Too Much, Too Early

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

Fall- and spring-calving herd managers don’t often find themselves facing the same decision as those who buy calves for backgrounding, but this is one of those times. Should you implant the calves and if so, what product should be used? Answers will vary, of course.

It’s simple if increasing gain is the singular goal. Given adequate nutrition, the return on investment to growth-promoting implants makes it one of the best dollars you can spend. But let’s examine that given: are there adequate dietary resources to support the implant? Data suggests calves need enough nutrition to gain at least a pound per day to make any implant pay. Few operations plan for gains lower than that, but for those who try to hold calves back to change marketing windows, this may be a consideration.

Another reason implants may not make sense is a contradiction with your marketing plans, such as those who sell natural or non-hormone treated calves (NHTC) at a premium. Implanting would limit marketing to conventional outlets, where facts may not support perceptions. I hear of ranchers forgoing the calf performance from implants because they think non-implanted calves bring more in the everyday market, but there’s evidence to the contrary. Calves that are verified Natural or NHTC may Continue reading

What Path Will You Choose?

John F. Grimes, OSU Extension Beef Coordinator

Based on reports from USDA and industry analysts such as Cattle Fax, it appears that the aggressive expansion of the U.S. beef cowherd will peak in 2019 and level off in the early part of the next decade. From the time the most recent herd expansion began in 2014, producers will have added over 3 million beef cows to the nation’s herd. Our primary protein competitors, pork and poultry, have also been in expansion mode recently which adds more competition for the consumer’s food dollars.

For all of my adult life, I have heard agricultural economists talk about the “cattle cycle”. The cycle is often reported in approximately 10-year increments and a wide variety of economic, environmental, and political effects can greatly influence each cycle. Current and future cattle cycles will face increasingly varied and complex factors that affect the economic health of the beef industry. The next cattle cycle will be impacted by factors such as drought, trade policies, domestic and foreign economies, competition from pork and poultry, sustainability concerns, and the development of meat substitutes.

What does all of this mean for you as a cattleman? I believe there is no time like the present to Continue reading

Fall Plant Control of cressleaf groundsel; Prevent the sea of yellow in the spring

– Dr. Diane Gerken, DVM, ABVT Veterinary Toxicologist

ODA’s Animal Disease Diagnostic Lab has been involved in two separate cases with animals affected by the toxicity of this plant in the past year.

This plant is Senecio glabellus or now called Packera glabella which occurs in some uncultivated Ohio fields. This is a picture indicating possible plant density in the springtime. If you made hay/haylage with this plant in it, the recommendation is to NOT feed it to livestock or horses. Also, do not use as pasture for any grazing animal.

ODA-ADDL personnel have been involved in two separate cases (one with classic pathology and the second with a positive chemical analyses for the specific pyrrolizidine alkaloids in this plant) with animals affected in the past year. This plant contains at least one toxic pyrrolizidine alkaloid (PA), senecionine but reported to contain more. Pyrrolizidine alkaloids cause liver disease in humans and animals after Continue reading

Loose Animals

Steve Boyles, OSU Extension Beef Specialist

Loose animals can be livestock like cattle and horses or wildlife like deer and elk or even dogs and alligators. Studies by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) show that vehicle-animal collisions are responsible for an annual average of 155 occupant deaths, and three out of four of these involve deer. These collisions also account for tens of thousands of injuries each year, according to the National Safety Council.

Trailer accidents, barn fires, escaped animals onto the highway, and animals caught in mud or broken through ice are all events emergency responder have been called to. Many districts do not have protocols, formal training or specialized equipment to rescue livestock. While the incidence of loose livestock is minimal in urban environments it can still happen. Loose livestock can be a frequent issue in some rural districts. Succession planning is a critical element of organization strategy. This relates to the Unites States Fire administration operational objective to Continue reading

Neighborly Fence Care

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

The easiest way to decide on a plan for line fence care is communicating with your neighbor.

Fence care can make tempers flare between neighbors. Typically, when neighbors have similar goals, an agreeable strategy for fence maintenance can be worked out easily. When land use pursuits differ, there is a higher likelihood for conflict.

One of Ohio’s oldest rural laws is built around the care of partition fence. Ohio R.C. Chapter 971 defines a partition fence or “line fence” as a fence placed on the division line between two adjacent properties. In 2008, the law was updated to state “Partition fence includes a fence that has been considered a division line between two such properties even though a subsequent land survey indicates that the fence is not located directly on the division line.”

If both neighbors utilize the fence for similar purposes then the Continue reading

Preconditioning Calves; Is it in the Cards?

– Adam Hady, UW Extension Agriculture Agent, Richland County (article recently appeared in the Wisconsin Agriculturist Magazine)

As the summer grazing season winds down and the time is getting near for cow calf producers to wean calves, they might be asking themselves, with the prices of many agricultural commodities, can I add some value to my calves by preconditioning my calves or just sell them right off the cow? For starters, what is preconditioning, and why would we do it? Preconditioning is a practice that gets calves ready for the next phase of production and done with proper management can add a few dollars into the cow/calf producer’s pocket. In general, these are programs that are done for 30-60 days with 45 being the most common. During this time, calves are weaned, vaccinated, bunk broke, and water tank broke.

So, how does holding these calves for 45 days actually make the cow/calf operator any money? They have the cost of feeding the calves, vaccinating, yardage, and death loss. Knowing feed cost and price slides are the key factors adding extra dollars through preconditioning. Understanding these factors can also help you make the decision on the possibility of backgrounding longer into the winter or sell the calves outright versus preconditioning. Overall, the goal to preconditioning is to sell a few more pounds of calf by being able to put on some cheap pounds of gain and add some value to the calf by having an Continue reading

Economic Greats – 93 Percent of Cow’s Weight Harvested

– Kris Ringwall, Beef Specialist, NDSU Extension

As I was reviewing Cow Herd Appraisal Performance Software (CHAPS) records recently, cow Y1002’s record popped up.

Because of the weight of her calves at harvest (93 percent of her weight), she is one of the economic greats of the Dickinson Research Extension Center’s herd.

Y1002’s dam is half-Red Angus and half-Angus, and Y1002 was sired by an Aberdeen bull called Cadet Quartermaster. I would call Y1002 a frame score 3, 1,100-pound cow. Her weight has averaged 1,069 in the fall, but as she ages, she will put on some weight.

Y1002 has weaned a calf every year. Her 2015 calf (C5132), born on a late spring day, May 26, comes to mind as Continue reading

Eastern Ohio Beef & Forage School Begins October 2nd

The 2018 Eastern Ohio Beef and Forage School will consist of three consecutive Tuesday evening classes beginning October 2, 2018 at the Eastern Agricultural Research Station (16870 Bond Ridge Road Caldwell, OH 43724). Classes will be held from 5:30 to 8:00 PM and include a meal. The cost to attend is $25 flat rate for one or all three classes combined.

Call Guernsey County Extension at 740-489-5300, or complete this registration form to participate.  Please register by September 24.

  • October 2 will include Beef Quality Assurance Certification Training and Newborn Calf Care.
  • October 9 will focus on farm costs and profits with sessions on identifying and framing key factors in the cost of production and the cost of replacement cows.
  • October 16 will focus on forages and grazing with sessions on regenerating pastures after pipelines & winter feeding and improving water quality with forages.

Contact the Belmont, Guernsey, Monroe or Morgan County OSU Extension office for more information.

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

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