Demand for Local Beef Remains Strong

Garth Ruff, Field Specialist, Beef Cattle, OSU Extension (originally published in the Ohio Farmer)

Growing Demand

While 2020 has certainly been a challenging year for agriculture and especially those in the livestock business. However, direct to consumer meat sales have been a bright spot as a result of increased demand. Although a small percentage in the grand scheme of things, direct marketing of farm products has become a more popular route of merchandising livestock. For those with an established direct to consumer meats sales business, COVID-19 and the resulting reduction in national packing capacity, and limited meat supplies in the retail case, created the perfect storm for expansion of niche market opportunities.

The increased demand and volume of local beef, pork and other meats has also led to record throughput and demand for services at the small meat processors across the country. As I visit with the local meat processors across Ohio, many of them are taking harvest reservations well into mid-2021 and several processors have already Continue reading

Thinking About Weaning and Preconditioning Calves to Add Value? Know the “Lingo”

– Dr. Michelle Arnold, UK Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory

Traditionally, many KY beef producers with winter/spring born feeder calves market through Special Graded Feeder Calf Sales held in the fall. At these sales, feeder cattle are graded according to the USDA Feeder Cattle Grading Standards, are weighed and sorted into groups (load lots of 48,000-50,000 lbs) and are then sold. Buyers take advantage of these sales to buy larger groups of feeder cattle with similar traits. Most of these calves are weaned “on the truck” on the way to the sale, unvaccinated, and the bull calves are still bulls. With this marketing strategy, producers who work to improve genetics or have an effective herd health program do not earn premiums for their extra effort because calves are sold based on the average weight and grade of the group.

Preconditioning of feeder cattle has been recognized by industry experts as a way for cow-calf operators to add value to their annual calf crops. Most preconditioning programs specify two rounds of viral and Clostridial vaccinations, a Mannheimia haemolytica toxoid, deworming, castration of bull calves and healed, heifers guaranteed not pregnant, and a minimum of 45 days weaned. Some require producers to use one pharmaceutical company’s products. In addition, weaned calves are usually expected to know how to eat from a feed bunk and drink from a fountain or tank. Buyers prefer weaned calves that have been properly fed and vaccinated compared to similar non-vaccinated and non-weaned calves, which can translate to price premiums of $10 to $15 per cwt depending on the market that day. However, to capture this added value, this information must be Continue reading

A conversation with OSU Extension Beef Field Specialist Garth Ruff

Last week OSU Extension Educator Clifton Martin had the opportunity to visit with Garth Ruff about Garth’s recent hiring as the OSU Extension Beef Specialist and current trends in the Beef Industry. During that conversation they covered trends in Ohio, the role of the OSU Extension Beef Specialist, opportunities for outreach, the status of Beef Quality Assurance, and key opportunities for producers to stay ahead of the curve.

Enjoy that conversation here:

The transcript of this recording may be found in Continue reading

Forage Focus: Creating alternative forage plans

Think outside the box about forage management by considering alternative grazing and hay strategies. In this episode of Forage Focus, OSU Extension Educator Christine Gelley addresses how creating alternative forage plans can strengthen your operation. Reducing days livestock consume stored feed and increasing farm flexibility helps build resiliency in times of uncertainty and change. Today, Christine shares information regarding the benefits and management of warm-season perennial grasses, warm-season annual grasses, small grains and brassicas.

Posted in Forages

Entry Deadline for the 2020 OCA Replacement Female Sale Approaches

John F. Grimes, Ohio Cattlemen’s Association Replacement Female Sale Manager

On Friday evening, November 27, the OCA will be hosting their eighth 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 entry deadline for consignments for the sale are due to the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association by October 1, 2020.

The 2020 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, 2021 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 verified by an accredited veterinarian through traditional palpation, ultrasound or by blood testing through a professional laboratory. Analysis must be performed within 60 days of sale. Consignments will also be fulfilling specific Continue reading

Weekly Livestock Comments for September 18, 2020

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

FED CATTLE: Fed cattle traded $2 to $3 higher compared to last week on a live basis. Prices on a live basis were primarily $102 to $106 while dressed prices were mainly $162 to $164.

The 5-area weighted average prices thru Thursday were $103.54 live, up $2.68 com-pared to last week and $162.93 dressed, up $2.37 from a week ago. A year ago, prices were $101.28 live and $162.99 dressed.

Cattle feeders were glad to see last week’s decline in finished cattle prices resurface as gains this week. The finished cattle market appeared to come under undue pressure the past couple of weeks, but the hope is that pressure has passed. Cattle feeders will be looking for the finished cattle market to slowly gain some steam heading toward the holiday marketing timeframe, but this will be a slow process as prices are expected to be stagnant the next couple of weeks. The main determinant of how fed cattle prices move will be Continue reading

Cattle Exports to Mexico Surge

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

Imports of feeder cattle from Mexico usually are reported with interest because ranchers and feeders in the U.S. import more than 1 million head per year, on average. The U.S. also exports cattle to Mexico, but in much smaller numbers. In recent weeks cattle exports have surged to the highest levels in several years.

Weekly cattle exports to Mexico are reported for three categories: slaughter cattle, breeding males, and breeding females. Exports of bulls and cows for breeding have averaged about 45 head per week this year. That is just a touch slower than last year’s 49 head per week.

The interesting changes are in slaughter cattle shipments. After exporting 0 head this year, 240 were shipped the week ending July 11th. That has increased to Continue reading

Farm Science Review goes Virtual, 15 talks on forages, grazing included

Want to learn more about improving your land and livestock through grazing and forages? Mark your calendar for the following talks at this year’s virtual Farm Science ReviewSept. 22–24, all of them organized by the Gwynne Conservation Area.

Visit the Farm Science Review site at to see the complete FSR virtual schedule

Find the complete schedule, and continue reading 15 Farm Science Review talks on forages, grazing

Scout now for cressleaf groundsel in hayfields, or pay the price in May

Mark Loux, OSU Extension Weed Specialist

If you saw this yellow weed in your fields last spring, the time to control it and other winter annuals for next year is here yet this fall!

Some hay producers have been unpleasantly surprised in the past when cressleaf groundsel infestations became evident in their hay fields in May prior to first cutting. Cressleaf groundsel in hay or silage is toxic to animals, and infested areas of the field should not be harvested and fed. Groundsel is a winter annual, emerging in late summer into fall, when it develops into a rosette that overwinters. Growth restarts in spring, with stem elongation and an eventual height of up to several feet tall. The weed becomes evident in hay fields when in becomes taller than the alfalfa/grass and develops bright yellow flowers in May. The problem with passively waiting until this point to discover that the hay is infested with groundsel is that: 1) it’s too late to control it with herbicides; and 2) hay from infested areas has to be discarded instead of sold or fed, and large plant skeletons are still toxic even if herbicides were effective on them. Groundsel plants finish their life cycle in late spring, once they flower and go to seed, so it should not be problem in subsequent cuttings.

The solution to this is scouting of hay fields in fall and early spring to determine the presence of cressleaf groundsel, when it is small and still susceptible to the few herbicides that can be used. We expect groundsel to be more of a problem in new August seedings, since it would be emerging with the new stand of alfalfa/grass. A well-managed established and . . .

Continue reading Scout now for cressleaf groundsel in hayfields, or pay the price in May