Ventilation; Critical to Cattle Comfort and Performance

Jason Hartschuh, OSU Extension AgNR Educator, Crawford County

Spring is one of the most challenging seasons on the farm to keep barns properly ventilated. We often see temperatures in the teens and less than a week later see highs in the 70’s. Our ventilation system recently roared to life as temperatures in the barn crossed 65° F reminding me that we still had not gotten around to winter fan maintenance as belts squealed and louvers hung half shut.

Fan vent in need of cleaning

Fan maintenance is critical to keeping your cows cool and saving energy. Ventilation systems often consume between 20-25% of the total energy used on the farm. Lack of cleaning can reduce a fans efficiency by as much as 40%. Meaning that your electric bill stays the same, but less air is moving through the barn. Monthly maintenance through the summer is critical to keep fans clean. Even a thin layer of dirt on the fan blades, shutters, and protective shrouds decreases air movement and increase the power requirements from the fan. Heavy cleaners and a pressure washer work well to remove dirt from the fans.

Be sure to Continue reading

Spring control of winter weeds in hay and pasture

– OSU Extension Agronomy Crops Team CORN newsletter

Cressleaf groundsel has been a problem in recent years in both forage and row crop fields throughout Ohio.

Now is the time to scout hay and pasture fields for the presence of winter annual and biennial weeds, especially those that are poisonous to livestock such as cressleaf groundsel.  These weeds are resuming growth that started last fall and they are most effectively controlled with herbicides while still small.  In addition to cressleaf groundsel, weeds of concern that should be treated soon include the following:  poison hemlock, birdsrape mustard (aka wild turnip), wild carrot.  Herbicides are most effective on these weeds in the fall, but they can be controlled in spring, preferably when still in the rosette stage.  Control becomes more difficult once stem elongation (bolting) starts.

Options for control in pure legume stands . . .

Continue reading Spring control of winter weeds in hay and pasture

Dairy Beef Management Program Offered

Offered free to anyone interested and we ask that you pre-register online

Dairy producers over the past few years have faced a variety of challenges: low milk prices, increased feed costs, and often a surplus of heifers to enter the herd. In an effort to manage heifer numbers and add value to bull calves, breeding dairy cows to beef sires has become a more popular, and common practice than ever before.

Join Ohio State University Extension and Michigan State University Extension on April 21, 28, and May 5 at 12:00 p.m. EST, for a webinar series titled “Management Considerations for Beef x Dairy Calves.”

Dairy steers have been an important part of the beef supply chain for some time, this program will cover a variety of topics related to Continue reading

Biosecurity Considerations when Transitioning Newly Purchased Cattle into the Herd

Steve Boyles, OSU Extension Beef Specialist

New animals should be quarantined for at least 30 days and batter yet 60 days before being introduced into the herd.

The objective is to avoid new diseases introduced through replacement stock and airborne diseases. Typically, new animals are quarantined for at least 30 days and more typically for 60 days before being introduced into the herd. If on-site, the isolation area should be of some distance and downwind from other animals. Practicing all-in, all-out procedures will make it easier to clean and reduce opportunities by personnel to introduce contaminants to the main herd. Minimize cross-contamination of feeding/watering equipment.  Here are some suggested procedures Continue reading

Taking the Bull from the Sale Ring or Winter Storage, Making Him the Athlete He Needs to Be

Stan Smith, PA, Fairfield County OSU Extension

Bulls need to be transitioned from their winter diet to grass carefully before turn out.

Recently we visited in this publication about the value in having a bull that’s passed a breeding soundness exam (BSE) and is ready to go to work when called upon. One thing we’ve perhaps yet to discuss is what needs to happen after the bull has passed his BSE, or is purchased, and until he goes to the breeding pasture. While a bull might have been a “potentially satisfactory breeder” on the day of his BSE, it is important that the time that passes from then until the day he must go to work are spent in a way that allows him to remain sound while also transitioning to the pasture he’ll be working.

For those of you who this season will be using young bulls, or even mature bulls that maybe have yet to be properly transitioned from winter ‘storage,’ OSU Extension Beef Specialist Dr. Stephen Boyles offers the following suggestions from his publication “Bull Nutrition and Management” regarding the pre-breeding season management of yearling bulls.

Post-purchase Management of Yearling Bulls: The yearling bull deserves some special Continue reading

Livestock and Grain Producers: Dealing with Vomitoxin and Zearalenone

Vomitoxin in the 2020 corn crop continues to plague both livestock and grain producers. Livestock producers are trying to decide how best to manage corn and corn by-products with high levels of vomitoxin, and those who grow corn are trying to decide how best to avoid vomitoxin contamination in 2021.

In the 15 minute video below, OSU Extension Educations John Barker, Rob Leeds, and Jacci Smith discuss where and why this year’s vomitoxin issues originated, considerations for avoiding problems in coming years, how it impacts livestock, and what’s involved in testing grain for vomitoxin.

Forage Planting – How to Do It Well

Mark Sulc and Jason Hartschuh, CCA

The window of opportunity for spring forage seedings has been very tight the past three years. Are you ready to roll?

Early spring provides one of the two preferred times to seed perennial cool-season forages, the other being late summer. The weather outlook for this spring is for probabilities of above average precipitation in April and May. Planting opportunities will likely be few and short. The following 10 steps to follow on the day you plant will help improve chances for successful forage establishment.

Continue reading . . .

Being Moderate in an Extreme World

– Kevin Laurent, Extension Specialist, University of Kentucky

No this is not about the current political state of our country. So far, I have resisted the urge to join in the numerous ongoing social media conversations. No, this is just some of my personal thoughts and observations about the world we live in and more specifically how it relates to the beef business. We live in a world of extremes. There are extremes in the weather and the markets. Extremes can create changes in the marketplace. Sometimes positive change, sometimes negative. Grain prices go up, cattle prices go down and so on.

Extreme stories also get the most attention, whether it’s current events in the media or bragging at the coffee shop about our weaning weights. And although extremes get attention, many times it’s the extreme methods, actions or mindset that can get us in trouble. It is human nature to gravitate towards extremes. The most, the biggest, the heaviest, the tallest are all easier to identify than the moderate or optimum. Any of us over the age of 50 can remember the tall cattle of the 1980’s. My good friend Terry Burks regularly posts historical pictures on Facebook of prominent sires in the Simmental breed. It’s interesting to see that the original sires that came into the US were fairly moderate cattle by today’s standards with decent feet and leg structure. But some of the pictures of Continue reading

The Buckeye Beef Byte; a Conversation with Ohio BEEF Cattle Letter Editor Stan Smith

Stan Smith began with OSU Extension in 1986 as a Farm Management Technician, two years later became a Program Assistant in Fairfield County’s Extension office, and created and has edited the Ohio BEEF Cattle Letter for nearly 25 years. This week, Clifton and Garth visit with Stan about the beginning of the Ohio BEEF Cattle letter, the evolution of that weekly publication and the industry, and speculate on the future of Ohio’s beef cattle industry.

Find previous Buckeye Beef Byte podcasts linked here.

Kentucky’s 3-Day Cow Calf Conferences . . . You’re Invited

Register for each session individually.

Kentucky’s very popular Cow-Calf Profitability Conferences have been reformatted to a series of virtual mini-conferences over 3 days, and Ohio’s cattlemen are invited. The Conferences will be hosted March 23rd – 25th from 7:00 – 9:00 PM EST daily. Conferences are delivered by UK Agricultural Economics Extension faculty and staff through the Kentucky Beef Network funded by the Kentucky Agriculture Development Board.

Session 1, March 23: Key Profit Drivers and Controlling Hay Costs

  • Key Profit Drivers for Cow-Calf Operations | Jonathan Shepherd, Greg Halich, and Kenny Burdine
  • Managing Overhead Costs on the Cow-Calf Operation: Focus on Hay Production | Greg Halich
  • Hay Production Costs and their Impact on Cow-Calf Profitability | Jonathan Shepherd

Session 2, March 24: Bale Grazing and Profitable Cowherd Continue reading