Cowchip - December 1, 2018



5Cattlemen’s Banquet, 6:30 p.m., Woodman of the World in Abbeville

11-12Parish Livestock Show, Cecil McCrory Building, Abbeville

18-20LCA Convention, Covington

23-26District Livestock Show, Blackham Coliseum, Lafayette

30-Feb. 1NCBA Convention, New Orleans


9-16State Livestock Show, Lamar Dixon Expo Center, Gonzales


With the extremely rainy conditions in all of September and most of October there is a serious hay shortage in the area.Most cattle farmers are faced with making it through the winter with little or no hay.The decisions we make can impact our calf crops for a couple of years so we should consider all options.

First we need to inventory our feed resources.How much if any hay is available?Can we buy hay reasonably from nearby sources?Is ryegrass an option?Is a high fiber feed source available at a reasonable price?

A 90 day feeding season would require about 2,000 lbs. of hay per cow.That would be two to three bales per cow depending on bale weight.We can reduce the reliance on hay by having some grazing available either summer forages before a killing frost or ryegrass.Most of our permanent pastures are still fairly green and if we aren’t overstocked some grazing is still available.But if we get a hard freeze followed by wet, warm conditions the cow will tend to quit eating it.Logically, we should allow for grazing in these pastures now.The quickest way to get ryegrass grazing is by planting into a prepared seedbed but we may not see dry enough conditions to plow.The use of roundup or mowing followed by no till drilling of seed would be another way to insure quick grazing and can be carried out when it is too wet to plow.While optimum planting dates for ryegrass are past, if we get warm enough weather we could get some grazing as early as January with either of these planting methods.Overseeding and mowing the standing forage would give you later grazing but may still provide grazing by late February.

A cheap high fiber (greater than 15% fiber) feed source can help extend hay supplies.Starchy feeds, like corn or high quality cubes are low in fiber are not appropriate for cattle with limited hay available.Corn gluten, distillers dried grains, high fiber cubes and soy hull pellets are relatively low in starch and high enough in fiber to feed at the 6-8 lb./head per day that would be needed in the absence of hay.

We should also consider culling the cow herd if necessary.Start with the less productive or aged cows.Cows which are open or have a history of being open should be culled first.Cows which have bad udders, short mouths or wean light calves should be considered next.The cull cow market is poor right now so this would not be an easy decision.But if 30 or 40% of the cow herd end up open next fall, due to poor nutrition, we probably should have culled some and kept the rest in good enough conditions to breed back.

Monitor condition of your cattle.If you notice them starting to lose fat cover it is probably time to make some culling decisions.

We are at a critical time, the decisions we make now can have lasting impacts.If you need more information or help in making decisions do not hesitate to contact me at 898-4335 or e-mail


If you make hay or control graze in bermudagrass pastures, it will serve you well to be able to identify its growth stages.Decisions on harvest and grazing should be at least partially based on the plants maturity.

Bermuudagrass, as in all grass plants, will follow a growth pattern.After intense grazing or hay harvest it will have a period of vegetative or leafy growth.Once the plant has grown and stored enough carbohydrates its physiology will signal a change to reproduction.Unlike annual grasses which will generally grow then flower at pretty much the same time across the field, the summer perennials tend to vary by location in the same pasture.Some spots being well ahead of others in maturity.Management decisions have to be based on the majority of the field.An early sign of the reproductive stage of growth is recognizing the boot stage.This picture illustrates the boot stage in bermudagrass.The swelling of the stem and the right angle of the last or flag leaf is a good indicator that the seed head has formed (right).Splitting of the stem would reveal the seed head (left).

Once seed heads start to form the nutritive value of the pasture begins to decline rapidly.Hay harvest or a grazing rotation should be carried out soon.


The Vermilion Economic Development Alliance is studying the cattle business in Vermilion Parish to determine how it can become more profitable to our cattle farmers.Attached is a survey they would like for you to complete and return to me by December 14th at 1105 West Port Street, Abbeville, LA 70510.Please help us with this.Below is their explanation.

When the Vermilion Economic Development Alliance (VEDA) meets with area businesses and residents about what they want for the parish, one thing is universal – people want to maintain their rural lifestyle and make sure that we can remain an agricultural leader. In response, VEDA has decided to study the cattle/beef industry and identify the most probable and profitable projects. The goal is to make individual cattlemen more successful and bring wealth into the parish through industry growth. The study requires us to understand the current state of the industry - that’s where you come in! Your answers to our survey will be used solely for research purposes. If we can generate enough participation, we can move forward with the remainder of the study and hopefully uncover opportunities for the industry. We have already received interest from partners at the state level to provide resources like technical assistance, grants, and loan financing for projects identified in the study. We appreciate your help!


Matthew A. Diersen, Professor and Extension Specialist

Department of Economics, South Dakota State University

Last week brought a flurry of market information from various NASS reports that give added insight into the cattle supply situation and the inventory levels likely in 2019. In the November Cattle on Feed report, placements were lower and marketings were higher than year ago levels. The placements were at the very low end of trade expectations, while marketings were at the very high end of trade expectations. The slight bump in futures last week, however, did not last long. The latest on-feed total of 11.7 million head continues to be a large absolute level of cattle to work through. Spatially, there was little disparity in the on-feed totals across major feedlot states. The marketings were a little higher in Nebraska than in other states. The implication of these factors is that the number on-feed is narrowing back toward the 2017 level.

There was a slowdown in placements weighing less than 800 pounds. Recent months have had larger levels of lighter placements, which partially explains why more cattle have been on feed for greater than 90 and greater than 120 days. In the Cold Storage report, there was slightly more beef stocks, but slightly less pork stocks as of October 31. In the Livestock Slaughter report, weights were unchanged for most classes. Both beef cow and dairy cow slaughter were up sharply during October. Year to date, there have been fewer steers and more heifers slaughtered compared to this time last year. Recall in the October Cattle on Feed report, the quarterly heifer mix was up compared to July 1 and up compared to a year earlier. An implication of these factors is that more heifers on feed limits the increase in beef production. The average steer dressed weight is about 70 pounds heavier than the average heifer dressed weight.

Other inventory indicators continue to take shape. The total cattle inventory at the beginning of 2018 was 94.4 million head. Extrapolating data on slaughter volumes and cattle trade flows, largely with Mexico and Canada, one can begin to obtain a balance sheet view of cattle inventories. For 2018, exports look to be unchanged from 2017 while imports look to be down slightly. NASS estimates the calf crop was higher. Slaughter is running at a higher pace than a year ago. The five-year average death loss as a percent of supply is about 3%. Adding up all of the changes suggests a 2019 inventory of 95.3 million head. Similarly, the 2018 beef cow inventory was 31.7 million head. The Economic Research Service (ERS) has a breakdown that relates replacements to inventory levels. On July 1, NASS estimated the beef cow inventory level at 32.5 million head. To that, add 25% of the July 1 beef replacements, or have 1.15 million head join the cow herd. Then subtract expected death loss and extrapolated cow slaughter for the second half of the year (1.71 million head), leaving 31.16 million head for January 1, 2019. The total inventory is slightly above and the beef cow inventory is slightly below the new USDA baseline estimates.


Livestock haulers across the country are currently exempt from implementing electronic logging devices (ELDs). The question is: For how much longer?

A few months ago, NCBA worked closely with allies in Congress to secure a temporary exemption through December 7, 2018. With less than ten days to go before that exemption expires, NCBA has been making the rounds on Capitol Hill to remind lawmakers that a further extension is necessary.

“The livestock industry needs additional time to work with Congress and the Administration on a long-term solution to overly-restrictive Hours of Service rules,” said Executive Director of Government Affairs Allison Rivera. “Extending the ELD implementation delay for livestock haulers will give us more breathing room while that process moves forward.”

A draft fiscal year 2019 government spending bill includes a provision that would delay ELD implementation for livestock haulers until September 30, 2019. Keeping that provision included in any spending bill is an immediate priority.

NCBA is also looking forward to further conversations with the Department of Transportation (DOT) on the recent petition that requests flexibility for livestock haulers on Hours of Service (HOS) requirements. Authored by industry groups including NCBA and the Livestock Marketing Association, the petition asks for increased drive time for livestock haulers and includes a plan for working with the DOT on additional fatigue-management practices. The petition has already garnered bipartisan support in both chambers of Congress. As a next step, DOT is expected to open a public comment period on the petition.


Andrew Granger

County Agent

Vermilion Parish

It is the policy of the Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service that no person shall be subjected to discrimination on the grounds of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, or disability



NAME ________________________________E-MAIL ________________________________________

PHONE _______________________________

Name of Ranch & Location (Address if applicable) ______________________________________________

_____________________________________­________Farm size (acreage) ________________________

Variety (please list)Breed# of Head




Total # of Head______________________________

Primary lines of business% of Annual Business

Embryo and Semen Sales_______________________________________________

Calf Sales________________________________________________

Cull Cow Sales ________________________________________________

Processed Beef Sales (Wholesale) ________________________________________________

Processed Beef Sales (Retail) ________________________________________________

Processed Beef Sales (Direct to Consumer) ________________________________________________

Replacement Female Sales ________________________________________________

Bull Sales________________________________________________




SalesAverage weight of calves soldPrice/lb.


Where do you contract products/services?(check where applicable)

In Vermilion

Outside Vermilion

Bull Purchase

Stocker Calf Purchases

Feed Purchases

Ranching/Farm Supplies

Replacement Female Purchase

Slaughtering and Processing

Why did you answer “Outside Vermilion” for any of the services above?Check all that apply.

Too expensive here

Service not available here

Quality is better elsewhere

Existing relationships with the vendors

Rank from 1-10 (1 being most important, to 5 least important) the services Vermilion should pursue to remain a leader in the cattle/beef industry in Louisiana.

Cold Storage________________________________________________

Trucking/Shipping Services________________________________________________


Artificial Insemination Services________________________________________________

Embryo Research & Development________________________________________________

Feed/Feedlots ________________________________________________

Grazing Weaned Calves ________________________________________________

Vermilion Branded Beef or Veal________________________________________________

Group Sales________________________________________________

Would you have any interest in participating in any of the above? Yes/ No/ Not sure

12/7/2018 8:42:09 PM
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