Meat Judging Programs and Why They Matter

Meat judging programs expose students to a multitude of skills.

Meat judging programs are currently the most effective tool for the recruitment and development of future meat science technologists. Meat judging is more than just the determination of the quality and lean meat yield of a carcass or wholesale cut; the program serves as a training tool to develop young leaders in the meat and livestock industries. Judging is a competitive event for youth through collegiate-age students and it has a deep-rooted history with the meat industry.

To learn more about meat judging programs and why they matter, see this new OSU Extension fact sheet authored by Dr. Lyda G. Garcia, Associate Professor Meat Science Extension Meat Specialist Fresh Meat Processing, and Meat Judging Coordinator in the OSU Department of Animal Sciences: Meat Judging Programs and Why They Matter

Livestock Trailer Rollover Training Held for First Responders

Andrew Holden, Extension Educator, Agriculture & Natural Resources, The Ohio State University Extension

Impetus for this training was a livestock trailer rollover that happened last year in Trumbull County

On a sunny October Saturday, over 20 Northeast Ohio first responders gathered at the Bloomfield Livestock Auction facilities to receive training on traffic emergencies that involve livestock hauling. The three-hour training was organized by the Ohio State Extension Office of Ashtabula County and taught by Ashtabula County Extension Educator, Andrew Holden, and Ohio State University Beef Specialist, Dr. Stephen Boyles.

The event was generously sponsored by the NE Ohio Farm Bureaus, Nationwide Insurance, and Mark Bruns Agency. Fire departments from Ashtabula, Trumbull, and Geauga Counties, and the Ohio State Highway Patrol were all represented at the training.

The training came about in response to a livestock trailer rollover that Continue reading

BEEF 509 returns in 2023, registration now open

Beef 509 is the result of a partnership with the Ohio Beef Council, Ohio Cattlemen’s Foundation, Ohio State University Extension and The Ohio State University Department of Animal Sciences

The long-running BEEF 509 program, hosted by the Ohio Cattlemen’s Foundation (OCF), will be back in 2023. This educational opportunity will be held on Feb. 25 and March 4 and will be co-hosted by the Ohio State University (OSU) Meat Science Extension and sponsored by the Ohio Beef Council (OBC).

BEEF 509 is an educational program designed to teach cattle producers about the food side of their business and how to utilize best management practices to improve beef quality and enhance profitability while learning about value within the beef chain.

It is designed for beef cattle producers, allied industry personnel including chefs and beef salespersons, veterinarians, teachers, Extension personnel and college students to learn more about the value of beef. Program participants learn about the importance of producing a more consistent and high-quality beef product through a series of hands-on lessons presented by Continue reading

Pigeons Not Welcome

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

Feral rock pigeons and European starlings are part of a special group of farm birds that I affectionately call “rat birds”. They, along with house finches and house sparrows, can cause a list of issues around the farm related to sanitation and structure damage. They can also be a concern for residential and commercial buildings. We have been seeing issues related to pigeons around the Village of Caldwell lately, so it seems timely to elaborate a bit on why pigeons are not welcome in our spaces.

Pigeons are generalist feeders that will eat almost anything, from livestock and pet foods to agricultural crops to garbage. They will nest almost anywhere and will frequently loaf on the roofs of buildings. Where pigeons accumulate, so do feces and feathers. Pigeons are known carriers of over 30 different possible diseases that can be passed to humans. Therefore, it is important for human health and comfort to discourage pigeons from roosting near us.

Pigeons, starlings, and sparrows are some of the few birds that are not protected by state and federal law. There are multiple lethal and non-lethal strategies that are legal for control and can be employed to discourage or Continue reading

When to Cull Bulls

– Amanda Cauffman, UW Division of Extension Agricultural Educator for Grant County

Producers can save input costs by culling bulls in the fall if they or their offspring have any undesirable characteristics.

It is common practice this time of year to evaluate our cows to make culling decisions, but this is also a good time to evaluate our bulls to determine which sires we are going to feed through the winter and which have come to the end of their genetic contribution to the operation.

Bulls, much like cows, can live ten to twelve years. Most bulls will remain active in the herd for closer to four or five years due to feet and leg, structural, and fertility problems, temperament concerns, or injuries. The decision to cull many bulls happens in the spring after failing a breeding soundness exam. However, producers can save input costs (6 months’ worth of decent quality hay for a mature bull will cost about $600 based on current prices) by culling bulls in the fall if they or their offspring have any undesirable characteristics that would make them unsuitable for the next breeding season.

Most mature breeding bulls can maintain condition with the same winter management as the cow herd. However, since . . .

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Nutritional Strategies for Receiving and Feeding Early-Weaned Calves

Francis L. Fluharty, Department Head and Professor, Department of Animal and Dairy Science, University of Georgia

  • Provide clean water and grass-legume hay directly off the truck and allow cattle a rest period before processing them. Adding an electrolyte solution to the water calves drink immediately off the truck is a good way to restore needed sodium and potassium salts.
  • Receiving diets should have .3 ppm Selenium and 1.0% Potassium on a dry matter basis, for the first two weeks, because of low feed intake. After that, Potassium should not be higher than .7% of the diet on a dry matter basis.
  • Provide 1.0 to 1.5 ft of bunk space per calf if possible.
  • Urea can be added up to .5% of diet dry matter, but higher levels may depress feed intake.
  • Ionophores should not be used (at the upper levels they are approved for) during the first 14 days due to reductions in feed intake, however, lower levels may be beneficial in high-grain diets.
  • Research at The Ohio State University has shown that feed intake on stressed calves is severely reduced during the first week. Therefore, receiving diets for calves should be approximately 16-18% crude protein, on a dry matter basis, for the first seven days. The protein concentration used should be increased to the upper levels of this range with highly stressed calves that have very low feed intakes. After the first two weeks, feed intake increases and the crude protein can be dropped to 14% of diet dry matter. After third week, the crude protein level can be reduced to 12.5% to 13%, since the cattle should be on full feed by then.
  • After cattle have reached approximately 1.5% of body weight in feed intake (dry matter basis), increase the amount of feed offered every other day. Increases should be no more than 5% of intake. High-concentrate diets require that calves are brought on feed more slowly than high-forage diets. Bringing calves onto feed more slowly will help prevent acidosis and reduce nutritional stress.
  • Soybean meal may be the protein source of choice due to cost and availability, but using a source of higher rumen bypass protein such as distillers grain in combination with soybean meal is good.
  • Feeding hay during the receiving period reduces the energy density of the diet. Intake is the main problem during this feeding phase. Therefore, a 60% to 70% concentrate diet should be fed to ensure the calves have adequate energy intakes (Remember that corn silage is approximately 50% concentrate and 50% roughage on a dry matter basis).
  • Microbial data from The Ohio State University indicates that cattle do not have a need for hay in order to increase their bacterial numbers after feed and water deprivation and transportation. In fact, a higher energy, protein dense diet provides the bacteria with more substrate to grow on.
  • Receiving diets should be formulated to provide the animal with the actual amount of protein required (in grams) rather than a percentage of protein in the diet during the first two weeks. Therefore, the level of feed intake should determine the percent protein fed.
  • Corn silage is fine, but it MUST be kept fresh. Clean out feed bunks daily and remember not to push feed to the back of the bunks where calves can’t reach it. Keep feed about in the middle of the feed bunk.

Feed Bunk Management and Feed Intake Control: “The most important operation in the feedlot”

Defined as the Continue reading

Know to Tow

Steve Boyles, OSU Extension Beef Specialist

Always inspect the trailer floor to make sure it is sturdy and clean.

Some trailers are attached to a tow vehicle’s receiver hitch or via a bumper hitch. A gooseneck is different from traditional enclosed trailers both in its namesake shape and because of the gooseneck hitch attachment within the vehicle’s bed. This allows a gooseneck trailer to be attached to the tow vehicle over the rear axle which is different from a hitch receiver, located at the rear of the vehicle. Also, because of the closer proximity of the trailer to the tow vehicle, a gooseneck trailer will typically have a tighter turn radius over other enclosed trailers.

Know Your Numbers

Your tow vehicle needs to  have the capability to Continue reading

Livestock Trailer Rollover and Emergency Training for First Responders

Save the date, October 22, 2022

Livestock accidents add a level of complication to an already challenging situation. Having a plan in response is valuable for all that may be involved.

The objective of a Bovine Emergency Response Plan (BERP) is to develop a framework that local law enforcement, first responders, emergency management, and veterinarians can use to more appropriately address accidents involving cattle transport vehicles. This framework is rigid enough to cover all the critically needed areas but flexible enough to fit the needs of local municipalities.

On Saturday, October 22 from 9 until 2, join OSU Extension Beef Specialist, Dr. Stephen Boyles and Ashtabula County Ag Educator, Andrew Holden, for this important training that will help make everyone more prepared in the case of livestock emergencies. The program will be held at the Bloomfield Livestock Auction in North Bloomfield, Ohio.

For reservations or more information contact Andrew Holden (440-576-9008).

Where Do We Go from Here?

It’s a good time to be in the cattle business.

Garth Ruff, Beef Cattle Field Specialist, OSU Extension

Over the past few months, I have had the opportunity to speak at several field days across Ohio and during these events have had many conversations regarding the current state of beef industry.

A sampling of those questions include “Should I grow my cow herd by retaining xxx many more heifers?”, “How has the Western drought impacted beef production in Ohio?”, or “How can I make adjustments in my current production system to improve efficiency with the cow herd?”

Those are all good questions and help to confirm my thoughts, that the best teaching opportunities are often on farms where we can generate discussions between producers.

While I can work through those questions with producers, it certainly helps to Continue reading

Cattle Handling and Stockmanship Influence on Animal Performance

– Bill Halfman, UW Agriculture Agent, Monroe County.

Cattle handled using low-stress stockmanship practices have been observed to have improved rates of gain.

We often hear and see reports on how sickness or the use of technologies such as fly control, implants, ionophores, and others influence animal performance and profitability.

Low-stress cattle handling methods have been discussed and promoted for many years, but the influence on animal performance is not often part of those discussions. Some research has been done to investigate the influence that stockmanship has on disposition and animal performance and more is being done.

Good stockmanship and low-stress handling methods include utilizing the animals’ natural tendencies to the handlers’ advantage while working or handling cattle. It includes calm and quiet action and movements by the handlers, changing and remodeling equipment and facilities if there are problem areas that impede cattle flow, and acclimating the . . .

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