Beef AG NEWS Today, the August Podcast

In this month’s podcast of Beef AG NEWS Today, Bradford Sherman sits in for show host Duane Rigsby and, along with OSU Extension Beef Coordinator John Grimes, takes a close up look at factors that affected beef cattle economics during the first half of 2018, and speculates on we might expect as we move into 2019.

Is That Tree or Shrub Poisonous? What You Don’t Want Your Cattle to Eat (Part II)

– Michelle Arnold, DVM (Ruminant Extension Veterinarian, UKVDL) and a special thanks to JD Green, PhD (Extension Professor (Weed Scientist), UK Plant and Soil Sciences Department)

Poisonous trees and shrubs are responsible for considerable losses in livestock although producers are often somewhat familiar with their potential for harm. Wilted wild cherry tree leaves, hedge trimmings from Japanese Yew (Taxus species), acorns and buckeyes are common causes of illness and death in Kentucky cattle every year. The potential for poisoning depends on the availability, type and quantity of the toxin within the leaves, seeds and sometimes the bark of the tree or shrub. A majority of the time, cattle will not consume them unless pasture is limited due to drought or overgrazing or they are baled up in hay. However, if cattle have access to hedge trimmings carelessly thrown over a fence or a cherry tree loses a limb during a thunderstorm, cattle may quickly eat enough to result in death despite having plenty of pasture available. Usually large quantities are required to cause problems (as is the case with buckeyes) but some plants, such as Japanese Yew, are deadly with just a few mouthfuls. Plant (tree, shrub or weed) poisoning should be considered a possibility in cattle on pasture with a sudden onset of unexplained symptoms such as diarrhea, salivation or slobbering, muscle weakness, trembling, incoordination, staggering, collapse, severe difficulty breathing or Continue reading

Mid-year Cattle Inventory Suggests Slower Expansion Ahead

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

USDA’s January Cattle Inventory Report suggested that growth in the size of the US cow herd was slowing. July’s numbers generally pointed in a similar direction. Both beef cow numbers and total cattle and calves were up about 1% from July 2017, which suggests a more moderate growth rate. This was coupled a 2% reduction in heifers held for beef cow replacement. Beef heifer retention as a percent of beef cow inventory was 14.2%, which generally does not suggest expansion. While this is significant, I tend to put more stock in the January numbers than the July numbers and January heifer retention was still pointing to some herd growth.

Several factors drive beef cow numbers, with calf prices likely at the top of the list. Our current calf market is very similar to where it was last year. Given the much higher meat supplies and uncertainty on the international trade front, I actually think this cattle market has been incredibly resilient. While many producers aren’t pleased with calf prices, I don’t think calf prices are low enough yet to Continue reading

Beef Continues to Fare Well, and a Personal Note

– Levi A. Russell, Assistant Professor and Extension Livestock Economist, Agricultural and Applied Economics, University of Georgia

Over the past few years we have been discussing the implications of rising beef, pork, and poultry production. It’s a simple story: if nothing else changes, higher production of beef will put downward pressure on beef prices, which means lower prices for fats, feeders, and calves. While this story is correct, the key assumption is that nothing else changes.

Fortunately, something else has changed. Specifically, beef demand is rising. In the 3rd quarter of 2017, it inched up Continue reading

Lots of Down-Side Risk Ahead

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

Labor Day is upon us, at least from the perspective of retailers needing to secure beef volume for sales and featuring. The beef complex look ready to drift lower as, after this holiday, the seasonality in demand will wain and the seasonality in production will continue to escalate. Slaughter weights have continued their increases during the summer and will likely continue into the fall until the peak around October. The volume of cattle on feed over 90 and over 120 days continue to the high compared to last year and prior years. Fed cattle marketing were strong through June as revealed by the last month’s Cattle on Feed report and appear to be strong through July – especially heifers – as revealed by July’s weekly Livestock Slaughter reports. There does not appear to be an emerging problem with supplies but the steady seasonal increase in beef volume will continue. We have also seen Continue reading

Assemble a Calf Crop Resilient to the Challenges of Disease

Justin Kieffer, DVM, Clinical Veterinarian, Assistant Professor, Office of the Attending Veterinarian and Department of Animal Sciences, The Ohio State University

Completing a number of management techniques and vaccine protocols prior to the stress of weaning, comingling and transport will help assemble a calf crop more resilient to disease challenges.

Now that calving is completed, the days are longer, and the grass is growing (hopefully), it is time to start preparing for the weaning and eventual sale or feedlot finishing of your

calf crop and development of your replacement females. Once the cow calf pairs have been kicked out to pasture in the spring, there is a tendency to put off or ignore the steps needed not only to set the feedlot calf up for success, but also to lay the groundwork for proper health for your new heifers.

Management techniques such as castration and dehorning should take place as soon as possible. Waiting too long to remove the testicles, either by banding or cutting, increases the risk of bleeding and infection, and knocks the calf off feed for an extended period of time. The smaller the calf, the less attached they are to their testicles. Removal of Continue reading

Weaning Diet Options

– Justin Sexten, Ph.D., Director, CAB Supply Development

Spring calving herds, depending on rainfall and temperatures, may be weeks or months away from weaning. For many operations, that will bring the challenge of feeding weaned calves for a short transition period. That’s when nutrition is critical to end-product quality, because it influences both marbling development and calf health, which in turn also affects later quality grade. You may find local forages in short supply if your herd has had to deal with hot, dry weather this summer. One of the few “opportunities” that presents is evaluating alternative forage feeding strategies that may otherwise go untried.

You have to weigh the possible benefits as well as cost for any forage. Although many consider forage relatively inexpensive on a per-pound basis, it’s virtually always the most expensive per Continue reading

What’s a Grazier to Do in August?

– Victor Shelton, NRCS State Agronomist/Grazing Specialist

Should I hay it, or graze it?

August often seems to arrive too early and speeds by way too fast. Mentally to me, August 1st starts the countdown to the first frosty morning. That time frame, depending on where you are in Indiana, is generally 60-75 days. There is a lot to do in that time frame.

My first consideration is staging forages. I hope that you are constantly thinking ahead, planning the next move and knowing where, what, and how much forage is available. It’s time to also start thinking about stockpiling forages for fall and winter use.

What fields are going to be Continue reading

Beef and Forage Field Night

This year, in addition to researchers from The Ohio State University (OSU) showcasing their research, field night attendees will have the option to receive certification for Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) at the Beef and Forage Field Night at the Jackson Agricultural Research Station on August 23 from 5 – 8:30 p.m. Field night participants will be able to view the research plots and attend sessions that qualify for BQA certification. The research station is located at 019 Standpipe Rd., Jackson, OH 45640.

Dinner will be served at 5 p.m. and the program begins at 6 p.m. with BQA subject areas. Dr. Steve Boyles, Department of Animal Sciences, OSU, will Continue reading

Cattle vs. Beef Cycles

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

The latest USDA Cattle report provided the most recent pieces of information to the ever-evolving cattle inventory picture. The big news was the number of heifers held for replacement declined year-over-year and the 2018 calf crop is estimated to be about two percent larger than 2017. The calf crop number tells a story of continued larger beef production for 2019 while the lower heifer retention rate suggests herd growth is slowing. Combine the retention rate with cow and heifer slaughter data and they collectively point to a significantly slowing herd growth rate.

Taken at face value, these two pieces of information can seem a little contradictory. One suggests Continue reading