But, the feed tag says only 1.5 pounds/head/day!

Stan Smith, OSU Extension PA, Fairfield County

Understanding the ruminant system, and properly supplementing the energy source with protein will be one of the topics Dr. Fluharty covers during his presentation at the first session of the Ohio Beef Cattle Nutrition and Management Schools.

An article we published two years ago – Not all corn is created equal! – resulted in questions regarding feed supplement tags, the amount of protein in most of the supplements we’re using in some common small Midwest feedlot rations, and why we might need additional protein when the feed tag suggests only using 1.5 pounds per head per day of what is commonly a 40% protein supplement. Good question with a fairly simple answer . . . the tag doesn’t say you don’t need, or can’t use additional protein in order to optimize performance. It simply says to only use 1.5 pounds of that source of protein.

This isn’t a new question. In fact, I’ve discussed it with any number of beef cattle feeders who have asked the question over the years. If you’ve participated in one of Francis Fluharty’s Beef Feedlot Schools in the past, you know the answer as to why we could enhance performance with additional protein, but perhaps not how or why we find ourselves in this place where at first glance feed supplement tags might imply they can supply adequate protein to the ration at a rate of only 1.5 pounds of supplement per day.

Back in the 60’s I recall using a Continue reading

Beef Cattle Handling Facilities a Topic at First Cow/Calf Workshop

During the first session of the Ohio Beef Cow/Calf Workshop next Thursday, January 30, being held at Claylick Run in Newark, Ohio Beef Specialist Dr. Steve Boyles will facilitate a conversation and demonstration on how best to move beef cattle through properly designed handling facilities. Get a preview of Dr. Boyles approach to handling cattle in the short video below.

Choosing a Supplement for the Cowherd

– Jeff Lehmkuhler, PhD, PAS, Beef Extension Specialist, University of Kentucky

The spring of 2019 delayed hay harvest in many parts of the state. This delay resulted in much of the hay being harvested at mature stages. Fescue was in full flower to soft-dough stage or even more mature in some cases. Mature forages have greater cell wall and lower digestibility.

I tried to demonstrate the impact of late cutting on feed value by clipping non-fertilized fescue plants the 3rd week in June. These plants were over three feet tall when I cut them. I proceeded to separate the bottom leaves, stem and seed head for yield and quality. The stem and seed head represented approximately 50% of the biomass. The stem had already matured to the point that it was tan in color. The leaves comprised the remaining 50% of the biomass and contained 10% crude protein and a calculated TDN of 54%. The stem itself was only 3.1% crude protein with a TDN of 45%.

Let me give you a reference to better relate the fescue stem quality (about half the biomass). As we all know, wheat straw is the aftermath from harvesting the grain. Wheat harvest often occurs in late June through July. Did you catch that? The book values for crude protein and TDN of wheat straw are 3.6% and 43%, respectively. Yes, that stem fraction on the hay cut in late June is similar in quality to straw! I know we can’t Continue reading

Weekly Livestock Comments for January 17, 2020

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

FED CATTLE: Fed cattle traded steady compared to last week. Prices on a live basis were mainly $124 while dressed prices were mostly $198 to $199.

The 5-area weighted average prices thru Thursday were $124.00 live, even com-pared to last week and $199.07 dressed, up $0.43 from a week ago. A year ago, prices were $125.00 live and $197.00 dressed.

Following the strong run in finished cattle prices in December and a strong start to January, fed cattle prices have stagnated the past couple of weeks. Despite the appearance that prices have stalled, this should still be considered positive for cattle feeders. January and February are not known as strong beef demand months nor are they known for having the best finished cattle prices. The upside to current prices is that beef and cattle demand are strong in the spring which should bode well for the price of finished cattle moving into the spring. There remains potential for the cash market to trade over Continue reading

Match EPDs to Your Ideal Grazing Management Style

Dean Kreager, Licking County Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator (originally published in Farm & Dairy)

As we move into January the grazing season is over for most and ended long ago for many, such as me, thanks to a dry fall.  Now is the time to start putting some thought into breeding decisions.  Is this the year to purchase a new bull?  What semen do I need to order so it will be in my tank when the cows come in heat?

In cattle, EPDs are the expected progeny differences in performance between offspring of different sires.  Sheep have a similar system of EBVs (estimated breeding values) but they are not as commonly used.  EPDs are available for a large number of production, maternal, and carcass traits.  The use of EPDs gained value with the first national cattle summary which was published in 1971.  The value of this data has improved with time.  Breeds have improved data collection and DNA evaluations have become common so that now the value of EPD’s is greater than ever.  These DNA enhanced EPDs can provide results equivalent to 10 to 36 calves for many traits but sometimes all these numbers get confusing.

Since this is a grazing column, let’s look at a few of the EPDs that are related to grazing Continue reading

Forage Focus: Options for Fall/Winter Grazing of Winter Annual Forage Crops

Host Christine Gelley, an Extension Educator with The Ohio State University Agriculture & Natural Resources in Noble County is joined by Brady Campbell, a PhD Student in the Department of Animal Sciences and the coordinator of the OSU Sheep Team, for a segment reviewing options for fall/winter grazing of winter annual forage crops. While the focus here is on sheep, the concepts translate nicely over to cattle.

Posted in Pasture

The Art and Science of Developing Heifers

– Les Anderson, Ph.D., Beef Extension Specialist, University of Kentucky

The older I get the more I realize that heifer development is as much art as science. The art is understanding what type of female best fits your operation and your marketing scheme. What size cow best fits your management system? Which cows will produce the best replacements?

The science is understanding the principles enabling the “right” heifers to succeed. The first week of January is an extremely important “check-point” in spring heifer development programs.

Regardless of management system, one key factor dictating cow productivity is a heifer’s ability to breed early in her first breeding season. Data from many studies ranging back to the 1960’s clearly demonstrate the key to cow productivity is timing of her first breeding as a heifer. Heifers that breed early in their first breeding season wean heavier calves, breed back more quickly, and become more productive cows. So the key, then, is to optimize Continue reading

Beef Exports (again) a Key Factor to Watch in 2020

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

The latest Monthly Trade data for November 2019 was released by USDA Economic Research Service last week. The report continued the recent trend of lower monthly exports as compared to 2018. After three consecutive years of double-digit increases (2016-2018) in beef exports, current data show January-November 2019 exports to be down 4.6 percent compared to the same period in 2018. There are also new and hopeful trade deals to add to the mix with Japan, Canada, Mexico, and China. Needless to say, there are plenty of moving parts for 2020.

November 2019 beef exports were 8 percent below the same month of 2018 at just under 245 million pounds. For January-November 2019, exports to four of the top five destinations were lower (Japan, Mexico, Canada, Hong Kong) with the exception of South Korea which is up 6.3 percent. Japan is still the top destination for U.S. beef though the gap between first and second place narrowed. Through November 2019, 26.5 percent of U.S. beef exports went to Japan and 22.6 percent went to South Korea. In 2018, 28 percent of beef exports went to Continue reading

Goals for Your Cow Herd in 2020

Garth Ruff, OSU Extension Henry County

Group lots of calves with uniform weight, frame, and genetics sell for a premium in the market place.

Each year I like to look evaluate any upcoming opportunities and set goals for the New Year in an effort to better myself both professionally and personally. I prefer to call them goals rather than New Years Resolutions because many people tend to let resolutions fall through the cracks. When developing goals, the key is to write them down! Call them whatever you want, in just a few minutes of looking back and reflecting on some observations made in the last year I was able to come up with a few goals focused on improving profitability and the quality of calves marketed in 2020.

Sharpen the Pencil. Do you have a projected budget for the year? How much does it really cost you to feed a cow for the year? Put together an enterprise budget to use as a decision making tool. There are many templates available online from various universities and institutions, chose one that’s geographically relevant and considers the variables that affect your operation (find the OSU Farm Budgets linked here). Be realistic in valuing feed, labor, and livestock values. Knowing cost of production and breakeven points are useful in making Continue reading

Keep the Trains Moving; Prevent Stomach Obstructions

Christine Gelley, Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator, Noble County, OSU Extension (originally published in the Ohio Farmer)

This hairball came from a beef that was processed in Noble County by Pernell Saling. He estimates 5% of the cattle they process have blockage in the rumen resulting from twine, hair, plastic, etc..

The stomach is a fascinating part of the body, regardless of what species you study.

Digestion is an active and noisy process, from chewing, to swallowing, to breakdown, absorption, and disposal. People tend to associate the idea of a “churning stomach” with an illness, but really, the stomach should be churning (well, moving) to do its job. If it is not, you could be in trouble and experiencing a bowl obstruction.

Humans can tell that something is definitely wrong if they have a bowl obstruction. Within a couple days, the inflicted person will be completely miserable and perplexed, leading them to seek aide from a medical doctor if this occurs. Symptoms include bloating, diarrhea, vomiting, dehydration, and general physical weakness as a result.

Babies and animals are less descriptive when experiencing digestive stress. Observant parents (of human or animal offspring) may not know what is wrong, but should be in tuned enough to realize the situation is not good and seek assistance before symptoms of malnutrition or abdominal tissue death occurs.

Unfortunately, due to the Continue reading