Teff, Italian ryegrass, oats and corn were included with 5 other ‘covers’ in this study
The combination of poor quality hay made in 2018, historic alfalfa winter kill, and excessive rainfall across most of Ohio in the spring of 2019 created a large need for high quality alternative forage sources this past year. Record amounts of prevented plant acreage across the state created an opportunity to grow forages on traditionally row cropped acres. As crop and livestock producers planted a variety of forage and cover crop species to supplement feed stocks, it was recognized that there was also a need to gather forage analysis results from these fields in order for growers to properly value and feed the forage grown. The following data are from cover crop forage samples that were submitted by farmers and from OARDC research stations where annual forages were grown as part of the 2019 Ohio State eFields program available at your local extension office or digitalag.osu.edu/efields.
Samples A total of 208 forage samples were collected by farmers and county Extension Educators and sent to a lab for wet chemistry feed analysis. With the variety and mixes of species grown, wet chemistry analysis was chosen for increased accuracy of nutrient composition. Near Infra-Red (NIR) analysis often cost less per sample, it is best utilized when evaluating alfalfa or frequently grown monoculture grass hay. Full trial results by location, more quality factors, and samples with less than 3 locations can be found at go.osu.edu/forages19 .
– Chris Teutsch, UK Research and Education Center at Princeton
Figure 1. Excessive rainfall and high livestock concentration in and around hay feeding areas has resulted in almost complete disturbance.
Wet conditions this winter have resulted in almost complete disturbance in and around hay feeding areas. Even well-designed hay feeding pads will have significant damage surrounding the pad where animals enter and leave. These highly disturbed areas create perfect growing conditions for summer annual weeds like spiny pigweed and cockle bur. Their growth is stimulated be lack of competition from a healthy and vigorous sod and the high fertility from the concentrated area of dung, urine and rotting hay. The objective of this article is to outline approached for dealing with these areas.
Approach I: Planting cool-season grasses and legumes
The first strategy is to seed cool-season grasses or a mixture of grasses and legumes in the spring. While this commonly done, results are usually less than spectacular in most years. This is due to several reasons. The first is that seedings are normally delayed until late spring or early summer. This does not allow adequate time for the seedlings to develop a large enough root system to sustain them through a hot and often dry summer. The second reason is that Continue reading →
Most know that calves are not born with any immunoglobulins, which are critical for the health of a new born calf. Immunoglobulins are supplied by the cow via colostrum, or first milk, and calves only have a 24 hour window to ingest these molecules through the lining of their gut before that window closes.
During his presentation at the 2020 Ohio Beef Cow/Calf Workshop and excerpted in the 2 minute video below, Dr. Francis Fluharty further explains why a calf must receive adequate colostrum within the first 24 hours of life.
– Jason Jones, Ohio Grasslands & Grazing Coordinator, Pheasants Forever, Inc. and Quail Forever
Interested farmers may now submit applications to enroll acres into the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) Grasslands. The signup period for 2020 will run from March 16 through May 15.
Through CRP Grasslands, a participant can maintain common practices such as grazing, haying, mowing, and harvesting seed from the enrolled acres. Practices must be suitable for maintaining the grass, legume, and forb community. Some restrictions or harvest delays remain in effect for the primary nesting season of grassland nesting birds.
An annual rental payment is calculated for the participant’s offered acres, which is based on a pastureland rate. Rates are 75% of the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) 2018 pasture cash rent estimate. Landowners may also receive up to 50 percent cost-share for establishing approved conservation practices, in some cases. A CRP Grasslands contract can be either 10 or 15 years. Farm Service Agency (FSA) will rank applications nationally, using several site-specific metrics, including current vegetative cover and overall environmental benefits of the project.
The 2018 Farm Bill has made available to enroll up to 2 million acres for CRP Grasslands nationwide. CRP is one of USDA’s largest and most successful conservation programs. For more information or to enroll in CRP Grasslands, contact your local FSA county office.
– Kenny Burdine, Livestock Marketing Specialist, University of Kentucky
Feeder cattle markets continue to get hit hard. Not surprising, volumes were quite light last week, but prices still dropped drastically. Based on weekly averages, 850 lb Medium / Large Frame #1-2 steer price is down nearly $22 per cwt over the last two weeks. After holding impressively for the first two week of March, calves finally fell sharply last week too. The state average price for a 550 lb Medium / Large Frame #1-2 steer has dropped by $15 in the last two weeks. Figure 1 shows both these price series, going back to the second week of January (price data was not available for the first week of year).
Figure 1: Feeder Steer Prices since the First Week of January Kentucky Average ($ per cwt)
Source: USDA-AMS, Livestock Marketing Information Center, and Author Calculations
With somewhere around 1.5 million acres that were not planted last spring to the intended crops of corn or soybeans due to the extraordinary weather, today, Ohio farmers likely have more acres of cereal rye planted for cover than at any time in previous history. At the same time, cattlemen and livestock owners are facing forage shortages that rival the drought of 2012. Adding insult to injury, the inventory of straw bedding is similarly very short, and will likely remain so until at least mid-summer.
With the opportunity for newly harvested forages still 2 or 3 months away, and straw even further out, perhaps it’s time to take a look at the opportunity for realizing either feed or bedding from cereal rye, or maybe even one of our other biennial grass crops.
Winter wheat, barley, triticale, and cereal rye planted in the fall can produce high quality forage in the spring when harvested in the boot stage. These forages are not equal though, in their speed of maturity or quality in the soft dough growth stage. Rye grows and matures faster than Continue reading →
For at least the past dozen years we’ve shared how anything that decreases the particle size of forages also increases the surface area for the bacteria to attach, thus speeding up the rate of digestion and allowing the beef animal to receive more total nutrients in a shorter time. In short, processing long stem forages into smaller pieces increase their digestibility.
During the recent Ohio Beef Cow/Calf Workshop, Dr. Francis Fluharty explained exactly why and how the digestibility of long stem forages can be improved by one third or more by simply processing them, or perhaps baling them with a ‘chop cut’ baler. Embedded below, in an 8 minute excerpt from that presentation on January 30, 2020, is Fluharty’s explanation.
– Jeff Lehmkuhler, PhD, PAS Associate Extension Professor
As we see the events unfold in response to COVID-19, I thought I would share a few things to consider in any emergency. Emergency preparedness first came to light for me early in my graduate student career when the hurricane hit North Carolina and my swine colleagues shared pictures of boats carrying feed to swine facilities. Being prepared became more evident in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina and the impacts on beef cattle operations near the coast. Granted we may not be near the coast and hurricanes are not a concern but, when the tornado went through eastern Kentucky a couple years ago, having plans for dealing with emergencies again become evident as we were rebuilding fences and accessing the supplies needed to do so. The following does not pertain to just the current situation and should provide a spark to think about preparing for emergencies you may experience on your operation.
Identify major weaknesses that are critical points in your operation to maintain the necessities for the well being and care of your animals. Start with the basics of nutritional considerations for assuring livestock will have access to feed and water. Then consider animal health management items that may be impacted if supplies are limited or take longer to acquire. This is not to say that you should hoard products, but rather plan well and consider the “what ifs”.
As we are entering spring and pastures are greening up, feed resources may not be Continue reading →
– Dr. Kenny Burdine, Livestock Marketing Specialist, University of Kentucky
I’m on the record being relatively optimistic about cattle markets in 2020. After some very tough years, decreasing cattle numbers and a positive outlook for exports gave me reason to expect better prices in 2020. The first couple of months even seemed to confirm my prediction. But, here we are and I see very little reason to talk about much other that the main topic at hand this month. Virtually every market that exits is currently trying to grasp the impact of the COVID-19 virus. In truth, there is little precedent for something like this in the marketplace, so making predictions is nearly impossible. Further, the situation is evolving as we speak and will undoubtedly change between the time I write this (3-16-20) and the time it is read. Obviously, I can’t address the medical side of the issue, but I thought it might be useful to talk through some things relative to the cattle markets.
I am including monthly price charts through the second week of March, but they don’t completely tell the story at hand as quickly as markets are moving. Heavy feeder cattle prices were extremely strong as we closed out 2019 and dropped considerably in January and February (see figure 1). This drop is seasonally normal, but it was a sharper drop that usual this year and COVID-19 may have Continue reading →
– Dr. Andrew Griffith, Assistant Professor, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of Tennessee
FED CATTLE: Fed cattle traded $3 to $4 lower compared to last week. Prices on a live basis were mainly $109 to $110 while dressed prices were mostly $173 to $175.
The 5-area weighted average prices thru Thursday were $109.35 live, down $3.96 compared to last week and $174.20 dressed, down $6.85 from a week ago. A year ago, prices were $126.98 live and $204.03 dressed.
Most markets in the cattle and beef complex are moving contra-seasonally due to world heath issues and the economic slow-down that comes with it. When relief finally comes is anyone’s guess, but there should be just as strong of profits on the other side of this market as there are losses in the current environment. This appears to be the opposite scenario compared to what happened to markets from 2014 through 2016. The current situation is not expected to play out over three long years, but the market is expected to rebound at some point in the near future and provide big profits for cattle feeders who make feeder cattle purchases at these low prices. It is beginning to look like Continue reading →