A Publication of:

OSU Extension - Fairfield County

831 College Ave., Suite D, Lancaster, OH 43130

and the

OSU Extension BEEF Team

BEEF Cattle questions may be directed to the OSU Extension BEEF Team through Stephen Boyles or Stan Smith, Editor

You may subscribe to the weekly Ohio BEEF Cattle letter by sending an e-mail to smith.263@osu.edu

Previous issues of the BEEF Cattle letter

Issue # 696

July 21, 2010

A Shift in the OSF Steak Barn: More Than Just Serving a Sandwich - Stan Smith, Fairfield County PA, OSU Extension

The free market system will ultimately have a significant voice in how our farm animals are managed . . . the bottom line is that our clientele wants to know more about the food we are producing. Those words were shared in this publication last week by John Grimes as he discussed the recent agreement between Ohio's Ag leaders and HSUS. Whether we like it or not, it's the reality of the environment we presently live in. As we consider how best to share with consumers our story regarding the daily care and production of livestock, perhaps one of the best opportunities we have begins next week during the Ohio State Fair.

Ohio's livestock producers, their spouses, 4-H and FFA youth, and livestock "industry" people once again have the opportunity to promote their product by working at their respective food stands from July 27 through August 8 in the Ohio State Fair Food Pavilion. In addition, some commodity groups have additional food stands out on the grounds like the Buckeye Steak Barn located near the Voinovich Livestock Center.

Over the years, all who have ever participated in one of these food stands have agreed that this is an enjoyable experience, which, more importantly, does a great job of promoting their respective industry's product. If you don't believe in the value of "promoting your own product," then spending a few hours at one of these stands serving "Buckeye" ribeyes, "butterfly" porkchops, or one of several other Ohio produced entre's will change your mind!

As an example of what can happen at an Ohio commodity food stand at the Ohio State Fair, each year more than 400 volunteers sell over 6 tons of beef through the Steak Barn and the Food Pavilion! Every day of the fair, the consumers of these beef products have the unique opportunity to meet the people who actually had a hand in producing the product that they were enjoying.

Years ago, innovative merchandisers such as Colonel Sanders, Bob Evans, and Orvil Reddenbacher discovered the benefit of associating the face of the producer to the product that was being marketed. The same benefits are evident at "commodity" food stands located at a place like the Ohio State Fair. It can only add to consumer confidence in a product when they know producers and their families are willing to "show their face" at the point of consumption.

While it's evident that many people are repeat customers from years past, it's also obvious that there are several customers who may be enjoying a particular entre' or type of Ohio produced ag commodity for the first time. An afternoon at work in the Ohio State Fair Food Pavilion or Buckeye Steak Barn are certainly an "education" for all involved! Don't miss the opportunity to participate and begin sharing your story as a producer with your consumer. Contact Stephanie Sindel at the Ohio Cattlemen's Association office (614.873.6736 or ssindel@ohiobeef.org) and ask how you or your county cattleman's group, 4-H Club, FFA Chapter, breed association, or your neighboring cattlemen can participate.

And, don't forget, if you don't have a chance to work a shift this year, while you're visiting you'll still find the best sandwich on the grounds in the Ohio Cattleman's Steak Barn or in their AIR CONDITIONED location in the Food Pavilion. If you attend the Fair on Tuesday, July 27, be sure and stop by and say hello to members of the OSU Extension Beef Team who will be working the second shift beginning at 2:30 in the Steak Barn.

I doubt we'll publish an Ohio BEEF Cattle letter next week . . . see you at the Fair!

Forage Focus: Cattle Grazing, Make Plans Now For Fall & Winter Pastures - Dr. John Jennings, Professor, University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service

'Tis the season to start planning for fall and winter pastures. Really? Even though this is the middle of summer hay harvest, hay feeding season will arrive before you know it. Economically, the later hay feeding season begins, the better. Hay production costs are around $25 per bale (4x5 round bale). So when you are harvesting hay, make sure the forage quality of the hay is worthy of that expense. Every day of hay feeding costs about $1.20 to $1.50 per cow. Grazing stockpiled forage during fall and winter is much less expensive.

Arkansas producers using stockpiled forages saved an average of $20/animal unit compared to feeding hay in demonstrations including over 100 farms. Bermudagrass and bahiagrass can be stockpiled for grazing from October into December, and fescue can be stockpiled for grazing from December through February. Forage quality of stockpiled bermudagrass pasture can be 15 to 20 percent crude protein in October and November, even after frost. Stockpiled fescue can be over 20 percent crude protein in December.

At this point, you might be thinking, "This is summer, so why worry about fall and winter pastures now?" Well, the simple answer is that pasture plans need to be made the season before that grass will be growing, or maybe earlier. Plans need to be made by August 1 to get the pastures in the right condition and practices in place to help ensure good fall forage growth.

The steps for growing a good stockpiled pasture are simple but important. For stockpiling bermudagrass or bahiagrass, clip or graze the pasture to a 2- to 3-inch height in early August and then apply 50 to 60 pounds N per acre. Let the forage grow until mid- or late October before grazing. Waiting until September to apply fertilizer can reduce potential forage yield by 60 to 80 percent, so don't delay fertilizer application.

For stockpiling fescue, clip or graze the pasture to a 3- to 4-inch height by September 1 and apply 50 to 60 pounds N per acre in early September. Let the forage grow until December before grazing. Waiting until October to fertilize for stockpiled fescue can dramatically reduce yield potential. In one trial, October-fertilized fescue produced the same yield as the unfertilized check treatment. Typical stockpiled forage yields average about 2,000 pounds dry matter per acre but ranges from 1,200 pounds to over 6,000 pounds and varies by the amount of rainfall.

Brushhogging pastures intended for stockpiling is okay if the grass is mowed short enough. Typically, the stubble after brushhogging is left 6 to 8 inches tall, and much of the old summer forage residue is left standing. New stockpiled growth comes up around this old stubble, but in many demonstrations, cattle refused the stockpiled forage below the top of the old forage. So if you brushhog a pasture to 6 inches, the cattle won't graze closer than 6 inches when you turn them into the stockpiled pasture.

Fertilizer is key to making stockpiling work for two reasons. The primary reason is for forage yield. Unfertilized fields seldom produce good fall yield. The secondary reason is forage quality. We conducted a demonstration at the Livestock and Forestry Branch station at Batesville to compare fertilized vs. unfertilized stockpiled forage. One fescue field had abundant summer growth and was left as is. Another fescue field was grazed off in late August then fertilized in September to encourage high-quality fall forage growth. In January, forage tests revealed that the unfertilized fescue was 7.9 percent CP and 56 percent TDN, while the fertilized fescue was 11 percent CP and 66 percent TDN. The lower-quality field would have been adequate for dry mature cows but not for the fall-calving cows we had in the demonstration project.

Applying fertilizer in hot weather is not as risky as many people believe. Ammonium nitrate fertilizer does not volatilize, so there are no losses when applied under most conditions of late summer. Urea fertilizer can volatilize when surface applied to summer pasture, but the total N loss is much less than you might expect. Many studies show virtually no difference between N sources for bermudagrass yield when the fertilizer was applied within a few days before rainfall. Even when losses are measured, the total yield difference is often less than 20% compared to ammonium nitrate.

So while you are sweating in the hay field this summer, think about how you can graze stockpiled pasture in the winter and feed less hay. If you need less hay, you can bale it earlier so it will be higher quality and cows will not need supplemental feed.

Cow Prices Remain Strong - Tim Petry, Livestock Economist, North Dakota State University Extension Service

Although cow prices have declined during the last couple of weeks, prices are still over $10/cwt higher than last year at this time and about $5/cwt higher than the 2004-08 average. Weekly cow prices have been averaging several dollars above 2008, which was the previous record high year. So, if that trend continues, 2010 may set a record for annual cow prices.

It is interesting that higher prices are occurring in spite of continuing high cow slaughter numbers. In the first half of 2010, total cow slaughter was up over 4 percent from last year's elevated levels, and up about 20 percent from the 2004-08 average. Beef cow slaughter was up about 13 percent over last year, but dairy cow slaughter was down about 5 percent. Higher prices are being supported by strong demand for hamburger and lower imports of manufacturing grade beef. The "cheeseburger price war" among several fast-food chains, that have been promoting low-priced menu items during the economic downturn, helped demand. And higher prices for competing meats including chicken and pork have also stimulated demand for hamburger. Prices for fresh, 72 percent lean, wholesale pork trim have increased from the very depressed 30 cents a pound last year at this time to over 80 cents now.

Imports of grinding beef from our leading suppliers; Australia, New Zealand and Uruguay are off by double-digit percentage amounts. A decline in the value of the U.S. dollar, especially early in the year, relative to currencies in those countries where we get beef made our market less attractive and other markets more lucrative. Furthermore, economic recovery has been more rapid in some beef importing countries which caused more beef to be shipped there instead of the U.S.

Fresh, 90 percent lean wholesale boneless beef prices are about $20/cwt higher than last year as retailers compete for product. Furthermore, prices for fresh, 50 percent lean wholesale beef have also increased as both the number and carcass weights of fed steers and heifers have declined making less trim available. And there is evidence that meat processors are grinding chucks from fed cattle to help satisfy demand for ground beef. Wholesale boneless 2-piece chuck prices have increased over $30 per hundredweight from last year's depressed levels.

Looking ahead, total cow slaughter is usually seasonally low during the summer months. Several factors favor reduced beef cow slaughter the rest of this summer, which should be supportive to prices. First, overall grazing conditions in the U.S. for beef cattle are probably the best that they have been for several years. That coupled with the heavy beef cow culling that occurred during the first half of 2010 and in the last couple years, and stronger calf prices point to reduced slaughter levels.

Dairy cow slaughter is also typically lower in summer months but was elevated last year with dairy cow buyouts. Dairy prices are still struggling, and the Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) recently announced the first herd retirement program for 2010. It is expected that approximately 34,000 dairy cows will be marketed during July and August from the CWT program. Last year, over 200,000 dairy cows were sold for slaughter as the result of three CWT herd retirement programs.

The bottom line is that cow prices should remain strong during the summer months. A major U.S. hamburger producer just announced a retail promotion campaign for hamburger in 1,500 retail grocery stores. The U.S. economy is still struggling with high unemployment and hamburger sells well in tougher economic times. And competing pork and chicken prices are expected to stay higher than last year.

However, the seasonal decline in cow prices usually begins in September with sharp declines into November as beef cow culling takes place. Although prices will likely be above last year's depressed levels that seasonal decline can be expected again this year.

OCA Roundup set for August 20-21

The Carroll County Cattlemen's Association will be hosting the annual OCA Roundup on August 20-21. The Roundup officially begins at 5 p.m. on Friday, August 20 with the welcome by the Carroll County Cattlemen's Association at the Days Inn in Carrollton. At 5:30 p.m. Jerry Yates, West Virginia University Reymann Memorial Farms manager, will address the attendees. Yates is going to discuss Ohio's beef industry and the obstacles and opportunities that producers have. A dinner sponsored by United Producers will follow Yates.

Fernando Silveira, Ohio State University Department of Veterinary Preventative Medicine instructor, will be the evening's final speaker. Silvera is a native of Brazil and has traveled the world studying ruminant production systems and health. His presentation will focus on pastures around the world and what Ohio producers can learn from them. Burgett Angus Farm in Carrollton will host a social event that evening at their farm.

Saturday's events kick off at 7:30 a.m. with breakfast at the Days Inn sponsored by PNC Bank. Attendees will then depart on buses for farm tours. This year's tours feature five Carroll County beef operations.

Lunch will take place during the stop at Summitcrest Farms in between the morning and afternoon tours. After the meal a NCBA PAC fundraiser will be held and the crowd will hear from OCA President Dave Felumlee as he gives an update on OCA events and activities.

Registration deadline for this event is August 6, 2010, and the cost is $35 for OCA members and $45 for non-OCA members. All registrations at the door will be $45. For more information about the Roundup or to register call the Ohio Cattlemen's Association at (614) 873-6736 or visit the website at www.ohiocattle.org.

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

LIVE CATTLE futures on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) closed up on Monday. The AUG'10LC contract closed at $93.125/cwt; up $0.85/cwt and $3.05/cwt higher than last report. The DEC'10LC contract closed up $0.500/cwt at $96.150/cwt and $4.75/cwt over last week at this time. Fund buying was fueled by chart signals and expectations for steady to higher cash cattle and heat stress slowing gains and causing heat-induced feed lot deaths. Lower corn prices were supportive. USDA's Cattle-on-Feed report is to be released on Friday and is expected to show larger-than-year-ago feedlot supplies and larger placements of younger cattle, although the supply of fat cattle is still low. Most of last week's cash cattle sold in the $94/cwt range compared to $92/cwt a week before last. USDA placed the 5-area price at $93.43/cwt; $1.55/cwt over last week at this time. Tighter packer margins are expected to slow cattle sales somewhat this week. USDA on Monday put the boxed beef price at $153.52/cwt; off $0.35/cwt and $0.85/cwt lower than a week ago. According to HedgersEdge.com, the average packer margin was lowered $18.80/hd from last week to a positive $5.05/hd based on the average buy of $93.00/cwt vs. the average breakeven of $93.40/cwt.

FEEDER CATTLE at the CME closed up on Monday. AUG'10FC futures closed at $114.425/cwt; up $1.325cwt and $1.75/cwt over last report. The OCT'10FC contract finished off $1.325/cwt at $114.125/cwt; $1.33/cwt higher than last week at this time. Feeders gained on carry over support from fat cattle, lower corn futures and higher cash cattle. Estimated receipts for the Oklahoma City auction were placed at 7,000 head vs. 9,148 head last week and 10,565 head a year ago. Steers and heifers were called steady to $1/cwt higher while calves were bid steady to $2/cwt lower. Demand waned for fleshy unweaned calves as heat begins to take its toll while demand for long, lean weaned calves that are seen as more heat tolerant remained steady. The latest CME feeder cattle index was put at 112.70; up 0.03 but 1.24 lower than last report.

Visit the OSU Beef Team calendar of meetings and upcoming events

BEEF Cattle is a weekly publication of Ohio State University Extension in Fairfield County and the OSU Beef Team. Contributors include members of the Beef Team and other beef cattle specialists and economists from across the U.S.

All educational programs conducted by Ohio State University Extension are available to clientele on a nondiscriminatory basis without regard to race, color, creed, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, gender, age, disability or Vietnam-era veteran status. Keith L. Smith, Associate Vice President for Ag. Admin. and Director, OSU Extension. TDD No. 800-589-8292 (Ohio only) or 614-292-1868

Fairfield County Agriculture and Natural Resources