Biosecurity Considerations when Transitioning Newly Purchased Cattle into the Herd

Steve Boyles, OSU Extension Beef Specialist

New animals should be quarantined for at least 30 days and batter yet 60 days before being introduced into the herd.

The objective is to avoid new diseases introduced through replacement stock and airborne diseases. Typically, new animals are quarantined for at least 30 days and more typically for 60 days before being introduced into the herd. If on-site, the isolation area should be of some distance and downwind from other animals. Practicing all-in, all-out procedures will make it easier to clean and reduce opportunities by personnel to introduce contaminants to the main herd. Minimize cross-contamination of feeding/watering equipment.  Here are some suggested procedures Continue reading Biosecurity Considerations when Transitioning Newly Purchased Cattle into the Herd

Breeding for Cow Longevity and Utilizing Available Tools to Accomplish a Productive Beef Cow Herd

The fourth session of the 2021 Ohio Beef Cattle Management School was hosted via ZOOM by the Ohio State University Extension Beef Team on February 8th. During that fourth session the focus turned to genetics, reproduction and breeding management. More specifically, in this portion of the evening’s program OSU Extension Beef Field Specialist Garth Ruff introduces John Grimes, OSU Extension Associate Professor Emeritus and owner of Maplecrest Farms in Hillsboro, Ohio, as he offers insight into genetic selection considerations that result in a genetically sound and productive beef cow herd.

Find recordings from all the 2021 Ohio Beef School sessions linked here.

USDA Announces Pandemic Assistance to Farmers

Chris Zoller, Extension Educator, ANR, Tuscarawas County (Source of Information:

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced this week it is establishing new programs and efforts to provide financial assistance to farmers negatively impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic.

The new program is called the USDA Pandemic Assistance for Producers and is intended to reach a broader representation of producers than previous COVID-19 aid programs. The program will place a greater emphasis on small and socially disadvantaged producers, specialty crop and organic producers, timber harvesting, as well as support for the food supply chain and producers of renewable fuels.

The USDA Pandemic Assistance for Producers program administered by the Farm Service Agency (FSA) includes four parts. Details below were . . .

Continue reading USDA Announces Pandemic Assistance to Farmers

2021 Brings Chance to Improve Hay Quality!!!

– Chris Teutsch, UK Research and Education Center at Princeton

Recently I presented a summary of ten years of hay testing results from the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s forage testing program. This sample set included more than 14,000 hay samples. The full presentation can be viewed on the KY Forages YouTube Channel.

Figure 1. Proportion of hay samples tested at the Kentucky Department of Agriculture over a ten-year period (2007-17) that would meet the energy (total digestible nutrients) requirement of various classes of beef cattle. Only 12% of these samples would meet the energy requirements of a lactating brood cow!

The results of this analysis showed that only 12% of the samples tested would meet the energy requirements of a lactating brood cow (Figure 1). This is an important finding for a cow-calf state like Kentucky since reproductive efficiency is so closely associated with body condition.

Practical Considerations for Improving Hay Quality

Grazing is the most economical way to harvest forage and we should strive to extend our grazing season. Our ag economists tell us that about 300 days of grazing is the sweet spot in terms of profitability for most cow-calf operations in the state. This leaves us with 2 to 3 months that we need to feed hay. To optimize reproductive efficiency, it is essential that hay fed will Continue reading 2021 Brings Chance to Improve Hay Quality!!!

There is more than one right way to finish a steer

– Dr. Katie VanValin, Assistant Extension Professor, University of Kentucky.

About a year ago, our industry buzzed with talk about finishing local beef. Our friends and neighbors found empty grocery store shelves and instead turned to their local beef producers to fill their freezers. Last year shed light on direct-to-consumer beef production. This concept of local beef is not a new one. Instead, it is more a case of what was old is new again. There was a time when small local meat lockers were a staple in many small towns. With reports of some processors booking into 2022, it appears that this trend for local beef may outlast the COVID-19 pandemic.

Recently a group of UK extension agents and specialists wrapped up a 4-week series of virtual meetings focusing on producing freezer beef in northern Kentucky. The UK beef extension team will also be launching a new program for the fall of 2021 called “Master Finisher” to provide additional resources for folks interested in finishing beef cattle here in Kentucky.

One of the things that I have come to appreciate while working with producers in small-scale finishing systems is that there is more than one right way to finish a steer (or heifer). Regardless of if you are producing beef in grass-finished, grain-finished or a hybrid grain-on grass system, what works for one operation may not be the best option for another. Answering several questions can help you narrow in on the right production system for your operation. A few examples include: Continue reading There is more than one right way to finish a steer

Additional CFAP 1 Payments and Futures Market Update

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

On Wednesday, March 24th, USDA announced updates to the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (or CFAP) and these updates directly affect cattle producers. For background, there were two rounds of CFAP during 2020 that provided direct payments agricultural producers including cattle producers (you can find previous newsletters on CFAP 1 and CFAP 2 here and here).

With the latest updates, previous applicants will receive additional payments for inventory submitted on their CFAP 1 applications. The additional payment rates are shown in the table above. USDA is implementing an increase in CFAP 1 payment rates based on the number of cattle in inventory between April 16, 2020 to May 14, 2020. Cattle producers with approved CFAP 1 applications will automatically receive these payments.

Additionally, USDA will reopen acceptance of new and modified CFAP 2 applications on April 5, 2021. The application period for CFAP 2 previously ended on December 11, 2020. This reopening likely won’t affect the many Continue reading Additional CFAP 1 Payments and Futures Market Update

Will increasing corn and soybean prices impact feeder cattle prices this year and in future years?

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

A question was asked last week how increasing corn and soybean prices will impact feeder cattle prices this year and in future years. In the short-run, higher feed prices will put pressure on feeder cattle prices, because it will be more expensive to feed them. However, this particular question was about pasture and hay acres potentially shifting into corn and soybean acres which would reduce the number of cattle over the next few years.

There is no doubt that some acreage could be shifted to row crop production, but it may take the form of intensifying land usage as opposed to a complete shift. Cattle production tends to work off a longer planning horizon than crop production so a price increase in grains and oilseeds does not mean a cattle producer should immediately change the course of action and shift land usage.

There is really no good way to answer the exact question that was asked, because there is no way to guess what land owners will do with land. The expectation is for stronger feeder cattle prices the next two to three years.

Selecting Forages for Your New Seeding

Christine Gelley, OSU Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator, Noble County

The spring seeding window for the most popular forages in our region is quickly approaching. Producers looking for guidance on how to choose the best forage for their system should always start with a soil test rather than a seed catalog. Whether you have farmed your site for decades or days, soil testing is essential for success.

Once you know the characteristics of your soil, you can formulate a timeline to adjust fertility if needed, sow your selected seed, and set realistic expectations for production. Soil testing should be conducted when site history is unknown, when converting from a different cropping system (row crops, woodlands, turfgrass, etc.), or on a three-year schedule for maintenance.

Additional factors worthy of consideration prior to purchasing seed include site drainage, sunlight exposure, weed competition, forage harvest method, and feed value for the end user. Choosing a forage that is adapted to the conditions of the site may be more effective than adapting the site to fit an Continue reading Selecting Forages for Your New Seeding

Taking the Bull from the Sale Ring or Winter Storage, Making Him the Athlete He Needs to Be

Stan Smith, PA, Fairfield County OSU Extension

Bulls need to be transitioned from their winter diet to grass carefully before turn out.

Recently we visited in this publication about the value in having a bull that’s passed a breeding soundness exam (BSE) and is ready to go to work when called upon. One thing we’ve perhaps yet to discuss is what needs to happen after the bull has passed his BSE, or is purchased, and until he goes to the breeding pasture. While a bull might have been a “potentially satisfactory breeder” on the day of his BSE, it is important that the time that passes from then until the day he must go to work are spent in a way that allows him to remain sound while also transitioning to the pasture he’ll be working.

For those of you who this season will be using young bulls, or even mature bulls that maybe have yet to be properly transitioned from winter ‘storage,’ OSU Extension Beef Specialist Dr. Stephen Boyles offers the following suggestions from his publication “Bull Nutrition and Management” regarding the pre-breeding season management of yearling bulls.

Post-purchase Management of Yearling Bulls: The yearling bull deserves some special Continue reading Taking the Bull from the Sale Ring or Winter Storage, Making Him the Athlete He Needs to Be

Minerals for Beef Cattle

Proper mineral and vitamin nutrition contributes to strong immune systems, reproductive performance, and calf weight gain. However, when it comes to selecting mineral supplementation to use for your beef herd it can often be a confusing decision as not all mineral mixtures are the same.

To help better understand what minerals are needed for beef cattle, OSU Extension in Coshocton County offered a webinar titled “Minerals for Beef Cattle” on Tuesday, March 16, 2021. During the session, participants learned the ball-park levels for mineral supplements for beef cows on forage-based diets, and discussed macro minerals, trace minerals, and best practices for mineral supplementation. Sample mineral tags were reviewed, and participants learned what to look for and how to fine tune mineral supplementation based on their hay sample analysis.

The program featured Dr. Steve Boyles, OSU Extension Beef Specialist, and Garth Ruff, OSU Extension Field Specialist for Beef Cattle, and is embedded below.