What a year 2020 has been. Are you looking to improve herd efficiency and profitability to weather the storm? Look no further than the slate of winter programming offered by the Ohio State University Extension Beef Team. Programs planned for early 2021 are designed to provide valuable information for all segments of the beef industry.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been a challenge to the beef industry, and the effects will continue to linger for some time. One thing we have learned this year is that there continues to be a need for gained efficiency and improved management within our beef cattle operations.
This winter’s Ohio State Extension Beef Schools will focus on herd efficiency and management. Given university policies regarding COVID-19, this year’s Beef Schools will be offered in a combination of virtual and in-person programming.
Leading off the 2021 Beef School will be a cow-calf outlook meeting via webinar at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 26. Kenny Burdine, livestock marketing Extension specialist from the University of Kentucky, will be the featured speaker.
Burdine will give a market outlook for 2021 and discuss how cow and calf management plays a role in determining value at the time of marketing.
For the cow-calf school, we will be in-person in Ohio, addressing genetics, reproduction, calf management and forage production during the two-day schools. Featured speakers for the cow-calf schools include John Grimes of Maplecrest Farms in Hillsboro; Alvaro Guerra Garcia, cattle reproduction specialist at Ohio State; and a variety of OSU Extension staff.
The programs will be Jan. 27 and Feb. 10 at Garwood Cattle Co. in Columbiana County. The second program will be Jan. 28 and Feb. 11 at the Caldwell Extension operations office and the Eastern Ag Research Station in Noble County.
Challenges and genetics
The first week of the programs will address overcoming forage challenges given the recent history of wet weather, and strategies for grazing management. During the second week, we will discuss genetics, cow longevity and breeding season management. Attendees also will have the opportunity to participate in a semen handling activity and evaluate a number of cows to make sound culling decisions.
Cow-calf school registration is available on the Beef Team webpage. Registration is required and limited to the first 40 registrations at each site.
The need for increased risk management for fed cattle has been highlighted by a couple of “black swan” events: COVID-19 and the 2019 Tyson packing plant fire.
The 2021 Cattle Feeding and Management School will feature Justin White of Hudson Insurance, who will present on risk management for fed cattle, specifically the Livestock Risk Protection and Livestock Gross Margin insurance programs.
To finish up the program, Jason Hartschuh of OSU Extension in Crawford County will discuss feedlot ventilation needs. This program will be held via webinar. Registration will be required.
Rounding out the winter programs will be a webinar addressing a fairly new topic for Beef Team programming. Ohio’s dairy industry is a significant contributor to beef production across the state.
At noon March 10, Allen Gahler, Extension educator in Sandusky County, will be teaching an Introduction to Beef on Dairy session, looking at what EPD and genetic criteria should be considered when mating beef sires to dairy cattle.
Lastly, continue to stay up to date on county-based Beef Quality Assurance education opportunities. Many producers in Ohio were certified three years ago in 2018 and will be due for recertification in 2021. Beef Quality Assurance training dates and information, as well as registration for the above-mentioned programs, all can be found at beef.osu.edu.
Not knowing what COVID-19 has in store for this winter, we hope to able to bring our in-person programs to you in early 2021. Keep in mind that we may have to ask attendees to social distance and wear a mask. We are looking forward to working with as many of you as possible in the coming year. Stay safe.
Ruff is the OSU Extension beef field specialist. He also is a member of the OSU Extension Beef Team that publishes the weekly Ohio BEEF Cattle letter, which can be found at beef.osu.edu.