Keeping Quality in Mind

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

CSU analyzed market data from the Western Video Markets and determined that BQA certified cattle sold with a premium of $2.71/cwt.

Now that we are back to a semblance of somewhat normal, questions regarding Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) have been aplenty. While BQA has been a long-standing program, it was brought to the limelight in 2018 with Tyson’s announcement that would only source fed cattle from cattle feeders certified in BQA. With a certification being valid for a period of three years, those producers certified in our initial statewide push in 2018-2019 are due to be recertified in 2021 and into the spring of 2022.

While the principles of BQA have remained steady over the years, it is my goal as an educator to help the program evolve and move forward past the “basics” of injection locations, routes of administration, and flight zones. Although those topics are certainly still relevant today, I view BQA as an opportunity to educate about management practices that can be used to maintain and improve beef quality and farm profitability.

While the primary audience for BQA remains Continue reading

Do you have opinions about mobile meat harvest in Ohio?

Angela Blatt, Program Manager, Initiative for Food and AgriCultural Transformation (InFACT)

Share your thoughts with us!

Whether you shop for local meat, raise livestock, operate a slaughterhouse, or create value-added products, the meat processing bottleneck affects you!

The project Planning To Advance Mobile Meat Slaughter and Processing in Ohio and Central Appalachia, conducted by The Appalachian Center for Economic Networks, Inc. (ACEnet) and project consultants, aims to draft and support a plan for a possible solution.

Will you commit ten minutes of your time to share your values and needs in a short survey?

We want to hear from as many farmers, processors, and consumers in the Ohio and Central Appalachian region as we can and appreciate any feedback.

Start the survey: https://corexmsffsgb599k6k6d.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_2iwNa7YVbJjpRtA

Profiting on Cull Cattle

Dean Kreager, Ohio State University Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator, Licking County (originally published in Ohio Farmer on-line)

Teat or udder problems are just one reason for considering culling a cow.

As cattle producers we often look at ways to improve our bottom line. Where can we profit the most from our production? Is it from sales of feeder calves, breeding stock, finished cattle, freezer beef or some combination? This decision may change from year to year based on economic conditions, feed availability, and facilities.

One type of sale that sometimes gets overlooked is the sale of cull animals. National studies estimate the value of these sales amounts to 15 – 30% of the revenue for beef farms. These culls make up 20% of the beef consumed. Considering the value and importance of these animals to the supply chain we should look at ways that we can manage them to increase our profits.

Hoof or leg issues are another reason to consider culling.

There are many reasons for culling animals. Physical problems, poor performance, age, reproduction, and Continue reading

Feeding Cull Cows; Exploring the opportunity for additional income with Dr. Steve Boyles

Significant returns to a cow-calf operation are from selling cull cows, with most culls being sold in the fall when prices are traditionally at their lowest. In this 12 minute presentation, OSU Extension Beef Specialist Steve Boyles explains the considerations necessary for making the decision to feed cull cows in an effort to sell them into a more profitable time slot.

Maximizing Feeder Calf Value

The sixth and final session of the 2021 Ohio Beef Cattle Management School was hosted via ZOOM by the Ohio State University Extension Beef Team on February 22nd. During the concluding session, OSU Extension Beef Field Specialist Garth Ruff discussed a variety of ways cattlemen might improve profitability in a cow/calf enterprise including utilization of superior genetics, capitalizing on seasonal marketing trends, and calf management strategies that add value to individual, and groups of calves. Listen in below as Garth shares insight into maximizing feeder calf values.

Find recordings from all the 2021 Ohio Beef School sessions linked here.

Considerations When Making Beef Cow Culling Decisions

The sixth and final session of the 2021 Ohio Beef Cattle Management School was hosted via ZOOM by the Ohio State University Extension Beef Team on February 22nd. During that session the attention turned to cow longevity, and factors involved in making culling decisions. In the presentation embedded below we join OSU Extension Educator Dean Kreager as he explores the range of considerations involved including pregnancy status, body condition, soundness, feed resources and the seasonal market environment for culls.

Find recordings from all the 2021 Ohio Beef School sessions linked here.

The Cow Health Examination

In this 6 minute video, Dr. Justin Kieffer, Clinical Veterinarian for the OSU Department Animal Sciences, discusses how to give a cow a proper health examination.

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

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

There is more than one right way to finish a steer

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

About a year ago, our industry buzzed with talk about finishing local beef. Our friends and neighbors found empty grocery store shelves and instead turned to their local beef producers to fill their freezers. Last year shed light on direct-to-consumer beef production. This concept of local beef is not a new one. Instead, it is more a case of what was old is new again. There was a time when small local meat lockers were a staple in many small towns. With reports of some processors booking into 2022, it appears that this trend for local beef may outlast the COVID-19 pandemic.

Recently a group of UK extension agents and specialists wrapped up a 4-week series of virtual meetings focusing on producing freezer beef in northern Kentucky. The UK beef extension team will also be launching a new program for the fall of 2021 called “Master Finisher” to provide additional resources for folks interested in finishing beef cattle here in Kentucky.

One of the things that I have come to appreciate while working with producers in small-scale finishing systems is that there is more than one right way to finish a steer (or heifer). Regardless of if you are producing beef in grass-finished, grain-finished or a hybrid grain-on grass system, what works for one operation may not be the best option for another. Answering several questions can help you narrow in on the right production system for your operation. A few examples include: Continue reading