Ohio Beef Newletter- good info on breeding

Help Support Steer Planet:


Well-known member
Jan 20, 2007
LaRue, Ohio
HEIFER DEVELOPMENT: Rebreeding - Steve Boyles, OSU Extension Beef Team

Breeding heifers at puberty is usually easier than rebreeding them after their first calf. The greatest portion of females being culled for failure to rebreed are first-calf heifers. The main reason this failure is nutritional stress. First-calf heifers need more energy, protein and minerals after calving than mature cows because they are still growing. Feed analysis will greatly assist in how to feed these females. No supplement may be needed with good quality pasture. However some supplementation may be needed for fall calving or early spring calving heifers on poor quality hay. Ideally, save your best hay for late gestation and early lactation. In all cased a quality mineral-vitamin supplement should be provided.

Early calving heifers have more time to rebreed and have their second calf with the rest of the cow herd. Research has demonstrated that the average interval from calving to first estrus is 49 days in older cows and 67 days in young cows suckling calves.

One of the keys to keeping 1st-calf heifers breeding on time is to minimize, where possible, competition with mature cows.

1. Feed separate from mature cows during 1st and 2nd winters, and 3rd winter if in poor condition
2. Feed to gain 1.5-1.8 lb./day during 1st winter (post-weaning)
3. Feed to gain 0.5 lb./day during 2nd winter when pregnant
4. Be sure that 2 yr. old bred heifers gain 0.5 to 1 lb./day during last 120 days prior to calving

Length of Breeding Season Does Matter - Glenn Selk, Extension Cattle Specialist, Oklahoma State University

A research analysis of 394 ranch observations from the Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico SPA (standardized performance analysis) data set provided insight into the age old argument about "leaving the bull out" or having a defined breeding season. OSU and Texas A&M Agricultural Economists (Parker, et al) presented a paper at the 2004 Southern Association of Agricultural Scientists. They found a positive relationship between number of days of the breeding season and the production cost per hundredweight of calf weaned. Also they reported a negative relationship between number of days of the breeding season and pounds of calf weaned per cow per year.

The data suggested that for each day the breeding season was lengthened, the annual cost of producing a hundred pounds of weaned calf increased by 4.7 cents and pounds of calf weaned per cow per year decreased by 0.158 pounds. The range of breeding seasons in the data set was from extremely short (less than one month) to 365 days or continuous presence of the bull. The trend lines that resulted from the analysis of the data give us an opportunity to evaluate the economic importance of a defined breeding season. The producer that leaves the bull out year-round (365 days) would sell 45.82 fewer pounds of calf per cow per year on the average than producers with a 75 day breeding season. That same producer would have $13.63 greater costs per hundredweight of weaned calf than the producer that used a 75 day breeding season.

Estrus Synchronization and Artificial Insemination Alternatives for Beef Cattle

The management and economic benefits of a sound estrus synchronization and artificial insemination program for beef cattle have been well documented and proven effective many times over the years. The primary question that remains for those who are committed to capturing the benefits of such a breeding program is simply, "which one is best for me?"

As you explore alternative breeding protocols for your herd, be sure to visit the "Library" link on the OSU Beef Team web page and take a look at the "Reproduction/Genetics" links which appear mid way down the "Library" page.

New Eastern Corn Belt Weekly Returns Series for Cattle Finishing - Brian Roe, Associate Professor AED Economics, Ohio State University

In these times of changing feed prices, it has never been as important to thoroughly understand how profitable it is to feed cattle. However, many of the existing series that you find on the web from USDA or extension sources base their cost and return estimates on monthly data and on prices observed in more western locales. Weekly data is preferred to monthly data because it gives you a better feel for how volatile returns can be on a group-by-group basis. And, of course, for those operating in the Eastern Corn Belt, we would prefer to base decisions on local prices.

This month I'll discuss a new weekly series I've calculated and posted on my web page (http://aede.osu.edu/people/roe.30/livehome.htm). The series reflects the average returns to cattle finishing for two different types of finishers. These series borrow from recent work by John Lawrence at Iowa State that use updated budgets for rates of gain, time on feed and updated labor costs. The data reflects feed, fat cattle and feeder pig prices that are reported in the Eastern Corn Belt.

The first series is calculated for finishing 550-pound feeder steers. The feeder steers are priced using the USDA's weekly price series for Kentucky auction markets, which reports prices for cattle in 50-pound weight intervals. I use the average of the midpoint of the price ranges for the 500-550# and the 550-600# feeder steers. I assume these calves face a 2% death loss during their 30 weeks on feed and that they consume 61 bushels of corn, 116 pounds of 48% soybean meal and 0.65 tons of hay. All other costs, including other ration components, vet charges, labor, utilities, facilities, etc. are assumed to cost $121.50. I assume these cattle finish at 1150 pounds with 60% grading Choice 2-3 and the remainder grading Select or low Choice. I use the Eastern Pennsylvania auction prices reported out of Lancaster, PA. I use prices for Toledo corn, central Illinois 48% soybean meal and central Illinois hay (grass hay grading good).

The second series focuses on finishing 750-pound yearling steers to 1250 pounds (65% Choice 2-3 and 35% Select or low Choice). I assume these cattle face a 1% death loss during their 22 weeks on feed and that they consume 63 bushels of corn, 110 pounds of bean meal and 0.35 tons of hay. All other items are assumed to cost $73. Many of these production and cost assumptions are based on recent Iowa State steer budgets. Of course, every producer may face slightly different feed efficiencies, death loss and other costs. Therefore, I've set up the spreadsheet so you can alter one or more of the components for either of these series; this, in turn, changes the entire series of data generated and the resulting summary statistics.

The spreadsheet contains data for feeder steers placed beginning the first week of 2002 through the end of April of 2007. The summary statistics reveal several interesting trends. The seasonal profit pattern for calf finishers show that finishing these cattle during the winter months - December through March - resulted in negative returns during the 2002-2006 time period under the prevailing assumptions. All other months yielded similar, mildly positive returns.

In contract, for those finishing yearlings, these winter months were among the strongest in terms of returns. Indeed, for yearling finishers, only July and August averaged negative returns over these years while every month from October through April represented strong returns.

The spreadsheet also allows a user to input projected weekly prices for feeder steers, fat cattle and feed stuffs over the next several years on the 'weekly data' sheet. This allows a user to generate updated, customized returns series for planning purposes.

Forage Focus: Chemical Weed Control in Pastures - Keith A. Diedrick, Extension Educator, Wayne County

The Problem. Well, it never fails. We go out with the perfect plans and plant the perfect pasture. In seemingly no time at all, undesirable plants find a way to grow with our crop. We used to say back in school that weed science held a lot of job security for us; weeds sprouting up in the wrong places are one of life's certainties (along with death and taxes). The longer our pasture soils remain somewhat undisturbed, the more biennial and perennial weeds we will see. Some weeds are simply annoying, some aggressively crowd out our forages, and some can be downright deadly to our livestock. For this column, let's discuss a couple of the principles of chemical weed control in pastures.

Identification of the Weed and Choice of Control: It sounds like common sense, but when a 2,4-DB application doesn't seem to injure Canada thistle all that much, we ought not be surprised, since Canada thistle isn't even on the 2,4-DB label! Picking the right chemical and rate is very important. As with any herbicide, read the label all the way through. Labels have lists of "labeled crops," "weeds controlled," and "weeds suppressed." Make sure your pasture fits the bill in terms of both crops and weeds. The labeled rates are a good guide to control, and reducing the recommended rate by a large margin may reduce control by an equally large margin. Do your weeds tend to reside in patches? Maybe a spot application of a cheaper, non-selective chemical (like glyphosate) would be preferable to spraying a large area with a more expensive selective chemical, saving time and money, to boot.

Timing of Control: Recently, a plant pathology professor related some great wisdom to me: "if we don't know much about the pest's life, how can we expect to control it? During the pasturing season, I get at least three calls a week about chemical control failures of Canada thistle, and my first question to them (after "what and how much did you use") is "when did you spray it?" If the answer is "July" or "August," that's part of the problem. We're trying to kill a thistle when it's not nearly as susceptible as it is right before and during budding (and that goes for most broadleaf perennial weeds). Larger perennials and biennials are most vulnerable in the fall. Perennial grass weeds are most susceptible to herbicide action from boot to seedhead growth stages. Pick the right time and method, and our control dollars stretch further and are used more effectively.

Grazing Restrictions. Please take note of grazing restrictions that some chemicals might have at specific application rates; that information is contained in the label. If you use two chemicals tank-mixed, use the longer of the two restrictions.

Final Thought. Good grazing and fertility management should accompany any chemical weed control program. Otherwise the same weed problems will soon redevelop.

Editor's Note: This article first appeared in Farm & Dairy's "All About Grazing" column, March 22, 2007.

Alfalfa Recovery from the Spring Frost - Mark Sulc, OSU Extension Forage Specialist

Alfalfa recovery from the late frost has become very apparent this past week. Differences in stand vigor are showing dramatic results. Alfalfa stands with good vigor and productivity last year are recovering beautifully, and are well on their way to producing an excellent first harvest.

In contrast, the alfalfa stands that were weaker and less productive last year showed a much slower recovery. Adding insult to injury is that chickweed and other winter annuals taking hold in those weaker stands after the frost. The chickweed I have seen is already flowering. At this stage, our herbicide options probably are not cost effective. The chickweed should be dying fairly quickly now. I hate to say this, but its probably a grin and bear it situation. Aim for higher quality alfalfa in the summer harvests.

It is advisable to delay first harvest of alfalfa this spring, allowing the crop to develop into the flowering stage to build energy reserves for strong regrowth. This is especially true for the weakest stands, but will also help the stands that are now showing good recovery.

Finally, continue to monitor alfalfa stands for alfalfa weevil feeding. I saw very little evidence of weevil feeding near Springfield, but that may not be true everywhere.

Weekly Roberts Agricultural Commodity Market Report - Mike Roberts, Commodity Marketing Agent, Virginia Tech

LIVE CATTLE on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) finished lower on Monday. The JUNE'07LC contract closed at $91.950/cwt, off $.225/cwt and $2.175/cwt lower than last week at this time. The AUG'07LC contract closed at $90.70/cwt, down $0.175/cwt and $1.900/cwt lower than last Monday's close. Active fund rolling provided most of the volume as futures prices fell amid expectations for lower cash prices for the rest of the week. The market found support in lower corn prices later in the session. The Goldman-Sachs roll began rolling long June positions into August in earnest. This is expected to influence the market for the rest of this week. During the month prior to delivery, index funds roll long positions forward from the fifth to the ninth business day. Estimated volume for rolled contracts was placed between 4,000 and 5,000 lots. Even though cash cattle rebounded late last week and choice box beef was firm on Monday, traders thought cash beef prices may trend lower into the summer months after holiday beef purchases begin to wind down. USDA reported the 5-Area Weekly Weighted price at $96.150/cwt, off $0.14/cwt from last week but $17.850/cwt higher than last year at this time. USDA put the choice beef cutout on Monday at $156.23/cwt, up $0.90/cwt. The cutout value on Friday was the lowest it's been since April 3. According to HedgersEdge.com, the average beef plant margin for Monday was a negative $18.65/head, $0.05/head better than last Friday but $9.60/head worse than last week at this time. Cash sellers are strongly encouraged to cattle sold this week. It might also be wise to price a little more corn again this week.

FEEDER CATTLE at the CME finished up on Monday. The MAY'07 contract closed at $107.50/cwt, up $0.350/cwt but $2.050/cwt lower than last Monday. The AUG'07 contract was again the most active closing at $109.750/cwt, up $0.475/cwt but $3.100/cwt lower than a week ago. Higher feeder prices were supported by the downturn in CBOT corn futures along with fund buying and strong cash feeder markets. Producers are buying more feeders to put on improved pastures in the Southwest. Feeders were also firmer in the Oklahoma City feeder auction. The CME Feeder Cattle Index for May 3 was down $0.01/cwt at $107.07/cwt. Cash sellers should be a little slow to sell feeders if you have the pasture. It looks like it will pay off with a premium for heavier feeders in the coming weeks. If you feed any corn, it also might be a good idea for you to price more corn now.


Latest posts