Seldom do we talk about forage shortages and above normal precipitation in the same breath. Regardless, that’s where we find ourselves now throughout Ohio and much of the Midwest. Over the past year abundant rainfall has allowed us to grow lots of forage. Unfortunately, the weather has seldom allowed us to harvest it as high quality feed.
Since the fall of 2018 demand for quality forages and bedding has been on the increase. It began with a wet fall that forced us from pasture fields early. Followed by constantly muddy conditions, cattle were requiring more feed and energy than normal. At the same time, even though temperatures were moderate during much of the fall of 2018, cows with a constantly wet hair coat were, yet again, expending more energy than normal to remain in their comfort zone. Then, as a cold late January 2019 evolved into February, in many cases mud had matted down the winter coats of cattle reducing their hair’s insulating properties, thus causing them to require even more energy in the cold weather.
Reduced supplies of quality forages coupled with increased demand over the past year have led us to a perfect storm that’s resulted in the lowest inventory of hay in Ohio since the 2012 drought, and the 4th lowest in 70 years. The spring of 2019 weather didn’t provide the opportunity to improve that situation. Today, cattlemen throughout the Midwest border on having a forage and feed crisis.
Below you will find a compilation of the forage, feed and cattle management strategy articles and videos we’ve published that will aid you in addressing the situation. Check back often . . . the list you see below will continue to grow as the year progresses.
Print Articles previously published in the Ohio BEEF Cattle letter, the C.O.R.N. newsletter, and Buckeye Dairy News
Breeding Beef Cows Back After a Tough Winter – Dean Kreager
Dealing with Winter Injured Forage Stands – Mark Sulc
FAQs: Forages, Cover Crops and More – Stan Smith
FAQs that address current agronomy, livestock feed, and cover crop concerns – OSU Agronomy Team
Forages Continue to Mature – Mark Sulc, Rory Lewandowski and Jeff Stachler
Forage Focus: Storing, Testing and Feeding Baled Forages – Christine Gelley and Dan Lima
Forage Shortage: Considering Early Weaning – Garth Ruff
Forage Shortage and Prevented Planting Acres . . . think OATS! – Al Gahler and Stan Smith
Grazing Options for Supplementing Poor Quality Forages – Chris Penrose
Hay Quality 2019; It’s Deja vu All Over Again! – Stan Smith
Hay inventory severely low across Midwest – Alayna DeMartini
Healing the Mess: Early Season Pasture Management – Chris Penrose
“Increase the feed, or reduce the need” – Stan Smith
Making High Quality Baleage – Jason Hartschuh
Making High Quality Baleage (PODCAST) – Rory Lewandowski
My first cutting is just ‘cow hay’ – now what? – Jimmy Henning, UK
Planning for Winter 2020 Cow Herd Feeding – Francis Fluharty
Rain Damage to Hay – Rory Lewandowski
Speeding Up Hay Drying – Mark Sulc
Stockpiling Fescue and Orchardgrass – Clif Little
There’s time to grow more feed! – Stan Smith and Al Gahler
Too much pasture? Clip it, hay it, or stockpile it for summer! – Victor Shelton
Using corn as a Cover Crop – Peter Thomison, Ben Brown, Sam Custer, Greg LaBarge, Sarah Noggle, Mark Sulc, Eric Richer, and Harold Watters
What are your Bedding Options, is Keeping a Thin Wheat Stand Worth It? – Jason Hartschuh
Videos via the OSU Beef Team YouTube channel
- Filling the gap with forages: Cover crop forage options on Prevented Planting acres by Rory Lewandowski
- Considerations for Harvesting High Quality Hay and maintaining that quality all the way to storage and consumption. With John Grimes and Duane Rigsby.
- Forage Focus: Collecting Good Hay Samples and Utilizing the Results, with Christine Gelley and Dan Lima
- Late Season Oats: A Cost-effective Alternative to “Traditional” Forages, with Stan Smith
- Improving Mud Damaged Pastures, with Rory Lewandowski and John Grimes.
- Proper Hay Storage Techniques, with John Grimes.
- Forage Focus – Pasture Fertility, Soil Testing and Grazing Management, with Christine Gelley and Marcus McCartney
- Nutritional requirements of the beef female for optimal performance from the last trimester through breeding season. Speaker: Dr. Steve Boyles, OSU Extension Beef Specialist, OSU Department of Animal Sciences during the 2019 Ohio Beef School webinar.
- Impacts of nutrition on heifer development and conception rates of heifers. Impacts of nutrition on days to return to estrus and conception rates of lactating females. Speaker: Dr. Alvaro Garcia Guerra, Assistant Professor, OSU Department of Animal Sciences during the 2019 Ohio Beef School webinar.
- Managing calf health born into stressful situations: Weak calves, importance of amount and timing of colostrum intake, colostrum replacers or supplements, suggested newborn treatments and vaccinations, etc. Speaker: Justin Kieffer, Clinical Veterinarian, Professional Practice, Assistant Professor, OSU Department of Animal Sciences during the 2019 Ohio Beef School webinar.