Colostrum is the Key

John F. Grimes, OSU Extension Beef Coordinator

A newborn calf needs to receive adequate levels of colostrum as quickly as possible. Research shows the first 6 – 12 hours are critical.

The winter of 2017-18 has certainly been challenging for beef producers across Ohio and the Midwest. The bitter cold that we experienced through the holiday season into mid-January has given way to milder temperatures and plenty of moisture over the past month. This has resulted in extremely muddy conditions that have made basic feeding and care of cattle difficult at best.

The weather conditions thus far this winter have been tough for producers choosing to start their calving season earlier in the calendar year. Environmental extremes can add to the stress of a Continue reading

Can Small Ohio Cow Herds Compete in the Marketplace?

Stan Smith, OSU Extension PA, Fairfield County

Frequently over the years we’ve talked about Ohio’s average cow herd size – between 16 and 17 cows at any given time – and how it impacts management and marketing decisions on that ‘average’ size beef farm. Related to that, recently I was asked, “What are the key beef herd management concerns Ohio’s small herd owners can address to compete with those who have the cow numbers that allows them to capture the advantages of economics of scale?

Working facilities are a vital component for allowing small cow herds to compete with the economics of scale of larger herds.

As we think about what numbers it might take to capture the benefits of size and scale, keep in mind that most cattle travel to and from the feedlot in pot loads carrying 48,000 pounds of cattle. Also, the question of how smaller herds can compete on a scale with larger herds is not unique to just Ohio’s cattlemen. As we look to our neighbors we find the average cow herd size in Indiana is 16, Michigan’s average herd is 13.5 cows, West Virginia averages almost 19, Pennsylvania has an average of 12.5 cows per farm, and Kentucky has the most of any neighbors averaging 29 cows. Even when we look to Texas, we find their average cow herd size is 32. It’s obvious the challenges of Continue reading

Beef AGRI NEWS Today

Below, the February podcast of Beef AGRI NEWS Today with OSU Extension Beef Coordinator John Grimes and host Duane Rigsby focuses on a variety of timely management concerns including US beef herd expansion, exports, trade agreements, calving season challenges, breeding season decisions and upcoming programs.

Does the Severity of Winter Temperatures Have an Impact on Spring-Born Calf Birth Weights?

– Dr. Glenn Selk, Oklahoma State University Emeritus Extension Animal Scientist

Does the severity (coldness or mildness) of the winter have an impact on spring-born calf birth weights? Ranchers have asked that question during many springs and veterinarians have speculated for years. The debate rages on! This is obviously a difficult subject to research because you cannot have a “control” group of cows to compare to a “treatment” group that is exposed to a cold winter while still running on the same pasture. Therefore research data on this subject is limited.

University of Nebraska researchers have done the next best thing. They have Continue reading

Weekly Livestock Comments for February 16, 2018

– Andrew P. Griffith, University of Tennessee

FED CATTLE: Fed cattle traded $4 higher than last week on a live basis. Prices on a live basis were mainly $130 while dressed prices were mainly $205.

The 5-area weighted average prices thru Thursday were $128.29 live, up $1.29 from last week and $202.00 dressed, up $0.67 from a week ago. A year ago prices were $118.97 live and $187.44 dressed.

Live cattle futures led the way this week with more than Continue reading

Demand More When Buying a Herd Sire

John F. Grimes, OSU Extension Beef Coordinator

Bull buying season is well underway throughout the cow-calf regions across the country. If your calving season starts in January, you may have already made your herd sire selections for this year’s breeding season. If your calving season starts a bit later, you may be in the midst of making herd sire selections. If you have yet to make your bull buying decisions, there are plenty of opportunities available in the immediate future through public auction or private treaty.

As an Extension professional and a seedstock producer, one of the most interesting discussions I can have with a producer is Continue reading

Changes to National Cattle Evaluation Benefits Bulls Buyers in 2018

– Matt Spangler, UNL Associate Professor and Beef Genetics Extension Specialist

National Cattle Evaluation has never been static, and future changes are inevitable as science continues to advance. Photo courtesy of Matt Spangler.

The majority of beef breed associations have made (or are currently making) substantial changes to their National Cattle Evaluation (NCE). These changes ultimately benefit commercial bull buyers by providing improved Expected Progeny Differences (EPDs) and improved economic selection indices. This brief article is not meant to be an exhaustive list of the changes to NCE by breed organization, but rather to highlight changes in general and the benefits Continue reading

Improving Cow Herd Reproduction Via Genetics

– Wade Shafer, Ph.D., American Simmental Association Executive Vice President (This article was originally published in March 2008 issue of the SimTalk written by Wade Shafer, Ph.D. Drs. Lauren Hyde and Jackie Atkins provided updates for this reprint)

A beef cow’s job is not an easy one. She is expected to conceive at slightly over one year of age, to calve by the time she is two, and rebreed shortly after that while weaning a healthy, viable calf. Furthermore, we demand that she consistently repeats this cycle for the rest of her life – one stumble and, hasta la vista, baby!

To be sure, producers are best served when the cow successfully performs her task for many years, as the longer her productive life, the more profitable she is to the enterprise. Is there anything that can be done to help her out? Certainly, there are Continue reading

Crawford County Cattlemen Plan Beef Finishing Tour, You’re Invited

The Erf’s take the Holstein calves they start all the way to finish.

Jason Hartschuh, AgNR Educator, OSU Extension Crawford Country

The Crawford County cattlemen are planning to tour two beef finishing operations in the Bellevue Ohio area on March 3rd and they would like to extend an invitation to anyone across the state to join them for the tours. The first stop will be 10:00 am at Lepley’s new slatted floor finishing barn; located at 4084 Prairie Rd Bellevue. From there we will be traveling a few miles to Erf Farm’s, 4516 Yingling Rd Bellevue, to see a dairy beef finishing operation. They purchase deacon calves and raise them through finishing using some the latest technology to feed the deacon calves.

From there we will travel to York Animal Hospital (Dr Mike Mull) 1184 W Main St Bellevue, where we will Continue reading

Beef Herd Continues to Grow

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

USDA released their January 1 estimates for cattle inventory late last month and I wanted to walk through some of the high points of this report. Beef cow numbers were estimated to have grown by 1.6% from 2017, which is a little less than half the increase that was seen in the prior year. Although growth in the US herd is clearly slowing, beef cow inventory has increased by 9% since 2014.

Anytime the beef cowherd is expanding, heifer retention is of interest. Heifer retention for beef cow replacement was estimated to be down 3.7% from 2017. Often a decrease in heifer retention is seen as evidence of future decreases in cow numbers, but that is likely not the case this time. This point is probably best made by Continue reading