It’s not too late to make a Grazing Management Plan

Richard Purdin, OSU ANR/CD Educator, Adams County (originally published in Ohio Farmer on-line)

Measuring forage heights on May 2, 2022

May has arrived, and spring has truly sprung! With the weather trending warmer as I write this on May 2nd and there being no shortage of precipitation, pasture and hay fields across the state are waking up and growing. In some areas forages have been off to the races longer than others and beginning to mature and enter the reproductive stages of growth.

As I’ve walked my pastures in the rolling hills of Adams County, I’ve taken note of the many different grass species and even legumes in the pastures beginning to bolt and shoot a seed head. This is not uncommon for many of our cool season forages such as Kentucky bluegrass, orchard grass, perennial ryegrass, and tall fescue.

What is concerning is not the date at which the forage is maturing but the height at which it is maturing! According to my records the first week of May, 2021 presented daytime highs around 75°F and nighttime lows of 50°F and a forage height of 33 inches and beginning the boot stage of growth. On the flip side forage height in my pastures this year are around Continue reading

Pricing Standing Forage Crops – Your One-Stop Shop

Dianne Shoemaker, Farm Management Specialist, Ohio State University Extension; Dr. Mark Sulc, Professor and Extension Forage Specialist, Department of Horticulture and Crop Science; and Dr. William Weiss, Professor Emeritus, Department of Animal Sciences, The Ohio State University

Warmer weather is here.  As forage crops have broken dormancy, so does the perennial question of how to price standing forage crops.  Whether they are vegetative small grain crops, pure grasses, grass and legume mixes, or pure legume stands, the fundamental considerations are the same:

1. Determine market price of an equivalent crop
2. Calculate and apply deductions:

a. Cost of harvest, including mowing, tedding, and raking
b. Cost of baling
c. Cost of hauling
d. Risk – nutrient variation
e.Risk – weather, etc.

3. Adjustments: These optional adjustments can be made if a forage analysis is done post-harvest:

a. Dry matter
b. Feed value – If this option is chosen, then there is no deduction made for risk of nutrient variation (d above).

Clearly, this is not a quick process, but when . . .

Continue reading Pricing Standing Forage Crops – Your One-Stop Shop

Blankets of Yellow Flowers

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

Cressleaf groundsel is known to cause livestock poisonings.

Fields of yellow flowers are abundant this year across the state as many annual crop farmers faced planting delays. Some pasture fields are covered in blankets of yellow too. The scenes are deceptively beautiful with their sunny appearance but may actually pose a deadly threat to livestock if the plant happens to be cressleaf groundsel, which is also known as butterweed. Cressleaf groundsel is another weed known to cause livestock poisonings in harvested or grazed forages.

Cressleaf groundsel is a member of the aster family and displays yellow daisy like blooms in the springtime on upright hollow stems that have a purple hue. These plants are winter annuals, meaning the seed germinates in the fall producing vegetative growth and then flowers in the springtime. If allowed to set seed, the plants will appear again in greater numbers the year following. The plants typically go unnoticed in the fall, which is the best time for Continue reading

Beef Quality Assurance Training

Mark Badertscher, OSU Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension Educator, Hardin County

Join us on May 31st

Join Hardin County OSU Extension for a Beef Quality Assurance certification training scheduled for Tuesday, May 31 from 7:00-8:30 pm at the Extension office located at 1021 W Lima Street in Kenton. Beef Quality Assurance training is for beef cattle producers, needing to recertify or certify to sell cattle at auctions and other markets. Many of the major beef processors, auctions, and other markets began requiring producers to have a BQA certificate at the beginning of 2019. Beef Quality Assurance certification is for a period of three years and was previously held in Kenton in December 2018 and February 2021. Several local producers need to recertify in addition to any cattle producers who need to gain BQA certification for the first time.

Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) does more than just help beef producers capture more value from their market cattle. BQA also reflects a positive public image and instills consumer confidence in the beef industry. When producers implement the best management practices of a BQA program, they assure their market steers, heifers, cows, and bulls are the best they can be. Today, the stakes are even higher because of increased public attention on animal welfare. BQA is valuable to all beef and dairy producers because it Continue reading

Feed Outlook: Corn

– Chris Zoller, Extension Educator, ANR, Tuscarawas County

The United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service (USDA ERS) released its Feed Outlook on May 18, 2022.  The report ( provides domestic and international estimates for the 2021/2022 marketing year and projections for the 2022/2023 marketing year based on the recent World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimate (WASDE) report.  This article summarizes domestic corn production and use.

Reduced Production

According to the May 12 WASDE (, U.S. corn production for the 2022/2023 marketing year is expected to be four percent less than the 2021/2022 marketing year estimate.  Fewer planted acres and poor weather conditions are to blame.

In the March Prospective Planting report from USDA, U.S. corn acres are Continue reading

Another Cattle on Feed Record

– James Mitchell, Livestock Marketing Specialist, University of Arkansas

Josh noted record-high April 1 feedlot inventories in his article last month. Estimates from the May cattle on feed report, released last Friday, continue to show record high feedlot inventories. May 1 feedlot inventories totaled 11.967 million head, a record for the month and 2% higher than last year.

Like last month, the biggest surprise in the report was Continue reading

Kill Poison Hemlock Now

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

Poison hemlock is a concern in public right of ways, on the farm, and in the landscape!

Poison hemlock has already emerged in a vegetative state around Noble County and beyond. Soon it will be bolting and blooming on stalks 6-10 feet tall. All parts of the plant are toxic to all classes of livestock if consumed and is prevalent along roadsides, ditches, and crop field borders. It is a biennial weed that does not flower in the first year of growth but flowers in the second year. The earlier you can address poison hemlock with mowing and/or herbicide application, the better your control methods will be.

Poison hemlock is related to Queen Anne’s lace, but is much larger and taller, emerges earlier, and has purple spots on the stems. Another relative that is poisonous is wild parsnip, which looks similar to poison hemlock, but has yellow flowers. Giant hogweed is another relative of poison hemlock that is also toxic. All of these plants have umbel shaped clusters of flowers.

According to Joe Boggs of OSU Extension, “Poison hemlock plants contain highly toxic Continue reading

Forage Harvest Management to Speed Drying and Store High Quality Forage

Mark Sulc, Jason Hartschuh, CCA, and Allen Gahler, OSU Extension

“Hay in a day” is possible when making hay crop silage.

First cutting should be taken very soon to achieve high quality forage, as seen by some of the estimated NDF levels in standing alfalfa crops around the state. Keep in mind that for dairy quality hay, alfalfa should be stored near 40% NDF and grass hay crops should have less than 55% NDF, which happens in the boot stage, or before the first flowering heads begin to emerge. Keep in mind also that the cutting, drying, and storing process results in raising NDF levels at least 3 NDF units above what it was in the standing crop at the time of cutting, and that assumes quick drying and ideal harvesting procedures.

So, it is time to be thinking about that first cutting and looking for weather windows of opportunity, especially along I-70 and south. Cutting forage for haylage or dry hay is certainly a gamble but waiting for the perfect stretch of weather can end up costing us through large reductions in forage quality as the crop matures and the fiber becomes less digestible.

Before cutting though, keep in mind that the soil should be firm enough to support equipment. Compaction damage has long-lasting effects on forage crops. We’ve seen many fields where stand loss in wheel tracks led to lower forage yields, weed invasion, and frustrating attempts to “fill in” the stand later.

Before cutting also keep in mind any harvest intervals required for any pesticides applied. We know some growers around the state have applied insecticides for alfalfa weevil control, so any pre-harvest intervals on the insecticide label have to be followed in order to feed the forage after harvesting.

This article summarizes proven techniques that can help . . .

Continue reading Forage Harvest Management to Speed Drying and Store High Quality Forage

Crabgrass for Summer Grazing…Have you lost your mind???

– Chris Teutsch, UK Research and Education Center at Princeton

Crabgrass is a summer annual grass that often shows up in pastures, especially in thin stands that have been damaged by hay feeding or overgrazing. To flourish in a pasture, crabgrass needs a six-inch opening. This means if you have a strong and vigorous sod, crabgrass will be difficult to establish and maintain.

When cool-season pastures are grazed closely and often during the summer months, the composition of these stands tend to shift toward crabgrass. Unfortunately, these volunteer stand of crabgrass are often not managed to their full potential. The objective of this article is to give you a few pointers that will help you get the most out of volunteer crabgrass stands.

Not all crabgrass is created equal. We tend to lump all crabgrass into one category, but there are several species and even improved varieties. Some crabgrass species and even local ecotypes are more productive than others and respond better to improved management. If you want to ensure that you have the most productive crabgrass species, then consider overseeding your volunteer stands with an improved variety of crabgrass (Table 1). More data on crabgrass varieties can be found by Continue reading

10 Tips for Managing High Feed Prices

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

We have all heard the phrase, “it’s the little things”. The saying applies to the beef industry as well. There is no single management practice, feed ration, or genetic trait that drives profitability. Profitability is really a summation of lots of little things coming together to create a profitable system. Whenever profitability is challenged whether from greater input prices like we are seeing now, or lower calf prices, I start to get questions about decreasing feed costs. This should come as no surprise, as feed costs are one of the biggest expenses facing beef cattle operations. Below is a list of some of those little things, that can really add up!

1) Preg checking: Our cows should be working for the operation. Thus, an open cow is one that is not pulling her weight on a cow-calf operation. Today producers have more options than ever before for preg checking their herds. New chute side blood tests can be completed right on the farm in about 10 minutes, there are also commercial labs that will run blood tests giving you results in just a couple of days, and of course there is always ultrasound which gives you a real time answer but does depend on scheduling and availability. Culling open cows not only decreases purchased feed costs but can also make our available forage resources go farther as well.

2) Buy in bulk: The ability to buy purchased feeds in bulk can allow producers to take advantage of bulk discounts offered by many feed retailers. Also having the ability to Continue reading