On Farm Biosecurity to Keep Us and Employees Safe

Jason Hartschuh, Extension Educator, Crawford County; and Dr. Gustavo Schuenemann, Extension Dairy Veterinarian, The Ohio State University Extension (originally published in the Buckeye Dairy News)

Agriculture is no stranger to contagious disease. Drawing on sanitation experiences from outbreaks, such as avian and swine influenza or the 2001 outbreak of foot and mouth disease in the United Kingdom in 2001, can help us through the current pandemic. Looking back at many of these experiences, we know that we can pull together maybe from a distance and get through the current human viral outbreak and keep our farms running. Unless they are sick, farmers don’t usually tell their workers to stay home, but through keeping social distance on the farm and increasing many of our tried and true disinfection protocols, we can all stay healthy.  One big difference is that instead of disinfecting our boots, we need to disinfect all surfaces around us and all our employees touch. This may also be a good time to review the visitation requirements you have on your farm. To keep you and your service providers safe, be sure to . . .

Continue reading On Farm Biosecurity to Keep Us and Employees Safe

The Calving Stall

Steve Boyles, OSU Beef Extension Specialist

Most modern cattlemen have some type of facility for holding or restraining cattle that need assistance at calving. This stall need not be elaborate or expensive, but it should be handy and useful. This article sets forth some of the things to consider before installing such a stall or for evaluating your present facility.

The objective of a calving stall is to provide an environment that is safe and useful to you and your veterinarian when assisting at calving. This stall will generally pay for itself in short order in calves saved and cows treated properly and promptly. Some of the tasks made easier with a calving stall include performing cesarean sections, cleaning a retained placenta, assisting calves presented for birth in the wrong position, milking out cows, fostering calves and medicating cows requiring follow-up treatments. It allows the producer to quickly estimate the situation and take appropriate action on their own or with professional help.

A good calving stall should meet the following Continue reading

The economic benefits of a defined, 90 day or less, calving season

Anytime an Extension beef cattle specialist suggests a cow herd is most profitable when there is a well defined calving season as opposed to leaving the bull in and calving year around, it’s not uncommon for the response to be disbelief. During the 2020 Ohio Beef Cow/Calf Workshop, Dr. Les Anderson responded in this 4 minute clip to that debate regarding the economic benefits of a calving season of 90 days or less. The data he shares is compelling!

Cattle Market Update – March 27, 2020

– Kenny Burdine, Livestock Marketing Specialist, University of Kentucky

As I mentioned last week, I want to send out a short weekly update on our cattle markets for the near term. Things are very volatile and are moving very fast, so I think more frequent communication is probably better right now. USDA-AMS sends the Kentucky weekly livestock summary out on Friday, which really includes sales from the previous Friday to Thursday (the day before). This summary is based on sales from March 20-26.

While I try to follow daily reports from across the state, I typically view those mostly anecdotally. I feel more comfortable sharing weekly summary data that compiles a large number of cattle sales. But, this can also be misleading when markets are moving quickly as prices can be very different from early week sales to late week sales. Last week was a good example as markets were down sharply, but showed quite a bit of improvement in the second half of the week. That strength continued into this week and summaries are showing huge improvements. Prices rallied across the board at Kentucky auctions. Virtually every category is quite a bit higher – calves, feeders, cows, and bulls. To be honest, I send this out with some hesitation as I am afraid it overstates the improvement in the market and may not Continue reading

Cattle on Feed

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

The USDA released the latest Cattle on Feed report on March 20. Overall the report was neutral, and there were only slight deviations from the analyst’s expectations for the report.

Cattle and calves on feed for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 11.8 million head on March 1, 2020. This is essentially unchanged from 2019, which was 11.7 million. Cattle on feed over 90 days is up 0.2%.

Marketings of fed cattle during February totaled 1.78 million head, 5.5% over 2019, with the same number of marketing days. Marketings represented 14.9% of the cattle on feed. March will likely see higher year-over-year marketings as well given the number of cattle on feed and the higher number of cattle on feed over 90 days.

Placements in feedlots during February totaled 1.71 million head, 7.9% below 2019. Net placements were 1.65 million head, down 7.8%. Although placements were expected to Continue reading

Lots of Supplies Amid Market Turmoil

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

Cattle and calf prices, futures markets, cutout prices, and provide many great topics for discussion. This week we’ll focus on beef supplies. It just so happens that in today’s volatile market large amounts of beef (and pork and poultry) are available.

With just 2 days left in the first quarter of 2020, fed steer and heifer slaughter is up 5.4 percent over last year. Cow and bull slaughter is up 4.5 percent over last year. Steer dressed weights are 22.5 pounds greater than in the first quarter last year, while heifer average weights are 13.7 pounds heavier. Cow weights are up 2.6 pounds. Saturday slaughter rates have jumped dramatically as packers work through these large supplies of cattle offered. The last Saturday of March had an estimated 75,000 head slaughtered compared to Continue reading

Late Planted Corn Silage Yields Value

Garth Ruff, OSU Extension Henry County; Jason Hartschuh, OSU Extension Crawford County; Allen Gahler, OSU Extension Sandusky County (originally published in Ohio Farmer on-line)

Teff, Italian ryegrass, oats and corn were included with 5 other ‘covers’ in this study

The combination of poor quality hay made in 2018, historic alfalfa winter kill, and excessive rainfall across most of Ohio in the spring of 2019 created a large need for high quality alternative forage sources this past year. Record amounts of prevented plant acreage across the state created an opportunity to grow forages on traditionally row cropped acres. As crop and livestock producers planted a variety of forage and cover crop species to supplement feed stocks, it was recognized that there was also a need to gather forage analysis results from these fields in order for growers to properly value and feed the forage grown. The following data are from cover crop forage samples that were submitted by farmers and from OARDC research stations where annual forages were grown as part of the 2019 Ohio State eFields program available at your local extension office or digitalag.osu.edu/efields.

A total of 208 forage samples were collected by farmers and county Extension Educators and sent to a lab for wet chemistry feed analysis. With the variety and mixes of species grown, wet chemistry analysis was chosen for increased accuracy of nutrient composition. Near Infra-Red (NIR) analysis often cost less per sample, it is best utilized when evaluating alfalfa or frequently grown monoculture grass hay. Full trial results by location, more quality factors, and samples with less than 3 locations can be found at go.osu.edu/forages19 .

The following results in Table 1 show the Continue reading

Approaches for Reestablishing Hay Feeding Areas

– Chris Teutsch, UK Research and Education Center at Princeton

Figure 1. Excessive rainfall and high livestock concentration in and around hay feeding areas has resulted in almost complete disturbance.

Wet conditions this winter have resulted in almost complete disturbance in and around hay feeding areas. Even well-designed hay feeding pads will have significant damage surrounding the pad where animals enter and leave. These highly disturbed areas create perfect growing conditions for summer annual weeds like spiny pigweed and cockle bur. Their growth is stimulated be lack of competition from a healthy and vigorous sod and the high fertility from the concentrated area of dung, urine and rotting hay. The objective of this article is to outline approached for dealing with these areas.

Approach I: Planting cool-season grasses and legumes

The first strategy is to seed cool-season grasses or a mixture of grasses and legumes in the spring. While this commonly done, results are usually less than spectacular in most years. This is due to several reasons. The first is that seedings are normally delayed until late spring or early summer. This does not allow adequate time for the seedlings to develop a large enough root system to sustain them through a hot and often dry summer. The second reason is that Continue reading

Colostrum and Passive Immunity; Critical to the Health of a New Born Calf

Most know that calves are not born with any immunoglobulins, which are critical for the health of a new born calf. Immunoglobulins are supplied by the cow via colostrum, or first milk, and calves only have a 24 hour window to ingest these molecules through the lining of their gut before that window closes.

During his presentation at the 2020 Ohio Beef Cow/Calf Workshop and excerpted in the 2 minute video below, Dr. Francis Fluharty further explains why a calf must receive adequate colostrum within the first 24 hours of life.

Applications for CRP Grasslands Being Accepted

Jason Jones, Ohio Grasslands & Grazing Coordinator, Pheasants Forever, Inc. and Quail Forever

Interested farmers may now submit applications to enroll acres into the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) Grasslands. The signup period for 2020 will run from March 16 through May 15.

Through CRP Grasslands, a participant can maintain common practices such as grazing, haying, mowing, and harvesting seed from the enrolled acres. Practices must be suitable for maintaining the grass, legume, and forb community. Some restrictions or harvest delays remain in effect for the primary nesting season of grassland nesting birds.

An annual rental payment is calculated for the participant’s offered acres, which is based on a pastureland rate. Rates are 75% of the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) 2018 pasture cash rent estimate. Landowners may also receive up to 50 percent cost-share for establishing approved conservation practices, in some cases. A CRP Grasslands contract can be either 10 or 15 years. Farm Service Agency (FSA) will rank applications nationally, using several site-specific metrics, including current vegetative cover and overall environmental benefits of the project.

The 2018 Farm Bill has made available to enroll up to 2 million acres for CRP Grasslands nationwide. CRP is one of USDA’s largest and most successful conservation programs. For more information or to enroll in CRP Grasslands, contact your local FSA county office.