Is your pasture prepared for extreme weather?

Erika Lyon, OSU Extension Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources, Jefferson and Harrison Counties (originally published in Farm and Dairy)

Several years ago, I wrote about some of the issues associated with extreme winter conditions — extreme temperatures, extreme precipitation and extreme wind — and what producers can do to protect their herds.

Some of the questions I ended the article with were “what happens when we have winter seasons where temperatures occasionally reach above 70 F followed by late spring frosts? How does this affect our animals in the pasture?”

With the subzero temperatures and snowfall we received this holiday season followed by warmer, wetter conditions soon after, it might be a good time to revisit this subject.

Many of our livestock can tolerate temperatures down to 20-32 F and up to 78 F. Outside of this range, animals become Continue reading

OFGC Conference set for Cambridge on February 17

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

Reserve your seat today!

The Ohio Forage and Grasslands Council will be hosting their 2023 Annual Meeting on Friday, February 17, 2023 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Deerassic Park Education Center (14250 Cadiz Road, Cambridge, Ohio 43725). This meeting serves as an opportunity to interact with forage growers of all backgrounds and interests and share with each other. Along with socialization you can listen to intriguing presentations, interact with vendors of forage growing supplies, and enjoy a delicious lunch.

The Ohio Forage and Grasslands Council is Ohio’s commodity organization for pasture and hay crops. The Ohio State University partners closely with the Ohio Forage and Grasslands Council to support forage education, research, and outreach throughout the state. It is the only organization of its kind, bringing together farmers, conservationists, academics, industry representatives, and service personnel into a shared environment to converse and build relationships that lead to more productive forage and grassland ecosystems and more profitable farm operations. The Ohio Forage and Grasslands Council is the state affiliate organization of the American Forage and Grassland Council. Ohio members are automatically extended membership to the national level for even more networking opportunities and learning experiences.

The 2023 meeting theme is “Feeding Forages ↔ Forages Feeding Us” and will feature information on how to provide adequate fertility to forages while on a budget, how to create pasture ecosystems that are simultaneously beneficial to livestock and wildlife, cutting edge research from The Ohio State University, and Continue reading

Posted in Events

Sampling Corn Grain for Vomitoxin

Pierce A. Paul, Department of Plant Pathology, Ohio State University Extension

Accurate testing depends on thorough and appropriate sampling and sample processing.

Moldy grain and vomitoxin levels vary considerably within the grain lot. This is largely because the number of ears infected with Gibberella zeae, the fungus that causes Gibberella ear rot and produces vomitoxin in the grain, and number of infected kernels on a given ear within a field are highly variable. In addition, ears, and kernels with a similar appearance in terms of surface moldiness may have vastly different levels of internal fungal colonization, and consequently, different levels of vomitoxin contamination. In addition, pockets of warm, humid area in the grain lot coupled with moldy grain may lead to vomitoxin “hot spots” that can affect vomitoxin test results if sampling is inadequate. This may lead to price discounts or rejection of grain lots that are less contaminated than test results suggest, or conversely, acceptance of lots that are more contaminated than indicated by the results. For instance, if a single sample is drawn and the location from which it is drawn happens to be a hot-spot, then the overall level of contamination of the lot will be overestimated. Conversely, if the sample misses the hot spots completely, vomitoxin contamination may be . . .

Continue reading Sampling Corn Grain for Vomitoxin

The Impact of Tight Hay Supplies on Winter Feeding Costs

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

As we prepare to turn the page on January, most cow-calf operations are well into their winter feeding programs. High fertilizer prices in the spring of 2022 likely resulted in less fertilizer being applied to hay ground. This was combined with a lack of rainfall in much of the US to result in a sizeable decrease in hay production for the year. Drought conditions also forced many cattle operations to begin feeding hay earlier than usual. All these factors together resulted in a 9% decrease in December 1 hay stocks for the year at the national level. James talked through much of these hay production and stock numbers two weeks ago and that article can be found here.

Tight hay stocks were seen across many areas of the US, including the three states that James, Josh, and I call home. In Arkansas, Kentucky, and Mississippi, December 1 hay stocks were down 15%, 17%, and 20% respectively. Of course, tight hay supplies result in higher hay prices, which increases winter feed costs for cow-calf operations. There is limited price data on the type of hay that is typically fed to cows, but USDA’s national hay price estimates can be seen above. Due to transportation costs, hay markets tend to be very regional and large differences can exist across relatively small distances. So, don’t focus too much on the nominal price levels in the chart above; instead notice the increase in hay prices throughout 2022. In the Other Hay category, prices rose by 28% from April to November (December prices were not yet available).

Winter feed is the probably the largest expense for most cow-calf operators and I wanted to put this in perspective for a typical operation. Often, grass hay can be purchased for $60-$80 per ton. Based on what I am hearing this winter, that same quality hay is selling for something closer to $100-$120 per ton. The table below uses this hay value range to estimate daily hay costs for a 1,300 lb cow consuming 2.25% of her body weight per day. It also looks at loss rates of 15%, 25%, and Continue reading

Weekly Livestock Comments for January 27, 2023

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


Fed cattle traded $1 lower compared to last week on a live basis. Prices on a live basis were mainly $153 to $155 while dressed prices were mainly $247 to $248.

The 5-area weighted average prices thru Thursday were $153.84 live, down $1.23 compared to last week and $247.72 dressed, down $0.29 from a week ago. A year ago, prices were $136.93 live and $218.00 dressed.

In a typical week, the percent of cattle traded on a live basis makes up 15 to 25 percent of total cattle marketed for slaughter while the remainder of cattle are marketed on a dressed basis. Considering the cattle traded on a live basis, the majority of those cattle and sometimes as high as 75 percent are traded through a negotiated method, which is what contributes to price transparency and competition. Alternatively, only 12 to 20 percent of cattle traded on a dressed basis are traded using negotiation as most of these cattle are priced based on formula trading. The reason this is important is because negotiated cattle trade has taken a tumble since the beginning of the year and may be a value worth keeping an eye on.


At midday Friday, the Choice cutout was $268.54 down $0.21 from Thursday and down $3.16 from a week ago. The Select cutout was $250.32 down $1.16 from Thursday and down $6.84 from last week. The Choice Select spread was $18.22 compared to $14.54 a week ago.

The big questions concerning beef prices revolves around the consumer. What can consumers Continue reading

Livestock Educational Materials in Español

The OSU Beef Team site now has some educational materials in Español.  The main focus is beef cattle but there are a couple of articles about other livestock including ruminant management in zoos.  If you have questions about these materials, you can contact Dr. Steve Boyles (

Find these materials in the Library, or use this direct link: Manejo General de Ganado

Can Greenhouse Gas Emissions be Reduced in the Beef Cattle Industry?

– Alejandro Pittaluga, Fan Yang, James Gaffney, Mallory Embree and Alejandro Relling of the OSU Animal Science Department

Greenhouse gas emissions are a major concern in the beef industry. This study entitled Effect of supplementation with ruminal probiotics on growth performance, carcass characteristics, plasma metabolites, methane emissions, and the associated rumen microbiome changes in beef cattle examined the effects of supplementation with ruminal probiotics consisting of three native ruminal microbes (NRM) for their influence on methane reduction and growth performance of beef cattle.

Eighty Angus × SimAngus-crossbred cattle were grouped by sex and weight, randomly assigned to a treatment group, control or NRM supplementation, and subsequently fed commercially relevant diets for at least 134 d with or without NRM supplementation until they reached a target finishing weight. Methane emissions and growth performance metrics were recorded at regular intervals. Cattle-fed diets with NRM had a greater average daily gain during most part of the experimental period, required fewer days to reach the finishing weight, and emitted less methane than cattle in the control treatment. Supplementing NRM can be a viable method to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while improving the performance of beef cattle-fed concentrates-based diets.

Learn more about this study here: Effect of supplementation with ruminal probiotics on growth performance, carcass characteristics, plasma metabolites, methane emissions, and the associated rumen microbiome changes in beef cattle

Bovine Venereal Diseases – Should You be Concerned?

– Dr. Michelle Arnold, UK Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory

Graphic reprinted from

“Reproductive failure” is an all-encompassing term if a cow loses a calf during pregnancy or if she fails to get pregnant. Causes of reproductive failure are frequently divided into infectious and non-infectious categories. Examples of “non-infectious” include poor cow nutrition (lack of energy and micronutrients such as selenium/Vitamin E); bull infertility, disease and injury; breeding season management errors (shortened breeding season, insufficient bull-to-cow ratios); genetic and some congenital abnormalities that result in fetal death; and toxic agents such as nitrates, phytoestrogens, and drugs including steroids and prostaglandins. “Infectious” causes are bacteria, viruses, protozoal and fungal agents that directly or indirectly damage the placenta and/or the fetus. Examples include the BVD virus, IBR virus, the protozoan Neospora caninum, the bacterium Leptospira, and the venereal diseases trichomoniasis and vibriosis, among many others. This series of articles will explore the most common infectious causes of abortion and reproductive failure in cattle and available options for control and prevention.

The most common venereal diseases of cattle are trichomoniasis and vibriosis, often referred to as “trich” and “vibrio”, respectively. Bovine trichomoniasis is caused by the protozoan Tritrichomonas foetus (T. foetus) while vibriosis is caused by the bacterium Campylobacter fetus subsp. venerealis (C. fetus) Although both are infrequently diagnosed, the results of infection on reproduction can be devastating. Both trich and vibrio are transmitted through physical contact when a bull breeds a cow. Once a cow is infected, she acts as a source of infection for other non-infected bulls within the herd which then spread disease to other cows. Infected bulls show no signs of disease, however, either pathogen in cows causes genital infection characterized by early abortions, low pregnancy rates, and prolonged calving seasons. In herds that do not check females for pregnancy, these diseases appear simply as cows coming up open that should Continue reading

Posted in Health

January 1 Cattle on Feed Declined from 2022

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

Feedlot inventories were below year-ago levels for the fourth consecutive month according to the latest USDA Cattle on Feed report.  There were an estimated 11.68 million head of cattle on feed as of January 1st, which is 3 percent lower than January 1, 2022.

December placements were down 8 percent compared to December 2022 which was in the range of pre-report expectations. All of the weight groups were lower except for the 900-999 pound group which was even with a year ago. December marketings were 6 percent and likely affected by the winter storms that impacted transportation. Overall, the lower placements, marketings, and total cattle on feed numbers were largely expected by pre-report analysts.

The feedlot supply dynamics are different this year than Continue reading

Pasture Improvements by Osmosis

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

Make plans to join us on February 17th.

The New Year evokes a spirit of willingness to change for the better. Resolutions to make healthier, cleaner, more economical, more environmentally friendly, and/or more spiritually fulfilling decisions are prevalent right now. Something about flipping the calendar gives us hope that now is a good time for change. Regardless of what day on the calendar it is, if you want to change something for the better, today is the perfect day to start.

Personally, I am a fan of the kind of resolutions that create less work for myself rather than those that create more. My day and my mind are already divided between too many things, to add another or three makes me exhausted just thinking about it. What I need is change by osmosis.

Osmosis, what does that word really mean?

It means “the spontaneous movement of a substance across a semipermeable membrane.”

So, that makes my body and soul the semipermeable membrane and new Continue reading