Farming with Family through the Tough Times

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

There are days where every farmer wonders what they got themselves into. Days where the work ahead is overwhelming, the kids are sick, the cows are calving, your 4×4 is stuck in the mud, and to top it off, you are running low on stored feed and stored energy in your soul. Farming is tough. No doubt about that.

When the weather and the markets are uncooperative with your plans, the stress can pile up on the farm and on your family. One temporary way to deal with that stress is to be thankful for what you have. Someone out there always has it worse than us and we should be thankful for the things we have each day, instead of dwelling on the things we do not.

This past winter at the American Forage and Grassland Council Annual Conference, a beef farmer named Buron Lanier of Piney Woods Farm in North Carolina, shared a story of forage tragedy and triumph that can help put ‘thankfulness’ into perspective.

Mr. Lanier had presented at last year’s conference about the efforts made to convert his farm from KY-31 fescue to novel endophyte fescue. A significant portion of his farm is dedicated to silvoculture, combining the production of pine trees and feeding stocker cattle. With great effort, he progressed into a 365-day grazing system. He had no need to feed hay and very little supplemental feed. The system was Continue reading

Assessing Relationship Management and Leadership Skills

– Michael Langemeier, Center for Commercial Agriculture, Purdue University (originally published in farmdoc daily (9):109, Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, June 13, 2019.)

As farms continue to consolidate it becomes increasingly important to assess a farm’s management skills. At a certain farm size, it is no longer easy or feasible for the manager or managers to wear every management hat. How does the management team determine when to focus on professional development, delegate management tasks among mangers, and seek outside assistance?

Continue reading Assessing Relationship Management and Leadership Skills

Summer Heats Up And So Are Brisket Prices

– David P. Anderson, Professor and Extension Economist, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

Brisket prices are heating up just like summer temperatures. One of the most interesting beef demand trends over the last few years has been the growth in demand for briskets. It’s not just new craft bbq joints popping up everywhere in Texas, but even big chains like Arby’s jumping in and they all serve brisket.

Briskets used to be an inexpensive beef cut that benefited from long, slow cooking at low temperatures. They are no longer inexpensive. What used to be a very inexpensive cut, the primal brisket is now only behind the primal rib and loin in value. In the last week of May, the comprehensive cutout brisket value was $213.47 per cwt., up 19.4 percent from the same week the year before. Just during May brisket prices jumped from $194.39 to $213.47 by the end of the month. The monthly average price was up 12 percent compared to Continue reading

Kentucky Beef Cattle Market Update

– Dr. Kenny Burdine, Livestock Marketing Specialist, University of Kentucky

This summer has once again shown us how brutal markets can be. In April, fall CME© feeder cattle futures were in the upper $150’s and I was surprised that calf prices weren’t higher given the profit potential of summer stocker operations. Two months later, those same contracts are down over $20 per cwt and many producers are wishing they had done something to protect those fall sale prices. I think the two largest reasons for the decrease are uncertainty created by trade issues and continued delay in corn planting.

Kentucky calf prices really did seem to hold on as long as they could, but finally broke hard through May and early June. After putting in their highs in April just under $160 per cwt, 550 lbs M/L 1-2 steers had moved into the mid-$140’s by the second week of June (see figure 1). Honestly, this is less drop than would be expected given the $20+ drop in the futures market. It’s as though our calf market didn’t completely buy into the Continue reading

Breeding Beef Cows Back after a Tough Winter

Dean Kreager, Ohio State University Extension AgNR Educator, Licking County (originally published in the Ohio Farmer on-line)

How do you avoid getting stuck in a rut? Take a different path. There was a real shortage of high quality or even medium quality hay made last year. Forage analysis results that I reviewed last fall were all lower quality than expected. As a result, many cowherds were much thinner at the beginning of the spring calving season this year. The problem with having thin cows at calving time is that they are likely to be even thinner at breeding time.

When a cow eats, her use of nutrients is prioritized. First is maintenance for survival, followed by lactation and growth, which includes weight gain, and finally, reproduction. While reproduction is the number one priority trait for profitability, it is not at the top of the list when the body of the cow is deciding how to use its nutrient resources.

Years of research have established that thin cows are often difficult to get bred. Results often show around a 30% decrease in the number of cows displaying estrus by 60 days post-calving on a cow with a body condition score at calving of 4 vs 6. Similar results are seen when comparing pregnancy rates within a Continue reading

Plan Now for the 2019 OCA Replacement Female Sale

John F. Grimes, OCA Replacement Female Sale Manager

Last year 107 total sale lots grossed $152,275 for an overall average of $1,423.

The Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) is announcing an event of potential interest for both the buyers and sellers of beef breeding cattle. On Friday evening, November 29, the OCA will be hosting their seventh annual Replacement Female Sale. The sale will be held at the Muskingum Livestock facility in Zanesville and will begin at 6:00 p.m.

The 2019 Ohio Cattlemen’s Association Replacement Female Sale will provide an opportunity for both buyers and sellers to meet the need for quality replacements in the state. Consignments may include cow-calf pairs, bred cows and bred heifers. Females must be under the age of five as of January 1, 2020 and may be of registered or commercial background. Bred females must be bred to a bull with known EPD’s and calves at side of cows must be sired by a bull with known EPD’s. Pregnancy status must be Continue reading

Grill Smart; Hands-on Learning Great Grilling

The next summer get-together is just around the corner.

Family, friends, or old classmates will be in town.

It’s the perfect time for inviting them over to grill out for dinner . . . or is it?

Few things can satisfy or impress family and friends like the aroma, tenderness, juiciness, and deep rich flavor of a steak or chop grilled to perfection. However, there may not be anything that strikes as much apprehension and fear into the hearts of a dinner host, as that of failing to correctly select, prepare and grill the perfect steak. If you’ve ever struggled with the angst of whether you can pull off that perfect meal and eating experience of dinner originating from your grill, then Continue reading

Feed Prices in 2019

– Brenda Boetel, Professor and Extension Economist, Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Wisconsin-River Falls

The USDA Crop Progress report released June 3, 2019 showed that as of the week ending June 2, 2019 only 67% of corn has been planted, compared to 96% in 2018. The July, September and December 2019 CME corn futures market contracts have increased an average of $0.59 since May 1. The average May change over the last 5 years has been a decrease of $0.11. Given the significant decrease in plantings and the percentage of corn that has been planted late, corn price may continue to increase. While the trade concerns with Mexico are the bearish indicators the decrease in acres will likely have a greater impact.

Over the last 5 years Mexico has taken an average of 24% of our exports. 24% of the average 5 years of exports is 522 million bushels of corn. If one assumes corn planting will be down 6 million acres to 86.8 million acres and we see a decrease of 2 bushels/acre to 174.6 bu/acre yield we would see a decrease in corn production of 554 million bushels. Although the market may focus on the new news concerning Mexico and trade, the long-term impact (and in my opinion the more likely scenario) of lower acres and yield will Continue reading

Forage Focus: Woody Perennials and Invasive Weeds

In this edition of the Forage Focus podcast, host Christine Gelley, an Extension Educator with The Ohio State University Agriculture & Natural Resources in Noble County, visits with Guernsey County ANR Educator Clif Little about pasture weed management. Below they discuss ways of controlling woody perennials such as Autumn Olive, Tree of Heave, Barberries Calie Pear, Crest Leaf and others.

Too much pasture? Clip it, hay it, or stockpile it for summer!

– Victor Shelton, NRCS State Agronomist/Grazing Specialist

Do you stockpile for summer, clip or hay?

I cannot believe the weather. I have never seen a spring quite like this. After a long discussion recently with an old friend who is 79, he said he hadn’t either and we both agreed that we would rather not see another, but only because the weather didn’t repeat itself. We have gone from soggy wet pastures with forages that were hesitating to grow to runaway forage on wet or saturated soils.

I’m still an advocate for utilizing grazing first as the main means of forage management. The normal recommendation is to continue moving animals through the system until the first pasture or allotment is ready to be grazed again. Then go back to that first field and start over. The fields that are skipped can be used as Continue reading