A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Green grass can fool cattle produces; early spring grasses may not provide the best source of nutrition

Aimee Nielson University of Kentucky Spring is on the horizon. Most cattle producers are ready to put the cold and snow behind them and see the pastures greening up. But University of Kentucky beef specialist Katie VanValin urges producers not to let the green grass fool them. “The growth we see in our pastures in the early spring can be deceiving,” she said. “From a nutrient standpoint, it often...

As winter weather subsides, Kentucky farmers are facing the impact of snow and ice on cattle herds

By Aimee Nielson University of Kentucky The latest round of winter snow and ice is over, but farmers are now dealing with longer-lasting impacts to cattle. University of Kentucky College of Agriculture specialists weigh in on what farmers may encounter and how to get back on track. The ground was already saturated before the recent rounds of cold, ice and snow. Cattle were already requiring more energy...

Mid-South Stocker Conference goes virtual to reach cattle producers; offers practical information

By Aimee Nielson University of Kentucky The 2021 Mid-South Stocker Conference will challenge producers to take a broad view of their operations from the comfort of their homes. Due to COVID-19, the conference is taking place online with the theme, “Looking at the Big Picture — How the Parts Fit Together in Your System.” The Mid-South Stocker Conference is an annual event, a partnership of the...

Despite COVID-19 impacts in past year, Kentucky agricultural receipts hold steady to 2019 levels

By Katie Pratt University of Kentucky The COVID-19 pandemic made for a tumultuous year in Kentucky agriculture, but the state’s agricultural receipts will likely hold steady to 2019 levels. Agricultural economists from the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment are projecting 2020 farm cash receipts to be $5.5 billion, equaling 2019 receipts. The economists estimate that...

USDA proposes most cattle have electronic ear tags by 2023; switch to RFID tags strengthens ADT system

In an ongoing effort to increase animal traceability, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is seeking public comment on a proposal that would only recognize radio frequency identification (RFID) devices as the official ear tag for interstate movement of cattle and bison that are required to be identified by animal disease traceability rules. Public comments will be accepted through Oct. 5 at the following...

Extended heat wave in forecast will put stress on Kentucky livestock producers, corn growers

By Aimee Nielson University of Kentucky Things are heating up again in the Bluegrass. As the week progresses, the humidity and temperatures will rise and Kentucky’s agricultural producers need to be aware of the impacts the heat may have. “We are looking at an extended period of heat stress, beginning July 15,” said Matthew Dixon, meteorologist for the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture,...

UK livestock specialists say people can learn important lessons from animals in tough times

By Aimee Nielson University of Kentucky With all the uncertainty in the world during the COVID-19 crisis, University of Kentucky animal scientists say people could learn quite a few lessons from farm animals. Animals have their own culture in how they deal with life and the stresses that come along. They have relationships, disagreements, collaborations and many other things to which humans can relate. “Cattle...

Despite trade concerns, Kentucky agricultural receipts hold steady for third year, net incomes up

By Katie Pratt University of Kentucky Kentucky agricultural receipts will likely hold steady for the third consecutive year despite trade concerns and relatively low commodity prices. Agricultural economists from the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment are projecting 2019 farm cash receipts to be $5.9 billion, equaling the past two years. Kentucky producers saw increases...

USDA to require most cattle to have electronic ear tags; switch to strengthen animal traceability system

The Federal Government will require most Kentucky cattle to bear a radio frequency identification (RFID) tag in the next few years, the Kentucky Office of the State Veterinarian has announced. “By 2023, only RFID tags will be considered official identification,” State Veterinarian Robert C. Stout said. “The U.S. Department of Agriculture is requiring the RFID tags and phasing out metal tags to...

Kentucky’s cattle are taking a hit from the wettest year on record, showing signs of stress

By Aimee Nielson University of Kentucky 2018 was Kentucky’s wettest year on record, and the new year seems to be more of the same. This means most livestock producers are dealing with less than ideal conditions, and cattle are showing signs of stress. “It is important to understand this winter has been relatively easy temperature-wise but difficult for cattle in Kentucky,” said Michelle Arnold,...

Summer heat can stress farm animals, but producers have options to keep livestock thriving

By Aimee Nielson University of Kentucky Summer hasn’t officially begun according on the calendar, but Mother Nature has already been bringing the heat and humidity. In fact, Kentucky experienced the warmest May on record, and livestock is feeling it. Producers have options to keep livestock thriving in the summer heat. “When you get a combination of heat and humidity, it can cause concern for livestock,”...

Beef cattle markets improving from recent declines, but still remain below comparable 2016 levels

Most beef cattle-producing states have been able to escape drought conditions so far this year and Kentucky producers enjoyed significant rainfall in early July that put them in a good position this summer. Still, weather aside, cattle prices have improved from recent declines but remain lower than this time last year. “The downward trend for CME Feeder Cattle Futures continued for much of the past...