will include a live animal evaluation session, harvest demonstration, rumen function and nutrition discussion, an animal disposition and carcass value presentation, a grid pricing discussion, a quality assurance overview and a review of current issues. Attendees will also have the opportunity to Continue reading

Regional Feedlot Marketings

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

At a recent producer meeting, people were talking about mandatory livestock price reporting in the broader context of fed cattle marketing. South Dakota has enough fed cattle to be reported in cattle on feed statistics. The large feedlots (1,000+ head) in the state typically have a strong seasonal pattern in placements, peaking in October, with limited variability in marketings. However, as a smaller feedlot state not many direct price reports have much information specific to South Dakota. An exception are the various committed and delivered reports, which give a breakdown by region of origin for fed cattle transacted for harvest. The region Northern Plains / Eastern Mountain contains North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana and Wyoming. The monthly version of the report, LM_CT143, is available here:

The focus here is mainly on the Northern Plains / Eastern Mountain region, both for specific insights and to provide a possible template to analyze other regions. In November of 2019 the volume of cattle delivered from this Continue reading

Hay Sampling

Rory Lewandowski, OSU Extension Agriculture & Natural Resources Educator, Wayne County

I have received several phone calls recently where the caller describes their hay; date baled, whether or not it got rained on before baling, general appearance, and sometimes smell. The question is how to best use this hay, is it suitable for horses or cows or sheep to eat?  Physical evaluation of hay is useful to sort hay into general categories such as high, medium or low quality.  To move beyond general categories and predict animal performance requires a forage chemical analysis.

This is a good year to sample your hay for analysis.  I have seen some first cutting hay forage test results with nutrient values comparable to straw.  Feeding low and medium quality hay without a Continue reading

Supplementing Poor Quality Hay

Clif Little, OSU Extension, Guernsey county

Forage can provide most of the nutritional requirements of a beef herd during the fall and winter months. The challenge becomes the management of supplemental energy and protein due to low quality hay. Several options available to the cow-calf producer for the management of forage and supplement are discussed here.

Determine the Nutritional Value of the Existing Forage

To properly supplement livestock, each forage should be sampled and analyzed. Forage testing laboratories describe the proper sampling techniques for various forages. Contact your local Agriculture Extension Educator for a test probe and instructions for submitting the sample to a laboratory. Forage quality may have a dramatic impact on dry-matter intake. The higher the NDF (neutral detergent fiber) content of forage, the less forage an animal will be able to consume. Cattle will generally consume 1.2 to 1.5% of their body weight per day in forage NDF depending on Continue reading

Do Cover Crops Grown for Feed Need Fertilizer?

Christine Gelley, Ohio State University Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension Educator, Noble County

The benefits of utilizing cover crops in both grazing and agronomic crop production are numerous. However, each cover crop system is unique. There is no blanket “yes” or “no” answer to the question- Do cover crops need fertilizer?

Incorporating Cover Crops

Each farm is different and therefore the way you use cover crops can differ too. Whether you are a row crop farmer, a fruit and vegetable grower, exclusively in the hay business, a livestock manager, or involved in a combination of pursuits, cover crops can be an added benefit to your system.

Although the economic benefit of cover crops is difficult to quantify, the environmental principals associated with their growth are influential. Cover crops are selected for use based on their growing seasons, ability to reduce soil erosion and build soil organic matter, scavenge excess nutrients from the previous crop, relieve soil compaction, and for their nutritional value as feed for animals. The way we incorporate cover crops into our systems should complement our current crops, fit our soil types, and allow for termination of the stand when their useful period ends.

It just so happens that many cover crops are excellent forage crops for livestock and wildlife too. Most are ideal as grazed forage rather than harvested forage, although Continue reading

OCA Replacement Female Sale Results

John F. Grimes, OCA Replacement Female Sale Manager

93 lots of bred heifers, bred cows, and a cow-calf pair averaged $1382

The Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) held their seventh annual Replacement Female Sale on November 29 at the Muskingum Livestock Auction Company in Zanesville, Ohio.  A large crowd was on hand to bid on 93 high quality females in the sale.  The sale represented an excellent opportunity for cow-calf producers to add quality females with documented breeding and health records to their herds.

Buyers evaluated 93 lots of bred heifers, bred cows, and a cow-calf pair at the auction.  The sale included 75 lots of bred heifers that averaged $1,379, 17 lots of bred cows that averaged $1,375, and one cow-calf pair that sold for $1,700.  The 93 total lots grossed $128,525 for an overall average of $1,382.  The females sold to buyers from Ohio, Michigan, and West Virginia.  Col. Ron Kreis served as the auctioneer.

The Ohio State University Beef Center of Dublin, OH consigned the top selling lot at Continue reading

Large Choice-Select Beef Value Spreads

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

The widespread between Choice and Select beef cutout values continues to send a signal for more choice beef. The spread has been near or above $20 per cwt since June. The average weekly spread in October was more than double the historical seasonal average and November was seasonally large, too. For 17 of the 21 weeks from July 6th to November 23rd, the weekly average Choice-Select spread was the largest for that week of the year over the past two decades.

The Choice-Select beef spread is a measure of the value of the Choice boxed beef cutout relative to the Select cutout and is influenced by supply and demand factors for both grades. The supply impacts on Choice beef are perhaps the most obvious factor over the past few months. The percent of cattle graded Choice has been about one to two percent below Continue reading