You can’t starve profit into a cow . . . or a hay field!

Stan Smith, OSU Extension PA, Fairfield County (originally published in The Ohio Cattleman)

Replace soil nutrients removed by harvested hay annually

Have you fertilized your hay fields yet this year? In the spring issue of the Ohio Cattleman we suggested once first cutting is harvested it’s a good time for an annual fertilizer application. If that opportunity was missed, fall is another opportune time to replace soil nutrients removed during hay harvest.

Considering we may have experienced lower than hoped for yields throughout parts of Ohio, it adds insult to injury that in some cases Mother Nature forced us to harvest mature, rained on, or otherwise poor quality first cutting hay this spring. Regardless, that hay still took with it lots of soil nutrients.

Fact is, each ton of hay that’s removed from a field during the harvest process takes with it roughly 12 pounds of P2O5 (phosphorus) and 49 pounds of K2O (potash). That’s regardless the calendar date and with little regard for quality of the forage that’s harvested. In fact, many Continue reading

Posted in Forages

Fall Forage Management Tips

Mark Sulc, OSU Extension Forage Specialist

Allowing an appropriate fall rest period is important for the long term health of a forage stand, particularly legumes.

Fall is a great time to take care of some very important aspects for managing forage hay fields and pastures. Below is a list of things that when done in the fall can help avoid big headaches this winter and next spring or even next summer. . .

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It pays to maintain cover!

– Victor Shelton, NRCS State Agronomist/Grazing Specialist

What four inches of good residual should look like.

I’ve not been on the road as much lately and it’s been nice to watch minute, daily changes in things as the days shorten and the nights become cooler. A few spiny pigweeds in the barn lot were one of the first things to catch my eye. They first quit growing, then with each additional cool night you could see a darkening of the leaves and more maroon showing. They don’t like the cooler weather; I don’t like the lack of sufficient moisture.

It is late September as I write this, and so far this month I’ve had a total of two-fifths of an inch of rain up until today. Some oats and turnips I planted over three weeks ago have barely broke ground. They won’t provide much grazing at this rate. Sadly, there are areas of Indiana that are in even worse shape moisture wise, especially parts of the northeast. That area has suffered from lack of sufficient rainfall most of the summer and those areas with Continue reading

Posted in Pasture

Precautions for Feeding Frosted and Drought-Stressed Forages

Mark Sulc, OSU Extension Forage Specialist

High nitrates and prussic acid poisoning are a potential concern this time of year with many grasses including sorghum sudangrass.

Livestock owners feeding forage need to keep in mind the potential for some forage toxicities and other problems that can develop this fall. High nitrates and prussic acid poisoning are the main potential concerns. These are primarily an issue with annual forages and several weed species, but nitrates can be an issue even in drought stressed perennial forages. There is also an increased risk of bloat when grazing legumes after a frost.

Nitrate Toxicity

Drought stressed forages can accumulate toxic nitrate levels. This can occur in many different forage species, including both annuals and perennials. Several areas in Ohio have been dry of late. Corn, oat and other small grains, sudangrass, and sorghum sudangrass, and many weed species including johnsongrass can accumulate toxic levels of . . .

Continue reading Precautions for Feeding Frosted and Drought-Stressed Forages

Record Levels of Prime Grading

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

The percentage of steer and heifer carcasses grading prime so far during 2020 has outpaced normal levels. The average percent prime for the first seven months of 2020 was 10.6 percent which is the highest January-July average on record and about two percent higher than during the first seven months of 2019.

Dressed weights have also been higher during 2020. Average steer and heifer dressed weights were 899 and 829 pounds, respectively, during the first 8 months of 2020. For steers, that was a 32-pound increase over the same period in 2019 while it was a 25.5-pound increase for heifers. Cattle dressed weights are usually seasonally lowest during late spring and then peak in late fall. In 2020, the seasonal decline in the spring did not materialize due to the processing disruptions forcing cattle to stay on feed longer.

The percentage of cattle grading prime was steadily increasing before the 2020 disruptions. Percent prime averaged 4.1 percent during 2010 through 2015 and 7.4 percent from 2016 to 2019. On the opposite end of the grading scale, the percentage of cattle grading select has Continue reading

Demand for Local Beef Remains Strong

Garth Ruff, Field Specialist, Beef Cattle, OSU Extension (originally published in the Ohio Farmer)

Growing Demand

While 2020 has certainly been a challenging year for agriculture and especially those in the livestock business. However, direct to consumer meat sales have been a bright spot as a result of increased demand. Although a small percentage in the grand scheme of things, direct marketing of farm products has become a more popular route of merchandising livestock. For those with an established direct to consumer meats sales business, COVID-19 and the resulting reduction in national packing capacity, and limited meat supplies in the retail case, created the perfect storm for expansion of niche market opportunities.

The increased demand and volume of local beef, pork and other meats has also led to record throughput and demand for services at the small meat processors across the country. As I visit with the local meat processors across Ohio, many of them are taking harvest reservations well into mid-2021 and several processors have already Continue reading

Thinking About Weaning and Preconditioning Calves to Add Value? Know the “Lingo”

– Dr. Michelle Arnold, UK Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory

Traditionally, many KY beef producers with winter/spring born feeder calves market through Special Graded Feeder Calf Sales held in the fall. At these sales, feeder cattle are graded according to the USDA Feeder Cattle Grading Standards, are weighed and sorted into groups (load lots of 48,000-50,000 lbs) and are then sold. Buyers take advantage of these sales to buy larger groups of feeder cattle with similar traits. Most of these calves are weaned “on the truck” on the way to the sale, unvaccinated, and the bull calves are still bulls. With this marketing strategy, producers who work to improve genetics or have an effective herd health program do not earn premiums for their extra effort because calves are sold based on the average weight and grade of the group.

Preconditioning of feeder cattle has been recognized by industry experts as a way for cow-calf operators to add value to their annual calf crops. Most preconditioning programs specify two rounds of viral and Clostridial vaccinations, a Mannheimia haemolytica toxoid, deworming, castration of bull calves and healed, heifers guaranteed not pregnant, and a minimum of 45 days weaned. Some require producers to use one pharmaceutical company’s products. In addition, weaned calves are usually expected to know how to eat from a feed bunk and drink from a fountain or tank. Buyers prefer weaned calves that have been properly fed and vaccinated compared to similar non-vaccinated and non-weaned calves, which can translate to price premiums of $10 to $15 per cwt depending on the market that day. However, to capture this added value, this information must be Continue reading

A conversation with OSU Extension Beef Field Specialist Garth Ruff

Last week OSU Extension Educator Clifton Martin had the opportunity to visit with Garth Ruff about Garth’s recent hiring as the OSU Extension Beef Specialist and current trends in the Beef Industry. During that conversation they covered trends in Ohio, the role of the OSU Extension Beef Specialist, opportunities for outreach, the status of Beef Quality Assurance, and key opportunities for producers to stay ahead of the curve.

Enjoy that conversation here:

The transcript of this recording may be found in Continue reading

Forage Focus: Creating alternative forage plans

Think outside the box about forage management by considering alternative grazing and hay strategies. In this episode of Forage Focus, OSU Extension Educator Christine Gelley addresses how creating alternative forage plans can strengthen your operation. Reducing days livestock consume stored feed and increasing farm flexibility helps build resiliency in times of uncertainty and change. Today, Christine shares information regarding the benefits and management of warm-season perennial grasses, warm-season annual grasses, small grains and brassicas.

Posted in Forages

Entry Deadline for the 2020 OCA Replacement Female Sale Approaches

John F. Grimes, Ohio Cattlemen’s Association Replacement Female Sale Manager

On Friday evening, November 27, the OCA will be hosting their eighth annual Replacement Female Sale. The sale will be held at the Muskingum Livestock facility in Zanesville and will begin at 6:00 p.m. The entry deadline for consignments for the sale are due to the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association by October 1, 2020.

The 2020 Ohio Cattlemen’s Association Replacement Female Sale will provide an opportunity for both buyers and sellers to meet the need for quality replacements in the state. Consignments may include cow-calf pairs, bred cows and bred heifers. Females must be under the age of five as of January 1, 2021 and may be of registered or commercial background. Bred females must be bred to a bull with known EPD’s and calves at side of cows must be sired by a bull with known EPD’s. Pregnancy status must be verified by an accredited veterinarian through traditional palpation, ultrasound or by blood testing through a professional laboratory. Analysis must be performed within 60 days of sale. Consignments will also be fulfilling specific Continue reading