Frequently over the years we’ve talked about Ohio’s average cow herd size – between 16 and 17 cows at any given time – and how it impacts management and marketing decisions on that ‘average’ size beef farm. Related to that, recently I was asked, “What are the key beef herd management concerns Ohio’s small herd owners can address to compete with those who have the cow numbers that allows them to capture the advantages of economics of scale?”
Working facilities are a vital component for allowing small cow herds to compete with the economics of scale of larger herds.
As we think about what numbers it might take to capture the benefits of size and scale, keep in mind that most cattle travel to and from the feedlot in pot loads carrying 48,000 pounds of cattle. Also, the question of how smaller herds can compete on a scale with larger herds is not unique to just Ohio’s cattlemen. As we look to our neighbors we find the average cow herd size in Indiana is 16, Michigan’s average herd is 13.5 cows, West Virginia averages almost 19, Pennsylvania has an average of 12.5 cows per farm, and Kentucky has the most of any neighbors averaging 29 cows. Even when we look to Texas, we find their average cow herd size is 32. It’s obvious the challenges of Continue reading →
Below, the February podcast of Beef AGRI NEWS Today with OSU Extension Beef Coordinator John Grimes and host Duane Rigsby focuses on a variety of timely management concerns including US beef herd expansion, exports, trade agreements, calving season challenges, breeding season decisions and upcoming programs.
The Crawford County cattlemen are planning to tour two beef finishing operations in the Bellevue Ohio area on March 3rd and they would like to extend an invitation to anyone across the state to join them for the tours. The first stop will be 10:00 am at Lepley’s new slatted floor finishing barn; located at 4084 Prairie Rd Bellevue. From there we will be traveling a few miles to Erf Farm’s, 4516 Yingling Rd Bellevue, to see a dairy beef finishing operation. They purchase deacon calves and raise them through finishing using some the latest technology to feed the deacon calves.
From there we will travel to York Animal Hospital (Dr Mike Mull) 1184 W Main St Bellevue, where we will Continue reading →
“The World is expecting a lot more information about the food they buy.”
During the first segment of the Ohio Beef School, OSU Extension Beef Coordinator John Grimes visits with Bill Tom of United Producers, and Henry Zerby from Wendy’s, about the rapidly changing demands in the beef cattle market
“Consumers are concerned for animal health, and the sustainability of the production systems their food’s raised in.”
“Traceability and transparency are of growing concern to consumers.”
“Vaccination is not necessarily the same as immunization when it comes to preventing health issues.”
“Feed and bunk management, and avoiding nutritional stress are keys to calf health.”
– Justin Sexten, Ph.D., Director, CAB Supply Development
Let’s say you weaned calves last fall but didn’t sell. Instead, you helped them cross the bridge to independent life in your dry lot pen and maybe on to a grazing program. Chances are, those “backgrounded” calves have moved on to a finishing yard or the next phase of heifer development.
You’ve got calving on your mind now, but that means weaning will surely follow this fall and some of your decisions then will be framed by decisions made this spring. So back to those pens and fields, perhaps empty now, but ready for planning.
Researchers at the University of Nebraska recently compared three backgrounding systems, and at least one of them Continue reading →
– Stan Smith, OSU Extension PA, Fairfield County (originally published in the Ohio Farmer on-line)
Age and source verification is already a requirement for beef exports to China
As always, there are seemingly lots of changes on the horizon for cattlemen. Some changes involve management decisions and will be made by choice. Others will soon be required to simply continue to have market access. As we move into 2018 the OSU Extension Beef Team has made plans to focus programming on the practices cattlemen will need to embrace in order to insure Continue reading →
– Justin Sexten, Ph.D., Director, CAB Supply Development
It looks like weaning weights have gone pretty much nowhere for 15 years. That’s according to a summary of North Dakota State University’s Cow Herd Appraisal of Performance Software (CHAPS) that presents genetic progress as functionally static since 2003. I couldn’t miss that summary, well-publicized and pointed out by just about every contact and source I know.
Static being a relative term – there were fluctuations in the data – weaning weight hovered around 560 pounds (lb.), weaning age was 193 days and average daily gain was 2.5 lb. Seeing the flat trends, author Kris Ringwall suggests genetic progress in the commercial cow-calf sector is “mature.”
The topic came up during a “Bull-Pen Session” at the Range Beef Cow Symposium in Cheyenne, Wyo., in December, where the discussion suggested the beef industry has gone astray, utilizing growth genetics while failing to Continue reading →
As we come to the end of 2017, you may hear people talk about making New Year’s Resolutions. While it is admirable to set targets for areas of personal improvement, much of the enthusiasm surrounding these resolutions peaks early in the calendar year and typically fade away after a few weeks. Maybe you have had more success with resolutions than I have!
I would suggest that a more business-like approach to your beef cattle operation would involve setting goals for improvement. Every business needs to set aggressive goals for improvement to remain competitive and profitable in today’s challenging economy. The following are a few realistic goals that Continue reading →
The month of December is a great time to plan. We still have the opportunity to make changes to the 2017 year and plan for 2018. When I think of 2017, especially as it relates to forages, two things come to mind for me. First, what worked and what went wrong? Next, is there anything that can be done to improve the operation for this and next year?
– Dr. Les Anderson, Beef Extension Specialist, University of Kentucky
A successful breeding season actually begins with management decisions made prior to calving. As we move into the winter feeding period, cattlemen need to review their management plan to ensure optimal rebreeding and success. Rebreeding efficiency can be optimized by focusing on body condition score (BCS), early assistance during calving difficulty, scheduling a breeding soundness exam for the herd sires, planning their herd reproductive health program, and developing a plan to regulate estrus in their first-calf heifers and late-calving cows.