Livestock



Three part webinar series to help Ohio dairy producers mitigate price risk

Dairy producers in Ohio and across the country have faced a turbulent year for milk prices, input costs, and income.

Like other commodities, dairy product supply chains were stressed during the initial stages of the global Coronavirus pandemic. Milk prices have improved since the lows of April and May, but price and income risk remain major concerns of producers. Organizers from The Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences in partnership with the Ohio Dairy Producer’s Association are hosting a free three-part webinar series November 5, 17, and 24 from noon to 1:00 p.m. EST. to prepare producers to mitigate these risks. 

Ohio’s Federal Milk Marketing Order Class III milk price fell to a low of $12.14 per hundredweight in May before climbing to $24.54 per hundredweight in July. However, Class III prices do not always reflect the price received at the farm. Producer Price Differentials (PPDs) can increase or decrease the final price paid to producers based on factors such as how the milk is used — bottled for fluid consumption or manufactured into cheese and other dairy products- and how much milk is pooled in the Federal Order system.… Continue reading

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Retail lamb sales up

Retail sales of all lamb in the U.S. are increasing.

“The combination of consumers cooking at home, the desire for new meal options, the hard work by lamb marketers, retailers and American Lamb Board (ALB) checkoff efforts seem to be opening consumers to lamb’s possibilities, and it shows in the numbers,” said Gwen Kitzan, ALB chair from Newell, SD. 

The latest retail data, analyzed by IRI/FreshLook Marketing, and released by ALB, quantifies the growth in retail sales for all lamb (domestic and imported) through July 12, 2020. 

Retail sales data show pounds of all lamb sold at multi-outlet supermarkets in the U.S. in the 13-week period from April 20 through July 12, 2020, increased 8.6% compared to the same period in 2019. That’s 16.3 million pounds of lamb sold and $137.8 million in sales during the quarter.

In the last four weeks of the period (June 15 through July 12, 2020) pounds of lamb sold increased 29.8% compared to the same period one year ago, and lamb dollars spent increased 38.2% to $40.5 million.… Continue reading

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OCA’s Cattlemen’s Academy to host first nutrition clinic of the year

The Ohio Cattlemen’s Association’s (OCA) Cattlemen’s Academy will be hosting three nutrition clinics this fall at various locations throughout Ohio, co-sponsored by Merck Animal Health. The first clinic will be held on Nov. 10, 2020 at 6 p.m. at the Shawnee State Park Lodge in West Portsmouth. 

OCA recognizes the importance of serving individual members across the state and the goal of the Cattlemen’s Academy is to offer informative learning experiences as part of a current OCA membership. These clinics will follow all COVID safety precautions and appropriate social distancing.

The nutrition clinics will include presentations from The Ohio State University (OSU) Extension Beef Team where producers will learn about nutrition considerations for cow-calf operations. Topics for the clinic will include forage quality, mineral and protein supplementation programs and a 12-month look at cow nutrition needs. These topics will be covered by Steve Boyles, professor at Ohio State University, and Garth Ruff, beef cattle field specialist at OSU.… Continue reading

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R-CALF USA has a “beef” with federal checkoff program

By Ellen Essman, Ohio Law Blog, Agricultural & Resource Law Program at The Ohio State University

Earlier this month, the Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America (R-CALF USA) sued the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. R-CALF USA has filed a number of lawsuits involving the Beef Checkoff program over the years, including several that are on-going. 

Their argument, at its most basic, is that the Beef Checkoff violates the Constitution because ranchers and farmers have to “subsidize the private speech of private state beef councils through the national beef checkoff program.” In this new complaint, R-CALF USA alleges that when USDA entered into MOUs (memorandums of understanding) with private state checkoff programs in order to run the federal program, its actions did not follow the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). 

R-CALF USA argues that entering into the MOUs was rulemaking under the APA. … Continue reading

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OPA accepting nominations for American Egg Board

The Ohio Poultry Association (OPA) is accepting suggestions for nominations to serve on the 2021-2022 American Egg Board (AEB), which is U.S. egg farmer’s link to consumers in communicating the value of the incredible egg. Members serve two-year terms on the national board.

“It is a prestigious honor to serve as a board member on the national level to help guide the egg community and further our commitment to provide a safe, affordable egg supply to Ohioans and the world,” said Jim Chakeres, OPA executive vice president. “I encourage the state’s egg farmers to consider nominating themselves or another farmer to serve in this important role to help advance the AEB’s mission to increase demand for eggs and egg products.”

To be eligible for nomination, persons must be producers or representatives of producers and they must own 75,000 or more laying hens. Producers who own less than 75,000 hens are eligible provided they have not applied for exemption and are paying assessments to AEB.… Continue reading

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Dairy Margin Coverage Program enrollment for 2021 opened Oct. 13

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) began accepting applications for the Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program on Tuesday, October 13, 2020 for 2021 enrollment.

“This year has been a market roller coaster for the dairy industry, and the Dairy Margin Coverage program is a valuable tool dairy producers can use to manage risk,” said Bill Northey, USDA’s Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation, during a roundtable at a dairy in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. “We were excited to roll out this new and improved program through the 2018 Farm Bill, and if you haven’t enrolled in previous years, we highly encourage you to check it out.”

Signup runs through Dec. 11, 2020. DMC is a voluntary risk management program that offers protection to dairy producers when the difference between the all-milk price and the average feed price (the margin) falls below a certain dollar amount selected by the producer. DMC payments triggered for seven months in 2019 and three months so far in 2020. … Continue reading

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Ohio Texas longhorns win big in Texas

The 30th Annual International Championship Texas Longhorn Show and Convention was held at Glen Rose, Texas Oct 8 – 10. Entries were competing for Championship awards from 19 states. The most entries were from Texas. A record of 581 entries came to capture the national awards.

The All Age ITLA Champion Halter female was exhibited by Kirk and Linda Dickinson of Barnesville, Ohio. The new champion is “Kookachex,” age 5, with a whopping horn spread of 87” tip to tip. Kookachex was judged by prominent Texas Longhorn producer Lana Hightower from Van, Texas. She was shown with her calf at side by Kara Dickinson and Doug Burris.

The All Age ITLA Champion Non-Halter female was exhibited by Dickinson Cattle Co, LLC (DCC) of Barnesville, Ohio. The new Champion Non-Halter was “Iron On” who was exhibited free range in the arena with no halter or special show techniques. She is age 6, weighs 1402 pounds and sports a 91.13-inch spread tip to tip.… Continue reading

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A local meat pandemic

By Dusty Sonnenberg and Matt Reese

Willie Murphy works with his family on their diverse Clinton County operation that includes crops, cattle and a booming 2020 freezer beef business.

“The freezer beef has had a huge increase in demand. Normally we do 50 to 60 a year and so far we have sent over 60 head to the butcher shop and have another 50 head yet this year and another 20 head sold into next year. It doesn’t matter what butcher shop you talk to, they are all booking into this time next year. We have appointments all the way through 2022 just to fill the demand. A lot of people who are buying are asking me to just put them down for next year. That is good for us and good for the people we are selling to so we can cut out the middle man and sell direct,” Murphy said.… Continue reading

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U.S. dairy exports to benefit from new USDA-FDA partnership

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that will establish an interagency process to further support exports of U.S. dairy products. Both agencies play critical roles in facilitating foreign sales of American-made dairy products, which is recognized and appreciated by the U.S. dairy industry. This MOU will draw upon the expertise of FDA as well as USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) and Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) to deepen and streamline their work together on the issues facing dairy exports to the benefit of U.S. dairy farmers and manufacturers. 

The U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) and the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) worked with both agencies to advance this new approach to dairy export collaboration.

“This new partnership ensures that the staff at USDA and FDA are working together in the most efficient way possible to lower barriers for our farmer’s dairy exports.… Continue reading

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Precautions for feeding frosted and drought-stressed forages

By Mark Sulc, Ohio State University Extension

Livestock owners feeding forage need to keep in mind the potential for some forage toxicities and other problems that can develop this fall. High nitrates and prussic acid poisoning are the main potential concerns. These are primarily an issue with annual forages and several weed species, but nitrates can be an issue even in drought stressed perennial forages. There is also an increased risk of bloat when grazing legumes after a frost.

Nitrate toxicity

Drought stressed forages can accumulate toxic nitrate levels. This can occur in many different forage species, including both annuals and perennials. Several areas in Ohio have been dry of late. Corn, oat and other small grains, sudangrass, and sorghum sudangrass, and many weed species including johnsongrass can accumulate toxic levels of nitrates. Even alfalfa can accumulate toxic nitrate levels under severe drought stress.

Before feeding or grazing drought stressed forage, send in a forage sample to be tested for nitrates.… Continue reading

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OCA BEST adds Buckeye Breeders Series

The Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) Beef Exhibitor Show Total (BEST) Program announced important updates and additions to the program, including the creation of the Buckeye Breeders Series (BBS).

The BBS will replace the former Best of the Buckeye Program and will operate in a similar manner, but with increased recognition opportunities for BBS breeders and exhibitors. BBS has been incorporated into the BEST program in its own separate points division and will run throughout the BEST show season. Only registered cattle that were bred by an Ohio breeder are eligible. Crossbreds are not eligible to participate in the BBS.

Beginning with the Scarlet & Gray Midwest Showdown held Jan. 2 and 3, 2021 at the Clark County Fairgrounds in Springfield and continuing at every BEST show throughout the season, cattle entered in the BBS program will have their own separate set of points that will run parallel to the BEST program, like the Novice and Bred & Owned Divisions whose points are a subset of their regular class points.… Continue reading

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Century-old dream is modern reality on Dull Homestead Farm

By Matt Reese

In the late 1930s, 8-year-old Ralph Dull — the youngest of four children — felt as if he was on top of the world as he held the reins of a well-trained mule team, guiding them in the task of raking hay.

“Bob and Tom were the mules used for raking hay and they knew what to do so I didn’t have to do much,” Ralph said with a grin. “I wasn’t old enough to drive a tractor yet but felt pretty important driving the mules.”

Young Ralph would have had no way to comprehend the changes that were ahead for agriculture and the Montgomery County century farm he has always known as home.

Ralph’s father, Vernon Dull, and grandfather, Ira Brenner, purchased three parcels totaling 127-acres in 1918 and started farming the ground in 1919. The earliest days of the Dulls on the land included a diverse crop rotation and a variety of livestock, but Angus cattle were a key focus of the farm.… Continue reading

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Sycamore Hill Sesquicentennial Farm: Everybody needs a little bit of farm in their life

By Brianna Gwirtz, OCJ field reporter

To learn the history of Sycamore Hill Farm in Ashland is to take a step a back in time to Ohio’s earliest beginnings. In 1816, Philip and Mary Fluke and their four young children ventured west from Pennsylvania with a team of horses, two milk cows and whatever possessions their wagon could hold. Philip had purchased a 160-acre section of land for $2 an acre in Orange Township, Ohio and was on his way to create a new life for his family. After clearing paths through the virgin forest for his team to get through, Philip made it to his section of land, where he built a log cabin and started clearing the land to plant corn and wheat.

The land boasted fruit trees, planted with seeds from Johnny Appleseed, who had set up camp nearby. It was common to see Native Americans from the Delaware tribe passing along the trail by the farm, on their way to trading posts.… Continue reading

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When the art and science of grazing may not match

By Chris Penrose, Ohio State University Extension Educator, Morgan County (originally published in The Ohio Cattleman)

I remember the first forage presentation I did in Perry County back in 1989 and I have spent my life professionally and personally working with forages. When we started teaching grazing schools in the early 90s, one of the foundational topics taught was the basics of Management Intensive Grazing and those principles include no seed heads, rest periods, and short duration grazing.

That is the science, how about the art? I remember Lorin Sanford, our OSU Extension Beef Specialist saying to me almost 40 years ago that: “It is the eye of the master that fattens the cow.” That is the art. In our environment with so many things that go on, sometimes the art is more important than the science and sometimes the science even supports the art.

For example, we talk about rotating from one paddock to the next, but not all are created equal.… Continue reading

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Egg producers seeking new balance in a post-COVID market

By Matt Reese

When many people think of egg production, the packages of shelled eggs in the grocery store immediately come to mind. The reality, though, is egg producers supply a diverse array of egg-based products to meet very specific industry needs and consumer demands. The radical and rapid shift in the way consumers were buying eggs back in March caused food chain-wide turmoil.

Cooper Farms, based in western Ohio, certainly faced challenges when the nation changed forever in March of 2020.

“We all saw back in March a big spike in demand at the grocery store and as an industry we did our best to respond to that, but we saw a lot of empty shelves during that time. That had a very brief market impact on shell eggs. At the same time the food service industry was shut down. During that time, grocery demand spiked around 50% and restaurants went to zero.… Continue reading

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Livestock and COVID-19

With the rapid spread of the new coronavirus believed to have started in bats, some people might be genuinely concerned about their farm animals. Could the animals catch COVID-19? 

The answer is murky. 

While there have been no reported cases of pigs, horses, sheep, chickens, or cows getting COVID-19, their susceptibility to the respiratory disease has yet to be studied.  

And though some pigs have been able to get COVID-19 in lab studies, it does not appear that they can catch or spread the virus very easily, said Scott Kenney, an assistant professor of veterinary preventive medicine at The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).

“There are a lot of unknowns,” Kenney said. 

What is known is that ferrets, minks, domestic cats, and some dogs have become infected with COVID-19. But neither pets nor farm animals are thought to play significant roles in transmitting COVID-19. 

Kenney, whose research focuses on viruses that spread from animals to people, is pursuing grants with colleagues to study whether various farm animals are susceptible to COVID-19.… Continue reading

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The politics of cow farts and Burger King’s Whopper

By Don “Doc” Sanders

Many of you have probably read about Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s advocacy for plant-based diets to eliminate global warming caused by cow farts. Now Burger King has gotten into the act with a real whopper. And I’m not talking about the Whopper, Burger King’s double-decker hamburger with all the trimmings.

What I’m writing about is Burger King’s new marketing whopper, an ad that is trying to convince consumers that by buying a Whopper, they’ll play a role in reducing global warming. That’s because Burger King is beginning to sell burgers made with beef from cattle fed lemongrass. Burger King claims that lemongrass makes the cows fart less and thus release into the atmosphere less methane. (No promises for their customers, from what I’ve seen.)

Let me give you some background on lemongrass. ‎Cymbopogon is the genus of the lemongrass family, which includes 52 species. Commonly called barbed wire grass, lemongrass grows in countries ranging from Vietnam to Australia.… Continue reading

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Senators seek robust enforcement of USMCA dairy agreements

A bipartisan group of 25 Senators sent a letter identifying challenges with implementing several dairy-related provisions in the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). Underscoring USMCA’s importance to the dairy industry, the letter asks the U.S. government to use USMCA’s enforcement measures to ensure full compliance with the trade deal.

The letter, led by Sens. Tina Smith (D-MN) and Mike Crapo (R-ID), was sent to the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It reads, in part:

“As negotiated, the USMCA will create new export opportunities for America’s dairy industry and creates an equitable playing field for American dairy exports in Mexico and Canada. Given the importance of these provisions to our dairy farmers and to American dairy exports, we ask that you use USMCA’s enforcement measures to hold our trading partners accountable to their trade commitments. It is imperative that Canada and Mexico deliver upon their agreed upon commitments related to dairy products.”… Continue reading

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Opportunities with the 2020 OCA Replacement Female Sale

By John F. Grimes, Ohio Cattlemen’s Association Replacement Female Sale Manager

The Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) is providing an opportunity for both the buyers and sellers of beef breeding cattle this fall. On Friday evening, Nov. 27, the OCA will be hosting their eighth annual Replacement Female Sale. The sale will be held at the Muskingum Livestock facility in Zanesville and will begin at 6:00 p.m.

The 2020 Ohio Cattlemen’s Association Replacement Female Sale will provide an opportunity for both buyers and sellers to meet the need for quality replacements in the state. Consignments may include cow-calf pairs, bred cows and bred heifers. Females must be under the age of five as of Jan. 1, 2021 and may be of registered or commercial background. Bred females must be bred to a bull with known EPD’s and calves at side of cows must be sired by a bull with known EPD’s.… Continue reading

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Home butchering basics being covered at virtual FSR

This year’s Farm Science Review is being held 100% virtually, with sign up and all of the events being free of charge, because of the coronavirus pandemic. In a normal year, more than 100,000 people attend the event in person. This year, visitors can find the same learning opportunities on line on a number of topics.

There’s growing interest in on-farm butchering, say experts at The Ohio University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES), and they’re offering guidance for doing it right.

As major meat processors have suffered shutdowns and back-ups because of COVID-19, and as small processors have been swamped with business as an alternative for slaughtering market-ready livestock, more and more farmers have started to think about simply doing it themselves.

But processing livestock safely, humanely, and legally isn’t a simple thing at all, said Lyda Garcia, assistant professor of meat science in the CFAES Department of Animal Sciences.… Continue reading

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