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Thursday, June 20, 2019
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The Farm and Ranch Report

Wheat Demonstration Plot Tour Slated

The public is invited to a wheat plot demonstration tour on Thursday, May 9 at 10 am. The plot is located on the Larry and Amyx James Farm. Directions are as follows:

  • Go west of Waurika on Hwy. 70 to the Waurika Cemetery
  • Go 6 miles south on N2780 Rd (“Noble Wray Rd.”)
  • Go 1.7 miles west on E2030 Rd.

The intent of the demonstration was to evaluate the effects of lime and phosphorus on wheat forage yields and, more specifically, to compare broadcast phosphorus applications with phosphorus banded in the seed row. In theory, because phosphorus is not mobile in the soil profile and because seed-row banded phosphorus can be a substitute for liming (in low pH soils), we wanted to determine if we can increase forage yields and reduce input costs by banding phosphorus in the seed-row, as opposed to applying lime and broadcasting phosphorus.

Brian Arnall, OSU State Extension Precision Nutrient Specialist, and Heath Sanders, OSU Extension Area Agronomist will be on hand to discuss the demonstration protocols and results, as well as to answer questions.

The tour will conclude by noon. All are invited, and bring a neighbor!

Calculating the pros and cons of Creep Feeding

Feed conversions of calves fed creep feeds have been quite variable to say the least.  Conversions of 5:1 or 5 pounds of grain consumed to 1 extra pound of calf weight are very rare and the optimum that can be expected when producers are using a “typical” high energy creep feed. Conversions may get as poor as 15:1 (or worse) in some situations. Therefore, it is obvious that several factors come in to play to determine the amount of creep feed that is consumed for each additional pound of gain.

Cows that give large amounts of milk to their calves will provide enough protein and energy to meet the growth potential of their calves. In that scenario, it is reasonable to assume that the feed conversion from creep feeding could be quite poor (10:1 or worse). If, however, the milk production of the cows is limited for any reason, then the added energy and protein from the creep feed provides needed nutrients to allow calves to reach closer to their genetic maximum capability for growth. Calves from poor milking cows may convert the creep feed at a rate of about 7 pounds of feed for each pound of additional calf weight. Poor milking can be a result of genetically low milk production or restricted nutritional status. Nutritional restriction due to drought situations often adversely affects milk production and therefore calf weaning weights. 

Shortened hay supplies and reduced standing forage due to drought or severe winter weather often set the stage for the best results from creep feeding. These feed conversion ratios become important when making the decision to buy and put out creep feed for spring born calves. As you are calculating the cost of creep feeds, remember to include the depreciation cost of the feeders and the delivery of the feed. Then of course, it is important to compare that cost of creep feeding to the realistic “value of added gain”.  

To calculate the value of added gain, determine the actual per head price of the calf after the added weight gain (due to the creep feed). Then subtract the price per head of the calf if it was sold at the lighter weight (not fed creep feed). Divide the difference in dollars by the amount of added weight. Although 500-pound steer calves may bring $1.80/lb at the market, and a 550-pound steer brings $1.71/lb, the value of added gain is about 80 cents per pound. Therefore, the estimated creep feeding cost per pound of added gain must be less than 80 cents for the practice to be projected to be profitable

Different ranching operations will come to different conclusions about the value of creep feeding. In fact, different conclusions may apply to different groups of cows within the same herd. Creep feeding may be more beneficial to calves from thin, young cows and less efficient to calves reared by mature cows that are in better body condition and producing more milk.

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Find out what is happening in OSU Extension at https://calendar.okstate.edu/oces/

Oklahoma State University, in compliance with Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Executive Order 11246 as amended, and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Higher Education Act), the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and other federal and state laws and regulations, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, genetic information, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, or status as a veteran, in any of its policies, practices or procedures.  This provision includes, but is not limited to admissions, employment, financial aid, and educational services. The Director of Equal Opportunity, 408 Whitehurst, OSU, Stillwater, OK 74078-1035; Phone 405-744-5371; email: eeo@okstate.edu has been designated to handle inquiries regarding non-discrimination policies.  Any person who believes that discriminatory practices have been engaged in based on gender may discuss his or her concerns and file informal or formal complaints of possible violations of Title IX with OSU’s Title IX Coordinator 405-744-9154.

The Political Polarization of Meat

This is a venture outside the normal “technical” or “management” theme of this column, but I found the following blog by Jason Lusk, Food and Agricultural Economist, former Professor of Agricultural Economics at Oklahoma State University, and current Department Head for Agricultural Economics at Purdue University, particularly interesting within the context of how political subscription may influence beef demand in the future. I am sharing it in its entirety.

“There is growing criticism of meat production industries in popular culture and mainstream media. Examples include the recent release of the EAT-Lancet report, the World Health Organization pronouncement on red meat and cancer, the proposed Green New Deal and “farting cows,” and much more. The result is an increasing number of news stories linking beef consumption with climate change and other adverse environmental impacts. As shown in this report (co-authored by Glynn Tonsor, Ted Schroeder, and myself), the number of news stories mentioning beef and climate change increased almost 800% since the early 2000s.    

Here’s the thing. We know climate change is a politically polarized issue. Might linking beef and meat consumption to a politically polarized issue in turn cause meat consumption itself to become politically polarized? As I’ve shown in previous posts (e.g., see here or here), self defined political ideology (on a scale of very liberal to very conservative) is one of the strongest predictions of whether someone says they are a vegetarian or vegan.

To investigate this issue, I turned to the body of work that referred to as the Cultural Cognition Project that is most associated with Dan Kahan at Yale. The basic idea is that individuals conform their beliefs about disputed matters of fact to values that define their cultural identities (or match their tribe). In one of the most interesting demonstrations of this concept, Kahan shows that the likelihood of agreeing with the statement “There is solid evidence of recent global warming due mostly to human activity such as burning fossil fuels” is increasing in a person’s measured scientific intelligence (essentially a score on a science quiz) but only for people who identify as liberal democrats. For people who identify as conservative republicans, higher scientific intelligence is associated with a reduced likelihood of agreeing with the above sentence. The result is that (unlike what we’d expect if “more education” was the answer), the greatest disagreements are among the most scientifically literate but of opposite political parties. One take home message from these sorts of findings is that the smarter you are, the easier it is to fool yourself.

Ok, back to meat. As readers of this blog likely know, I ran the Food Demand Survey (FooDS), which surveyed 1,000 consumers every month (different samples of consumers were drawn every month) for five years. On the survey, we asked every respondent to answer 9 simulated shopping questions in which they choose between two beef, two pork, two chicken, and two vegetarian meal options at different prices (or a “I wouldn’t buy any of these” option). These data can be used to construct a very simple measure of demand, in which we simply count the number of times (across the nine choices) beef or any meat product was chosen (see this post for some discussion on these data). For reference beef (either ground beef or steak) was chosen about 2.2 times on average across the nine choices and any meat option was chosen a bit less than 7 times on average across the nine choices. (One important note is that despite all the negative news about beef alluded to at the beginning of this post, we do not find overall downward trends in beef demand in recent years; this is also consistent with Tonsor’s demand indices).

The question is how these measures of demand relate to political ideology and education (I use education because, unlike Kahan, I did not ask a scientific intelligence quiz on my surveys). I estimated equations that relate beef or overall meat demand to an extensive set of demographics (age, income, gender, region of residence, household size, etc.), political ideology (I asked both a party affiliation question and a very liberal to very conservative scale from which I create two groups: liberal democrats and conservative republicans), education, a time trend, and interactions between the last three sets of variables. The sample size is about 60,000 observations.

Below is a graphical illustration of the results for beef. Beef demand is higher for conservative republicans than liberal democrats (holding constant all other demographic factors), and this demand gap grows with education. Liberal democrats reduce their demand for beef as their education increases, but for conservative republicans, beef demand is essentially flat across education levels. The other interesting result, shown in the bottom panel, is that beef demand is becoming increasingly politically polarized over time. The beef demand gap between the average conservative republican and liberal democrat is increasing over time.

Below is the same analysis for overall meat demand (beef + pork + chicken). The results here are even stronger. There is very little partisan gap among lower educated liberals and conservatives, but a large gap in meat demand among liberal democrats and conservative republicans who have a graduate degree. The gap results mainly from liberal democrats reducing meat demand as education increases. Again, the partisan gap is growing over time.

What does all this mean? Unfortunately, I suspect it implies conversations about the meat consumption will become more difficult and tumultuous in the coming years. It may also mean that disagreements about the impacts of meat consumption on the environment and health are less likely to be “settled” by science because they are becoming wrapped up in people’s cultural values and tribe identities. Fortunately, there are a number of resources provided via the Cultural Cognition Project that provide insights about effective communication in this polarized world.”

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Find out what is happening in OSU Extension at https://calendar.okstate.edu/oces/

Oklahoma State University, in compliance with Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Executive Order 11246 as amended, and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Higher Education Act), the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and other federal and state laws and regulations, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, genetic information, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, or status as a veteran, in any of its policies, practices or procedures.  This provision includes, but is not limited to admissions, employment, financial aid, and educational services. The Director of Equal Opportunity, 408 Whitehurst, OSU, Stillwater, OK 74078-1035; Phone 405-744-5371; email: eeo@okstate.edu has been designated to handle inquiries regarding non-discrimination policies.  Any person who believes that discriminatory practices have been engaged in based on gender may discuss his or her concerns and file informal or formal complaints of possible violations of Title IX with OSU’s Title IX Coordinator 405-744-9154.

Register Now for May 30-31 Ranch Tour! . . .

Beef cattle producers in Oklahoma will have the opportunity to learn first-hand more about their industry by attending the 2018 Master Cattleman Ranch Tour on May 30 and 31. Any cattle producer may register and learn from some of the state’s master cattlemen and cattlewomen. The cost of the tour is only $30 and is presented by OSU Animal Science Department and the Carter/Jefferson County OSU Extension Offices.. 

This is a unique opportunity to see some very progressive, scenic, and historic beef cattle ranches of south-central Oklahoma.You will appreciate the environmental and ecological diversity that will be on display from ranch-to-ranch. Although the focus is on beef cattle production, including cow/calf, stocker, purebred seedstock, and backgrounding operations, it will also be an opportunity to see, up close and personal, some of the issues in this region of the state regarding invasive species (Eastern red cedar), groundwater/surface water resources (Arbuckle-Simpson Aquifer), and some very challenging landscape to implement control measures.

The ranches range in size from about 10,000 to 35,000 acres. There will be some interesting contrasts of vertical and horizontal integration, genetic selection, stocker health management, fall vs. spring calving seasons, winter feeding strategies, native range management, and the use of Rx fire to enhance animal performance, as well as controlling brush.

Please find the linked flier on the upcoming Master Cattleman Ranch Tour, presented by the OSU Animal Science Department and the Carter/Jefferson County OSU Extension Offices. For details about the seven ranches to be visited and key topics discussed, click on the link below to a flier that gives more important information about the tour:  http://beefextension.com/temp_files/2018MasterCattlemanRanchTour.pdf. In addition, there is an online registration link, that it will be limited to the first 100 registrants. Registration Link: http://www.ansi.okstate.edu/marketplace. Register now, don’t delay.

Sign up for the ranch tour now!

Cattle producers in south-central Oklahoma should register now to take part in the May 30-31 Master Cattleman Ranch Tour, which will visit area ranches ranging in size from 10,000 to 35,000 acres. Ttour participants will see interesting contrasts of vertical and horizontal integration, genetic selection, stocker health management, fall versus spring calving seasons, wintertime feeding strategies, native range management and the use of Rx fire to enhance animal performance, as well as controlling brush.

Although the focus is on beef cattle production – including cow-calf, stocker, purebred seedstock and backgrounding operations – the tour also is an opportunity to see and discuss some of the issues in this region regarding invasive plant species, groundwater and surface water resources such as the Arbuckle-Simpson Aquifer, and landscape requiring management measures that can be challenging to implement.

Participants are asked to register no later than May 23. Cost is $30 per participant. Online registration is available at http://www.ansi.okstate.edu/marketplace through the OSU Department of Animal Science.

On May 30, the vans will depart at 12:15 p.m. from the Ardmore Convention Center, located at 2401 Rockford Rd. and travel to the Chuckwagon Barbecue Restaurant, located at 101 Hargrove St. and State Highway 7 in Velma, prior to continuing on to the first ranch site.

 Out of respect to our gracious ranch hosts and in the interest of logistics, we ask participants to ride in the vans provided. If you must caravan in your own vehicle, please drive a pickup able to handle the terrain and carpool as much as possible.

The vans will return to the Ardmore Convention Center at approximately 8 p.m. The second day of the tour will kick off at 8 a.m. and finish early in the afternoon of May 31.

Ranch sites on the tour include Sugar Loaf Ranch in Velma, Sparks Ranch in Hennepin, Coffey Ranch in Davis, Daube Ranch in Ardmore, Eddie Parker Angus Ranch in Waurika, Wilson Cattle Company in Ringling and Howard Cattle Company in Claypool.

Anyone interested in obtaining additional information about the tour should contact me by email at leland.mcdaniel@okstate.edu or by phone at either 580-223-6570 or 580-228-2332.

Pesticide Applicator Testing Session Offered

The Oklahoma Department of Agriculture Food and Forestry will offer a local testing session, at the Carter County OSU Extension Office, on Tuesday, November 20. They will have tests available for all the pesticide applicator categories, so anyone needing to certify for the first time or recertify can be accommodated. Of particular interest are the categories that licenses expire this year (December 31), and thus must be recertified are:

1a – Agricultural Plant

A – Aerial

7b – Structural

10 – Demonstration & Research

Private Applicator

Applicator certification requires the successful completion of at least two examinations: The “Core” exam, consisting of knowledge required in all categories of certification; and the category exam itself. Those who are recertifying need only to take the category exam. A few of the categories require completion of a practical examination in conjunction with the Core and category exams for certification in that particular category.

Core exam – Focuses on equipment, safety, laws, and other knowledge pertaining to all categories. All persons wishing to become certified applicators must pass this exam in addition to the category exam(s).

Category exam – Written exam to be taken (along with the Core exam) by those wishing to become certified in that particular category.

Practical exam- The following categories require a practical examination in addition to the Core and the written exam.  These exams are performed at OSU in Stillwater:

(7A)- General Pest

(7B)- Structural Pest/Termite

(7C)- Fumigation

The practical exam must be taken within twelve (12) months of passing the written examination.  Failure to pass the practical within this period of time will require retaking the written exam.

Service Technician exam – To be taken by anyone wishing to qualify as a service technician.  The Core exam is not required to become a service technician. 

No appointment is necessary for any regularly scheduled test session. Applicants are required to provide some type of photo identification (e.g., a valid driver’s license) showing their name and identification number. Pencils and paper are provided for applicants at the testing sites. Applicants may use a hand-held calculator as long as the print-out tape is not used. An applicant must attain a satisfactory score (70% or above) to pass any written exam. 

After all the necessary examinations have been successfully completed, the certified applicator will be issued a certification card. This certification card is not a license to do pesticide applicator work; a pesticide applicator license must be obtained by any certified applicator wishing to do pesticide applicator work (commercial, non-commercial or consultant) or must be obtained by his/her employer.

A service technician shall be issued an identification card upon satisfactory completion of the service technician examination. 

Testing fees are $50 per exam. Those individuals who are certifying for the first time will pay $50 for the Core Exam and $50 for each category exam or $50 for Service Technicians. Those who are recertifying will pay $50 for the Category Exams only. 

Private Applicators should be advised that, although all current licenses expire this year, you need not to attend this testing session, as your exam is a take-home, open-book exam. The licenses are renewed on 5-year rotations so, if you recertify now, your license will be valid through December 31, 2023. You should also be aware that, as of now, the Private Applicator test is still a take-home exam but there is a discussion of making it a proctored exam in the future, meaning that you will have to attend a testing session and complete a closed-book exam.

The testing site, Carter County OSU Extension Office, is located at 25 A St. NW Ave., Suite 200. Our entrance is located next to the Election Board, at the new Carter County Administration building, formerly the Noble Energy building. You may park on the north side of the complex, on Broadway Ave., either in the lot on the east side of the Ardmoreite Building or the lot across the street (south) of the Ardmoreite Building. You will then need to walk around to the south side of the office complex to our entrance.

Find out what’s happening on the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Calendar at https://calendar.okstate.edu/oces/#/?i=2

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Oklahoma State University, in compliance with Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Executive Order 11246 as amended, and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Higher Education Act), the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and other federal and state laws and regulations, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, genetic information, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, or status as a veteran, in any of its policies, practices or procedures. This provision includes, but is not limited to admissions, employment, financial aid, and educational services. The Director of Equal Opportunity, 408 Whitehurst, OSU, Stillwater, OK 74078-1035; Phone 405-744-5371; email: eeo@okstate.edu has been designated to handle inquiries regarding non-discrimination policies.  Any person who believes that discriminatory practices have been engaged in based on gender may discuss his or her concerns and file informal or formal complaints of possible violations of Title IX with OSU’s Title IX Coordinator 405-744-9154.

OSU Extension Open House Draws Crowd

It was a way to show their appreciation.

The Jefferson County OSU Extension Office served chili dogs, soft drinks and cake. There were also prizes awarded.

See the video here….

Skid Steer Brush Control Considerations . . .

 With the recent increase in the popularity of skid steer attachments for brush removal, OSU has also seen an increase in the prevalence of questions related to chemically controlling re-sprouts that occur after the removal operation. While these pieces of equipment make the job easier, unfortunately, if used alone they also reduce the effectiveness of foliar herbicide applications on re-sprouting brush species in the near future.

While species such as Eastern redcedar can be fully controlled by cutting them below their green limbs, some species of trees will regrow from buds present on the crown or root. Examples of crown budding species are oak, hickory, elm and Osage orange, while commonly encountered root budding species are honey locust and persimmon. This indicates that while clipping these trees will temporarily remove them from the landscape, they will also re-sprout from existing rootstock and return in the very near future.

The shoots mirror the roots

In general agronomy terms, the shoots (aboveground plant portion) of an unmolested plant typically have similar mass to the roots. This basic of plant physiology allows for efficient uptake of foliar applied herbicides and subsequent translocation to the root system, achieving desired long-term control.

However, if we remove the top growth of a re-sprouting species, the ratio of leaf surface area in relation to root mass has been reduced drastically and sufficient root kill through a foliar application of herbicide is likely impossible. In addition, there is a disproportionately large root system now supplying the small “sprout” with all the elements needed for fast regrowth in the short term ( See Figure 1 below).

Over the next few years, although the re-sprout continues to grow extremely fast, the photosynthesis occurring in the leaves is insufficient to supply the energy needed by the large root mass and therefore a portion of the root system dies back to a sustainable level for the plant. It is at this point when foliar herbicide applications become an option on the table once more.

  For this reason, dealing with root or crown sprouting species necessitates these options in decreasing order of preference (combination of control level, time and economics):

1. Apply chemical to the freshly cut stump of re-sprouting tree species.

a. Usually mixed with fuel oil, apply within 30 minutes of cutting.

2. Use an approved product/method to control trees prior to mechanical removal.

a. This could include foliar sprays or basal treatments.

3. Apply a post-harvest soil active herbicide labeled for the offending species.

a. Relies on root uptake and therefore rainfall, not reliable on clay soils.

4. Allow at least 3-4 years of regrowth before using a foliar spray application.

a. Allows time for increased leaf area and decreased root mass.

5. Spray a broadcast treatment option for 2-3 years in a row on re-sprouts.

a. While effective, this method is costly.

So, if you’re contemplating using a skid steer for mechanical tree removal, they are a great option. However, remember to consider the growth habit of the tree species at hand before firing up. Identify what species are present and if they are notorious for re-sprouting. Determine the proper and least cost herbicide treatment for consistent root control. Some tree saw/shear options come with an onboard herbicide reservoir and pump, allowing you to treat the cut stump from the cab. (Source: Brian Pugh, OSU Extension Area Agronomist; June 2018 Timely Topics)

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Find out what is happening in OSU Extension at https://calendar.okstate.edu/oces/

Oklahoma State University, in compliance with Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Executive Order 11246 as amended, and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Higher Education Act), the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and other federal and state laws and regulations, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, genetic information, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, or status as a veteran, in any of its policies, practices or procedures.  This provision includes, but is not limited to admissions, employment, financial aid, and educational services. The Director of Equal Opportunity, 408 Whitehurst, OSU, Stillwater, OK 74078-1035; Phone 405-744-5371; email: eeo@okstate.edu has been designated to handle inquiries regarding non-discrimination policies.  Any person who believes that discriminatory practices have been engaged in based on gender may discuss his or her concerns and file informal or formal complaints of possible violations of Title IX with OSU’s Title IX Coordinator 405-744-9154.

How Dressing Affects Cull Cow Values . . .

 Last week’s column, we discussed cull cow grades. Remember cull cows that are destined to go to the packing house are graded by their fleshiness. The fattest cows are called “Breakers”.  Moderately fleshed cows are “Boning utility”. Thin cows are called “Leans” or “Lights”, depending upon the weight of the cow. There will be price differences among these four grades. 

However, within each grade, large variation in prices per hundredweight will exist because of differences in dressing percentage. Cow buyers are particularly aware of the proportion of the purchased live weight that eventually becomes saleable product hanging on the rail. Dressing percentage is (mathematically) the carcass weight divided by the live weight multiplied by 100. For instance, a cow with a 1,400 lb. live weight and a “hot carcass” weight (once they have been eviscerated, and the hide, feet, and head removed) of 650 lbs. has a Dressing Percent of 46% (650/1400 = .4642 x 100 = 46%)

Key factors that affect dressing percentage include gut fill, udder size, mud and manure on the hide, excess leather on the body, and anything else that contributes to the live weight but will not add to the carcass weight. Obviously, pregnancy will dramatically lower dressing percentage due the weight of the fetus, fluids, and membranes that will not be on the hanging carcass. Most USDA Market News reports for cull cows will give price ranges for High, Average, and Low Dressing Percentages for each of the previous mentioned grades. As you study these price reports, note that the differences between High and Low Dressing cows and bulls will generally be greater than differences between grades. Many reports will indicate that Low Dressing cows will be discounted up to $8 to $12 per hundredweight compared to High Dressing cows and will be discounted $5 to $7 per hundredweight compared to Average Dressing cows. These price differences are “usually” widest for the thinner cow grades (Leans and Lights). See examples from last week’s sale in the Oklahoma City National Stockyards: http://www.ams.usda.gov/mnreports/ko_ls151.txt

As producers market cull cows and bulls, they should be cautious about selling cattle with excess fill. The large discounts due to low dressing percent often will more than offset any advantage from the added weight. They should also be cautious about selling old, “broke mouth” or “smooth mouth” cows that are pregnant but not likely to be purchased by someone intending to take them to grass.

Cull cow prices are typically lowest in the fall, as many producers sell cull cows immediately after weaning. The cull cow market exhibits consistent seasonality across years, as evident in the graph below, where prices in March and April are approximately 15 index points higher than prices in October and November. Though the market price levels have seen unusual increases in more recent years, the seasonal pattern has persisted. This seasonality offers opportunities to deviate from traditional fall marketing of cull cows and potentially increasing salvage value by retaining cows into the spring months to market during seasonal high prices (Feuz 2010; Peel and Meyer 2002; Yager, Greer and Burt 1980). Many factors influence this decision, including individual cow health, potential weight gain, cash flow needs, on-farm resources for retention and feeding, current market conditions versus market expectations and time. In addition to feed costs, the decision to retain cull cows requires more labor and management time, including feeding cows, separating culls for possible rebreeding and pregnancy checking. Facilities and pasture availability are important considerations as well, since cull cows on feed are likely managed as a group separately from the breeding herd. Not considered here is the fact that retaining cull cows utilizes forage resources that might be used for another cattle enterprise, either more brood cows or stocker cattle. On the other hand, feeding culled cows may be a good way to capture the value of excess or leftover pasture or hay that may not otherwise get utilized or have a better use. Ultimately, the marketing decision has implications for the individual cow’s salvage value and the producer’s bottom line.

 Seasonal Price Index for Utility (Slaughter) Cows, Southern Plains, 2004-2013. Data Source: USDA-AMS, Compiled & Analysis by LMIC Livestock Marketing Information Center.      

Find out what’s happening on the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Calendar at https://calendar.okstate.edu/oces/#/?i=2

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Oklahoma State University, in compliance with Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Executive Order 11246 as amended, and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Higher Education Act), the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and other federal and state laws and regulations, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, genetic information, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, or status as a veteran, in any of its policies, practices or procedures. This provision includes, but is not limited to admissions, employment, financial aid, and educational services. The Director of Equal Opportunity, 408 Whitehurst, OSU, Stillwater, OK 74078-1035; Phone 405-744-5371; email: eeo@okstate.edu has been designated to handle inquiries regarding non-discrimination policies.  Any person who believes that discriminatory practices have been engaged in based on gender may discuss his or her concerns and file informal or formal complaints of possible violations of Title IX with OSU’s Title IX Coordinator 405-744-9154.

Key Factors Affecting the Percentage of Cows Cycling at the Start of Breeding . . .

 The spring breeding season is upon us. May 1 is often the bull turnout date for many Oklahoma herds.  Cows that are cycling early in the breeding season are more likely to get bred this year, raise a heavier calf at weaning, and rebreed on time in future years.  

The most important factors that determine if, and when, a cow returns to cycling activity were analyzed by Kansas State University physiologists. Over a period of 7 years, Kansas State scientists used more than 3000 beef cows in estrous synchronization studies. As a part of these studies they determined which cows were cycling before the start of the breeding season both before and after synchronization treatments. They then looked at the previous data about each cow and determined the major factors that influenced the likelihood that she would have returned to heat by the start of the breeding season. The research indicated that three main factors were the most important determinants as to whether the cow would recycle before the breeding season began. Body condition, age of the cow, and the number of days since calving were the biggest influences on incidence of cycling activity before breeding. 

Body condition: Cows ranged in body condition score from 1 (extremely emaciated) to 7 (very fleshy). As body condition score increased the percentage of cows cycling increased in a linear fashion. The Kansas data reported that there was an 18% increase in percentage cycling for every 1 full condition score improvement. 

Age of the cow: The percentage of first calf two-year-olds cycling was about 10% less than mature cows that were having at least their second calf. The extra nutrient requirement for growth clearly limits the cycling activity at the beginning of the breeding season of two-year-olds. Also, two-year-olds are in the stage of life where the baby teeth are being replaced by permanent teeth. Some of these young cows have problems consuming roughage similar to “broken-mouth” older cows. This explains why many producers choose to breed replacement heifers ahead of the cow herd and therefore give them more days before the breeding season begins for mature cows.

Numbers of days since calving: Cycling activity was also influenced by the number of days since calving. For every 10 day interval since calving (from less than 50 days to 70 days) the percentage cycling increased by 7.5%. A short calving season is important because it allows a higher percentage of cows to be cycling by the start of the next breeding season.

Find out what’s happening on the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Calendar at https://calendar.okstate.edu/oces/#/?i=2

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Oklahoma State University, in compliance with Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Executive Order 11246 as amended, and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Higher Education Act), the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and other federal and state laws and regulations, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, genetic information, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, or status as a veteran, in any of its policies, practices or procedures. This provision includes, but is not limited to admissions, employment, financial aid, and educational services. The Director of Equal Opportunity, 408 Whitehurst, OSU, Stillwater, OK 74078-1035; Phone 405-744-5371; email: eeo@okstate.edu has been designated to handle inquiries regarding non-discrimination policies.  Any person who believes that discriminatory practices have been engaged in based on gender may discuss his or her concerns and file informal or formal complaints of possible violations of Title IX with OSU’s Title IX Coordinator 405-744-9154.

Plan now for OQBN Pre-Conditioned Feeder Sales . . .

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In recent weeks, I discussed the consistent premiums that have been paid for calves consigned to the OQBN sales over the last 12 years. Oklahoma Quality Beef Network (OQBN) sales provide an opportunity for cattle producers to add value to 2018 calves. Weaning dates are fast approaching for fall sales.

For more information on OQBN sales; vac-45 protocol; enrollment and certification process and forms; and sale representatives, visit http://oqbn.okstate.edu/ .    

 

Below is a summary of 2018/2019 OQBN sales, locations and corresponding weaning dates.

Sale Date         Location                               Weaning Date

                        Oct. 25            Woodward                              Sep. 10

                        Nov. 6             OKC West, El Reno                   Sep. 22

                        Nov. 7             Cherokee                                 Sep. 23

                        Nov. 13           McAlester                               Sep. 29

                        Nov. 17           Blackwell                                Oct. 3

                        Nov. 29           Woodward                              Oct. 15

                        Dec. 4              OKC West, El Reno               Oct. 20

                        Feb. 19            McAlester                               Jan. 5

                        Apr. 16            McAlester                               Mar. 2

                        Jun. 11             McAlester                               Apr. 27

   

 Feeding weaned calves during a pre-conditioning program

Spring born calves have already been, or soon will be weaned to meet the 45-day requirement for value-added calf sales. A minimum of a 45-day weaning period is recommended to maximize the benefits of pre-conditioning. See the list of sale dates and appropriate weaning dates in the previous article. A balanced nutrition program during this period is critical to ensure profitability for the cow/calf producer and maximum immune system function during the stressful weaning period and later production phases.

Calves targeted for a VAC-45 sale (i.e. Oklahoma Quality Beef Network) should gain 1.5 to 2 pounds per head per day from weaning to marketing to greatly enhance the likelihood of profitability of the pre-conditioning program. Research has repeatedly shown that calves that begin eating soon after shipping or weaning will have reduced health issues and certainly gain weight more quickly and consistently. Low stress “fenceline weaning” has been shown to help calves start to eat sooner and begin weight gain more quickly than calves that are weaned away from the cows.

Providing a high quality ration that meets the nutritional needs of the young calves can be accomplished in a number of ways. Producers should download a copy of the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Fact sheet ANSI-3031 to obtain several rations to be mixed for weaned calves. Rations are available for very young, lightweight calves as well as for 7 to 8 month old traditional 400 – 600 pound weaned calves. Some rations will include by-product feeds such as wheat-mids and dried corn distillers’ grains if these are available at a competitive price. The Fact sheet will also discuss other management tips for early weaning, traditional weaning, and receiving shipped-in stocker calves. The URL for this important fact sheet is http://pods.dasnr.okstate.edu/docushare/dsweb/Get/Document-1957/ANSI-3031web.pdf

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