The Feed Grinder Mixer, Friend, or Foe?

Richard Purdin, ANR/CD Educator, OSU Extension Adams County

For many livestock producers, the feed grinder is their most cherished tool.

You could say grinding feed runs in my blood. A matter of fact this was one of the first farm chores that I can remember helping dad with. If you were to ask a farmer what are the most vital pieces of equipment on the farm, you would probable expect to hear answers such as combine, tractor, skid steer loader, etc. For a farrow to finish hog, market steer, and feeder lamb operation, could there be a worse situation arise than the grinder mixer breaking down! There is not a day that the grinder mixer is not used on my farm and for many other livestock operations it would probably be considered one of the most used equipment on the farm.

It is thought that grinding grain for livestock feed started around 1860 and one of the first feed grinders invented was called the burr mill made by the Letz manufacturing company in Crown Point Indiana. By 1930 the hammer mill was created revolutionizing speed and quality of grinding feed. The grinder to this day is still highly used and the selling point remains the same – to Continue reading

Constructively Thankful

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

In the season of Thanksgiving, we gravitate to each other to express gratitude for blessings of all kinds. It feels good to be thankful and to be with grateful people. I hope that as you prepare for the Thanksgiving holiday that you take the time to meditate on the blessings in your life and on the farm and that it fills you with satisfaction.

When listing our many blessings, we often skip expressing thankfulness toward are the learning experiences we gain through less than perfect scenarios. Yet, I think those scenarios are often more worthy of recognition than our obvious successes, because through challenges, we grow.

Along with your lists of blessings, I suggest making a list of things that Continue reading

Winter Application of Manure

Glen Arnold, Field Specialist, Manure Nutrient Management

Although not required by law, winter manure application should follow the NRCS 590 standards.

An unusually dry fall has allowed manure application to farm fields to be ahead of the normal schedule. Nevertheless, there will still be some application of manure to frozen ground or snow-covered ground.

Permitted farms are not allowed to apply manure in the winter unless it is an extreme emergency, and then movement to other suitable storage is usually the selected alternative. Several commercial manure applicators have established manure storage ponds in recent years to help address this issue.

In the . . .

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Applying the Concept of Relative Age Effect to Our Calf Crop

– Pedro L. P. Fontes, Ph.D. Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist

Simple concept: the earlier they’re born the more pay weight there will be.

The Relative Age Effect is a term commonly used to describe how child athletes born early in the academic year tend to perform at a higher level than those born later. For example, softball athletes born between May and August are 40% more likely to play college softball compared with players born between September and December. Similarly, hockey players born between May and August are 56% more likely to play in college compared with athletes born between September and December. This disadvantage can likely be explained by the fact that those who are older are typically more physically, emotionally, or cognitively developed than those that are younger.

Interestingly, similar differences are observed when we evaluate performance records of our calf crops. Steer calves that are born in the beginning of the calving season have more time to gain weight between calving and weaning compared with steers born later in the calving season. Consequently, these steers are heavier at weaning compared with their counterparts. Research from the University of Nebraska indicates that steers born in the first 21 days of the calving season were 32 pounds heavier than those born in the . . .

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Ohio’s Beginning Farmer Income Tax Credits

Peggy Kirk Hall, Associate Professor, OSU Extension Agricultural & Resource Law Program

Expected to begin in 2023

The idea to use income tax incentives to help Ohio’s beginning farmers gain access to agricultural assets has floated around the Ohio General Assembly for several years. That idea became a reality when Ohio’s Beginning Farmer Bill, House Bill 95, became effective on July 18, 2022. A bi-partisan effort by Rep. Susan Manchester (R-Waynesfield) and Rep. Mary Lightbody (D-Columbus), the law is now in the hands of the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA), who is charged with implementing its provisions. ODA expects the new program to be available in 2023.

The Beginning Farmer law has four parts: a process for certifying “beginning farmers,” establishment of financial management programs for beginning farmers, income tax credits for certified beginning farmers, and income tax credits and those who sell or lease assets to certified beginning farmers. Note that the law has a “sunset date” of January 1, 2028, and limits total income tax credits granted to $10 million. Here’s a summary of Continue reading

The feedlot and manure management

Jerad Jaborek, Michigan State University Extension Beef Feedlot Systems Educator

The proper field application of manure can enhance soil productivity and contribute to overall farm profitability while maintaining proper environmental stewardship.

As a byproduct of raising livestock, “shit happens” literally, and that is no different in a beef feedlot setting. Therefore, as the producer, we must carefully decide how to remove and utilize the manure produced from the cattle in the feedlot. By using the best manure management practices, the field application of manure produced in the feedlot can enhance soil productivity and contribute to overall farm profitability while maintaining proper environmental stewardship to prevent water contamination.

The first step to successful manure management is to determine the Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), and Potassium (K) levels of the manure being produced and of the soil in the fields. The level of these nutrients excreted in the manure can be impacted by the diets being consumed by feedlot cattle. For instance, some by-product feeds have a slightly greater P content and a greater inclusion of them in the diet could cause manure to have a greater P concentration. Likewise, higher protein diets or diets that supply excess protein can lead to greater N excretion, and therefore, a greater N concentration of manure. At the 2009 Cattle Feeder’s Conference: A New Era of Management, Russ Eken, an extension livestock specialist, reported that backgrounding and finishing cattle have been reported to excrete 6.3 lb. of manure per 100 lb. body weight, 0.22 to 0.48 lb. of N, and 0.035 to 0.085 lb. of P per head per day.

Other factors such as feedlot design, stocking density, time of year, and method of manure storage can influence the . . .

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Potential in the Fall?

Garth Ruff, Beef Cattle Field Specialist, OSU Extension

Fall is my favorite time of the year, hay making is done, the feeder cattle are being marketed, college football is in full swing, and for some calving season is well underway.

This summer at our field day in Muskingum County we heard from a family who discussed incorporating a fall calving cow herd into their beef operation. While there are disadvantages to fall calving (will discuss), there are several advantages that can be capitalized on if we can evaluate and adapt current production systems. In other publications, I have previously mentioned the virtues of a fall calving system here in the Eastern Corn Belt. Let’s look at how fall calving can be a viable and profitable system.

Cattle prices are seasonal. As with most things in agriculture, supply and demand has a great impact on prices. Dr. Andrew Griffith from the University of Tennessee in 2017 analyzed several studies comparing spring and fall calving systems. After comparing the systems on a 205-day weaning age and two separate feed resource scenarios they concluded that even though spring-calving cows had heavier calves at weaning and lower feed costs than the fall-calving cows, the higher prices of steer and heifer calves captured by fall-born calves were able to Continue reading

Five Things to Do to Improve the Efficiency of Winter Feeding This Year

– Dr. Katie VanValin, Assistant Professor Beef Nutrition, University of Kentucky

Undoubtedly, 2022 has had its fair share of challenges thus far. High input prices likely led to fewer hay acres being fertilized, which with the added pressure of drought, can lead to lower quality and quantity of stored forages moving into this winter. You might be in for sticker shock if you haven’t purchased feed recently. It can be easy to get caught up in things we have little to no control over, so here are five things we can do to improve this year’s winter-feeding Continue reading

Feeding Frosted Forages

Mark Sulc, OSU Extension Forage Specialist

Sudex is one of the forages that can be toxic when frosted.

I am beginning to get questions about toxicities that can develop after forages are frosted. There is potential for some forage toxicities and other problems that can develop after a frost. Prussic acid poisoning and high nitrates are the main concern with a few specific annual forages and several weed species, but there is also an increased risk of bloat when grazing legumes after a frost.

Nitrate accumulation in frosted forages. Freezing damage slows down metabolism in all plants, and this might result in nitrate accumulation in plants that are still growing, especially grasses like oats and other small grains, millet, and sudangrass.  This build-up usually is not hazardous to grazing animals, but greenchop or hay cut right after a freeze can be more dangerous. When in doubt, send in a sample to a forage testing lab and request a nitrate test before grazing or feeding a forage after a frost.

Prussic Acid Toxicity

Several forage and weed species contain compounds called cyanogenic glucosides that are converted quickly to prussic acid (i.e. hydrogen cyanide) in freeze-damaged plant tissues, or under drought conditions. Some labs provide prussic acid testing of forages (see a partial list at the end of this article). Sampling and shipping guidelines should be carefully followed because . . .

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When to Cull Bulls

– Amanda Cauffman, UW Division of Extension Agricultural Educator for Grant County

Producers can save input costs by culling bulls in the fall if they or their offspring have any undesirable characteristics.

It is common practice this time of year to evaluate our cows to make culling decisions, but this is also a good time to evaluate our bulls to determine which sires we are going to feed through the winter and which have come to the end of their genetic contribution to the operation.

Bulls, much like cows, can live ten to twelve years. Most bulls will remain active in the herd for closer to four or five years due to feet and leg, structural, and fertility problems, temperament concerns, or injuries. The decision to cull many bulls happens in the spring after failing a breeding soundness exam. However, producers can save input costs (6 months’ worth of decent quality hay for a mature bull will cost about $600 based on current prices) by culling bulls in the fall if they or their offspring have any undesirable characteristics that would make them unsuitable for the next breeding season.

Most mature breeding bulls can maintain condition with the same winter management as the cow herd. However, since . . .

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