MAY | 2014
Cover Crops .............. Page 2
Improving Tractor ..... Page 3
Programs ................... Page 4
Open Heifers? ........... Page 5
Program Flyers See Attached
After all the April showers (and storms!) we had we should expect a lot of May
flowers. Already we are seeing many flowers, trees and shrubs with their
blooms and it reminds us of the beauty of nature as well as just how long ago
it was we had greenery! Many producers are starting their spring work and
around my house we are looking forward to our garden. It seems to grow
bigger and bigger each year and we truly enjoy it. We have a brand new tiller
this year and I know my husband will get a lot of good use out of it! I’m hoping
the garden will survive our almost 3 and 1 year olds this summer!! They will
be great helpers, I’m sure.
If you have any unidentifiable insects or plants, bring them by the office or
send me a picture to [email protected]
Cover Crops Are Viable Option for Livestock Supplemental Feed
WOOSTER, Ohio — Producers who want to use the cover crops they planted last fall as supplemental feed for
their livestock may want to may want to harvest these crops quickly before the plants get too mature and the
feed quality declines, says a forage expert from the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences
at The Ohio State University.
So says Rory Lewandowski, agriculture and natural resources educator for the college’s outreach arm, Ohio
State University Extension. Although cover crops are typically planted to control erosion and improve soil
structure and health, they can also be a good option as supplemental forage for livestock, he said.
“There are a number of dairy farmers who take a cutting off of cover crops that are planted in the fall, like
cereal rye and winter wheat, harvest it and use it as a wet forage, and then plant corn for silage,”
Lewandowski said. “And warm-season cover crops including clovers, sudangrass, sorghum-sudangrass hybrids
or spring-planted radishes used to promote soil health can also be grazed by livestock or mechanically
harvested and used as stored forage”
However, while cover crops such as cereal rye, triticale and winter wheat can also be used as supplemental
forage for livestock, they need to be harvested in a timely fashion for optimal use, he said.
“Cereal rye quality declines the most rapidly as the plant enters the reproductive growth stage, and it
advances most rapidly from vegetative to reproductive growth compared to the other two forages,”
Lewandowski said. “So producers should harvest these crops at boot to very early head stage of maturity.”
Producers should harvest these crops as silage or as wrapped forage as the best option for supplemental feed
because there typically aren’t many good drying days during spring in the region, he said.
“Also, producers who choose to graze cattle on these cover crops should make sure they have enough animals
to graze across the field before the crops get too mature and lose quality,” Lewandowski said. “It is also
important to give livestock no more than one or two days’ worth of grazing at a time before moving the fence
to provide access to another portion of the crops when using strip grazing.”
Producers also need to be aware that grazing on spring growth of winter wheat or cereal rye can increase the
potential for grass tetany in livestock, particularly in cows still nursing calves less than four months old, he
“Grass tetany is a potentially fatal nutritional disorder in livestock caused by low blood magnesium levels,”
Lewandowski said. “Grass tetany can be prevented by feeding animals that graze in lush, rapidly growing grass
pastures a high-magnesium mineral mix starting at least a week or two before spring grazing and continuing
throughout the spring grazing period.”
A free-choice high-magnesium mix should contain 12-15 percent magnesium from magnesium oxide and can
be mixed with a grain or flavoring agent such as molasses to encourage cattle to eat it, he said. The mixture
should be fed to cattle daily in 4-ounce portions throughout late spring until forages are more mature and
temperatures are warmer, Lewandowski said.
Tetany is most likely to be seen in early spring grazing as cool-season grasses and small grains such as wheat
and rye are most often low in magnesium and calcium and high in potassium, he said.
Signs of grass tetany include muscle twitching in the flank, muscular incoordination, grazing away from the
herd, irritability, wide eyes, staring, staggering, collapse, thrashing and coma. It can quickly result in death.
May Newsletter
Injury Prevention – Tractor Ride Comfort
AG S.T.A.T Newsletter
Dewey Mann, Research Associate
As the ground temperature begins to warm up, preparations for spring
planting are well underway. By the time this article goes to press, many
farming operations will have already completed maintenance checks on
spring planting equipment; meters calibrated, bearings and chains (if
equipped) lubricated, planter unit leveled, change oil in the planter tractor,
etc. Typically, ‘tire inflation pressure’ only makes the maintenance
checklist if the operator has a planter with a ground drive system*. Sure,
we might ‘check’ the tire pressure on the planting tractor, but where does
our target inflation number come from? Possibly an inflation pressure we
have used for years (25PSI), or a number we have heard thrown around
the coffee shop. Proper tire inflation pressure can increase productivity,
fuel efficiency, and yes, even ride comfort.
Common means of suspension on agricultural tractors include (from
operator to the ground): seat, cab, axle, and tire suspension. Aside from
upgrading to a newer model tractor, the quickest method for influencing
ride comfort is to adjust tire inflation pressure (tire suspension).
Consulting tire load and inflation tables, from the tire manufacturer, is
likely the best source for determining the proper tire inflation pressure.
A row crop tractor equipped with 480/80R42 duals (4 tires across the rear
axle), and an axle weight of 16,000lbs (4,000lbs per tire), the proper tire
inflation pressure would be 12PSI (pounds per square inch).
The same concepts also apply for utility or lawn and garden tractors. If a
lawn and garden tractor had a rear axle load of 1200lbs (600lbs per tire),
and was equipped with 21x8.00-10 NHS tires, the recommended inflation
pressure would be 10PSI.
ALWAYS consult the tire load and inflation pressure tables, and
communicate with your local tire dealer to ensure the proper inflation
pressures are being used; and they the tire manufacturer will guarantee
the warranty at the selected inflation pressure.
*For those not familiar with planting equipment, a ground drive planter
transfers power from a ground wheel, through a drive shaft to the planter
transmission; if the diameter of the ground drive tire is altered (inflation
pressure too high or too low), the planter rate will also be altered
(underseeding, or overseeding). Modern planting systems are utilizing
hydraulic or electric powered drive systems.
Example load and inflation scenarios referenced using:
Dewey Mann, research associate for agricultural safety and health, and
lecturer for agricultural systems management, can be reached at (614)
292-1952 or [email protected]
May Newsletter
Information Online
You can now access
information that has
been presented at
current programs online
a week or two after the
program has occurred.
This mostly includes the
PowerPoint’s that were
distributed. In some
cases, it might not be
applicable to post
information, especially if
the participants have a
fee to obtain a large
amount of information.
You can also view the
newsletter online as well
as flyers for current
programs that are
happening in the area.
Please be sure to note
registration deadlines.
Things sometimes come
up in between newsletter
mailings so check the
blog for more
information :
2015 Sheep Day
Mark your calendar, the 2015
Ohio Sheep Day will be held
Saturday, July 11. It is being
hosted by Schoolhouse
Shropshires, Jim and Denise
Percival located at 961 Hoop
Rd., Xenia, OH 45385.
Registration will begin at 8:00
This year’s program is being
finalized with the focus on
programming to increase and
improve the productivity and
profitability of sheep and
other small ruminant
operations. Ohio Sheep Day
will offer visitors the
opportunity to visit a
successful sheep farming
operation dedicated to sheep
production in a profitable way.
Sheep farmers and anyone
interested in sheep
management is cordially
invited to attend. Details will
be made available on the
Sheep Team Web page
Noble Co. Multi Agency Building Open House – June 13,10a-2p
Come take a tour of our new office!
Rain Barrel Workshop – June 20, 9a-11a
OSU Extension/Noble County SWCD
Noble Co. Multi Agency Building
Registration limited to 15
Morgan – Noble Pasture Walk Series #2 of 4 – Morgan County
August 3 – starting at 6pm
There will also be a sprayer nozzle and calibration
Attached Flyers have more detailed information as well as times and
registration deadlines.
For more information or to register call the office at 732-5681 or email
[email protected]
May Newsletter
Keep or Cull Open Replacements?
Glenn Selk, Oklahoma State University Extension
For some cow calf operations, the bulls go into the breeding pasture with replacement heifers in mid-April. As
the bulls are being removed from the replacement heifers in two months, this would be an ideal time to call and
make arrangements with your local veterinarian to have those heifers evaluated for pregnancy after another 60
days. In two months after the breeding season, experienced palpaters should have no difficulty identifying
which heifers are pregnant and which heifers are not pregnant (open). Those heifers that are determined to be
"open" after this breeding season, should be strong candidates for culling.
Culling these heifers immediately after pregnancy checking serves three very useful purposes.
1. Identifying and culling "open" heifers early will remove sub-fertile females from the herd. Lifetime cow
studies were conducted at a USDA experiment station in Montana. Over the span of 23 years, 1589 replacement
heifers were exposed to bulls. Over that number of years 266 heifers were found to be "open" after their first
breeding season. All of these "open" heifers were kept in the herd for an average of about 4 years. From the
1006 opportunities to become pregnant that followed, only 551 calves were produced. In other words, when the
heifers that failed to breed in the first breeding season were followed throughout their lifetimes, they averaged a
54.9% yearly calf crop. Despite the fact that reproduction is not a highly heritable trait, it also makes sense to
remove this genetic material from the herd so as to not proliferate females that are difficult to get bred.
2. Culling open heifers early will reduce production costs. If the rancher waits until next spring to find out
which heifers do not calve, the winter feed expense will still be lost and there will be no calf to help eventually
pay the bills. This is money that can better be spent in properly feeding cows that are pregnant and will be
producing a salable product at weaning time.
3. Identifying the open heifers shortly (60 days) after the breeding season is over will allow for marketing the
heifers while still young enough to go to a feedlot and be fed for the "choice" beef market. The grading change
of several years ago had a great impact on the merchandising of culled replacement heifers. "B" maturity
carcasses (those estimated to be 30 months of age or older) are much less likely to be graded choice. Therefore,
it is imperative to send heifers to the feedlot while they are young enough to be fed for 4 to 5 months and not be
near the "B" maturity age group.
Certainly the percentage of open heifers will vary from ranch to ranch. Do not be concerned, if after a good
heifer development program and adequate breeding season, that you find that 10% of the heifers still are not
bred. These are the very heifers that you want to identify early and remove from the herd. Resist the temptation
to "roll them over" to a fall-calving herd if they have failed to breed in a spring breeding season.
Producers that are buying replacement females (at a quite hefty price) need to be wary of heifers that were
exposed to bulls or artificial insemination/clean-up bulls and remain non-pregnant. This is the easiest
opportunity to become pregnant that they will have. If they are still open after that first breeding season, they
may be infertile at worst, or sub-fertile compared to other heifers. Remember the old Montana data that suggests
that they will be 55% calf crop females the rest of their lives.
May Newsletter
46049 Marietta Road
Phone 740-732-5681
URL noble.osu.edu
CFAES provides research and related educational programs to clientele on a nondiscriminatory basis. For more information: http://go.osu.edu/cfaesdiversity.
Gardening season is almost here!

May Newsletter - u.osu.edu.chicken