What to watch for with Asian longhorned ticks and Theileria in Ohio in 2024

Tim McDermott DVM, OSU Extension Educator, Franklin County (originally published in Farm and Dairy)

Visit go.osu.edu/BITE, your guide to ticks, mosquitoes, and other biting pests. Photo: Anna Pasternak, UK entomology graduate student

One of the worrisome things about ticks in Ohio has been the increasing numbers of ticks of medical importance to humans, companion animals, and livestock as we have gone from one tick of medical importance twenty years ago to five now, including two new ticks in the past few years. While ticks have always been a problem in cattle, the invasive Asian longhorned (ALHT) tick that was first discovered in Ohio in 2020 has demonstrated the ability to not only vector, or transmit disease to cattle, but to cause mortality in cattle through high numbers of ticks feeding upon the animals. I first wrote about ALHT  in All About Grazing in July of 2020 with the article “The Threat of Asian longhorned tick continues” and then followed up with a March 2nd, 2023 article “Managing Asian longhorned ticks on pasture” so I want to provide an update on where we are in the state of Ohio with ALHT right now.

Where are we seeing ALHT in Ohio right now? As of the end of 2023, we had positively identified ALHT in 11 counties in Ohio including Franklin, Delaware, Ross, Gallia, Vinton, Jackson, Athens, Morgan, Monroe, Belmont, and Guernsey county. We anticipate finding more positive counties in Continue reading

Beware of Reducing Feed at Calving!

– Dr. Les Anderson, Beef Extension Specialist, University of Kentucky

Reducing the feed at calving causes problems!

I presented at a Master Cattlemen session recently and, after the meeting, got asked a common question about body condition and feeding cows at calving. His question was he had heard that he should reduce feed to his cows before calving to keep birthweights lower to reduce calving problems. He indicated that the BCS of his cows as they begin to calve was only 4. This is a frustrating question because it comes up often and nothing could be further from the truth.

Several researchers have addressed this issue over the last 20-30 years. Each of these experiments had cows that were fed to maintain weight, decrease weight, or increase weight right before calving began. The result of underfeeding cows before calving results in the exact problem the producer is trying to avoid. The research demonstrated that poor nutrition and low BCS precalving:

• Increased calving problems
• Decreased calf health (low colostrum consumption and poor-quality colostrum)
• Increased calf death loss
• Increased the number of days for females to resume estrous cycles.

One of the most extreme Continue reading

Managing hay fields and pastures after storm damage

Jason Hartschuh, OSU Extension Field Specialist, Dairy Management and Precision Livestock

Something as seemingly harmless as insulation can be problematic.

As the number of straight-line wind and tornado events seems to be increasing so does the number of times that parts of nearby buildings end up spread out across our pastures and hay fields.  This debris can cause significant health risks to grazing livestock, as well as animals fed harvested forages from these fields. Debris that is blown into pastures and hayfields quickly becomes hard to see as forages take off and grows in the spring. In pastures or stored hay, livestock often eat foreign materials that are present in the field either mixed in with the forage or just from curiosity. There is also a risk of livestock being injured from foreign materials entering the animal’s hooves or being tangled in the debris in a pasture. Each type of debris can cause slightly different challenges.

Large debris such as roofing, boards, and other debris scattered by the storm are the easiest to see and clean up. Once the large debris is no longer visible it is easy to move on to the next cleanup project, but the small stuff needs cleanup just as badly.  Fiberglass insulation can be especially challenging as it can lead to blockages, bloat, and irritation of the digestive tract. Small amounts of fiberglass may create small cuts in the esophagus causing irritation when the animal eats even after the bite that contained fiberglass. It can also cause Continue reading

Cow/Calf Producers; Share your insight and help shape the future!

Kate Hornyak, OSU Extension Program Coordinator, Delaware County

Take a minute, share your thoughts, and participate in this eBarn project.

Assist us in shaping the future of beef cattle management by sharing your insights on the breeding practices within your operation. Take a moment to share how you manage reproduction in your beef cattle operation through our quick survey. Your responses will contribute to the OSU Extension 2024 eBarns report, providing valuable insights for other producers.

Your input is crucial, will only take a couple of minutes, and can impact the industry significantly, no matter how big or small your operation might be. Please follow this link now: https://go.osu.edu/beefcattlebreeding

Cows Without Crowns

Christine Gelley, Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator, Noble County OSU Extension (originally published in Progressive Cattle)

Do you ‘kick the crutch’ from the unproductive ones?

Spring calving season is an important time for culling decision making. Cows that have been treated well but lack in performance should be evaluated at this time.

Set Excuses Aside

This winter I had the opportunity to attend the American Forage and Grassland Council Annual Meeting and Conference in Mobile, Alabama. It is my favorite agricultural conference to attend because inspiration for developing better farm systems come together from producers, academics, industry, and extension in the same space on an equal platform. From the start, I was looking for the idea for the article you are reading now, and it didn’t take long to find.

The first speaker of the conference was Dr. Will Carter who operates a veterinary clinic with his wife, Dr. Monnie Carol Carter, and their centennial family farm raising beef cattle. They were recently honored as the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Environmental Stewardship Producers of 2023. In Dr. Carter’s presentation he shared that one of the first lessons they learned and implemented in regard to the cattle was how critical it is to choose and keep cows that thrive in their system and to get rid of those that do not. He stated that in the spring they “kick the crutch out from under their cows” and see who can run in the system. I liked that analogy, and it reminded me of Continue reading

Act Now to Control Poison Hemlock

– Dr. J. D. Green, Extension Weed Scientist, Dr. Megan Romano, UKVDL Toxicologist, Dr. Michelle Arnold, Ruminant Extension Veterinarian

With temps reaching the 60’s its a good time to apply 2,4-D ester to poison hemlock.

During the early summer, the presence of poison hemlock (Conium maculatum) is more evident. Although this plant is often seen along roadways, abandoned lots, fencerows, and other non-cropland sites, in recent years it has expanded out into grazed pasture lands and hay fields. Poison hemlock is toxic to a wide variety of animals including man, birds, wildlife, cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, and horses. It contains several neurotoxic piperidine alkaloids; the two major ones are coniine (major alkaloid in the mature plant and seed) and the more toxic gamma-coniceine (predominate in green, vegetative growth). These alkaloids cause muscle paralysis by acting as a neuromuscular blocking agent, resulting in two major effects: 1) rapid, sometimes fatal effects on the nervous system and 2) they are teratogenic agents, meaning they are known to cause birth defects when consumed during certain times of gestation. Cattle seldom choose to eat poison hemlock unless no other forage is available or it is incorporated in hay, silage, or the seeds in grain. A commonly asked question is Continue reading

Intersection of Innovative, Intriguing, and Insanity

Garth Ruff, Beef Cattle Field Specialist, Ohio State University Extension (originally published in The Ohio Cattleman)

Consider spending some of the additional income dollars on improved genetics.

January through March is what we in Extension call “Meeting Season.” While in most cases I am teaching at the meetings I attend, I often learn several things about beef production from producers and other speakers that often fall into one of three categories: Innovative, Intriguing, or Insanity.

Let’s start with the innovative. Farmers are some of the most innovative people I know when it comes to creative solutions to a given problem. As they say, “necessity is the mother of Invention.” Cattle handling facilities are some of the first things that come to mind in this area, functional handmade solutions to a common issue. Discussions about whole herd management, logistics, trial and error, I really enjoy these conversations.

Intriguing – These are the things that I go back to the office and take a deeper look at. These are often statements made from other presentations at meetings that are often cutting-edge precision technology, advancements in genetics, risk management, and farm economics. These are the most Continue reading

Managing Pastures for Calving

Jordan Penrose, Ohio State University Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator, Gallia County

Anything that reduces stocking density will reduce field pugging and mud.

As the winter season continues for us and spring is fast approaching, it is time for spring calving. For some calving season has started and for the rest who calve in the spring, calving season is starting soon. Since the start of the year here in Ohio, we have seen a wide variation of weather conditions. We have cold and warm temperatures, rain and snow, and we have also been muddy. Most people here in Ohio, calve outside on pastures, and that can be tough on the pastures. You must consider a lot when it comes to calving pastures, like the field conditions, where is the water, how far is away is the field from your facilities if you need to get a cow in a better place to assist her, and whether you are feeding hay or are the cows on a stockpiled field.

Trying to manage your pastures can be difficult no matter the time of the year, but when it is winter and early spring it can be more difficult. During this time Continue reading

Managing Mud: Strategies for Reclaiming Disturbed Areas

– Dr. Chris Teutsch, UK Research and Education Center at Princeton

Fig. 1. Excessive rainfall and high livestock concentration in and around hay feeding areas can result in almost complete disturbance.

Hoof damage from livestock during the winter months can result in almost complete disturbance of desired vegetation and soil structure in and around heavy use areas. Even well-designed hay feeding pads will have significant damage at the edges where animals enter and leave. Highly disturbed areas create perfect growing conditions for summer annual weeds like spiny pigweed and cocklebur. Weed growth is stimulated by lack of competition from a healthy and vigorous sod and the high fertility from the concentrated area of dung, urine, and rotting hay. The objective of this article is to describe two approaches to revegetating these areas.

Regardless of the reclamation strategy that is employed, it is important to create Continue reading

Ohio Beef Cow/Calf Workshop – Optimizing Herd Reproduction and Genetics

Don’t miss this!

Reproduction and genetics are important factors for a cow-calf operation. The long-term investment of genetics plays a critical role in the development and management to ensure longevity within a herd. Join OSU Extension in Licking County on March 8th to discuss and demonstrate the practices that you might apply on your farm to improve your operation with regards to optimizing reproduction and genetics.

Click here for more detail or a registration form.