10 Common Questions Producers Have When Starting Grazing Livestock

During this issue of Forage Focus with Christine Gelley, Noble County Extension Educator, and Will Hamman, Pike County Extension Educator, the discussion will revolve around the ten most common questions that producers have when starting with grazing livestock.

Ohio Forage and Grasslands Council Conference

“Foraging for Profit” is the theme of the 2020 OFGC annual conference!

The Ohio Forages and Grasslands Council Annual Conference will be held February 21, 2020 from 8:30 am to 3:00 pm at the Ohio Department of Agriculture in Reynoldsburg, Ohio. The program theme is “Foraging For Profit”.  The Keynote speaker will be Jimmy Henning, Forage Professor, University of KY, who will discuss “Making Good Round Bale Silage” based on extensive research and experience in Kentucky.  Dr. Henning will also be speaking on a second topic, “The Clover Dilemma-Do I have enough to withhold N Fertility.”

Another featured speaker to address new fencing technologies is Dr. Tony Parker, Associate Professor, Ohio State University Animal Science, speaking on: “Current and Future Technologies For Grazing Animal Management.”

Several producer talks will also be presented which includes Continue reading Ohio Forage and Grasslands Council Conference

Will Walmart’s new beef packing facility influence cattle prices?

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

A couple of questions came in this week concerning Walmart opening a beef packing facility and how the new facility would influence cattle prices. The short answer is that the opening of this facility is not likely to change cattle prices much at all. The reason prices are not expected to change much is because it does not really change supply and demand of beef.

Walmart is partnering with a single seedstock operation, a specific feedlot, and a specific slaughter facility at which time the Walmart facility will take delivery and perform further processing and packaging for the Walmart brand. Thus, the processing facility will create competition with other processing facilities and at the retail level. However, it is not likely that this will shift demand or supply enough to really influence cattle prices at the calf and yearling stages of production.

The people this will impact are those producers who are using the seedstock producer’s genetics and providing cattle to the program.

Live Cattle Basis

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

The beginning of the year brings an opportunity to update and analyze basis data. Basis, the difference between cash and futures prices, can be tracked and used to forecast local cash prices when hedging. For live cattle, basis is usually computed versus the nearby contract throughout the year. Thus, January and February cash prices are compared to February futures prices. The LMIC has historic tables for several large feedlot states. What follows is a detailed look at the basis levels for South Dakota from 2019 and implications for marketing in 2020.

The process for computing the average cash prices changed with the advent of the MyMarketNews interface at USDA-AMS. The Sioux Falls Regional Livestock Auction in Worthing, SD switched over to the new system in early May of 2019. Before then, there was a weekly range of prices for Choice 2-4 steers. The mid-point of the old series was computed from the monthly range to arrive at cash prices for January through April. Since the change there is a more detailed list of head, weights, and prices sold at different classes, yield grades and quality grades.

Under the MyMarketNews system, it is possible to obtain Continue reading Live Cattle Basis

But, the feed tag says only 1.5 pounds/head/day!

Stan Smith, OSU Extension PA, Fairfield County

Understanding the ruminant system, and properly supplementing the energy source with protein will be one of the topics Dr. Fluharty covers during his presentation at the first session of the Ohio Beef Cattle Nutrition and Management Schools.

An article we published two years ago – Not all corn is created equal! – resulted in questions regarding feed supplement tags, the amount of protein in most of the supplements we’re using in some common small Midwest feedlot rations, and why we might need additional protein when the feed tag suggests only using 1.5 pounds per head per day of what is commonly a 40% protein supplement. Good question with a fairly simple answer . . . the tag doesn’t say you don’t need, or can’t use additional protein in order to optimize performance. It simply says to only use 1.5 pounds of that source of protein.

This isn’t a new question. In fact, I’ve discussed it with any number of beef cattle feeders who have asked the question over the years. If you’ve participated in one of Francis Fluharty’s Beef Feedlot Schools in the past, you know the answer as to why we could enhance performance with additional protein, but perhaps not how or why we find ourselves in this place where at first glance feed supplement tags might imply they can supply adequate protein to the ration at a rate of only 1.5 pounds of supplement per day.

Back in the 60’s I recall using a Continue reading But, the feed tag says only 1.5 pounds/head/day!

Beef Cattle Handling Facilities a Topic at First Cow/Calf Workshop

During the first session of the Ohio Beef Cow/Calf Workshop next Thursday, January 30, being held at Claylick Run in Newark, Ohio Beef Specialist Dr. Steve Boyles will facilitate a conversation and demonstration on how best to move beef cattle through properly designed handling facilities. Get a preview of Dr. Boyles approach to handling cattle in the short video below.

Choosing a Supplement for the Cowherd

– Jeff Lehmkuhler, PhD, PAS, Beef Extension Specialist, University of Kentucky

The spring of 2019 delayed hay harvest in many parts of the state. This delay resulted in much of the hay being harvested at mature stages. Fescue was in full flower to soft-dough stage or even more mature in some cases. Mature forages have greater cell wall and lower digestibility.

I tried to demonstrate the impact of late cutting on feed value by clipping non-fertilized fescue plants the 3rd week in June. These plants were over three feet tall when I cut them. I proceeded to separate the bottom leaves, stem and seed head for yield and quality. The stem and seed head represented approximately 50% of the biomass. The stem had already matured to the point that it was tan in color. The leaves comprised the remaining 50% of the biomass and contained 10% crude protein and a calculated TDN of 54%. The stem itself was only 3.1% crude protein with a TDN of 45%.

Let me give you a reference to better relate the fescue stem quality (about half the biomass). As we all know, wheat straw is the aftermath from harvesting the grain. Wheat harvest often occurs in late June through July. Did you catch that? The book values for crude protein and TDN of wheat straw are 3.6% and 43%, respectively. Yes, that stem fraction on the hay cut in late June is similar in quality to straw! I know we can’t Continue reading Choosing a Supplement for the Cowherd

Weekly Livestock Comments for January 17, 2020

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

FED CATTLE: Fed cattle traded steady compared to last week. Prices on a live basis were mainly $124 while dressed prices were mostly $198 to $199.

The 5-area weighted average prices thru Thursday were $124.00 live, even com-pared to last week and $199.07 dressed, up $0.43 from a week ago. A year ago, prices were $125.00 live and $197.00 dressed.

Following the strong run in finished cattle prices in December and a strong start to January, fed cattle prices have stagnated the past couple of weeks. Despite the appearance that prices have stalled, this should still be considered positive for cattle feeders. January and February are not known as strong beef demand months nor are they known for having the best finished cattle prices. The upside to current prices is that beef and cattle demand are strong in the spring which should bode well for the price of finished cattle moving into the spring. There remains potential for the cash market to trade over Continue reading Weekly Livestock Comments for January 17, 2020

Match EPDs to Your Ideal Grazing Management Style

Dean Kreager, Licking County Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator (originally published in Farm & Dairy)

As we move into January the grazing season is over for most and ended long ago for many, such as me, thanks to a dry fall.  Now is the time to start putting some thought into breeding decisions.  Is this the year to purchase a new bull?  What semen do I need to order so it will be in my tank when the cows come in heat?

In cattle, EPDs are the expected progeny differences in performance between offspring of different sires.  Sheep have a similar system of EBVs (estimated breeding values) but they are not as commonly used.  EPDs are available for a large number of production, maternal, and carcass traits.  The use of EPDs gained value with the first national cattle summary which was published in 1971.  The value of this data has improved with time.  Breeds have improved data collection and DNA evaluations have become common so that now the value of EPD’s is greater than ever.  These DNA enhanced EPDs can provide results equivalent to 10 to 36 calves for many traits but sometimes all these numbers get confusing.

Since this is a grazing column, let’s look at a few of the EPDs that are related to grazing Continue reading Match EPDs to Your Ideal Grazing Management Style

Forage Focus: Options for Fall/Winter Grazing of Winter Annual Forage Crops

Host Christine Gelley, an Extension Educator with The Ohio State University Agriculture & Natural Resources in Noble County is joined by Brady Campbell, a PhD Student in the Department of Animal Sciences and the coordinator of the OSU Sheep Team, for a segment reviewing options for fall/winter grazing of winter annual forage crops. While the focus here is on sheep, the concepts translate nicely over to cattle.

Posted in Pasture