Daily Archives: June 28, 2007

Ohio Beef Newsletter Available

The June 27, issue # 543, of the Ohio BEEF Cattle letter is now posted to the web at: http://fairfield.osu.edu/ag/beef/beefJune27.html

96c84bc.jpgTypically in a pasture situation, livestock won’t eat poisonous weeds like the Jimsonweed pictured above. However, when a poisonous weed may be the only green thing remaining in the pasture, livestock sometimes do extraordinary things to their detriment. This week, Steve Boyles discusses weeds and toxins.

Articles include:
* Forage Focus: Weeds and Toxins
* Why Oats, and Not Cereal Rye or Wheat?
* Haying or Grazing CRP Acres
* Is it Bedding or is it Feed?
* Early Weaning for the Beef Herd
Stan Smith
Program Assistant, Agriculture
OSU Extension, Fairfield County
831 College Ave., Suite D
Lancaster, OH 43130

Things to Consider as You Walk the Pasture

Things to Consider as You Walk the Pasture

Ed Heckman, Wayne County Indiana – Extension Educator

Indiana has one million acres of permanent pasture. The productive potential on many of these acres has not been reached. There are many factors that play a role in pasture productivity. The grazier can control many factors and some cannot be controlled. Considerable improvement could be made in the state’s permanent pasture, if sound management practices were implemented. Below are some considerations that each grazier should evaluate as good pasture management decisions are made.



Effects of Age and Method of Castration on Performance and Stress Response of Beef Cattle

Effects of Age and Method of Castration on Performance and Stress Response of Beef Cattle

Ropin’ the Web

Why is it so important to evaluate the effects of age and method of castration?

The main reasons calves are castrated are to reduce meat toughness, remove aggressive behavior and dark cutters. The process of castration is very stressful on beef cattle and leads also to a weight loss. Effect of castration on performance is independent of the breed and feeding systems. However, the age and method of castration have an important impact on growth performance and stress response of beef cattle. So, it is important to be aware of those consequences in order to choose the right age and the safer method.


Backgrounding Opportunities

Backgrounding Opportunities

Jeff Heldt, Ph.D., PAS, Land O Lakes/Harvest States Beef Feeds



The term backgrounding is often used loosely, however it should be described as a process that adds value to both farm/ranch raised feeds as well as the cattle by “marketing” the feeds through the cattle. With that said, the profitability of backgrounding is determined by feed costs, feed efficiency, and marketing, just like any other phase of the beef feeding industry. Backgrounding can be incorporated into most any beef operation if they have the ability to confine cattle in manageable group sizes and if they have adequate on farm/ranch feed storage (hays, silages, grains, and supplements).

Calves that have been through a backgrounding program (commonly 45-90 days) are appealing to buyers because: 1) they know how to eat dry feed out of a bunk, 2) they know what a waterer is and how to use it, 3) their immune systems are “primed” if the correct rations are formulated and the proper vaccination protocols have been implemented. However, the calves should not be too “fleshy”. This typically concerns cattle buyers because too much compensatory gain has been taken out of the calves. Therefore, calves should be fed to gain about 1.5-2.5 lbs/hd/d to avoid an over fleshy problem.

Backgrounding calves may be a viable option during summer drought periods as well. When forage quality and quantity are dramatically reduced and cannot support cows and calves at a desired level of performance, then an early weaning/backgrounding program can be initiated. This will allow the cows to pick up body condition throughout the summer and allow the producer to grow calves at a pace that will allow them to market calves when the time is right. Additionally, there can be a demand from the feedyards for these lightweight warmed up calves.


Cattle Identification: State Premises Registration Stats As Of 6/25/2007

Cattle Identification: State Premises Registration Stats As Of 6/25/2007


Farr Scholarship Winners to be Announced at Cattle Industry Summer Conference

Farr Scholarship Winners to be Announced at Cattle Industry Summer Conference

Cattle Today

Denver (June 20, 2007) – Presentation of two graduate-level scholarships honoring the legacy of cattle industry pioneer W.D. Farr will highlight the Cattle Industry Summer Conference, scheduled for July 16-20 in downtown Denver.

The W.D. Farr Scholarship Awards, in the amount of $12,000 each, will be presented by the National Cattlemen’s Foundation (NCF). Earlier this year, NCF received 29 applications from 16 universities across the country – as well as two international applicants – for the scholarship awards. Finalists were chosen from students in the fields of animal science, environmental science and agriculture were eligible, as these scholarships honor W.D. Farr’s successful career and dedication to many aspects of production agriculture. Contributions to the scholarship fund currently total over $200,000, with fundraising efforts still ongoing for awards in future years.


Rotate grazing programs in dry years

Rotate grazing programs in dry years


Spencer Magnet

In a year of reduced hay and pasture yields because of a late spring freeze coupled with the current dry conditions, pasture management is even more crucial than usual. Rotational grazing can play a big part in getting the most out of forages in these lean times as well as the good times.

“In a dry year like this, it gives the most efficient utilization of the grass, and with the dry weather and reduced growth, the better the utilization, the longer the cattle can stay on pasture,” said Ray Smith, forage specialist with the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture.

Research has shown that rotationally grazed pastures maintain productivity longer into a drought than those that are continuously grazed. Yet, in any year, there are several key advantages to rotational grazing. The primary advantage is that it gives the producer management over his pastures. He’s telling the cattle what to graze rather than allowing them to graze whatever they want, which usually results in over grazing the desirable grasses. Given the opportunity, cattle often graze those out and leave the undesirable or lower quality grasses, he said. Rotational grazing also gives the farmer an opportunity to take a field or two and cut them for hay if there’s excess growth.


Stocker Cattle Forum: Is It Bedding Or Is It Feed?

Stocker Cattle Forum: Is It Bedding Or Is It Feed?


Alternative feedstuffs available to Ohio livestock producers include the crop residues and alternative forage and grain products mentioned below:

CEREAL GRAINS STRAW: Straw is an alternative for cows and sheep if properly supplemented with energy, protein, minerals, and vitamins. Satisfactory supplements include cereal grains, crop processing co-products such as wheat midds, or high quality hays. Oat straw is the most palatable and nutritious, followed by barley straw and wheat straw. Rye straw has little feed value.

Straw can constitute up to about 60 percent of the brood cow ration but has only about half the value of hay in growing rations. Straw can be used in combination with other feeds as the major roughage for beef cows. Grinding straw can increase intake 10 to 15 percent. However, compaction can be a problem in diets with high levels of chopped straw. Straw a year or more old is usually more palatable and digestible than fresh straw.

AMMONIATED STRAW: Straw is sometimes treated with 3% anhydrous ammonia to improve the feeding value. When limited amounts of hay or other roughages are available, ammoniation may be a cost effective way to increase the value of straw. Ammoniated feeds should be analyzed prior to feeding to determine actual nutrient content. Energy supplementation may still be necessary after ammoniation, depending on the nutrient requirements of each particular set of livestock.


Judge won’t rule on Cavel

Judge won’t rule on Cavel

By Dana Herra

Daily Chronicle (IL)

The federal judge charged with determining the fate of the last horse slaughterhouse in the country said Monday he has no jurisdiction to make any further decisions in the case until a federal appeals court rules on an appeal by The Humane Society of the United States.

Judge Frederick Kapala of the U.S. District Court in Rockford issued a statement saying the court is “divested of jurisdiction” in the case until the appeals court rules on whether the HSUS can intervene in the case. Intervention would essentially give the group the same status as a defendant and would allow it to call and cross-examine witnesses. Kapala denied the HSUS’ motion to intervene on June 1, and the group appealed that decision June 19.

At issue is whether Belgium-based Cavel International, the last horse slaughterhouse in the country, can continue slaughtering horses at its DeKalb plant for human consumption. While a small percentage of the horse meat is sold to U.S. zoos, most is shipped to Europe and Asia, where it is sold in restaurants and supermarkets. A law banning the slaughter of horses for human consumption was signed by Gov. Rod Blagojevich on May 24, and Cavel filed suit the next day, claiming among other things that the law interferes with international commerce and unfairly protects a specific species of livestock based on the morals of a minority group.


Beef Checkoff looks for beef backers

Beef Checkoff looks for beef backers

By Tom Wray

National Provisioned Online

DENVER – The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, on behalf of the Beef Checkoff, is continuing its search for the first national Retail Beef Backer Awards.

The Progressive Grocer website reported that the program is designed to award retailers who have demonstrated commitment to beef marketing and merchandising programs.

Winners will be selected for three categories: Independent (fewer than 11 stores), Chain (11 or more stores) and Innovator, which is open to businesses in the first two categories. The Innovator award will be awarded for an innovative beef support program or product merchandising program that succeeded in increasing beef demand.


Drought Slows Indiana, Ohio Hay Making

Drought Slows Indiana, Ohio Hay Making


Indiana and Ohio hay growers have been challenged by drought this year, according to reports from Purdue University and Ohio State University.

Indiana — April’s freeze hurt the crop’s first harvest, while recent heat and near-drought conditions threaten to reduce future harvests and winter hay inventories. “Reports and my own work suggest that first cutting hay yields were significantly less than what we would have expected,” says Keith Johnson, Purdue forage specialist. “I would classify what most people have harvested as being a typical second, third or fourth kind of harvest. If future harvests do not yield well, that doesn’t bode very well for hay inventory to be fed to our livestock.”

Johnson and Ron Lemenager, Purdue beef specialist, say first-harvest losses ranged from 20% to 70% across the state. Forages and pastures could recover and still provide adequate hay supplies, but only with enough rain. “Areas within the state now have gone extended periods without significant rainfall,” Lemenager states. “We not only have a short first cutting, but the recovery of those hay crops for the second cutting and potential third cutting is starting to diminish. As a result, producers who have been used to four cuttings may only get three.”


Cattle Preconditioning Forum: Early Weaning For The Beef Herd

Cattle Preconditioning Forum: Early Weaning For The Beef Herd


Introduction: Early weaning can provide an attractive alternative in certain situations where large amounts of purchased forage would be necessary to maintain a cow herd through to normal weaning time. Early weaning would be ideal for fall calving herds, where harvested forage is fed during the cow’s greatest nutritional demand, and for cases of drought in spring-calving herds. Cows that are too thin to re-breed, or have difficulty re-breeding such as first calf heifers and anestrous cows, are also candidates for early weaning.

Early weaning can also offer producers an additional marketing option. Early-weaned steers placed on an accelerated finishing program in the feedlot can reach market weight at less than a year of age, thus spring-born calves can be marketed the following spring when fat cattle prices are seasonably high. Since early-weaned steers are generally on a high grain diet for a longer period of time, high quality carcasses result. Producers looking to market their calves as high quality may be able to use early weaning as a tool. Dairy steers that are typically weaned at 90 days of age can easily be placed on an accelerated finishing program in the feedlot.


Ohio producers face hay shortage; have other forage options

Ohio producers face hay shortage; have other forage options

Ag Professional

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio producers may be facing a hay shortage this season due to dry conditions, but other forage and grazing alternatives exist to feed livestock.

Steve Boyles, an Ohio State University Extension livestock specialist, said that when choosing other forage options, feeding limit and nutritional content guidelines should be adhered to ensure that livestock remain healthy and meet market standards.

“Any time you change feeds with ruminant animals, you should do so gradually so the digestive system can adjust to the new feed,” said Boyles. “If you don’t, the livestock might run into some digestive problems.”

Although alfalfa has the capacity to continue growth under dry conditions, the late spring cold spell impacted stands, killing off plants and forcing re-growth. As a result, the first cutting turned out to be much smaller than producers anticipated.

Marc Sulc, an OSU Extension forage specialist, said that alfalfa still has the ability to bounce back as a viable forage crop, but harvest timing is the key to ensure plant health and longevity.


Elk don’t make good neighbors

Elk don’t make good neighbors

At least not when fences don’t work.

Jacqueline Froelich

Arkansas Times

Thousands of visitors drive deep into the Buffalo River National Park every year to catch a glimpse of immense Rocky Mountain elk feeding on rich bottomland pasture. They thrill at the sight.

Native Ozark farmers cringe.

For almost two decades, some complain, elk have broken into their fields and ravaged their crops. The state Game and Fish Commission, which introduced the herd, is wearing out its welcome.

The Rocky Mountain elk is not native to Arkansas. But the Eastern elk is — or was up until 1840 when it was hunted into extinction. A hundred years later, the U.S. Forest Service sought to bring elk back to Arkansas. They released 11 Rocky Mountain elk along the Black Mountain Ridge of Franklin County. Poachers took them out, too.


Farms withering

Farms withering

# Drought forces some in Mississippi to sell off herds

By Julie Goodman

The Clarion Ledger (MS)

Todd Sullivan’s family is feeling the wrath of the dry weather, a drought that has forced his family to start selling off cows and watch profits plummet at their cattle farm just outside Mendenhall.

Like many of about 21,000 other livestock producers in Mississippi, the Sullivans are struggling with a limited forage supply and are left with the choice of buying costly feed or selling some of their herds. Those problems have been compounded by the rising prices of fertilizer and fuel.

The family raises commercial cattle on about 600 acres in Simpson and Covington counties, in addition to running embryo transfer and artificial insemination programs.

They normally have about 120 cattle, and now are down to around 40. “And we’ll be selling even more of those,” Sullivan said.


Cattle Health: I Forget—What Does The BVD Virus Cause?

Cattle Health: I Forget—What Does The BVD Virus Cause?


The BVD virus can cause a wide spectrum of disease problems. BVD virus infection can be fairly mild to fatal. In well cared for cattle it can cause diarrhea, with damage starting in the mouth and extending throughout the gastrointestinal tract. Hence, the name: Bovine Virus Diarrhea. BVD is also a major cause of respiratory disease in young cattle going into stocker operations, backgrounder operations, and feedlots.