Keep Forage Nitrate Toxicity in Mind This Year

Jason Hartschuh, OSU Extension Field Specialist Dairy Management and Precision Livestock

Both corn silage and dry hay may be at risk for high nitrates!

This year has been a weather rollercoaster with multiple spells of drought and flooded conditions. These adverse growing conditions can cause unforeseen challenges with the forages you have stored away. We have had multiple reports of high nitrate levels this year. The first reports of high nitrate levels were in June harvested oats after the early season drought. Recently we have had additional reports of dangerously high nitrate levels in millet hay with the recently dry weather.  Producers have also told us that they are struggling with excessive silo gas coming from corn silage.

Plants readily take up nitrates from the soil, even under cooler conditions.  Once in the plant, nitrate is converted to nitrite, then ammonia, and finally into amino acids and plant protein. Any environmental stress that significantly slows down plant photosynthesis and metabolism can lead to excessive nitrate levels in the plant because the nitrate uptake from the soil will be faster than its metabolism into plant protein. Such stresses include Continue reading Keep Forage Nitrate Toxicity in Mind This Year

A Hay Test is Worth Every Penny

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

The hay probe can be a cattleman’s best friend!

As hay making season ends and hay feeding season approaches, it is time to remind everyone that feeds hay how important getting a hay test completed is for deciding how to feed your livestock this winter. A hay test will cost you far less than the cost of a single round bale. The results you get back will give you the information you need to decide what type of feed and how much you will need to purchase to keep your animals productive until good pasture is available to graze again.

If you have never done a hay test before, Extension is here to help you. We have tools you can borrow and personnel to help with consultation. Here are Continue reading A Hay Test is Worth Every Penny

Decisions, Decisions

Garth Ruff, Beef Cattle Field Specialist, OSU Extension

As I wrote this from the county fair office, it was hard to believe September was here. Every year it seams that August flies by even faster than the previous year. In the past month I’ve had the opportunity to visit with cattle producers from across Ohio on a variety of different topics. No matter where or who the conversation always trends towards a common theme: cattle prices.

Questions that have been asked 1) Should I retain heifers? 2)Should I sell cattle or feed them to market.

While our role isn’t to give marketing advice in Extension, here are some of the things we know. The 2023 feeder cattle market is at historic highs prices. The days with $2.50-plus feeder cattle have been few and far between in the past. Consider the value of this year’s calf crop when projecting fed cattle returns. Even with potential reduced Continue reading Decisions, Decisions

Newly received feedlot calves may need more protein due to a lesser feed intake

Jerad Jaborek, Michigan State University Extension

The percentage of dietary protein may need to be greater for newly received feedlot calves until feed intake recovers.

Newly received feedlot calves undergo numerous stressors that can be brought about by weaning, transportation, and commingling. These stressors can affect digestive and immune function for these calves. This article will focus on the nutritional implications these stressors can have on feed intake of newly received feedlot calves, specifically their protein requirements.

Feed and water deprivation, from abrupt weaning and learning to eat new feedstuffs or due to the time spent during transport, can affect the willingness of newly received feedlot calves to consume feed upon arrival. Feed intake during the first week of arrival in the feedlot can be considerably less than the second week for calves. Therefore, the receiving diet should have a greater nutrient density to compensate for the decreased feed intakes of newly received feedlot calves. The lesser feed intake observed during the first week of feedlot arrival has not been shown to be due to reduced rumen bacteria or digestibility of the consumed feed. Rather, it may be driven by a . . .

Continue reading Newly received feedlot calves may need more protein due to a lesser feed intake

Tight Cattle on Feed Ahead of this Year’s Fall Run

– James Mitchell, Livestock Marketing Specialist, University of Arkansas

The September Cattle on Feed Report was released on Friday, and estimates were within the range of pre-report estimates, albeit on the lower end of those analyst expectations. The main takeaway is the same as it has been for most of 2023: cattle on feed supplies will continue to be tight. As we shift gears for the fall run of calves, some of the feedlot placement data is interesting to look at in more detail.

Placements into feedlots with 1,000 or more head capacity totaled 2.00 million head and was 5.1 percent lower than in August 2022. Breaking out feedlot placements by weight category, the largest decline was for cattle weighing more than 800 pounds, which totaled 823 thousand head and 8.0 below August 2022. Placements of heavy feeder cattle are highest in April as Continue reading Tight Cattle on Feed Ahead of this Year’s Fall Run

Make the Message Clear

Garth Ruff, Beef Cattle Field Specialist, OSU Extension

As most of you know I live in Morgan County and while things seem to move a bit slower here, somewhere along the line I missed the change in terminology as it refers to agricultural practices. Recently we have stopped talking about sustainability and conservation and suddenly everything became about “regenerative agriculture.”

We’ve been teaching the concepts of Management Intensive Grazing for 30+ years. Photo C. Stivison

I’ll be the first to admit I was never a fan of the sustainability label because it had a different definition for everyone, both producer and consumer. When I was an Extension educator in Henry County, that disconnect was evident every day between the farmers in the Maumee watershed and the citizens of Toledo. But what does “regenerative agriculture” really mean?

I see cattlemen across the U.S who are part of the “Regen” movement on social media, and the best I can tell is that they are talking about another not so novel concept: Management Intensive Grazing. Within OSU Extension we have been teaching programs on Management Intensive Grazing for the better part of 30 years. The principles of Management Intensive Grazing are Continue reading Make the Message Clear

Evaluating Herbicide Treatments to Control Autumn Olive

– Chris Zoller, Extension Educator, ANR, Tuscarawas County

Herbicide applied to Autumn olive August 31, 2023. Photo taken 12 days post-treatment

Autumn olive is a non-native invasive plant that is found in many areas of Ohio, predominately in eastern and southern counties. Originally introduced as an ornamental plant, it has been used for erosion control, windbreaks, and mine reclamation sites. Spread by birds, the plant has disturbed habitats and invaded pastures across Ohio resulting in reduced land for livestock grazing.

A team of OSU Extension professionals is conducting a research trial at the Eastern Agricultural Research Station (EARS) in Caldwell, OH. The EARS facility encompasses roughly 2,000 acres of pasture and woodlands.  Much of the property, 1,325 acres, includes former and active coal mining. The purpose of the research trial is to evaluate various herbicide treatments in the control of Autumn olive.

Winter (Dormant) Herbicide Applications & Results
Our team made six treatments of 30 randomly selected plants on February 15, 2023. The table below summarizes the herbicide application method and Continue reading Evaluating Herbicide Treatments to Control Autumn Olive

Can our anthelmintic strategy decrease internal parasites and improve animal performance in weaned beef calves?

– Shane Hernandez, Graduate Student in Animal and Diary Science, UGA and Lawton Stewart, Extension Beef Cattle Specialist, UGA

Use of both an oral and pour-on dewormer resulted in an average fecal egg count reduction of 99%.

Internal parasites, or worms, are a common problem impacting cattle that graze on pastures. When infected, animals may display visible symptoms such as: emaciation, diarrhea, and rough hair coat. However, sub-clinical issues may also occur which may impact animal performance such as a decrease in milk yield, weight gain, carcass characteristics, and fertility. These sub-clinical issues can cause significant economic impact to a production system because the effects are not always detectable to the “naked eye”. Often the negative impact is not recognized until the damage is done, and profit is lost.

Anthelmintic products are available to help control internal parasites. When the strategy of pour-on dewormers was introduced in the 1990s, the practice was widely adopted because of the ease of use. Producers could apply the product directly to the cattle’s back while it stood in a chute or alley. Over time, overuse and incorrect application have led to a potential resistance of internal parasites to these products. Other products, such as injectable dewormers and oral (white) dewormers, have not been used as extensively because of the increased time associated with these technologies.

A potential strategy to ensure larvae death of multiple parasite species is . . .

Continue reading Can our anthelmintic strategy decrease internal parasites and improve animal performance in weaned beef calves?

Large Corn Crop Still Expected, Despite Lower Yields

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

As a livestock economist, I don’t write about grain markets very often. And when I do it is typically after a major event, or significant report, that has implications for the corn market. I always pay attention to Prospective Plantings in the spring and Acreage in the summer as they provide estimates of the number of corn acres to be harvested. And I pay even more attention to Crop Production reports starting in August as they provide USDA’s estimates on yields and can give a better picture of how large the corn crop will actually be. The yields estimated in August are based on farmer surveys and satellite models, while the September estimates incorporate objective yield field plot data.

The September estimates came out last Tuesday (September 12) and did provide a bit of a surprise. The consensus seemed to be that yield would likely be lowered from the August estimate due to weather conditions in much of the corn belt. That proved to be true as yield projections were lowered by 1.3 bushels per acre. However, I don’t think many were expecting this to offset by Continue reading Large Corn Crop Still Expected, Despite Lower Yields

In the Cattle Markets, September 11, 2023

– Elliott Dennis, Assistant Professor & Extension Livestock Economist, Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Nebraska – Lincoln

High Culling Continues to Occur
The annual fall feeder run is about to begin. Given cattle prices, forage conditions, and the economy the question of whether heifers will be retained to rebuild the beef cow herd remains uncertain. Consider these factors that give pause to whether this expansion will occur with as much momentum we might think.

Retail and Wholesale Ground Beef Prices
US consumers love eating ground beef. Ground beef is primarily made from beef trimmings. These trimmings can either come from the domestic or import market. In the domestic market, trimmings come from fed cattle (steers and heifers), bulls, and cows (dairy and beef). Fed cattle have more fat than bulls and cows so meat processors use trimmings from both to create different meat/fat blends such as the traditional 80/20 (i.e. 80% meat, 20% fat). Beef trimmings from the domestic market consist of about 70% of all beef trimmings used. The remaining 30% comes from imports.

The percentage of beef trimmings from steers and heifers is much more stable than cows/bulls since the latter tends to move lockstep with the cattle cycle. Imports and trimmings from bulls and cows tend to substitute for each other. As of recent, 75 percent of all beef imports are beef trimmings mainly coming from Australia and Brazil. However, this has dramatically dropped off in the last year to 65% and is almost entirely due to a reduced amount of beef trimmings being imported – down about 500 million pounds. This has in part led to higher prices for Continue reading In the Cattle Markets, September 11, 2023