Turfgrass Times

Did you know that the OSU Turfgrass Program publishes informative videos? Turf Team Times publishes videos that include information on grass establishment, turfgrass diseases, and much more. These videos are conducted by professionals within OSU.

Link to Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/@theohiostateuniversityturf8852/videos

Link to Latest Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H59byzbPZ14

Link to Website: https://top.osu.edu/

Backgrounding Cattle in 2023

– Garth Ruff, Beef Cattle Field Specialist, OSU Extension (originally published in Farm and Dairy)

Know that not all cattle are

designed to be backgrounded.

With stocker cattle prices near or at record highs, there has never been a better time to evaluate pastures and grazing systems to optimize livestock value in a grazing system. Let’s discuss some management practices for backgrounding stocker calves on the grass in 2023.

Calf Quality

Looking to the future, there is a lot of opportunity in the cattle market for 2023. However, there are concerns about calf prices as producers start to buy stockers to graze this spring and summer.

Not all cattle are designed to be backgrounded. High-growth, high-performing calves are often best suited for delivery straight to the feedlot. The ideal calves for backgrounding are lean, green grazing machines that may not be ready for finishing and will benefit from the added frame and compensatory gain upon arrival to the feedlot in the fall.

In the marketplace, stocker buyers should match their management skills to the type of cattle they can afford and manage. There continues to be a premium for weaned and vaccinated calves and steers compared to bulls. For those producers that back the trailer up to the back 40 and turn cattle out with minimal management for the next six months, buying calves that are of lower risk is often the best bet.

Backgrounding #2 type cattle often has some economic upside in adding value to calves that might not be ready to perform in a feedlot setting. These cattle need more attention and care during the first two to four weeks of ownership to ensure they get on the right path concerning animal health and nutrition. There is a science to putting together groups of these types of calves. Aim for uniformity in flesh, ability, and frame.

Supplemental Nutrition

What about feeding grain in a backgrounding program? If cost-effective and aids in calf management, limiting feeding some grain can be a tool in the toolbox. Remember, every pound added to that animal is as valuable as ever. However, those added pounds should be lean gain rather than added fat cover. When evaluating supplement options, soyhull pellets or by-products could be a consideration.

Animal Health

The best backgrounding programs have some vaccination protocol, a solid mineral program, and a plan for fly control if needed. It is of utmost importance to control and mitigate respiratory disease and pinkeye, given current cattle prices. Work with your veterinarian to develop a Veterinary Client Patient Relationship (VCPR). That relationship is key to minimizing the impact of disease, especially in the wake of over-the-counter antimicrobials going under veterinary oversight in June. It doesn’t take many to fall behind or dead calves to erase the profit potential of a load in a backgrounding system.

Vitamin M[anagement]

Backgrounding stocker cattle can be a profitable enterprise if the impact of various factors can be neutralized or capitalized on. When determining stocking rate, knowing the carrying capacity of each pasture over time can help make cattle buying decisions. Rotational or management-intensive grazing can increase the carrying capacity and productivity of the forage in proper infrastructure is in place. Soil fertility is also part of a successful backgrounding program. Given the current economics of beef production, 2023 is a year to work on being more efficient in our production systems, as every pound of beef produced on a farm is of greater value than in years past. Happy Grazing.

Battle for the Belt: Corn vs. Soybean

Have you ever wondered or debated with others on which crop should be planted first – corn or soybean?

  • Which crop has the smallest yield penalty for delayed planting?
  • Can you adjust your management practices to mitigate losses due to late planting?
  • How are insects, diseases, weeds, and other factors affected by planting date?

For soybean and corn, earlier planting is promoted to maximize yield; however, the planting date window is often short and disconnected due to bad weather. As a result farmers often ‘debate’ which crop should be planted first – corn or soybean.

Follow along with Dr. Laura Lindsey and Dr. Osler Ortez as they ‘Battle for the Belt’. Videos and updates will be posted on the CORN newsletter and the AgCrops Team Youtube channel. Click here to access the YouTube playlist.

Researchthe plan is to conduct field experiments at three locations in 2023: Western, Northwest, and Wooster. Five planting date windows:

  1. Ultra-early (first two weeks of April)
  2. Early (second two weeks of April)
  3. Normal (first two weeks of May)
  4. Late (last two weeks of May)
  5. Very late (first two weeks of June)

Corn and soybean will be planted side by side on each planting date. The plan is to repeat the study in 2024.

Extensionon the extension side, we plan on having short, bi-weekly video updates from the field that will be advertised through the CORN newsletter, YouTube, and Twitter. Video updates will include agronomists (OSU and others), other specialists (e.g., plant pathology, weed science, entomology), and farmers. Each will ‘weigh’ the benefits/drawbacks of planting each crop too early or too late. In addition, the research outcomes will be presented as extension articles and talks at extension programming events and field days across the state.