Less Than Sweet Honeysuckles

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

You can pick the flowers, but please destroy the honeysuckle plant!

Honeysuckle is a commonly found plant that often draws attention of passersby with its pleasantly fragrant blossoms from April to July. The sweet nectar inside its tubular flowers is edible by many animals and even people. There are over 180 known honeysuckle species in the northern hemisphere. It’s beauty and fragrance lead to the introduction of many non-native honeysuckle species to North America in the 1800s primarily for ornamental use. Despite the sweetness it adds to the air, the impacts it has on our environment are certainly not sweet.

Unfortunately, four of these introduced species are extremely aggressive in our landscapes and have created an imbalance in natural systems due to their ability to outcompete native plants for resources. The types of honeysuckles which are damaging to these spaces are Japanese honeysuckle, which is a vining type, and three bush type honeysuckles- amur, morrow’s, and tartarian. Some species form dense thickets of shrubs and some spread with vast creeping vines that can strangle neighboring plants. These honeysuckle species are commonly found in pastures, woodlands, reclaimed sites, and waste spaces.

Because of their invasive status in Ohio, it is every landowners’ legal responsibility to control their spread. Although they can be used as Continue reading

Be Mindful of Heat Stress to Maintain Stocker Calf Gains

– Dr. Jeff Lehmkuhler, University of Kentucky, Department of Animal & Food Sciences

Continued drought conditions will continue to limit forage growth in some regions.

As I am writing this, bluegrass has flowered, and I’ve seen fescue plants with flowers emerging. This spring has been a bit cool slowing grass growth, but warmer temperatures will certainly begin to kick grass growth into high gear within the next couple of weeks. Precipitation and soil moisture continues to be a struggle in the western half the United States as shown in the Monthly Drought Outlook figure from the National Drought Monitoring website. These continued drought conditions will continue to limit forage growth in these regions.

Forage availability is a key driver of stocker calf performance followed by forage quality. As we move through the spring months and begin to see temperatures increase, forage growth slows. Previous research demonstrates that the photosynthesis of plants is negatively impacted by increasing temperatures. Photosynthetic rates of tall fescue can be reduced when temperatures reach 86F/77F degrees Fahrenheit, day/night. Areas in Kentucky had eight days in May during 2021 that had daytime high temperatures of 86 or higher. Several days in June, July and August are normally going to be 86 F or warmer. These warmer temperatures slow forage growth of our perennial cool-season forages. More importantly, research has demonstrated that Continue reading

Kentucky’s PVAP Program; Lesson learned about adding calf value

Stan Smith, OSU Extension PA

The Kentucky Post Weaning Value-Added Program (PVAP)-Precondition was started in 2019 to encourage cow-calf producers to wean and precondition calves prior to marketing. Recently Kevin Laurent, Extension Specialist in the University of Kentucky Department of Animal and Food Sciences, shared the following regarding what they’ve learned from the program about adding value to feeder calves:

So, what have we learned? Although market conditions can always derail the best laid plans, the best hedge against market swings from a feeding standpoint is weight gain. Anything we can do prior to and at weaning to promote feed intake and weight gain should pay dividends. Some of these strategies are as follows: Continue reading

Hay barn fires a real hazard

Jason Hartschuh, CCA, Allen Gahler, Mark Sulc, OSU Extension

Hay barn fire

Mother nature has been at it again, hardly giving us enough days to make dry hay with a risk of pop-up showers every afternoon. These conditions are very dangerous for hay producers since wet hay does just rot it may also burn. Hay fires are caused when bacteria in wet hay create so much heat that the hay spontaneously combusts in the presence of oxygen. At over 20% moisture mesophilic bacteria release heat-causing temperature to rise between 130°F to 140ºF with the temperature staying high for up to 40 days. As temperatures rise thermophilic bacteria can take off in your hay and raise the temperature into the fire danger zone of over 175°F.

Assessing your risk

If the hay was baled between 15-20% moisture and acid preservatives were used there is still potential for a hay fire but not as great as on non-treated hay. Having a moisture tester on your baler can help you know the variability across your field in moisture and when to use hay preservatives. Without a moisture tester if you find darker . . .

Continue reading Hay barn fires a real hazard

It’s not too late to make a Grazing Management Plan

Richard Purdin, OSU ANR/CD Educator, Adams County (originally published in Ohio Farmer on-line)

Measuring forage heights on May 2, 2022

May has arrived, and spring has truly sprung! With the weather trending warmer as I write this on May 2nd and there being no shortage of precipitation, pasture and hay fields across the state are waking up and growing. In some areas forages have been off to the races longer than others and beginning to mature and enter the reproductive stages of growth.

As I’ve walked my pastures in the rolling hills of Adams County, I’ve taken note of the many different grass species and even legumes in the pastures beginning to bolt and shoot a seed head. This is not uncommon for many of our cool season forages such as Kentucky bluegrass, orchard grass, perennial ryegrass, and tall fescue.

What is concerning is not the date at which the forage is maturing but the height at which it is maturing! According to my records the first week of May, 2021 presented daytime highs around 75°F and nighttime lows of 50°F and a forage height of 33 inches and beginning the boot stage of growth. On the flip side forage height in my pastures this year are around Continue reading

10 Tips for Managing High Feed Prices

– Dr. Katie VanValin, Assistant Extension Professor, University of Kentucky

We have all heard the phrase, “it’s the little things”. The saying applies to the beef industry as well. There is no single management practice, feed ration, or genetic trait that drives profitability. Profitability is really a summation of lots of little things coming together to create a profitable system. Whenever profitability is challenged whether from greater input prices like we are seeing now, or lower calf prices, I start to get questions about decreasing feed costs. This should come as no surprise, as feed costs are one of the biggest expenses facing beef cattle operations. Below is a list of some of those little things, that can really add up!

1) Preg checking: Our cows should be working for the operation. Thus, an open cow is one that is not pulling her weight on a cow-calf operation. Today producers have more options than ever before for preg checking their herds. New chute side blood tests can be completed right on the farm in about 10 minutes, there are also commercial labs that will run blood tests giving you results in just a couple of days, and of course there is always ultrasound which gives you a real time answer but does depend on scheduling and availability. Culling open cows not only decreases purchased feed costs but can also make our available forage resources go farther as well.

2) Buy in bulk: The ability to buy purchased feeds in bulk can allow producers to take advantage of bulk discounts offered by many feed retailers. Also having the ability to Continue reading

Optimize vs. Maximize in 2022

Garth Ruff, Beef Cattle Field Specialist, OSU Extension (originally published in the Ohio Cattleman)

In Extension work, I learned early on as a county educator that the seasons of the year are not your typical spring, summer, fall, and winter. Instead, we tend to observe, as do many farmers around the state, a yearly calendar that looks more like planting/calving, hay season, harvest and meeting season.

Being hired during COVID, my first official meeting season in this role is on the downhill slide. From Wauseon to McConnelsville and Wooster to West Union, with several stops in between I have taught several programs and had many conversations with cattle producers across the state. At the forefront of many of those conversations have been economics, supply chain issues, and the markets.

At Ohio Beef Expo, I had one such conversation with a cattlemen who made an excellent point considering all that is going on in the world – this maybe a year to optimize production as opposed to maximize production.

As mentioned before from our market outlook webinar in January, cattle prices, although a bit more volatile lately (what hasn’t been), still look positive for 2022.  Input costs for both crops and livestock are at record or near record highs. By in large, cattle prices and input costs are Continue reading

Pinkeye in Beef Cattle; a look at the frustration it causes, and prevention and treatment options

Many health challenges on the farm can be avoided with a proper herd health management program. During the third session of the 2022 Virtual Beef School held on Monday, March 21st Dr. Justin Kieffer, Clinical Veterinarian for the Department of Animal Sciences at OSU, offered a beef herd health management update.

More specifically, Dr. Kieffer spent a few minutes that evening discussing the challenges of managing pinkeye in a beef herd. Embedded below is what Dr. Kieffer had to say about the frustrations of dealing with pinkeye and the prevention and treatment protocols he suggests.

To view Dr. Kieffer’s herd health presentation from the 21st in its entirety, visit this YouTube link: https://youtu.be/rrxabT5ksiI

Black Vulture Control; New permitting process

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

Black Vultures keeping a close eye on cattle

Spring has sprung and many producers have been able to get out and accomplish some field work the last few weeks as soil conditions firmed up and the grass begins to grow. Spring is a very busy time for many cattle producers, calving season is in full swing, and many producers are preparing on letting cattle out of the winter lots and in the pasture. It is a wonderful thing to see a newly born calf, lamb, kid, colt, or even pigs on the farm, it is a true sign of spring. On the other hand, spring can have a dark side and an ever-growing problem flying above many green pastures, creating one more challenge for livestock producers these days. The Black Vulture has become more of an issue for livestock producers especially during birthing season where young livestock are born on open pastures. Black Vultures are very aggressive creatures that are considered scavengers but have a tendency to attack live animals especially young newborn livestock. Many producers have reported young calves being injured or even killed by Black Vultures. Injuries include eyes damage umbilical cord injuries and even as far as killing the young calf and cow during Continue reading

Cattlemen . . . There’s an App for That!

Erika Lyon, Ohio State University Extension, Jefferson & Harrison Counties & Dr. Brian Arnall, Oklahoma State University Extension

If you can imagine it, there’s likely an app for that!

The number of apps available to producers has exploded in the last decade, making tasks such as calculating tank mixes, identifying weeds, record keeping and even calculating gestation/calving dates so much easier. Initially, iOS held a majority of the apps, but today, Android also has about an equal share of the app market. Here are some considerations when selecting apps that will work best for your livestock operation.

Apps can function anywhere from basic calculators (gestation times, tank mixing, prices and profitability, etc.) to identification and educational tools to recordkeeping tools. Be careful of apps that primarily serve as ads. Watch out for the online app reviews as well – check to see if the app company is a client of the company writing the article. You will have specific needs and interests. Have a checklist or shopping list with the features that you need – if any of those features are not included, trash it!

Be aware of your Continue reading