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Poor temperament adversely affects profit

October is a traditional weaning and culling time for spring-calving herds. Weaning for value-added calf sales is already underway. This is a time when producers decide which cows no longer are helpful to the operation and which heifer calves will be kept for future replacements. Selecting against ill-tempered cattle has always made good sense. Wild cattle are hard on equipment, people, other cattle, and now we know that they are hard on the bottom line.

Mississippi State University researchers (Vann and co-workers. 2006. Southern Section of American Society of Animal Science) used a total of 210 feeder cattle consigned by 19 producers in a “Farm to Feedlot” program to evaluate the effect of temperament on performance, carcass characteristics, and net profit. Temperament was scored on a 1 to 5 scale (1=nonaggressive, docile; 5=very aggressive, excitable). Three measurements were used: pen score, chute score, and exit velocity. Measurements were taken on the day of shipment to the feedlot.

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Ohio Hereford Futurity highlights of Hereford weekend

Saturday Sept. 30 Rick VanFleet and his family graciously hosted a Hereford field day at their family farm in Pleasant City, Ohio. This was the start of the Hereford weekend co-sponsored by the Buckeye Hereford Association and the Switzerland of Ohio Polled Hereford Association. The Van Fleets were gracious hosts and had a great program for all those in attendance. As guests arrived they were welcome to tour pastures and participate in a Hereford cattle judging contest. Christine Gelley, OSU Ag Extention Specialist for Noble County led the group on a pasture walk and gave an informative talk on pasture fertility, pasture management, weed control and stocking rates. Next on the Agenda Dr. Steven Boyles, OSU Animal Nutritionist shared his always entertaining and educational perspective on cowherd management. Everyone was then treated to a tasty Certified Hereford Beef Brisket sit down meal with all the trimmings. At the conclusion of the day the judging contest winners were announced and prizes were given to the top adults and all the kids in attendance.

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Where is fiber fermented in the pig digestive tract?

Fiber is increasingly being added to pig diets, but digestion of fiber in pigs is inefficient and poorly understood. In a new study from the University of Illinois, scientists pinpoint the locations within the digestive tract where fiber is fermented.

“We’re trying to figure out the specifics of fiber fermentation in pigs and what can we potentially do to increase it,” said Hans Stein, professor in the Department of Animal Sciences and the Division of Nutritional Sciences at U of I.

Stein’s research group formulated four experimental diets, including a standard corn-soybean meal diet as a control. Different fiber sources replaced 30 percent of the control diet in the remaining three diets: distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS), wheat middlings, and soybean hulls.

The researchers placed two cannulas in each of eight barrows, which allowed them to collect digesta from the end of the small intestine and from the colon, just after the cecum.

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On-farm experience leads to Extension expertise for a Buckeye on buckeyes

Chris Penrose really had no interest in going to college when he graduated from high school. He was born and raised in Dayton and finished in the bottom third of his class, but spent the summers of his youth (and pretty much every minute he could) on the Morgan County farm his ancestors had purchased from the federal government in 1824. The family farm was his classroom of choice and his favorite teacher was his great-uncle who farmed it at the time.

“It is a rough Appalachian farm not good for much other than forages and forest,” Penrose said. “But when I was 20, I quit my job at Kentucky Fried Chicken and moved to the farm. I took my $1,200 I’d saved and bought some heifers.”

In his work on the farm, Penrose got to know his county Extension agent and see the value of that kind of work. He also saw other incentives to consider furthering his education.

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Ohio Beef Council to visit auction markets across the state

The Ohio Beef Council (OBC) will be visiting with beef producers at auction markets across the state of Ohio during the month of October. Beef producers are encouraged to attend to learn how checkoff dollars are invested to increase beef demand through programs of promotion, research and education.

OBC will be present on the weekly sale day at Muskingum Livestock Auction Co. on Oct. 25, Union Stock Yards on Oct. 26 and Creston Auction Market on October 30. A beef lunch will be provided courtesy of the Ohio Beef Council. For more information about the events, call the office at 614-873-6736.

The Ohio Beef Council (OBC) engages with Ohio’s producers and consumers to strengthen the demand for beef with the goal of maintaining the profitability and growth of Ohio’s beef industry. It is part of a coordinated state/national marketing effort funded by beef producers through the beef checkoff program. OBC collects the $2 per head beef checkoff each time cattle are sold.

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Application of manure to newly planted wheat fields

Several livestock producers have inquired about applying liquid dairy or swine manure to newly planted wheat fields using a drag hose. The thought process is that the fields are firm (dry), there is very little rain in the nearby forecast, and the moisture in the manure could help with wheat germination and emergence.

The manure nutrients could easily replace the commercial fertilizer normally applied in advance of planting wheat. The application of fall-applied livestock manure to newly planted or growing crop can reduce nutrient losses compared to fall-applied manure without a growing crop.

Both swine and dairy manure can be used to add moisture to newly planted wheat. It’s important that the wheat seeds are properly covered with soil when planted to keep a barrier between the salt and nitrogen in the manure and the germinating wheat seed. It’s also important that livestock producers know their soil phosphorus levels, and the phosphorus in the manure being applied, so we don’t grow soil phosphorus levels beyond what is acceptable.

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Ohio Department of Agriculture updates Fertilizer Certification Program rules

The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) recently revised the rules in order to fine-tune the program established in 2014 by Ohio’s legislature. ODA made several changes to the certification, education, and recordkeeping requirements for those who apply agricultural fertilizers to more than 50 acres of land in agricultural production.

 

Updates to the certification requirements

Three modifications to the certification requirements will: 1) provide additional clarity about how the certifications apply to employees, 2) adjust the cycle for when the certifications begin and expire, and 3) establish a grace period to obtain a renewal certification after a prior certification has expired.

  1. The new rule clarifies how the requirements apply to employees of businesses and farms, a provision that was unclear under the old rule. The certification rule requires all persons who apply fertilizer for the purpose of agricultural production on more than 50 acres of land to either personally have a certificate issued by the ODA Director, or to act under the instruction and control of a certificate holder.
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U.S. pork continues commitment to responsible antibiotic use

Nine months after the full implementation of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Guidance 209 and 213, America’s pig farmers continue to demonstrate their awareness and commitment to doing what’s right on the farm. Since the rules went into effect on Jan. 1, the National Pork Board has received only two calls into its farmer call center requesting clarification or information on the rule change.

“America’s 60,000 pig farmers are keenly aware of the change occurring on farms, and they were clearly ready, willing and able to meet the requirements of these new rules,” said Terry O’Neel, board president and a pig farmer from Friend, Nebraska. “To have just two calls into our call center tells me that the requirements are being met and our two-year proactive education plan has paid off.”

FDA guidance 209 and 213 ends the use of medically important antibiotics for growth promotion and increases veterinarian oversight for on-farm antibiotic use through the Veterinary Feed Directive and prescriptions.

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Impacts of group housing on hog farms

Eleven states and several large pork producers are moving away from gestation crates for sows, but the effects of alternative housing designs on the sows’ reproductive performance are unclear. In a new article, an animal welfare expert from the University of Illinois takes a closer look at group housing.

“Reproductive performance has always been a metric that people have been concerned about with housing,” said Janeen Salak-Johnson, an associate professor in the Department of Animal Sciences at U of I.

Most previous research suggests reproductive performance is approximately equal in group housing versus individual stalls, but in real-word scenarios, many producers notice compromised reproduction in group pens. Most sows are put into group housing after pregnancy is confirmed, so the effects of the transition usually manifest in low birthweight piglets or fewer piglets, rather than an impaired ability to become pregnant or stay pregnant.

“That’s one of the big reasons people don’t see effects of group housing on reproductive success — the sows are already pregnant.

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Ohio Cattlemen’s Foundation accepting scholarship applications

The Ohio Cattlemen’s Foundation (OCF) is offering several college scholarships available to beef industry youth. All scholarships recognize beef industry youth for academic effort, community service and career interests that utilize agriculture to enhance our quality of life through service education or research. Since the OCF was established, the number of available scholarships has increased due to the growing number of worthy applicants and committed supporters.

Among the various scholarships, the most recently added is the Cattlemen’s Gala scholarship funded by the celebration and fundraiser event. The inaugural event raised $27,000 in its first year to be awarded to deserving youth.

Established in 1995, the Ohio Cattlemen’s Foundation’s (OCF) mission is to advance the future of Ohio’s beef industry by investing in research and education programs. OCF is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit, public charitable organization and is governed by a board of trustees with Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) leadership experience.

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Pigs and politics come together in small town mayor’s office

Lance Westcamp may be one of the few small-town mayors in central Ohio that can be found driving his tractor down Main Street and he is certainly the only one with an office full of champion hog banners from around the country.

“I was born and raised on a farm just south of Groveport. I graduated from Groveport high school in ’75. I farmed 4,500 acres with my dad and brother — most of it rented — in mid-70s and my dad always had a commercial sow herd of 50 to 75 sows. Even the farm we lived on was leased from the state. Most of that ground now is warehouses,” Westcamp said. “We were losing acres to development so my brother and I got outside jobs in late-80s and early 90s. I continued to farm until 2013, but by then most of everything was being custom farmed.”

With the future of the Franklin County farm destined for development as Groveport (and nearby Columbus) continued to grow, Westcamp thought he would give politics a try.

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National Animal Health Monitoring System Beef 2017 Study

In October, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Animal Health Monitoring System (NAHMS) is launching Beef 2017, its fourth national study of U.S. beef cow-calf operations. Beef 2017 will take an in-depth look at U.S. beef cow-calf operations and provide the industry with new and valuable information regarding animal health and management trends in the U.S. beef industry from 1993 to 2017.  Three study objectives were identified for the Beef 2017 study.

  1. Describe trends in beef cow–calf health and management practices, specifically:
  • Cow health and longevity,
  • Calf health,
  • Reproductive efficiency,
  • Selection methods for herd improvement including tests of genetic merit, and
  • Biosecurity
  1. Describe management practices and producer beliefs related to:
  • Animal welfare,
  • Emergency preparedness,
  • Environmental stewardship, and
  • Record keeping and animal identification practices.

 

3. Describe antimicrobial use practices (stewardship) and determine the prevalence and antimicrobial resistance patterns of potential food-safety pathogens:

  • Types and reasons for use of antimicrobial drugs by animal type
  • Stewardship
  • Use of alternatives for disease control
  • Use of Beef Quality Assurance principles
  • Veterinarian-client-patient relationship
  • Information sources
  • Enteric organism antimicrobial resistance assessments (e.g., Salmonella, E.
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Addition by subtraction

Weaning time is an excellent time to evaluate your cow herd and decide which cows get to remain in your herd as productive females. If they are not being productive for you, they need to be replaced by heifer calves retained from within the herd or by purchased bred females.

Cows and heifers leave operations for a variety of reasons. Ask a room full of cow-calf producers for the key reasons to cull a female from the herd and I would feel confident that the reasons would include any or all of the following factors.

1. Age or bad teeth

2. Pregnancy status (open or aborted)

3. Temperament

4. Other reproductive problems

5. Economics (drought, herd reduction, market conditions)

6. Producing poor calves

7. Physical unsoundness

8. Udder problem

9. Bad eyes.

While all of these factors are valid reasons for culling, I suspect that the first three factors listed who be the top reasons for culling in any given year.

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Calcium to phosphorus ratio in pig diets established by new study

The amount of digestible calcium included in pig diets has a direct impact on phosphorus digestibility, but the optimum ratio between the two minerals has not yet been found. In a recent study from the University of Illinois, scientists have established a first approximation of that ratio for 25 to 50 kilogram pigs.

“Because calcium is an inexpensive ingredient, the thinking was that we could add as much as we wanted. We discovered several years ago that may not be a good approach, because if you increase calcium in the diet, you reduce absorption of phosphorus,” said Hans Stein, professor in the Department of Animal Sciences and the Division of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Illinois. “As phosphorus availability goes down, so does the pigs’ growth performance. Feed intake, and therefore body weight gain and feed efficiency, goes down.”

Stein and his collaborators formulated 20 corn-soybean meal-based diets, varying in calcium and phosphorus concentration, and fed them to 240 pigs over four weeks.

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Ohio Beef Council to take students on virtual field trips this fall

At a time when transportation, logistics, safety and security concerns make it difficult for old-fashioned field trips to the farm, the Ohio Beef Council is making it easy for teachers to bring their students as close as they can by piloting a series of virtual field trips to Ohio beef farms this fall.

With just an internet-connected computer, webcam and microphone, Ohio middle school and high school students throughout the state will be virtually transported to Ohio beef farms and connected with real beef farmers for an experience that can’t be found in the classroom or in a book.

“Virtual field trips give students who wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity, to see first-hand how farmers care for their cattle and how food is produced in Ohio,” said Cambell Parrish, director of public relations and consumer marketing for the Ohio Beef Council. “These students are doing more than just learning; they are experiencing what it’s like to be on a beef farm.”

Using live videoconferencing technology, the handful of Ohio cattle farmers participating in the pilot program are virtually opening the barn doors and creating memorable, engaging and positive experiences for students, from the inner city to the most rural areas.

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Livestock Care Standards Board continues to protect Ohio’s animals from farms to fairs

The show ring and the county fair offer great opportunities to showcase many positive things about Ohio agriculture. With this opportunity, though, comes the responsibility of young livestock exhibitors to practice and display ideal animal care standards.

“Animal welfare is definitely something that is very important to me and that picture isn’t always painted properly,” said Kolt Buchenroth, a junior fair exhibitor from Hardin County. “Not everybody comes from that 4-H and FFA environment and has that guidance to properly treat those animals. Even if they don’t, they need that to make sure everything is done properly. Those animals that need help obviously can’t speak for themselves.”

Buchenroth has shown at the Hardin County Fair (taking place this week) and Ohio State Fair in the past, actively helping to educate the public and fellow exhibitors on animal agriculture. Through his many years of working with livestock projects, Buchenroth said he has gained a deeper appreciation for the care and wellbeing of production animals.

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Cattlemen launch media campaign for comprehensive tax reform

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association kicked off a media and advertising campaign that will shine a spotlight on how various federal tax provisions impact America’s cattle and beef producers. The campaign, which will focus heavily on the death tax, aims to build support in Washington for comprehensive tax reform that makes our tax code fair for agricultural producers. The campaign will be centered around a new website, CattlemenForTaxReform.com, and will run through September.

“We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to enact truly comprehensive tax reform, and we can’t afford to let this opportunity pass or to get it wrong,” said Craig Uden, NCBA President and Nebraska cattleman. “Family ranchers and farmers deserve a full and permanent repeal of the onerous death tax, which charges them in cash on the often-inflated appraised value of their property and equipment. This campaign will shine a spotlight on the stories of real ranchers who have had to deal with this issue, and it will also highlight current tax provisions that we need to maintain, such as stepped-up basis, cash accounting, and deducibility of interest payments.”

In addition to the launch of the new website, the campaign kicked off with a two-minute video that will be heavily promoted on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms.

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Grazing to be showcased at Farm Science Review

A new demonstration area has been created at the Gwynne Conservation Area for Farm Science Review that exhibits forage species adapted for grazing all year long.

This summer a 1.1-acre plot that had been planted previously in warm season bunch grasses was converted into a series of different forage varieties designed to help teach management intensive grazing principles so that producers can get closer to a year round grazing program. The acreage was divided into four roughly quarter acre plots and planted with four different forage types including warm season annuals, warm season perennials, cool season perennials, and overwintered stockpiled forage.Throughout the Review, speakers from OSU Extension and NRCS will present on different forage topics while at the demonstration plots. A pasture walk component is included so that producers can get a closer view of the rotations as well as have a chance to ask questions about how they can incorporate these forages and techniques into their grazing and hay making systems.

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Cattlemen’s Gala, Celebration and Fundraiser, raises $27,000 for youth scholarships

The Ohio Cattlemen’s Foundation (OCF) held the first-ever Cattlemen’s Gala Celebration and Fundraiser Saturday, Aug. 26 in the Marysville and Delaware, Ohio areas. The Ohio Cattlemen’s Foundation and Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) coordinated the inaugural events.

The day-long celebration supported the Ohio Cattlemen’s Foundation youth scholarship fund benefiting the next generation of beef industry leaders. The day began with a sporting clays shoot, at Black Wing Shooting Center, featuring individual and team competitions to support the cause, followed by an OCA summer business meeting.

Later that evening, attendees gathered in their boots and hats for dinner, drinks, and dancing in the barn at Leeds Farm in Ostrander, Ohio. Live music from the John D. Hale Band, a nationally known Red Dirt music group from Missouri wrapped up the evening.

Silent and live auctions were also held to support youth scholarships. Thanks to several generous donors, buyers and sponsors, in total the event raised $27,000.

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