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

Beef Quality Assurance Training

Mark Badertscher, OSU Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension Educator, Hardin County

Join us on May 31st

Join Hardin County OSU Extension for a Beef Quality Assurance certification training scheduled for Tuesday, May 31 from 7:00-8:30 pm at the Extension office located at 1021 W Lima Street in Kenton. Beef Quality Assurance training is for beef cattle producers, needing to recertify or certify to sell cattle at auctions and other markets. Many of the major beef processors, auctions, and other markets began requiring producers to have a BQA certificate at the beginning of 2019. Beef Quality Assurance certification is for a period of three years and was previously held in Kenton in December 2018 and February 2021. Several local producers need to recertify in addition to any cattle producers who need to gain BQA certification for the first time.

Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) does more than just help beef producers capture more value from their market cattle. BQA also reflects a positive public image and instills consumer confidence in the beef industry. When producers implement the best management practices of a BQA program, they assure their market steers, heifers, cows, and bulls are the best they can be. Today, the stakes are even higher because of increased public attention on animal welfare. BQA is valuable to all beef and dairy producers because it Continue reading

BQA and many more upcoming Beef Opportunities

Allen Gahler, OSU Extension, Sandusky County

Are you due to be REcertified?

Opportunities abound to educate yourself and become a better beef producer throughout February, March, and early April.  Some online webinars, some in person classroom style meetings, and even some on farm workshops will be taking place all around Ohio, courtesy of the OSU Beef Extension team and several county educators.

Perhaps the most critical of those meetings to attend for many Ohio producers are the Beef Quality Assurance training sessions.  Anyone who has not already been BQA certified and intends to sell cattle of any kind this year or any time in the future, no matter what type of sale method will be used, should consider getting certified as soon as possible.  This not only benefits you as a producer by opening up marketing opportunities because you are certified, but it assures your potential customers that you value the use of humane, sustainable, and wholesome beef production practices.  In fact, rather than opening up marketing opportunities, today BQA certification should be viewed as a necessary tool in your Continue reading

Antibiotic Stewardship in Calves – Part 3

Haley Zynda, Extension Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources, Wayne County, Ohio State University Extension

We’re back with the final installment of the Antibiotic Stewardship in Calves program from Veal Quality Assurance. The final module is treatment protocols, a natural wrap-up to the program after learning about both the role of antibiotics in Part 1 and clinical evaluations in Part 2. The goal of Part 3 is to improve treatment accuracy according to veterinarian protocols, and by the end of it, we should be able to select strategies for individual calves (a one-size-fits-all approach is too broad when it comes to veterinary medicine).

So why are veterinary protocols important? Well, given the title of the course, one of the reasons is to reduce unnecessary antibiotic use. Additionally, avoiding illegal use of medicine, improving treatment success, improving animal welfare (a biggie in today’s consumer perspectives), and to decrease the risk of meat residues. Each protocol your vet gives you will have a set list of components: disease signs, medication and dosing, route of administration, use and frequency of treatment, length of treatment, meat withdrawal (if applicable), and follow-up. We’ll walk through each of these components with an example. With the temperature fluctuation of late, pneumonia is likely a “popular” illness right now, so we’ll use a Continue reading

Antibiotic Stewardship in Calves – Part 2

Haley Zynda, Extension Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources, Wayne County, Ohio State University Extension

We’re back with the second installment of Antibiotic Stewardship in Calves, a part of Veal Quality Assurance training. The first module of this training involved understanding antibiotics and antibiotic resistance. This second module is titled “Clinical Evaluations,” an essential factor to determining proper course of action.

In part 2, the goal is to be able to evaluate and score clinical signs of disease, as pertaining to calves. Fun fact, a “disease symptom” is something you are personally feeling, while a “disease sign” is something you observe in someone else or in animals. In order to better score potential disease, it is necessary to understand what a healthy calf looks like, so a sick calf stands out and is appropriately treated. So, what factors need to . . .

Continue reading Antibiotic Stewardship in Calves – Part 2

BQA Seminar at Cattlemen’s Congress Taught the Importance of Cattle Handling Skills

Find the audio of Hayes conversation with Dr. Boyles linked below.

At this year’s Cattlemen’s Congress in Oklahoma City, Okla. a unique seminar was offered to exhibitors and producers that featured national beef industry and breed leaders with Beef Quality Assurance. The seminar also allowed folks to earn their BQA certification.

Stephen Boyles, a beef cattle extension specialist for The Ohio State University, was one of the speakers helping with producer certification at the event. He is also the 2021 BQA Educator of the Year. Ron Hays, senior reporter for the Oklahoma Farm Report, caught up with Boyles after his presentation, which focused on cattle handling best practices.

“People understand the human side,” Boyles said. “From the animal side, for their . . .

Continue reading BQA Seminar at Cattlemen’s Congress Taught the Importance of Cattle Handling Skills

Antibiotic Stewardship in Calves – Part 1

Haley Zynda, Extension Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources, Wayne County, Ohio State University Extension

You’ve likely heard of Beef Quality Assurance, but what about Veal Quality Assurance? Essentially, it is the same type of certification for the well-being and proper handling of veal calves. However, a new addition to the certification training is antibiotic stewardship – a concept translatable to almost every livestock operation out there. The goal of the program is for farm personnel to correctly identify calves for treatment using a treatment protocol written by the herd veterinarian, thus improving responsible use of antibiotics. Drs. Jessica Pempek and Greg Habing put together a three-part training, of which I’ll summarize each with their own article.

Part 1 of the Antibiotic Stewardship in Calves is titled “Antibiotic Use and Resistance.” Before we jump into details, do you know the specifics on different types of medication? What do antibiotics treat? If you answered viral, fungal, protozoal, or parasitic infections, unfortunately you’d be incorrect. An antibiotic is a medicine that inhibits the growth of or kills bacteria. Antibiotics are not . . .

Continue reading Antibiotic Stewardship in Calves – Part 1

USDA offers free RFID tags

Ohio cattlemen can request the free, white 840 tags.

In further support of their effort to transition to 840 radio frequency identification (RFID) tags for official identification for cattle and bison throughout the U.S., the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is making 840 RFID tags available free to cattlemen and veterinarians. In Ohio, both the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association and the Ohio Department of Agriculture have been approved to distribute these free tags while they last.

The RFID tags are only intended for use in replacement stock. There are both white “840” button tags and orange “840” calfhood vaccination (OCV) button tags available. All RFID tags are low frequency tags. Veterinarians may receive both white and orange tags, while cattle producers may only receive the white 840 tags.

A Premises Identification Number (PIN) is required to order the free RFID tags. To obtain a PIN, Continue reading

Adding Value to the Calf Crop Through Reproductive Technology

– Dr. Pedro Fontes, Assistant Professor, Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences, University of Georgia

A companion article by Dr. Fluharty in this newsletter highlights the changes in carcass quality that have observed in the beef industry, where over the last couple of decades, our industry has substantially increased the proportion of carcasses grading Choice and Prime. More importantly, while the proportion of superior carcasses have increased, the consumer demand for a higher quality product continues to grow. Cow-calf producers have traditionally struggled to capture value when marketing calves with superior genetics for terminal traits. However, today, this scenario is changing.Cattlemen that produce genetically superior calves that will perform well in the feedlot and produce superior carcasses can take advantage of value-based marketing opportunities to differentiate themselves and add value to their calf crop.

Artificial insemination (AI) is currently the most effective way to rapidly introduce superior terminal genetics into commercial beef herds and consequently increase the genetic merit of the calf crop for carcass-related traits. Cattle producers that utilize AI benefit from the widespread . . .

Continue reading Adding Value to the Calf Crop Through Reproductive Technology

The Skinny on Fat

Haley Zynda, Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator, OSU Extension, Wayne County

Propionate is the only fatty acid that can be converted to glucose in the liver and greater glucose production leads to greater average daily gains and marbling deposition.

For those of you who eat beef, fat is flavor. For those of you feeding beef, fat is money. Well, a certain type of fat (intramuscular fat/marbling) is money because it increases your chance of selling higher quality grade beef. The three grades you’ll hear most often are prime, choice, and select, in descending order. Prime beef has abundant marbling and is currently only about 3% of the whole beef market. The intramuscular fat increases juiciness, tenderness and flavor of the meat cuts. Choice is most regularly seen in restaurants or grocery chains and select is the lowest grade commercially available in retail. Select grade beef has the least amount of marbling and is therefore less tender and juicy. If increasing quality grade is a goal of your operation, understanding how fat deposition occurs can be helpful in knowing how to best feed your cattle.

Before getting into details, there are a few important distinctions to make. Intramuscular fat is marbling, the fat within the muscle. Subcutaneous fat is the fat under the skin; most likely you’ve heard this when discussing backfat thickness or the “bark” an animal has. Subcutaneous fat mainly increases through hypertrophy, the act of each fat cell getting larger in size. Marbling mainly accumulates through hyperplasia, the act of the fat cells multiplying without necessarily growing larger in size.

We know that both intramuscular and subcutaneous (sub-q) fat begin to Continue reading