After 35 years, reviewing “the changes’

Penrose spent much of his career advocating stockpiling, bale grazing, and carefully managing forage resources,

EDITOR’s NOTE: After 35 years of service to Ohio’s agriculture industry as an Extension Educator, as he retires our colleague Chris Penrose takes a look back at 35 years of change and progress. Congratulations Chris on a job well done!

Chris Penrose, Extension Educator, Agriculture & Natural Resources, Morgan County

I remember my first day in Extension back in the 1980’s when I started an internship with Hank Bartholomew, the Perry Co. Ag Agent and he was very involved with ways to extend the grazing season and Management Intensive Grazing. He, Daryl Clark, Tom Noyes, Ed Vollborn, Bob Hendershot and Gary Wilson were the ones that got me interested and were pushing these concepts around Ohio and beyond. I consider them to be on the Mt. Rushmore of grazing here in Ohio and I did my best to learn from them.

Over the past 35 years, we have seen Continue reading

Caring for Beef Cattle in Winter Months

Ted Wiseman, OSU Extension, Perry County (originally published in Ohio Farmer on-line)

To help ensure a successful calving season, Body Condition Scoring has heightened significance in Ohio’s winter care regimen.

Ohio Winters can be a challenge, especially for those with livestock. Here’s a short list of five management tips to keep in mind as we prepare to manage cattle through another Winter.

Nutrition Management for Ohio Winters: Ohio’s varying winter conditions of mud to snow and back to mud, we need to be prepared for proper nutrition management for cattle. There have been numerous research studies that have shown the effects of extreme cold, mud, and wind. Producers will need to monitor and adjust feed regimens by incorporating high-quality forages rich in nutrients. Supplemental feed with a careful balance of protein and energy becomes essential to meet the increased caloric demands during colder months. This strategy ensures that Continue reading

Evaluation of condensed algal residue solubles as an ingredient in cattle finishing diets and the effects on digestibility and fatty acid flow

C. Gibbons, B. M. Boyd, H. C. Wilson,  J. W. Wilson,  K. H. Wilke, G. E. Erickson, and A. K. Watson

Applied Animal Science. 2023. 39:133–145

Cattle are tremendous up cyclers, and by-products such as wet distillers grains, sugar beet pulp, soyhulls, cottonseed hulls  and many others and have successfully and economically added to their diets. The marine microalgae production industry is another industry in need of an outlet for a by-product.

Marine microalgae have the ability to harvest sugars and carbon dioxide converting them into metabolites such as n-3 fatty acids. Because of this, marine microalgae have been proposed as a sustainable solution for reducing pressure on wild-caught aquaculture.  Production of algae oil from these algae results in a by-product known as condensed algae residue solubles (CARS).  As production of CARS increases, availability of up cycling increases.

Four hundred and predominately Angus, British crossbred steers were fed for 148 days.  Treatments were designed with 3 inclusion levels of CARS at 0, 2.5, and 5% of the diet.

Carcass-adjusted final Body weight, average daily gain, and feed efficiency increased with CARS inclusion at 2.5% of diet dry matter.  However, feedlot performance decreased when CARS was 5% of diet dry matter.

Weekly Livestock Comments for December 21, 2023

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

Fed cattle traded $2 higher on a live basis compared to last week with live prices mainly between $170 and $171 while dressed prices were mainly $269 to $271.

The 5-area weighted average prices thru Wednesday were $170.07 live, up $2.26 compared to last week and $270.09 dressed, up $2.30 from a week ago. A year ago, prices were $155.90 live and $247.00 dressed.

This week’s gains offset last week’s losses in the finished cattle market, but it would be a stretch to say there was a lot of positive momentum in the market. Cattle feeders are struggling with negative margins at this juncture, which is largely due to the price paid for those cattle during the summer months. Fundamentals certainly support higher cattle prices in 2024, but Continue reading

Managing Pastures for Winter

Jordan Penrose, Gallia County Agriculture & Natural Resources Extension Educator

Are you still grazing?

Wintertime is here, for good or for bad, and managing pasture with livestock can be tricky in the winter. You have some factors to consider during the winter, such as grazing management, forage quality, supplemental feeding, and planning for the future. Let’s take a look at these key aspects to see if any can improve your pastures during the winter.

Grazing Management:

Depending on your grazing strategy, stocking density, and how your forages produced this year will factor into where you are at right now. If you implement rotational grazing on your farm, you may still be grazing your livestock or just starting to feed hay. But when the ground gets wet and muddy due to snow, rain, and freezing and thawing, do you have a plan for your livestock to keep your pastures from being destroyed and keep your livestock’s daily intake of feed where it needs to be, so they do not lose condition. Do you have a heavy-use pad that you can put livestock on when the conditions are bad. Can you Continue reading

Toxic Tall Fescue: Recommendations and Reality

– Dr. Chris Teutsch, Extension Associate Professor and Forage Specialist, University of Kentucky


I wrote this article several years ago for the forages session at the Kentucky Cattlemen’s Annual Meeting. It is a summary of management strategies for utilizing tall fescue in grazing systems. How we approach tall fescue management in grazing systems is NOT black and white, but rather nuanced by a number of practical considerations. In some cases, replacement of toxic stands with improved novel endophyte (non-toxic endophyte) varieties does not always make sense. The objective of this article is to help you work through those considerations to determine the best path forward for managing tall fescue in your operation.

Tall fescue (Schedonorus arundinaceus (Schreb.) Dumort., nom. cons.) is the most important cool-season grass in the transition area between the temperate northern and subtropical southern United States. In most unimproved pastures, tall fescue is infected with a fungal endophyte that imparts tolerance to abiotic and biotic stresses. While this mutualistic relationship improves persistence in low input grazing systems, it also results in the production of alkaloids that cause tall fescue toxicosis. While there are a number of grotesque symptoms associated with this syndrome such as Continue reading

Lower Prices and Higher Volatility

– Matthew Diersen, Risk & Business Management Specialist, Ness School of Management & Economics, South Dakota State University

Guiding principles for managing price risk are to act when prices are high or profitable, when volatility is low, and before it is too late. These will be addressed in reverse order based on recent conditions. Hedgers sometimes have little choice about when they ultimately market cattle. Pastures can run low on forage or water. The feed supply may be running low. The target weights may be getting close. Laying out a marketing plan, even if it is rough or scratched out some place, guides when to take actions to selectively hedge risk. Opportunities may not present themselves, meaning it can get too late.

For much of 2023 the volatility in the cattle markets was very low. For risk management, volatility is the implied volatility of options on futures. Typically, it will be 10-15% for live and feeder cattle. If volatility is low compared to that range, then options will Continue reading

Market Retreat Possible Slowing

– Stephen R. Koontz, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Colorado State University

Cattle markets have continued their retreat to lower prices. Current futures prices are similar to those observed in March or April of this year – if the contract was traded. But, on the positive side, the decline has slowed and is showing modest signs of the down-move weakening. Cash prices for fed and feeder cattle did not have the same strength during the up move as futures did and are weakening but also with not the same strength as futures. Regardless, 2023 is finishing up the year offering a case study of proper risk management practices and perspective. Before mid-September, there was nothing but optimism and higher – record high – prices. And after mid-September, the opposite during the sharp decline. Producers that purchased LRP or hedged in the third quarter of this year will realize some of those excellent returns.

How have beef prices faired during the fourth quarter? The downstream story for the past two years has been the strength of beef demand. This demand spiked in 2021 and persisted through 2022. The continued moderation into 2024 from that observed in 2023 will impact the strength of future beef protein prices. The demand side will likely have important interactions with Continue reading

Reviewing 2023 and Looking Ahead to 2024

– James Mitchell, Livestock Marketing Specialist, University of Arkansas and Kenny Burdine, Extension Professor, Livestock Marketing, University of Kentucky

The U.S. cowherd reached a 60-year low in 2023. Some of this decline is driven by efficiency in the beef industry. We produce more with less. As such, it would be misleading to compare today to 60 years ago. It still does speak to how significant the recent declines in beef cow numbers have been. For a more recent comparison, the 2023 cowherd is slightly smaller than in 2014, a year fondly remembered by most in the cattle business. Expansion resulting from those 2014 / 2015 price levels continued until 2019, and the cowherd has been getting smaller since then. Figure 1 below shows beef cow inventories from 1940 to 2023.

2020 was set to be the high-water mark for U.S. beef production. While production increased slightly in 2020, COVID backlogs pushed some of that production into 2021. Then, widespread drought led to Continue reading

Winter Application of Manure in Ohio

Glen Arnold, CCA, Field Specialist, Manure Nutrient Management

For farmers with solid manure, stockpiling could be an option when conditions prevent spreading.

Most producers have had the needed dry weather this fall to get livestock manure applied to fields. However, a wetter than normal corn crop and full elevators, did delay corn harvest longer than normal in some areas. For livestock producers waiting on frozen ground to apply manure, here are some things to keep in mind. Frozen ground would be soil that you cannot inject the manure into or cannot conduct tillage within 24 hours to incorporate the manure.

Permitted farms are not allowed to apply manure in the winter unless it is an extreme emergency, and then movement to other suitable storage is usually the selected alternative. Several commercial manure applicators have established manure storage ponds in recent years to help address this issue.

In the . . .

Continue reading Winter Application of Manure in Ohio