Forage Focus: Native Clovers and Their Roles in Grassland Ecosystems

Most forages commercially grown in the United States today have origins in other continents. Many native plants, including grasses, clovers, and forbs, have been forgotten and underutilized since the time prior to European settlement of North America.

In this episode of Forage Focus, host Christine Gelley, Extension Educator, Agriculture & Natural Resources in Noble County is joined by guest Jonathan Kubesch, Ohio Native and current Ph.D. Student at Virginia Tech to discuss the history, use, and preservation of native clovers. Jonathan shares information about conservation efforts through academic research, agency sponsored programs, and citizen science groups that are working together to keep these plants from being lost in time.

Soil pH; vital to maintaining productive and healthy forage stands

The first session of the 2021 Ohio Beef Cattle Management School was hosted via ZOOM by the Ohio State University Extension Beef Team on January 18. During that first session the focus was on making quality hay for beef cattle with an emphasis on soil fertility and seed species selection.

In this excerpt from that evening’s presentation, Ohio State University Extension Educator Jason Hartschuh discusses the importance of one of the most misunderstood factors involved in maintaining high yielding forage stands . . . that is proper soil pH. Listen in as Jason discusses the importance of soil pH and the factors surrounding it.

Enjoy Jason’s presentation regarding “Fertility requirements that prolong the life, quality & productivity of hay and forage cropsContinue reading

Cryptosporidiosis – Frequently Asked Questions

– Dr. Michelle Arnold, UK Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory

What is “cryptosporidiosis”?

Cryptosporidiosis, also known as “crypto”, is a disease primarily seen in calves due to a protozoan parasite, Cryptosporidium parvum or C. parvum for short. In its “clinical” or visible form, calves have profuse, watery diarrhea that can lead to dehydration and death. It generally affects calves from newborns up to 6 weeks of age but older animals may be asymptomatic shedders. There are no effective treatments or vaccines available in the US. Cryptosporidiosis is “zoonotic”, meaning humans may acquire C. parvum from infected calves and have watery diarrhea lasting up to 3 weeks in healthy people with strong immune systems but can be life- threatening in immunocompromised individuals.

How is the organism transmitted?

Cryptosporidium “oocysts” are thick-walled structures, similar to parasite “eggs”, that are passed in the feces of infected calves. These oocysts are spread between calves by the “fecal-oral route”, either directly through contact with feces from infected calves (for example, on manure-covered teats), or indirectly by ingestion of feces-contaminated feed or water. Very few oocysts are required to cause infection; in one study in calves less than 24 hours old, only 17 oocysts were needed to cause diarrhea. Following ingestion (swallowing) of oocysts by the calf, the organism begins a very complex reproductive cycle within the cells that line the calf’s intestinal tract (see Figure 1 for a complete review of the life cycle). The conditions inside the gastrointestinal tract of low pH and body temperature trigger the Continue reading

Posted in Health

Cattle on Feed Update

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

The latest Cattle on Feed report was released this past Friday. Included in this report were placements and marketings for December 2020 and the on-feed total for January 1, 2021. The biggest surprise in the report was the nearly 1% larger placement total during December 2020 than during December 2019. Pre-report estimates were for lower placements than a year ago and the small increase was slightly outside the range of expectations. Total placements were 1.84 million head which is the 2nd largest total for December (behind 2005) since the series began in 1996.

At the state level, the biggest placement increases from December 2019 by number of head were in Iowa, Colorado, and Nebraska which were up 21,000, 15,000, and 15,000 head, respectively. Placements in TX and Oklahoma were lower than a year ago, down 30,000 and 16,000, respectively. This was the last Cattle on Feed report for the volatile 2020. A look back at the monthly placement totals for the year show a 4.1% decline in placements during calendar year 2020 as compared to Continue reading

Weekly Livestock Comments for January 22, 2021

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

FED CATTLE: Fed cattle traded steady to slightly softer compared to last week on a live basis. Prices on a live basis were primarily $108 to $110 while dressed prices were mainly $172 to $174.

The 5-area weighted average prices thru Thursday were $109.23 live, down $0.29 compared to last week and $172.59 dressed, down $0.47 from a week ago. A year ago, prices were $124.28 live and $198.86 dressed.

Packers did not throw any bones to cattle feeders this week as finished cattle prices did well to hold their ground from last week. Packers have been able to capitalize on higher beef prices, and they are not being forced to pass any of those margin gains down the line. The interesting part of this equation is that February live cattle futures are trading over $116 which means the $7 gap between today’s cash price and the futures price has to be closed at some point. It can either happen by cash prices increasing, futures prices decreasing, or a mixture of both. The April live cattle contract is over $122 which provides a lot of optimism for cattle feeders moving forward. One would have to imagine cattle feeders are Continue reading

Beef Cattle Biosecurity Plan for Disease Prevention

Steve Boyles, OSU Beef Extension Specialist

Biosecurity plays a key role in Beef Quality Assurance

In support of cattle producers across the country dedicated to preventing disease, improving animal welfare and reducing production losses, the Beef Checkoff-funded Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program developed a Daily Biosecurity Plan for Disease Prevention template. The template, which helps cattle producers implement daily biosecurity measures on their operations, is available digitally as a PDF or can be printed for handwritten plans.

The template was specifically designed to be customizable, giving producers flexibility in determining management practices that work best for their cattle operation and covers everything from animal movement to worker training. The goal of this program is to provide beef producers with the information needed to implement biosecurity plans. It provides an opportunity for producers to have Continue reading

Don’t Quit Now!

– Les Anderson and Jeff Lehmkuhler, Beef Extension Specialists, University of Kentucky

Many things in life make sense on the surface. Mark Twain once said “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you in trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so”. A great example is using water to put out a fire. On the surface this makes sense but if it’s a grease fire using water is a huge mistake. Beef cattle production has several examples of this but reducing feed to late gestation cows is one of the most common.

On the surface, reducing feed to late gestation cows makes some sense; less feed, potentially smaller calf, fewer calving problems, and a smaller feed bill. Fewer calving problems means more calves, more potential revenue, and, on the surface, this strategy is logical. But, like many things in life, the logical “just ain’t so”.

Fortunately, a great deal of research is available to help us understand the issues with nutrient intake of cows during the last trimester of pregnancy. As a pregnant cow moves from the second to the third trimester, her energy and protein requirements increase. Much of this increase is due to supporting the Continue reading

Rising Feed Costs Being Felt

– Jeff Lehmkuhler, PhD, PAS, Associate Extension Professor, University of Kentucky

Looking back on 2020, the year had its share of pull your hair out and scream moments. Just as we were nearing the end, another slap in the face came as grain commodities began to run up on the trade market. This is a good thing for our crop growers who struggled in 2020. My brothers-in-law reminded me of this at Christmas how much corn they had already sold earlier in the year for less and how they were now wishing they had held on to it. For those that haven’t looked, the March corn futures in mid-December were in the $4.20’s range and this week were trading in the $5.30’s. It was over the same course of time that the nearby futures for beans went from trading in the mid $11’s to over $14. As most of our feedstuffs in the region are either grain or coproducts of the grain processing industry, these increases in grain commodities have increased feed inputs significantly.

Dr. Burdine continues to share with you market information and you need to stay on top of what’s happening. We can handle increases in grains commodities if cattle prices follow the same pattern. The February fed cattle futures started following that trend in December but have since come right back to mid-December prices near $112. What happens to those feeder cattle futures when grain inputs go up and fed cattle drop? You guessed it; the January feeder calf contract is trading $4 lower than it was in mid-December. However, some say things will turn around soon making Continue reading

Meeting Protein Requirements When Protein is Expensive

– Katie VanValin, Assistant Extension Professor, University of Kentucky

One of the things that we know for certain is what goes up must come down, and in the agriculture industry the opposite is also true. For a whole host of reasons, we see fluctuations in all our commodity prices. In the beef industry, we can sometimes use this to our advantage to cheaply feed cattle, while other times we are forced to get out the pencil and paper (or excel spreadsheet) and look at our options to try and decrease feed costs. As of last week (January 7th, 2021) the national average value of distillers dried grains was 122.99% relative to corn, compared to the 5-year average of 109%. Soybean meal prices are being pushed even higher, based on national averages distillers grains were at $8.04 per unit of protein with soybean meal coming in at $9.22 per unit of protein as of last week.

In addition to times when price alone can make an ingredient impractical, there are also times when supply becomes limited and ingredients may simply not be available. We saw this last spring at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic when ethanol plants slowed production or closed all together. The question ultimately becomes, what options do we have for meeting protein requirements, when protein is expensive?

In the case of forage-based diets the first thing we need to do in Continue reading

Livestock Dealer Statutory Trust is now law!

Dealer Trust gives sellers of livestock the legal priority to get livestock back when a livestock dealer fails to pay.

With the President’s signature on December 27, 2020, Livestock Dealer Statutory Trust is now law! Dealer Trust gives sellers of livestock (often livestock auction markets or producers) the legal priority to get livestock back when a livestock dealer fails to pay. If the cattle have been resold, the unpaid sellers are now first in line for the proceeds.

But how will a Dealer Trust function? What does this mean for cattle producers, feeders, dealers, livestock auction markets, and lenders?

Livestock Marketing Association will be hosting a virtual call regarding Dealer Statutory Trust on Thursday, January 21, at 7 p.m. Central via Zoom. LMA’s Vice President of Government and Industry Affairs and Legal Chelsea Good and General Counsel and Vice President of Risk Mitigation Jara Settles will be leading the conversation by explaining Dealer Statutory Trust and addressing common industry questions. An opportunity for participants to ask questions will be available at the end of the Zoom call. This Zoom is open to anyone interested in learning more about Dealer Statutory Trust.

To join the video via Zoom, click this link: