Temperature Swings Offer Seeding Opportunity

Chris Penrose, OSU Extension, Morgan Co. and Gary Wilson, retired Hancock Co. Ag Educator

If you don’t like the weather you’re experiencing this minute, give it an hour or two and it will likely be different. Particularly in recent weeks it seems Ohio temperatures have either been above normal, or way below normal. While that may not be comfortable to man or beast, it creates an environment where certain forage species can be added to thin pastures relatively easy.

This is the time of year when farmers will want to think about re-seeding their pasture and hay fields. This method of seeding is called “frost seeding” which is where you apply seed to the ground and the freezing and thawing of the soil in February and early march will provide Continue reading

Rolling Out Hay is Rolling Out Dollars

– Kris Ringwall, Beef Specialist, NDSU Extension Service

As a year ends, reflecting on the past year is good.

The obvious point this year is the lack of forage and how, as producers, one responded to the challenge.

The Dickinson Research Extension Center needs more than 1,000 1,300-pound bales to make the stretch to spring grass. That number is buffered a bit because the calves are receiving 3 pounds of commercial supplement daily and the cows 4 pounds of commercial supplement every other day. But forage is the essence of a cattle operation, and keeping costs low is critical.

Fortunately, the center forage feed needs have been helped by Continue reading

Hay Testing for Efficient Winter Feeding

Christine Gelley, OSU Extension Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources, Noble County

As this year comes to an end, most Ohio graziers are probably feeding a good portion of hay as a part of their animals’ daily ration. Even if there is a supply of stockpiled forage available, we tend to make hay available just in case they need a little extra. It is likely that grain is also part of that daily ration. Well, how do you know how much hay, grain, and pasture they need? No one wants to leave their animals hungry. In addition, we do not want to waste time or money with unnecessary feeding. Figuring out the balance can seem like a guessing game, but the place to start is with a hay test.

Testing the hay you are feeding is well worth the price of sample analysis. Collecting a sample is not complicated and typically Continue reading

Ohio Beef Forage Contest is Accepting Entries

Are you Ohio’s best beef forage manager?

The first annual Ohio Beef Forage contest is now accepting hay sample entries for a chance win prizes for the best forages in the east. Sponsored by ADM Animal Nutrition, Inc. (ADM ANI) and International Stock Food (ISF), with sample analysis performed by Rock River Laboratory, Inc., the new contest aims to improve beef forage management in Ohio and other eastern US states.

Beef forage producers from Ohio Continue reading

Even with forages, the end of the year is the time to plan!

Chris Penrose, Extension Educator, Agriculture & Natural Resources, Morgan County (originally published in the Winter issue of The Ohio Cattleman)

The month of December is a great time to plan. We still have the opportunity to make changes to the 2017 year and plan for 2018. When I think of 2017, especially as it relates to forages, two things come to mind for me. First, what worked and what went wrong? Next, is there anything that can be done to improve the operation for this and next year?

What worked and what went wrong?

For many of us, the growing season for the most part was Continue reading

Dodder (Cuscuta spp.) in Western Ohio Red Clover Stands

Mark Loux, OSU Extension Weed Specialist

Photo: uwyo.edu

We have had reports of dodder in some red clover fields. Dodder is a parasitic plant without any leaves or chlorophyll to produce its own energy. It lives by attaching to a host with small appendages (called ‘haustoria”), and extracting the host plant’s carbohydrates. The stems are yellow-orange, stringlike, twining, smooth and branching to form dense masses in infested fields. Although neither toxic nor unpalatable to some livestock, dodder can weaken host plants enough to reduce yield, quality, and stand. If infestations are severe enough, dodder may kill host plants.

Dodders are annuals that spread by Continue reading

Managing Forage Risk: Specie Diversification and PRF Insurance

– Andrew P. Griffith, University Of Tennessee

First question, who remembers the drought periods of summer and fall 2016, summer 2015, summer 2012, winter 2011, fall 2010, summer and fall 2008, and pretty much all of 2007? It is pretty easy to make the point that cattle producers have faced several challenging times as it relates to precipitation and forage production. Next question, knowing that drought periods have been fairly frequent and intense, what management decisions have been made to reduce the negative impacts of such events?

Managing forage risk is probably not at the top of most producers’ minds as hay feeding will soon dominate cattle diets. However, now is a prime time to Continue reading

Grazing Bites: Estimating Feed Resource Inventory vs The Needs

– Victor Shelton, NRCS State Agronomist/Grazing Specialist

I really don’t know what happened to the fall. It seems like it should still be September, not November, but the weather is now starting to confirm the date and the realization that winter will soon be upon us.

I often talk about taking inventory of winter feedstuff. I’m primarily measuring dry matter, e.g. hay, pasture, stockpile, crop residue, and grazable annuals still left. October rains certainly helped to green things up and provide some new growth, but that won’t last much longer and real growth is about done and dormancy of perennials is not far off. Three or four nights in a row in the 20’s is usually enough to stop and/or kill top growth and force dormancy. If the weather stays cold or at least cool, plants will remain Continue reading

Not Too Early to Prepare for 2018 Calving Season

John F. Grimes, OSU Extension Beef Coordinator

You might find the timing of the title of this article a bit unusual. After all, many producers are currently marketing the 2017 calf crop, grain harvest isn’t finished, and winter is nearly two months away. Depending on the starting date of your calving season, the arrival of the 2018 crop is 60 or more days away. Plenty of time to plan ahead, right? Don’t be so sure.

Regardless of when your 2018 calving season begins, management of the beef female during the last trimester (90-95 days) of pregnancy can lay the foundation for Continue reading

The 4 R’s of Feeding the Cow Herd

Al Gahler, OSU Extension Educator, Sandusky County (originally published in the Ohio Farmer on-line)

The end of the growing season is near, and for cattle producers in Ohio, that means the beginning of the season that challenges the profitability of a cow/calf operation more than any other aspect.  That’s right, feeding a cow through the winter is the number one cost of production, and the days of $2.50 and higher feeder calves that made it pretty easy to pay the winter feed bill are a fond but distant memory.  The difference between the producer that has had and will have continued success in a slightly different  economic climate and the ones who have and will struggle, will come down to management.  Not just marketing management, but input management, or in other words, feed and nutrition.

There are lots of different methods of storing hay between the time it’s harvested, and fed.

Most anyone involved in agriculture in Ohio has very likely heard about the concept of 4R management in agronomic crop production in order to preserve the soil and ensure water quality – using the ‘right’ fertilizer or pesticide product, putting it in the ‘right’ place, at the ‘right’ rate, at the ‘right’ time.  The cattle producer who will be the most Continue reading