Colostrum is the Key

John F. Grimes, OSU Extension Beef Coordinator

A newborn calf needs to receive adequate levels of colostrum as quickly as possible. Research shows the first 6 – 12 hours are critical.

The winter of 2017-18 has certainly been challenging for beef producers across Ohio and the Midwest. The bitter cold that we experienced through the holiday season into mid-January has given way to milder temperatures and plenty of moisture over the past month. This has resulted in extremely muddy conditions that have made basic feeding and care of cattle difficult at best.

The weather conditions thus far this winter have been tough for producers choosing to start their calving season earlier in the calendar year. Environmental extremes can add to the stress of a Continue reading

Gaining Greater Market Access for Ohio Feeder Calves

Stan Smith, OSU Extension PA, Fairfield County

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.”

These are just a few of the comments that will be emphasized, and Continue reading

Livestock Water is Essential, Even in Winter

Ted Wiseman, Extension Educator, OSU Extension, Perry County

Water is essential for all livestock regardless of the time of year. So far this year we have certainly had our share of chopping ice, thawing water lines and troughs. With recent temperatures many of us often focus on keeping livestock well fed and with adequate shelter. However, often times we forget about the most important nutrient which is water. Water consumed by livestock is required for a variety of physiological functions. Some of these include proper digestion, nutrient transportation, enzymatic and chemical reactions, and regulation of body temperature.

Although water is the cheapest nutrient we may purchase or provide, it is the one we provide the most of on a per Continue reading

A Little Background May Help

– 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

A Training Camp for Young Athletes?

– Dr. Roy Burris, Beef Extension Professor, University of Kentucky

I’ve been thinking about a second career after my retirement from U.K. It should be something different than what I presently do but something which will also allow me to draw on my experience with beef cattle. I’ve got it! I’ll run a training camp for young athletes – maybe aspiring Olympic athletes even. I have the perfect model for my new business venture – and that is the way we presently develop yearling beef bulls for breeding. They’re athletes too, aren’t they? I’ll just use a similar plan for my new venture.

The first thing that I’ll do to get them in shape is Continue reading

Be Aware when Feeding Ionophores to Cattle – an Overdose May Prove Deadly

Michelle Arnold, DVM (Ruminant Extension Veterinarian, UKVDL), University of Kentucky (A special thanks to Dr. Jeff Lehmkuhler, UK Beef Extension Specialist, for his valuable input and comments in the development of this article.)

Ionophores have been used for many years in the beef and poultry industries for improved feed efficiency and control of coccidiosis. Generally, ionophores are considered safe and effective in the correct (target) animals receiving the recommended amounts. However, poisonings do occur and are often due to accidental contamination of feed and feed supplements for the wrong species (horses, for example) or errors in feed mixing resulting in excessive concentrations in the diets of cattle. The ionophores approved for use in cattle include monensin (Rumensin®), lasalocid (Bovatec®) and laidlomycin propionate (Cattlyst®). Although all ionophores can be toxic, this Continue reading

Not All Corn is Created Equal!

Jeff Fisher, OSU Extension Educator, Pike County and Stan Smith, OSU Extension PA, Fairfield County

Even reported “book” values for crude protein in corn vary by as much as 3%

Since the completion of fall harvest it seems concerns and questions have been circulating throughout Ohio regarding varying levels of protein content in corn. In fact, corn quality – particularly protein content – has been the topic of conversation in some parts of the state off and on for some years.

As we’ve visited with feed mill operators, representatives from feed manufacturers, livestock dietitians and others who have had reason to test the nutrient levels of corn, hearing protein levels varying anywhere from nearly 9% down to Continue reading

What accounts for variability in grain protein levels in corn?

–  Alex Lindsey, Assistant Professor, Hort & Crop Science; Peter Thomison, OSU Extension Corn Specialist; Stan Smith, OSU Extension PA

We’ve recently heard comments and questions concerning the varying levels of grain protein levels being found in shelled corn. Some feed companies have reported seeing many samples in the upper 6% and lower 7% protein range this year but there are reports of levels that are nearly 9%. Some feed mill operations are using 7% as the default value based on this year and last year’s levels. However, in the past, higher grain protein levels (% +2) have been cited for corn. Are the reports of low levels in 2016 and 2017 an anomaly? What could be accounting for these varying protein levels in corn?

Environmental conditions (esp. those affecting soil moisture), cultural practices (nitrogen fertilization, plant population, drainage) and hybrids genetics all influence Continue reading

Next breeding season starts now

– Justin Sexten, Ph.D., Director, CAB Supply Development

We can debate the single largest factor in reproductive success for the cowherd depending on gender: Is there a fertile and able bull in the herd? Are the cows cycling? A failure in either of these systems results in a miserable day come preg-check time, and anyone who has been the victim of a bull gone bad would swear the male side of this equation is the most important. While a fertile bull is important, he is of little use to a cow that is not cycling.

Breeding soundness exams provide a foundation to sort out infertile bulls prior to breeding. On the dam side, we can’t assess reproductive abilities through a single test prior to the breeding season. However, we can Continue reading

Rolling Out Hay is Rolling Out Dollars

– Kris Ringwall, Beef Specialist, NDSU Extension Service

As a year ends, reflecting on the past year is good.

The obvious point this year is the lack of forage and how, as producers, one responded to the challenge.

The Dickinson Research Extension Center needs more than 1,000 1,300-pound bales to make the stretch to spring grass. That number is buffered a bit because the calves are receiving 3 pounds of commercial supplement daily and the cows 4 pounds of commercial supplement every other day. But forage is the essence of a cattle operation, and keeping costs low is critical.

Fortunately, the center forage feed needs have been helped by Continue reading