Glenn Selk: Reducing The Risk Of A Calf Scours Outbreak

By: Glenn Selk, Oklahoma State University Emeritus Extension Animal Scientist, Previously published by Drover’s online

 (Adapted from “Neonatal Calf Diarrhea Complex” by John Kirkpatrick, DVM)

The ongoing human health issue (COVID-19) serves as a reminder to cattle ranchers about the importance of sound, common sense biosecurity measures that can aid in reducing the risk of a disease outbreak in the new 2020 calf crop.

Neonatal calf diarrhea (commonly called “calf scours”) is one of the most costly disease entities in the beef cattle business.  Fall-calving herds have the help of the hot, late summer/early fall sunshine to reduce the buildup and spread of the pathogens that cause calf diarrhea. Continue reading

“Black” is Not the Only Goal in Beef-on-dairy Breeding

By: Maureen Hanson. Previously published by Bovine Veterinarian online.

Dairy-Beef Crossbred ( Maureen Hanson )

If the dairy industry wants the beef business to embrace beef-on-dairy crossbreds long-term, we need to up our genetic selection game, according to Denise Schwab, Extension Beef Specialist for Iowa State University.

Schwab advised producers at Iowa State’s recent Midwest Dairy & Beef Day that beef-on-dairy breeding decisions need to be made with the same precision they devote to genetic selection for dairy replacement females. “It’s not likely you tell your semen rep, ‘Just give me Holstein semen that’s cheap,’” she stated. “Yet that’s what’s happening with a lot of beef-on-dairy breeding right now. We need to aim for more than just a black calf.” Continue reading

Glenn Selk: Choosing The Right Estrous Synchronization Protocol

By: Glenn Selk, Oklahoma State University Emeritus Extension Animal Scientist. Published previously by Drovers online.

Beef producers that use artificial insemination in their breeding program use estrus synchronization to better utilize their labor resources both during breeding and calving seasons.  Choosing the synchronization protocol that best fits each individual situation is challenging because so many options are currently available.

The Beef Reproductive Task Force is a committee of animal scientists from seven land grant universities in the United States.  This committee is made up of beef reproduction scientists and extension specialists that have been instrumental in conducting research and evaluating estrus synchronization protocols.  Each year they review the research and make recommendations of estrous synchronization systems that the committee agrees will give producers the best choices for their situations. Continue reading

Ohio State Fair Announces Ractopamine-Free Swine Show For 2020

Source: Ohio Ag Net online

It has been announced that swine exhibited at the 2020 Ohio State Fair — and a growing number of county fairs — are required to be ractopamine-free.

Recently, ractopamine-free swine production became a market specification through much of the U.S. pork packing industry. Although ractopamine (sold under the trade names Paylean or Engain for swine) is an approved product used to increase lean growth rate, it has been banned in many international pork markets. In short, ractopamine-free means that a pig has never been fed or exposed to ractopamine from the time of birth to the time of market.

In response, the Ohio Pork Council, Ohio State University Extension, Ohio Department of Agriculture, and Ohio State Fair have collaborated to put a comprehensive plan in place for a ractopamine-free swine project. Continue reading

Large Feedlot Inventories To Start 2020

By: Derrell Peel, Oklahoma State University. Originally published by Drovers online.

The latest monthly cattle on feed report showed the January 1 inventory in feedlots (over 1,000 head) at 11.958 million head, 102.3 percent of one year ago.  This is the largest January on-feed total since 2008.

Placements in December were up 3.5 percent year over year, the highest December level since 2011.  December marketings were 5.3 percent higher year over year, the largest level since December 2010.  December 2019 had one additional business day compared to a year earlier making daily average marketings for the month about equal to 2018.

The January cattle on feed report was well anticipated with placements, marketings and on-feed totals all close to pre-report expectations.  The report is not expected to provoke much market response. Continue reading

The Art and Science of Developing Heifers

By: Les Anderson, Ph.D., Beef Extension Specialist, University of Kentucky

The older I get the more I realize that heifer development is as much art as science. The art is understanding what type of female best fits your operation and your marketing scheme. What size cow best fits your management system? Which cows will produce the best replacements?

The science is understanding the principles enabling the “right” heifers to succeed. The first week of January is an extremely important “check-point” in spring heifer development programs. Continue reading

Goals for Your Cow Herd in 2020

By: Garth Ruff, OSU Extension Henry County

Each year I like to look evaluate any upcoming opportunities and set goals for the New Year in an effort to better myself both professionally and personally. I prefer to call them goals rather than New Years Resolutions because many people tend to let resolutions fall through the cracks. When developing goals, the key is to write them down! Call them whatever you want, in just a few minutes of looking back and reflecting on some observations made in the last year I was able to come up with a few goals focused on improving profitability and the quality of calves marketed in 2020.

Sharpen the Pencil. Do you have a projected budget for the year? How much does it really cost you to feed a cow for the year? Put together an enterprise budget to use as a decision making tool. There are many templates available online from various universities and institutions, chose one that’s geographically relevant and considers the variables that affect your operation (find the OSU Farm Budgets linked here). Be realistic in valuing feed, labor, and livestock values. Knowing cost of production and breakeven points are useful in making cattle marketing decisions as well. Continue reading

Have You Prepared Your Barn for Lambing?

Dr. Gary E. Ricketts, University of Illinois, Department of Animal Sciences Emeritus Professor
(Previously published with University of Illinois Extension, Illinois Livestock Trail, Sheep and Goats: January 29, 1999)

Although this piece was originally published over 20 years ago, it still holds a lot of valuable information. As we enter the new year, lambs will be soon arriving and with the business of life it’s easy to forget some of the basics. No worries though, this piece will be sure to assist!

Having the barn ready before the first lambs arrive is one way to get the lambing season off to a good start. Not all ewes have a 150-day gestation period. There is considerable variation in gestation length and it may range from 143 days on the short side to 157 days on the long side. Gestation length is affected by many things such as breed, age, season of the year, and number of lambs, just to mention a few. A good rule of thumb is to have the barn ready by at least 140 days after the ram was turned in or the first ewe was marked. Consider the following in getting your barn ready: Continue reading

Ohio Beef Expo set for March 19-22

Ohio Cattlemen’s Association

The Ohio Beef Expo to showcase Ohio’s beef industry is set for March 19-22 at the Ohio Expo Center in Columbus. This annual event, coordinated by the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association, includes a kickoff social; breed sales, shows and displays; beef quality assurance sessions; a multi-day trade show; and a highly competitive junior show.

The Ohio Beef Expo kicks off with the opening of the trade show at 3 p.m. March 19. This is the second year for the Expo to open on Thursday, allowing more time for attendees — especially those who exhibit cattle at the Expo — to visit with vendors in the Voinovich building. Continue reading

Barn Cameras: A Shepherd’s Saving Grace

By: Jacci Smith, OSU Extension Educator ANR/4-H, Delaware County

Just imagine: It’s the middle of February, minus 4 degrees outside, and 3:00 am. You roll out of bed, put on your coveralls and boots. Open the door to go check that ewe that wasn’t acting quite right at chore time. That bitter cold hits you in the face and boom you are wide-awake. Once you get to the barn, you look around and there is no lambing action. So you trek back to the house, take off your winter gear and try, and fail, to get back to sleep.

This is why the invention of barn cameras was so vital. Lambing season is a time of year that we all need to be on the top of our game. When you are run down without the proper sleep, this might not be the case. Barn cameras can be an amazing tool that shepherds can have if the right steps are taken. Continue reading