Act Now to Keep Pastures Growing the Entire Grazing Season

Chris Penrose, Professor and Extension Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources, OSU Extension, Morgan Co.

It’s never too early to consider which fields could be stockpiled for fall and winter grazing.

The warm February temperatures caused some of our forages to break dormancy early but the cooler March temperatures slowed down progress. We are now at a stage where our forage management decisions can affect forage availability for the entire season. Depending on the season and your location, perennial forages typically go through the reproductive stage in late April into May. After they set seed, these plants quickly transition from the reproductive stage into the vegetative stage. Up to this transition, energy of the plant moves up from the roots to the seeds, but with the transition, energy movement will primarily move from the leaves to the roots. As we move through summer this will help build up root reserves to help the plant survive the winter. What can we do to help keep plants vegetative and productive as long as possible?

First, removing the seed heads will stimulate new leaf development to build root reserves and provide more growth for grazing. Some of this can be accomplished by grazing livestock, but we may also need to clip some fields. If livestock have been out of a field for a period of time, planning to Continue reading

“Butterweed” . . . Coming Soon to a Field Near You

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

Butterweed, or cressleaf groundsel, showing some bloom!

Based on the last couple year’s experience, fields of yellow flowers are soon to be abundant across Ohio. Hopefully conducive April weather for planting new crops will help reduce the prevalence of a toxic winter annual plant that often creates these blankets of yellow.

The scenes that result 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 a 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

Internal Parasite Control in Cow-Calf Herds: Impact on Animal Health and Herd Profitability

– Brent Credille, D.V.M., Ph.D., Food Animal Health and Management Program, University of Georgia

The use of dewormers in calves can represent a 3,000% return on investment

Internal parasites represent a source of significant economic loss in almost all segments of beef production. The implementation of an internal parasite control program can lead to increased weaning weights in calves and increased pregnancy rates in heifers and cows. One study that was performed in Watkinsville, GA found that a single dose of Panacur given at the label dose to cows in early May resulted in a 22% increase in both pregnancy and calving rate compared to cattle that were not dewormed.Similar, but more recent, work from Louisiana has found that cows dewormed with Panacur midsummer had a 12% increase in pregnancy rate compared to untreated cows. To put this in economic context with current market prices, deworming cows represents a nearly 4,000% return on investment due to the increased number of calves available for marketing. In addition, that same study showed that calves dewormed at 3-5 months of age gained 0.3 lb./day more than calves that were not dewormed and weighed, on average, 25-45 lbs. more at weaning than control calves. Again, to put this into economic context using current market prices, the use of dewormers in calves represents a 1,500 – 3,000% return on investment due to . . .

Continue reading Internal Parasite Control in Cow-Calf Herds: Impact on Animal Health and Herd Profitability

Are Parasite Problems Returning in Cattle Due to Dewormer Resistance?

– Dr. Michelle Arnold, UK Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory

Dewormers (anthelmintics), when given correctly, are not killing intestinal parasites of cattle as they used to. Although new drug “classes” entered the market from the 1950s to the 1980s, it has now been over 40 years since ivermectin was introduced in 1981. Basically ‘we have what we have’ which is 3 major chemical classes or families of dewormers known as the Benzimidazoles (SafeGuard® & Panacur®/ Valbazen®/Synanthic®), the Macrocyclic Lactones or MLs (Ivomec®/ Cydectin®/ Eprinex® & LongRange®/Dectomax®/generic ivermectins) and the Imidazothiazoles/ Tetrahydropyrimidines (Rumatel®/ Strongid®/ Prohibit® or Levasol®). These dewormers are gradually losing effectiveness against livestock parasites with no new products on the horizon to replace them.

“Anthelmintic resistance” is the phrase used for the ability of a parasite to survive treatment with a lethal dose of chemical dewormer because of a change in the genetic makeup (mutation) in the parasite. Only the parasites that survive after deworming will go on to reproduce and may pass a copy of their newly formed “resistance gene” to their offspring. But this is only half of the story. For fully resistant parasites to develop, both parents must pass a copy of this “bad” gene to the offspring. These resistant genes build up slowly but steadily in the parasite population, especially from repeated use of dewormers over many years, and they do not revert to susceptibility. Resistant worms are not more aggressive or deadly; they simply survive in Continue reading

Posted in Health

When budgeting consider interest costs

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

Cost of production in the cattle business has been a hot topic and an area of concern for cattle producers for many years. This topic gained more notoriety in 2022 when fuel, fertilizer and feed prices all increased about the same time. In fact, the price of most inputs increased over the past several years, which has resulted in a higher cost to produce cattle.

Compared to one year ago, the cost of fuel, fertilizer and feed has moderated to a small degree. However, one cost has tripled over the past 12 months. It is often an expense that goes unrecognized, but it is an extremely important part of many operations. The cost that has tripled is interest expense.

In March 2022, interest expense when purchasing a 575 pound steer and growing him for six months was about $15 per head. Due to higher interest rates and higher cattle prices, that same 575 pound steer now incurs an interest cost of about $45 per head. This is a real cost that can reduce margins and must be considered when purchasing cattle.

April Cattle on Feed – What to Make of March Placements

– Dr. Kenny Burdine, Extension Professor, Livestock Marketing, University of Kentucky

USDA released the April Cattle on Feed report on Friday April 21st. This monthly publication estimates the number of cattle on feed at feedlots with capacity of over 1,000 head and serves as a measure of likely beef production over the next several months. While the cow herd has been decreasing in size for several years, an increase in the number of females in the beef system kept on-feed numbers running relatively high for much of 2022. Finally in the fall, the long-expected shift occurred, and on-feed numbers have been running below year-ago levels since then.

In Friday’s report, April 1, 2023, on-feed inventory was estimated to be down about 4.5% from April 1, 2022. While this might not immediately raise any eyebrows from casual observers, this on feed number was higher than expected and really came down to Continue reading

ROI; Is it time for a fresh look?

Stan Smith, OSU Extension PA, Fairfield County (originally published in Ohio Farmer on-line)

This old project book prompted a fresh look at ROI

Each year as I work through the pile on my farm desk at tax time, I come across the first SOE project book I completed when I began Freshman ag. Considering what we’ve sold cattle for this past year, it really caught my eye when I recently glanced at it again.

That old Livestock Production Enterprise record book showed that I purchased two Hereford crossed steers in November of 1965 for less than a quarter a pound, totaling just over $100 each. I sold them 8 months later for about $260 each. As I think about some fed cattle in Ohio auction barns recently selling for $3000 each, and quality feeder calves commonly bringing $1000 plus, I wonder if perhaps it’s time to take a fresh look at return on investment in the beef cattle industry and the value it represents during this time in the cattle price cycle.

Return on investment, or what we might commonly know as ROI, has always been at the forefront of any purchase decision made by profitable and forward-thinking businesses. Agriculture is no different. If the investment isn’t going to return more than its cost, why do it?

The consideration that might make those ROI decisions unique for agriculture is it takes Continue reading

Controlling the Breeding and Calving Season with Dr. Les Anderson

Stan Smith, PA, Fairfield County OSU Extension

These podcasts are ‘must hear’ with Dr. Les Anderson.

During the three podcasts linked below, Dr. Jeff Lehmkuhler, Extension Professor with the University of Kentucky, is joined by Dr. Les Anderson, Reproductive Management Specialist at the University of Kentucky, to discuss reproduction management concepts that will improve profitability in the beef cow herd. Regardless if you own 5 cows, or 105, with breeding season upon us these are three ‘must hear’ podcasts!

Controlling the Calving Season with Dr. Les Anderson, Part 1

This 44 minute session is focused on controlling the calving season in a natural service beef herd with some basic estrus synchronization protocols along with some additional basic Continue reading

Early Season Pasture Management

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

Most pastures are looking lush and green again. Thanks to some perfect temperature days, our cool-season pasture grasses are growing well. Grazing animals seem pleased to have some fresh greens and managers certainly are relieved to see the landscape change from dreary to dreamy again.

With the good that the spring flush of growth brings, there are also some concerns that we shouldn’t forget in the midst of the joy. Now is the time that grass tetany may become a problem and bloat can be an issue too in some circumstances. We also need to continue to consider the health of our forage and soils.

Remember Continue reading

Fed Cattle Prices Continue to Rally

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

Fed cattle prices pushed higher last week and set another record weekly average price. The weekly 5-area average price two weeks ago was $173.10 per cwt which surpassed the previous peak price from November 2014. The average price last week rose even higher to $180.44 as cattle markets continued to gain strength.

Fed cattle prices are up over 14 percent since the start of the year. Shown in the chart above, fed cattle prices have been in Continue reading