Ohio Cow-Calf Assessment – What We Do and Why?

Garth Ruff, Beef Cattle Field Specialist, OSU Extension

Please participate in our survey and help us, help you!

We at OSU Extension want to hear from you regarding basic cow-calf management practices that you implement on your farms. Why? Aside from an individual program evaluation or farm visit, common cow-calf production practices have never been documented on a statewide here in Ohio.

By better understanding practices implemented by Ohio producers, we as in the OSU Extension Beef Team will be able to tailor programming more specifically to meet your needs. Furthermore, this survey might indicate potential for areas of research that we have yet to identify through current processes.

This type of project is nothing new, just new to Ohio. Our colleagues and counterparts in other states have been doing similar work over the years. Our goal is to take the knowledge gained regarding your production practices and be able to create better programming and Continue reading

Falling Leaves Poison with Ease

Haley Zynda, Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator, OSU Extension, Wayne County

Even some leaves yet to fall are potentially toxic!

Even though we’re only a couple weeks away from the true start of winter (hard to believe, I know), some trees are still clutching onto their leaves as if the dying foliage will be enough to fortify their soon-to-be bare branches against the frigid temperatures. It’s important to take note of the trees that have leaves yet to fall, especially if you house livestock outside in pastures or sacrifice lots. I’m sure most have heard of the dangers of black/wild cherry limbs and leaves for cattle, but there are several other trees and shrubs that can cause negative impacts on cattle, horses, sheep, and goats.

Wild Cherry. Poisonous to all classes of livestock, wilted cherry leaves and branches can cause prussic acid poisoning, the same poisoning as seen in frosted sorghum-sudangrass. It’s best to remove downed limbs and leaves from pastures to prevent incidental intake, or keep animals off the lot until the leaves have completely dried and become brittle.

Red Maple. Poisonous to Continue reading

Forage Focus: Holiday Leftovers for Your Livestock?

In this episode of Forage Focus, Christine Gelley reviews how, or if, to use holiday leftovers for livestock. From food scraps to greenery, there are right ways and wrong ways to recycle parts of your holiday celebrations for the benefit of the animals in your care. Learn more about items that could be safety shared with pastured livestock and companion animals as treats and habitat enrichment.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Corn silage inclusion level in feedlot diets

Jerad Jaborek, Michigan State University Extension Beef Feedlot Systems Educator

Including corn silage at greater levels in the finishing diet can be economically favorable when the price of corn grain is high.

The business model of the cattle feeding industry is built upon the concept of adding value to feedstuffs by converting them to beef. Beef has much more value as a human edible protein source compared with typical cattle feedstuffs, including corn. Let’s investigate the question: Is it more economical to feed beef cattle corn or corn silage in feedlot diets? Michigan State University Extension offers more information about this subject on its beef nutrition site.

Some great research conducted at the University of Minnesota by DiCostanzo and colleagues investigated different corn crop harvest endpoints and the economic returns per acre when fed to heavy yearling feedlot steers in an integrated crop and livestock operation. The corn crop was harvested as either corn silage at 39 days, earlage at 56 days, high moisture corn at 70 days, or dry corn at 86 days after corn began silking, with the high moisture corn and dry corn being rolled before storing.

Each diet consisted of one corn crop endpoint at 75% dry matter. The remainder of the diets consisted of either dry rolled corn for the silage diet and grass silage for earlage, high moisture corn, and dry rolled corn diets at 11%, along with wet distillers grains at 10% and 4% supplement on a dry matter basis. Steers had a lesser dry matter intake when offered high moisture corn. Steers also had the greatest average daily gain when offered dry rolled corn, followed by cattle offered high moisture corn, and lastly, cattle offered earlage and corn silage.

Steers offered dry rolled corn or high moisture corn were the most . . .

Continue reading Corn silage inclusion level in feedlot diets

Ninth Annual OCA Replacement Female Sale this Friday

Selling bred heifers, cows and pairs, all less than 5 years old.

This is the final reminder to attend the ninth annual Ohio Cattlemen’s Association Replacement Female Sale.  The sale will be held this Friday, November 26, at the Muskingum Livestock facility located at 944 Malinda Street in Zanesville and will begin at 6:00 p.m. This sale represents an excellent opportunity for anyone looking to add quality young replacement females to their herd.

Approximately 42 bred heifers, 33 bred cows and cow/calf pairs are being offered at this year’s sale. Females selling will have pregnancy status verified within 60 days of sale and are eligible for interstate shipment. Breeds represented include Continue reading

Summary of November Cattle on Feed Report

– Kenny Burdine, Livestock Marketing Specialist, University of Kentucky

The November Cattle on Feed report was released on Friday afternoon, November 19th. USDA cattle on feed reports estimate cattle inventory in feedlots with one-time capacity over 1,000 head. Feedlots of this size represent 84% of total cattle on feed numbers based on a comparison of the July Cattle on Feed report and total on-feed numbers from USDA’s mid-year cattle inventory report. The November 1 estimate came in at 11.9 million head, which was basically steady with last year’s November on-feed inventory. Cattle on feed numbers tend to grow from fall to winter, which can be seen in the chart above.

Cattle on feed numbers increase this time of year because Continue reading

Can I afford to fertilize my hay?

Stan Smith, OSU Extension PA, Fairfield County and Chris Penrose, Agriculture and Natural Resources, OSU Extension, Morgan County

While you can’t starve profit into a hay field, there may be some options.

With fertilizer prices on the rise and reaching levels not seen in years, some are wondering if they can afford to fertilize hay ground. Realizing we can’t starve a profit into a cow, or a hay crop, the answer is simple. We can’t afford not to properly and strategically fertilize a hay crop.

The operative word here is “strategically.” Let’s look at what that word might mean in the coming 2022 hay season.

First and foremost, now more than ever is the time to make sure we have up to date soil tests. We can’t manage what we haven’t measured and knowing the nutrient content of forage fields is critical to knowing which soil nutrients will offer the most Continue reading

Reduce Forage Losses During Winter Feeding

Garth Ruff, Beef Cattle Field Specialist, Ohio State University Extension

Bale feeders with tapered cone design have proven to be “hay savers.” Photo: Oklahoma State University

Now that we have had nearly a week of hard frost, the end of the grazing season is in sight. Previous authors of this column have talked about having a plan for feeding hay in terms of how long and when to start. This week let’s look at different approaches to winter feeding and the pros and cons of each system.

Feeding hay is expensive, if you waste it, you lose money. Consider the following to minimize waste during feeding.

  1. Feed hay in a feeder to minimize waste. Feeding hay in a feeder or ring reduces the amount of feed trampled and soiled, especially when feeding large round bales that provide several days of feed.
  2. Feed hay in well-drained areas. If you intend to feed hay in a single location all winter, consider feeding on crushed gravel or even concrete pad can help minimize problems with mud. If feeding on a pad, manure management is another part of the equation.

Large round bales with ring: A better system for feeding large round bales is to set the bale in the pasture or feeding area but limit Continue reading

A Basic Approach to Winter Supplementation of the Beef Cow Herd

– Dr. Francine Henry, Assistant Professor, Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences – Tifton Campus, University of Georgia

It is that time of the year again! As temperatures begin to drop, warm-season pastures are not so green anymore, and as we approach the Winter months, beef cattle producers scratch their heads and question marks start popping up. “Let me give a call to my county extension agent and reach out to the specialists, I have some questions about Winter Supplementation”. If this scenario does not sound familiar to you, congratulations! But if I had to guess,most of you are already there and this is actually an annual conundrum every beef cattle producer in the southeast faces.

As the “new Beef Extension Specialist in town”, I am here to help you out to identify the best strategies for your specific operation. I will start with: there is not a “one size fits all” answer when it comes to supplementation strategies and the most important thing to begin with is to not mistake supplementation for feeding. If we can assure that, a lot of dollars can be saved. Then, let’s address the term supplementation. By definition,supplementation, in nutrition terms, refers to “something added to complete a diet or make up fora deficiency”. When we consider the herd nutrition,the use of supplementation indicates that a free-choice supply of forage is available, being grazed or provided as conserved (i.e. hay or haylage). However, such forage may not necessarily contain adequate amounts of nutrients needed to meet the cowherd’s nutritional requirements during critical periods such as calving, lactation, and breeding.

Question #1: How do I know if the forage my cows are consuming does not have adequate nutrients?

If I had a penny for the number of times I heardOh, I know this hay I have is really good!without an actual test report with accurate numbers on crude protein and energy values, I would be rich! So, first things first, it is very important to get . . .

Continue reading A Basic Approach to Winter Supplementation of the Beef Cow Herd

Interpretation and Use of Expected Progeny Differences

Steve Boyles, OSU Extension Beef Specialist

The following article is a condensed version of a paper written my M. Spangler in: Beef Sire Seletion Manual, 3rd Version, pages 21-23

Expected Progeny Differences (EPD) are the most reliable tools to generate directional change in traits. However, like all tools, they must be used correctly and require some degree of background knowledge to ensure proper use.

Breed Averages

Every breed provides breed averages for every trait with a published EPD. Breed average, as the name implies, is the average EPD for a given trait within a specific population (e.g., breed). Breed averages are rarely zero, but instead reflect a point in time or a set of historic animals.

Percentile Ranks

Breed averages can serve as a barometer relative to how an animal compares to other animals in a breed. Percentile ranks serve as a more refined gauge of how an animal compares to other animals in the same breed. Like breed averages (50th percentile), percentile ranks are available for every trait with an EPD.  Percentile ranks indicate what Continue reading