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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 # 701

September 1, 2010

What does discovery of bovine tuberculosis in a herd in Ohio mean for Ohio livestock farmers? - William Shulaw, Extension Veterinarian, Ohio State University

The July 7, 2010, press release from the Ohio Department of Agriculture announcing that a dairy herd had recently been detected with bovine tuberculosis (bTB) and subsequently depopulated was perhaps a surprise to some people, but to those who have been observing similar kinds of discoveries in other states, it was not. In fact in an article in the Ohio BEEF Cattle Letter that appeared just before the ODA press release, we briefly discussed biosecurity and the concern of introducing diseases, like tuberculosis and others characterized by "silent" infections, into herds and flocks. In the short term, the impact of this discovery on Ohio farmers will be rather minimal and limited to the herd affected, the herds in which animals from this herd were traced, and the regulatory agencies charged with the tracing and testing activity (of course they are supported with our tax dollars). Should additional herds be discovered in the next two years, the possibility of loss of our "free" status with respect to bTB exists. This could have a profound impact on Ohio farmers.

The current situation in Ohio and the USA, with respect to bTB, does give us some insight into changes that have occurred over the past 20-30 years. Herd size has tended to increase, especially in the dairy industry. Some of this expansion occurred with retention of natural additions to herds, but for many herds it also involved movement of animals from one herd to another. In some cases bTB has been traced to Mexican cattle entering the US as Holstein feeder animals and roping/rodeo steers. Unfortunately, in a few cases contact between these animals and other animals destined for breeding herds has occurred. This time frame has also seen the growth of farmed deer, elk, and bison herds, much of which was unregulated until recent years and in which some level of bTB may have persisted.

The conspicuous feature of this change is the nature and amount of animal movement. In a recent news article, it was reported that last year more than 19 million of the nation's 30 million beef cows and 9 million dairy cows crossed state lines. (1) It is now fairly common for herds, both beef and dairy, to contain animals that were born in one state; raised, comingled with other animals, and bred in one or more different states; and relocated to yet another for breeding or production purposes. In fact, in the Ohio herd recently found with bTB, the animals in that herd had their origin in at least 17 different states and Canada. Much of this movement is done with no, or minimal, attention to the potential for introduction of disease. Some of it is done illegally; perhaps more than we would like to believe. The recent National Animal Health Monitoring System surveys suggest that routine biosecurity measures for animal disease prevention are not regularly practiced by many farms. (2) Diseases like bTB, Johne's disease, anaplasmosis, and BVD are readily moved about by animals that are infected but which show no visible signs of disease. This tremendous amount of movement of animals back and forth across the country, which happens virtually every day, has led some people in the animal health field to observe that we now have a "national" herd merely split up among different temporary owners. To the extent that animals are moved without individual identification and records, the job of tracing disease outbreaks becomes enormous.

Perhaps this is a good time to discuss "health certificates." Actually, the term "health certificates" is a bit of a misnomer since they do not really certify the complete "health" of the animals being moved. Although the term is still used almost universally, today it is reserved for forms and certificates provided by the USDA for interstate and international animal movement (including dogs and cats). Most states, including Ohio, now issue a "certificate of veterinary inspection" which perhaps more appropriately describes what they are. They are the paperwork that is usually required for interstate, and sometimes intrastate, movement of animals. They list all official forms of identification of each of the animals, their source/owner and destination, and the results of any tests that may have been required for movement to the destination. In some cases, no actual animal tests are required. They also require the signature of a veterinarian that indicates that he/she has performed the appropriate tests, that the information on the certificate is correct and complete, and that he/she has examined the animals for evidence of infectious or contagious disease. Some states require additional statements regarding the status of a specific disease for the source herd to be placed on the certificate. An accredited veterinarian and state of origin issue the certificate with the original accompanying the animal and copies sent to the state of destination.

Although the certificate of veterinary inspection is a very important legal document and does verify testing and examination for some kinds of diseases, it does not imply that the animals listed on the certificate are free of disease. For infectious diseases that have long incubation periods, like bTB, or diseases that may be transmitted from apparently healthy carriers or shedders, like Johne's disease, BVD, or anaplasmosis, a "health certificate" may provide little protection to the farm or herd of destination. Furthermore, the requirements for interstate and intrastate movement may vary somewhat by state depending on what a state believes is in the best interest of their citizens. For example, a disease of beef cattle that is getting more attention every year is trichomoniasis (commonly called "trich"), an infection carried by non-virgin bulls that can be transmitted to cows at breeding and cause early embryo loss and a high level of open cows at calving. It has been most common in several western states and is gradually spreading other states. Some states require multiple tests for this infection on bulls prior to them entering their state, and some do not. Currently a farmer in Ohio can buy a potentially infected bull from another state and move it to Ohio without any testing for this disease.

The United States embarked on a bTB eradication program in 1917 at a time when an estimated one in every nine human deaths was from tuberculosis. It has been estimated that 10% or more of those human tuberculosis cases were due to the bovine form acquired from cattle or indirectly from cattle products. (3) That estimate does not count the crippling, non-fatal infections. We made astounding progress in just the first few decades, thanks to the financial and moral commitments of your grandparents and mine, and we continued to make significant strides toward eradication through the early 1990s when most states were declared "Free" and granted that status by the federal government. [For a very interesting account of this read (3)] Today many states do not require tuberculosis testing for cattle being imported from "Free" states. In the next installment of this series, we will discuss the meaning of a bTB Free status today.

(1) http://billingsgazette.com/news/state-and-regional/montana/article_e8fb5028-a30a-11df-a254-001cc4c03286.html
(2) http://nahms.aphis.usda.gov/beefcowcalf/beef0708/Beef0708_is_Biosecurity.pdf and http://nahms.aphis.usda.gov/dairy/dairy07/Dairy07_ir_Biosecurity.pdf
(3) Olmsted, A. and Rhode, "An Impossible Undertaking: The Eradication of Bovine Tuberculosis in the United States." 2004. The Journal of Economic History vol. 64, No. 3 at: http://www.unc.edu/~prhode/Impossible_Undertaking.pdf

Grazing Management and Profitable Production the Focus of Upcoming Programs

Several times in recent weeks we've discussed how important Fall management, especially pasture management, was to the success of any beef cattle operation. With that thought in mind, several timely programs are scheduled around Ohio throughout this month which focus directly on that subject. There's also one upcoming Livestock Mortality Composting Workshop scheduled. Find more information on each program posted in the OSU Beef Team web calendar.

Valuing Manure Nutrient Resources - Robert Mullen, Darlene C. Florence, Ohio State University Extension

A fundamental question often asked by agricultural producers is how do I value my manure as a nutrient resource? This essential question should be asked by those that have access to manure because it allows a way to quantify the economic value of that material. If this question were directed at commercially produced materials, the answer would be straightforward. With manure, however, a number of parameters need to be considered including the composition of manure, the source variability, and the need for the nutrients based upon soil test information.

The first step in valuing manure as a nutrient supplement is to have the material analyzed to determine which nutrients are present and in what amounts. This information, combined with a recent soil analysis, can tell you how much manure should be supplied to meet the nutritional needs of a crop.

Let us examine the manure analysis first. Values of total N are not particularly valuable to the producer because they do not inform of the amount that is available to the crop. Of greater importance is determining the ammonia-N (or ammonium-N) and organic-N content. Ammonia-N contained in manure is similar to any form of commercial fertilizer; it is readily available the day of application. Therefore, valuing ammonia-N similar to a commercially available form is certainly a fair assessment. Organic-N, however, is a slower release form of nitrogen because it requires a biological process to make it plant available. The environment-dependent nature of this biological process makes it difficult to ascertain its precise agronomic value. What we typically recommend is to use a lower cost N source (typically anhydrous ammonia) to calculate the value of organic-N based on the plant available estimate (for more information on estimating plant availability from animal wastes see Bulletin 604).

Phosphorus and potassium contained in manure is considered approximately as available as their commercial counterparts are (actually, they are slightly less available, but currently we do not have plant available estimates for the different manure types). Therefore, valuing phosphorus and potassium from manure could be calculated by a comparison to a commercially available form.

Manure is considered a complete nutrient source because it contains everything a growing plant requires, and the analysis will likely provide you with additional nutritional information. However, it is not necessary to determine an economic value for all of the nutrients. This is especially true for those nutrients that do not necessarily require supplementation to ensure an adequate plant supply (i.e. micronutrients on soils that typically do not exhibit deficiency symptoms). Organic matter contained in the manure does have some redeeming value, but it would be extremely difficult to assign an economic value to it, and it is not something we currently recommend.

One of the challenges in using manure as a fertilizer source is the unbalanced nature of the nutrients. Applying enough manure to reach sufficient N and K levels usually results in the over application of P, which can have negative economic (from a sense that it would be more beneficial on other fields) and environmental outcomes. However, applying manure based on a sufficient P level usually results in an under-application of N, which can lead to a reduction in yield.

This brings us to soil analysis. In a system where P is rarely limiting (especially a field that has a history of receiving manure applications), balancing phosphorus, nitrogen, and potassium requirements can certainly be a challenge if relying solely on a manure source. If a field has a soil test level above the maintenance range for producing a crop, does it make sense to calculate the economic value for that nutrient? For example, assume a field has a soil test P level well above the established critical level, we would not recommend calculating the economic value of the P contained in the manure when attempting to determine its economic value or recommend applying the manure to this field.

Conducting soil testing and manure analysis will help you determine how best to utilize your manure nutrient resources and get the maximum economic benefit from their use. Additionally, you will be able to do so in an environmental responsible manner.

A spreadsheet has been developed to assist in the determination of manure application rates based on the manure analysis and field information. The "Manure Allocation Spreadsheet" is available at http://agcrops.osu.edu/specialists/fertility.

Applying Manure to Tiled Fields - Amanda Meddles, Extension Program Coordinator, Environmental Management, The Ohio State University

Most producers are aware of the rich nutrient found in manure and the value that manure provides to growing crops. Fewer are aware of the potential for the nutrients to exit fields through tile lines, contaminating surface waters. Manure also moves through cracks, worm holes, dead root channels, etc. This can be avoided by matching the water holding capacity of the soil and the manure application rate to avoid saturating the soil. However, dry cracked soil can be as much of a problem as saturation. The goal of this article is to express the importance of keeping manure nutrients in the root zone where crops can use them. The following article is an excerpt from the OSU Extension Fact Sheet Guidelines for Applying Liquid Animal Manure to Cropland with Subsurface and Surface Drains by James J. Hoorman, Jonathan N. Rausch and Larry C. Brown. It provides excellent tips to avoid nutrient loss through subsurface drainage. The entire fact sheet can be found at http://oema.osu.edu/Publications.html under OSU Extension Fact Sheets.

The fact that liquid animal manure nutrients can be safely land recycled in some instances, but are discharged in subsurface drainage water under different circumstances, suggests a complex system that needs to be managed. Soil texture, available water holding capacity, tillage history, as well as the type and quantity of manure applied, application method, and timeliness of rainfall after application may all play a role in determining the fate of the manure. Suggested guidelines to minimize the downward movement of liquid manure are:

a. Identify subsurface drain outlets, and control or regulate discharge prior to application, or have on-site means of stopping the discharge from subsurface drains. Subsurface drainage outlets should be monitored before, during, and after application for potential liquid manure discharge.

b. Liquid manure should not to be applied on soils that are prone to flooding, as defined by the National Cooperative Soil Survey (or in the Flooding Frequency Soil List posted in Section II eFOTG), during the period when flooding is expected. Manure can be applied if incorporated immediately or injected below the soil surface during periods when flooding is not expected.

c. Avoid applying manure when rainfall is predicted, eminent, or directly after a rainfall event. After a significant rainfall event, the site should be allowed to drain to below field capacity, so that the soil has the capacity to absorb additional water or liquid animal manure.

d. Repair broken drains and blowholes prior to applica-tion, and follow recommended/required minimum setback requirements (setback distances vary from state to state) for surface inlets. See fact sheet on Liquid Manure Application Rates for Subsurface and Surface Drained Cropland.

e. Liquid manure should not be applied to subsurface drained cropland if the drains are flowing. Generally, flowing subsurface drains indicate soil moisture levels that are near or exceeding the soil water holding capacity.

f. Application rates should be closely tied to nutrient requirements and available holding capacity of the soil. The method of application can influence application rates.

g. Liquid manure should be applied in a manner that will not result in ponding, or runoff to adjacent property, drainage ditches, or surface water regardless of crop nutrient need and should be uniformly applied at a known rate.

h. Fields with a history of downward movement of manure and/or bare/crusted soils may require some tillage to improve infiltration and absorption of the applied liquid. Prior to manure application, use shallow tillage to disrupt the continuity of worm holes, macropores and root channels (preferential pathways) to reduce the risk of manure reaching drain lines, or till the surface of the soil 3 to 5 inches deep to a condition that will enhance absorption of the volume of liquid manure being applied.

i. Clay soils with a high shrink swell capacity tend to have larger deeper cracks during dry conditions. These soils may require tillage to disrupt the cracks and macropores, and a lower initial application rate applied to the soil to help close the cracks.

j. Shallow injection is recommended for liquid manure. Till the soil at least 3 inches below the depth of injection prior to application, and/or control outflow from all drain outlets prior, during, and after manure application.

k. For perennial crops (hay or pasture) or continuous no-till fields where tillage is not recommended, all subsurface drain outlets from the application area should be monitored, and if manure laden flow should occur, all effluent should be captured. Crops with deep tap root systems (alfalfa) tend to have more problems than hay crops with fibrous roots (grass) because liquid animal manures may flow along the tap roots to subsurface drains and outlet to surface water.

These criteria may be waived if the producer can verify there is no prior history of manure discharge via subsurface drains, or if a system is in place to capture the discharge. However, if there is a discharge, the producer is liable for damages and is subject to being classified as a Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO).

Where are Your Records for Manure Application - Amanda Meddles, Extension Program Coordinator, Environmental Management, The Ohio State University

Knock. Knock. "We've received a manure complaint. Can we see your records?"

Will you be prepared if this happens to you? Keeping accurate and detailed application records could mean the difference between avoiding a complaint and being fined for misapplying. Good records should include details about everything from the field it was applied on to the wind speed at the time of application.

EDITOR's NOTE: Readers may recall that last spring in this publication we announced the availability of the Ohio Nutrient Management Workbook as a resource for keeping convenient and accurate manure records. Readers may review that announcement in the March 24, 2010, issue # 679, of the Ohio BEEF Cattle letter.

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

LIVE CATTLE futures on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) closed down on Monday with the exception of the April 2011 contract. AUG'10LC futures closed at $97.250/cwt; off $0.800/cwt and $2.475/cwt lower than last report. The OCT'10LC contract closed at $97.25/cwt; down $0.050/cwt. The DEC'10LC contract closed off $0.100/cwt at $100.650/cwt; $0.500/cwt lower than this time last week. The APR'11LC contract closed at $102.875cwt, up $0.05/cwt and $0.825/cwt higher than last report. Fund rolling of long October futures into December, February, and April futures and expectations that cash markets may be topping pressured futures. USDA put choice boxed beef $163.86/cwt; off $0.14/cwt but $0.72/cwt over last week at this time. USDA put the 5-area average at $99.05/cwt; $0.30/cwt over last report. According to HedgersEdge.com, the average packer margin was lowered $3.00/hd from last week to a positive $20.00/hd based on the average buy of $99.14/cwt vs. the average breakeven of $100.70/cwt.

FEEDER CATTLE at the CME finished down Monday. The August contract expired at noon up $0.175/cwt at $114.925/cwt. SEP'10FC futures closed at $115.100/cwt; down $1.175cwt. The OCT'10FC contract finished off $1.075/cwt at $115.925/cwt and $1.725/cwt lower than last week at this time. The NOV'10FC contract finished at $116.450/cwt, down $0.850/cwt and $1.225/cwt lower than a week ago. Gains in corn futures and weakening cash markets pressured futures. Cash feeders were $1-$3/cwt lower. Estimated receipts in Oklahoma City National Stockyards were put at 11,500 hd vs. 9,878 hd last Monday and 8,766 hd this time a year ago. Demand for steers and heifers was steady-to-weaker with feeder buyers bidding up fleshy animals letting stocker owners put the weight on. They would rather buy the weight than the feed. The CME feeder cattle index 114.69/lb; off 0.02/lb but 0.93/lb higher than last report.

CORN futures on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) closed up Monday on reports that corn yields will likely be lower than USDA estimates of 165 bu/ac. Yield estimates are running 163.79 bu/ac. The SEPT'10 contract closed at $4.254/bu; up 4.5 cents/bu and 8.25 cents/bu higher than last report. DEC'10 corn futures closed up 5.5 cents/bu at $4.414/bu and 8.75 cents/bu higher than last Monday. The DEC'11 contract closed at $4.466/bu; up 6.25 cents/bu and 0.75 cents/bu higher than a week ago. Increased demand and exports were supportive as USDA put corn-inspected-for-export at 45.265 mi bu vs. expectations for 33-36 mi bu. Dry, hot weather in the U.S. Midwest have traders thinking an early harvest may be coming but the weather will also hurt yields if it continues. Large speculators are net bulls as funds bought over 10,000 lots. It would be a good consideration to price 60% of the 2011 crop.

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