Oats as an Alternative Forage

Allen Gahler, OSU Extension, Sandusky County and Jason Hartschuh, OSU Extension, Crawford County

When planted on or near August 1, oats can produce 1-1.5 tons of dry matter in approximately 60-75 days.

While some parts of Ohio have been rather dry this spring and into summer, other areas have been consistently wet throughout.  Either scenario can cause significant problems for grazing and haymaking.  If you are looking for alternative forages to either graze or harvest for hay yet this season, oats in one crop to consider, in part because of its flexibility as a feed, yield potential, and low-cost establishment.  While traditionally planted as the first crop in early April as a grain crop or an early season forage, One of the beauties of oats is its versatility in planting date. Oats can also be planted in the summer through early fall for fall grazing or forage harvest.

Summer oats has a wide planting window but performs much better with an application of nitrogen and may benefit from a fungicide application to improve quality. Past forage trials conducted at the North Central Research Station in Sandusky County have examined the planting of oats from July 15th through late September to learn tonnage and forage quality possibilities. Through these trials, we have examined planting date, yield, forage quality and an application of foliar fungicide to Continue reading Oats as an Alternative Forage

Cause and Effects of Moths in Hay

Christine Gelley– OSU Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator, Noble County, OH (this article originally published in Farm & Dairy)

Clover Hayworm Moth Photo: ODNR pub. 5467

Leave a porch light on one warm summer night and you will either be dazzled or disgusted by the creatures that fly in for a visit. From May to October, we avoid going out our front door at night to reduce the number of nocturnal flying insects that fly uninvited into our home. In the Southeast corner of Ohio, the biodiversity of critters found on chilling the front door and fluttering around the porch light have brought joy and wonder along with fear and furry to get through the door without a fleet of invertebrates coming along. Of the many insects available for viewing, the most common by far are moths.

Moths are among the most diverse groups of animals on Earth. Over 160,000 species are recorded globally and over 3,000 species are known to live in Ohio. All are nocturnal and all start as caterpillars feeding on plant material. From dull brown to brilliant pink colors and patterns, moths of Ohio are fascinating and important to the ecosystem as pollinators and a primary food source either as caterpillars or as adults for bats, birds, and spiders. Forested and prairie settings are home to the most diverse populations of moths. While most moths are considered beneficial organisms, some are considered major agricultural pests in their caterpillar stage.

OSU Extension has recently had a couple questions come through our system about moths in stored hay. Although the Continue reading Cause and Effects of Moths in Hay

Seeding Perennial Forages in Late Summer

Mark Sulc, OSU Extension Forage Specialist

August is ideal for establishing perennial forage stands in Ohio.

The month of August provides a window of opportunity for establishing perennial forage stands or filling in seedings made this spring that have gaps. The primary risk with late summer forage seedings is having sufficient moisture for seed germination and plant establishment. The decision to plant or not will have to be made for each individual field, considering soil moisture status and the rainfall forecast. Rainfall and adequate soil moisture in the few weeks immediately after seeding is the primary factor affecting successful establishment.

No-till seeding in August is an excellent choice to conserve soil moisture for seed germination. Make sure that the field surface is relatively level and smooth if you plan to no-till, because you will have to live with any field roughness for several years of harvesting operations.

Sclerotinia crown and stem rot is a concern with no-till seedings of alfalfa in late summer where clover has been present in the past. This pathogen causes . . .

Continue reading Seeding Perennial Forages in Late Summer

Beef Cow Numbers Continue to Decrease at National Level

– Kenny Burdine, Livestock Marketing Specialist, University of Kentucky

On Friday July 23rd, USDA-NASS released their mid-year estimates of US cattle inventory. Most all beef related inventory categories were lower, with all cattle and calves down 1.3% from July 1, 2020. I tend to focus more on beef cow inventory, which was off a little more than 2% from last year. This was the largest mid-year decrease in beef cow numbers since 2012, but still leaves the beef cow just 3% off its recent high in 2018. USDA does not make state-level estimates in July, but I suspect drought conditions in the west, and in the northern plains, have impacted this. Beef cow slaughter levels in the first half of 2021 have been relatively high although most culling tends to occur in the fourth quarter as fall-born calves are weaned and we move into winter.

Heifer retention estimates also paint a picture of decreasing beef cow numbers in the future. While beef heifer retention in nominal terms has been pretty flat the last three years, I like to examine that number as a percent of beef cow numbers. Put simply, if heifer retention is smaller than the culling rate, this suggests decreases in beef cow inventory. The figure below attempts to Continue reading Beef Cow Numbers Continue to Decrease at National Level

Patience Required for Prairie-Modeled Pasture

Christine Gelley, Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator, Noble County OSU Extension (originally published in the Ohio Farmer)

A prairie modeled pasture planting can provide high yielding, good quality forage in the driest part of the growing season. Photo: Jason Jones

If I were to make a playlist for establishing native warm-season pastures, these songs would be on it:

  • “Patience” by Guns N’ Roses
  • “No Rush” by Josh Turner
  • “Fools Rush In” by Elvis Presley
  • “You Can’t Hurry Love” by The Supremes
  • “I’m in a Hurry” by Alabama

Yes, patience is the theme of the playlist and patience is a virtue when establishing pastures that mimic native prairie ecosystems. The benefits of establishing a native warm-season grass stand come hand in hand with the challenges. The greatest of these challenges is simply being patient for the seed to germinate and the plants to grow. A common cause of seeding failures is the land manager’s anxiety and in inclination to change courses in the first few years after seeding a prairie mix.

The expected wait time for a native warm-season grass stand to reach the state considered “fully established” is Continue reading Patience Required for Prairie-Modeled Pasture

Keeping Quality in Mind

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

CSU analyzed market data from the Western Video Markets and determined that BQA certified cattle sold with a premium of $2.71/cwt.

Now that we are back to a semblance of somewhat normal, questions regarding Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) have been aplenty. While BQA has been a long-standing program, it was brought to the limelight in 2018 with Tyson’s announcement that would only source fed cattle from cattle feeders certified in BQA. With a certification being valid for a period of three years, those producers certified in our initial statewide push in 2018-2019 are due to be recertified in 2021 and into the spring of 2022.

While the principles of BQA have remained steady over the years, it is my goal as an educator to help the program evolve and move forward past the “basics” of injection locations, routes of administration, and flight zones. Although those topics are certainly still relevant today, I view BQA as an opportunity to educate about management practices that can be used to maintain and improve beef quality and farm profitability.

While the primary audience for BQA remains Continue reading Keeping Quality in Mind

Manure Science Review Coming August 10th

Register by August 1 and save $5

Manure Science Review will be held August 10 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at MVP Dairy near Celina, Ohio. This annual event includes educational sessions, field demonstrations, and a tour of MVP Dairy, including their 80-cow rotary milking parlor and manure handling system.

Registration is $25 by August 1 ($30 after that) and includes lunch. For details, go to ocamm.osu.edu or contact Mary Wicks (wicks.14@osu.edu; 330.202.3533).


International Beef Trade Update

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

USDA ERS released the estimates for beef trade during the month of May on July 6th. The export data show a sharp increase as compared to the pandemic-disrupted levels from a year ago.

Beef and veal exports were 69 percent higher in May 2021 as compared to May 2020. Of course, May 2020 was far from normal. As shown in the export chart above, May and June 2020 were exceptionally low export months as trade was disrupted due to the pandemic.

Even though the comparison to a low level from 2020 leads to the large percentage increase, that shouldn’t Continue reading International Beef Trade Update

Double Crop Forages to Maximize Summer Forage Potential

Jason Hartschuh, OSU Extension AgNR Educator, Crawford County

Many producers use summer annual forages for grazing and stored forage to either fill the summer slump or keep livestock feed through the winter. With wheat harvest finalized across most of the state and straw baling completed for many now our attention turns to creating a second or third profit center off those wheat acres.

Wheat acres provide an excellent opportunity for double cropping with forages that when harvested at the proper growth stage can either make high quality late gestation early lactation forage, grazing opportunities, or gut fill to mix lower the quality of other forages or concentrates.

Many species of summer annuals can be utilized for forage. Some of them such as radish and turnip can be easily grazed but do not make good stored forage as Baleage or dry hay. For dry hay we have found the best two species to be Continue reading Double Crop Forages to Maximize Summer Forage Potential