Forage for Horses workshop

The Ohio Forage and Grassland Council will be hosting an Equine Pasture and Hay Management Workshop on Saturday July 28, 2012 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at AC Acres, Vicki Ayotte farm, 8481 Pontius Road, Groveport, Ohio. The farm is in the southeast corner of Franklin County west of State Route 674, east of Rickenbacker, and south of Groveport along the Walnut Creek.   This will workshop will be covering information on pasture management, pasture soil fertility, forage species selection, tall fescue management, horse nutrition on pasture, manure management, and a pasture walk where plants will be identified and designing a grazing paddock system will be discussed.

The day will end with a hay quality discussion and hay evaluation session. Attendees are encouraged to bring a sample of their own hay for evaluation. Bob Hendershot, retired NRCS State Grassland Conservation and now part-time ODNR-DSWR grazing specialist will be leading the discussion. Hendershot helped develop the Forage for Horses program and has presented this material across the country.… Continue reading

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Drought has potential three-year ‘tail’ on beef production

Livestock producers who fail to properly manage the drought could find themselves dealing with the consequences long after the rains return, said a Purdue Extension beef specialist.

Exceptionally high temperatures and extremely low rainfall have coupled to stress livestock and reduce their feed supplies. Producers can take steps to manage that situation that might cost some money now but could pay off in big ways in the long run.

“The tail on this can be pretty long if we don’t manage things right in a drought year,” Ron Lemenager said. “One thing that I think is really important for producers to consider this year is body condition. If you use condition scores of these cows as a barometer of where you’re at nutritionally, we can’t do much about the heat or drought, but we can make sure we don’t have any nutritional deficiencies.”

In a drought year, forages are low in both quality and quantity, which can leave cows thin and undernourished.… Continue reading

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Simple steps to identify and treat metritis

Metritis is one of the most common fresh cow diseases. Typically diagnosed during the first 10 days in milk, metritis is a uterine infection that can affect up to 30 percent of a dairy herd.1

“After calving, cows are uniquely challenged by a suppressed immune system and negative energy balance at the same time they’re exposed to many diseases,” says Doug Hammon, DVM, Ph.D., senior manager, Cattle Technical Services, Pfizer Animal Health. “With all of these factors working against them, it is easy to see why fresh cows are so fragile and susceptible to metritis.”

Metritis can cause a decline in fertility, lower milk production, a greater risk of culling and increased labor and treatment costs, adding up to more than $350 per cow for each case of metritis.2 Although it cannot be completely prevented, metritis should be identified and treated early to reduce its effects.

What to look for
Dr.… Continue reading

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Dairy Quiz Bowl challenges sharp young minds

By Bonnie Ayars, OSU Dairy Program Specialist, 4-H and Collegiate Dairy Coach

They make the journey to the Ohio 4-H Center from all areas of Ohio. The individuals and teams spend countless hours examining reproduction, milk marketing, bovine health and diseases, and even places and locations of major dairy events. Toss in all those acronyms and it is enough to test the genius of even the sharpest minds. It is the journey that challenges the competitors, but the destination promises rewards if luck is on their side.

On Monday, June 18, the Ohio 4-H Dairy Quiz Bowl and Jeopardy was held at the Nationwide and Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H center on the campus of Ohio State. After a light breakfast, introductions of volunteers, and some orientation, junior and senior contestants went to separate rooms to complete a pre-test that would be evaluated for points and brackets. Questions such as what is another term for calving and who is the managing editor of Hoard’s Dairyman were just two of the many answered correctly.… Continue reading

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Cattle management tips for hot weather

By Stephen Boyles, Ohio State University Extension Beef Specialist

High temperatures raise the concern of heat stress on cattle. Heat stress is hard on livestock, especially in combination with high humidity. Hot weather and high humidity can reduce breeding efficiency, milk production, feed intake, weight gains, and sometimes cause death. Livestock should be observed frequently and producers should take precautions when hot and humid weather is forecast.

Work cattle early in the morning to decrease the risk of heat stress. A danger sign in cattle is panting. The panting mechanism in cattle does not appear to work as well as the one dogs have.

Major management options include providing shade, improved ventilation and a sufficient quantity of water. Shade for livestock can be provided by trees, buildings or sunshades. The temperature can be further reduced by spraying cool water across the roofs of buildings where animals are housed. Ventilation can be provided for air movement by fans and windows.… Continue reading

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Pest control an important part of livestock production

Successfully preventing and eliminating flies and mice in livestock and poultry operations is crucial to maintaining animal health and productivity, said a Purdue University entomologist.

Cattle in both pasture and confinement situations are affected by flies, as are poultry, said Ralph Williams. Bloodsucking flies literally drain animals’ lifeblood, and all flies can transmit diseases, cause discomfort and create a nuisance for neighbors.

Pastured cattle are mainly targeted by the face fly, which feeds on cattle’s mucous membranes and can transmit pink eye. Another pest in pastured cattle is the parasitic horn fly, which lives its entire adult life drinking the blood of one animal.

Control of pasture pests typically consists of self-application devices such as dust bags, oilers, pour-on products, and insecticide ear tags, Williams said. Ear tags have two types of ingredients — pyrethroid and organophosphate. Pyrethroid tags are most effective on face flies. Some horn flies have developed a genetic resistance to pyrethroid, and in this case, horn flies may respond better to organophosphate tags or to a pour-on insecticide.… Continue reading

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New fire code could impact livestock producers

Via the National Pork Producers Council.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) last week voted to amend its standards for animal housing facilities, requiring fire sprinkler systems in newly constructed and some existing facilities. The NFPA is a standard-setting organization, and its uniform codes and standards are widely utilized by state and local governments to set building and fire codes, by insurance companies as minimum standards to maintain coverage and by international organizations. Last week’s change is a substantial expansion of the standards for animal housing. In the past, the sprinkler requirement has applied only to facilities such as zoos, veterinary clinics and pet shops. But the new revisions would cover all barns and any other facilities where animals are kept or confined. NPPC believes the overbroad fire codes have the potential to significantly increase the cost of new barn construction and maintenance and could subject producers to biosecurity risks during annual sprinkler system inspections.… Continue reading

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Bank of America partners with HSUS


Bank of America recently announced another partnership with the Humane Society of the United States after releasing a new HSUS-themed credit card. This new credit card provides the radical animal rights organization with $60 for every new account opened and an additional 25 cents for every $100 spent. (The bank last partnered with HSUS in 2009.) The Animal Agriculture Alliance wrote to Bank of America’s President Brian Moynihan to request that the bank stop funding animal rights organizations such as HSUS that seek to eliminate animal agriculture.


The Alliance, a Bank of America customer, wrote to Mr. Moynihan on June 18 and explained it would be forced to reconsider its relationship with Bank of America if it continued to support groups that unfairly attack the way of life of America’s farmers and ranchers. The Alliance has not yet received a response.

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A “pretty good life” on a Century Farm

By Matt Reese

The hum of an electric homemade ice cream maker buzzes in the background as Walter Mayer lowers himself into a chair beneath a shade tree on a sunny summer day. A breeze rustles the leaves above, providing a tranquil respite amid the frenzy of farm activity around him — hay is being baled, steers are being fed in the barn, crops are stretching skyward in the fields and equipment rumbles in and out of the barnyard of his life long home.

Walter recently turned 100 years old and he is enormously satisfied with his more 36,500 days of life on the farm. He has seen fieldwork guided by horses and by satellite. He knows the toil of butchering a steer in the backyard to feed his family and the convenience of picking up a steak at the grocery. He has seen life through the rustic lens of an Ohio Century Farm.… Continue reading

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Sustainability defined, and defining agriculture

By Dave White, Ohio Livestock Coalition

A couple of months ago I attended two professional conferences about animal agriculture where they used the “S” word and the “T” word throughout both of them, the “S word being “sustainability” and the “T” word being transparency.

When you hear the term “sustainability” being used in agricultural circles, what comes to mind? Is there a definition that we can all agree upon? Are we all talking about the same thing?

When I “searched” for a definition for sustainable agriculture, I came across this: a practice of farming that uses the principles of ecology, the study of relationships between organisms and their environment, an integrated system of plant and animal production practices having a site-specific application that will last over the long term to:

  • Satisfy human food and fiber needs,
  • Enhance environmental quality and the natural resource base upon which the agricultural economy depends,
  • Make the most efficient use of non-renewable resources and on-farm resources and integrate, where appropriate, natural biological cycles and controls,
  • Sustain the economic viability of farm operations, and
  • Enhance the quality of life for farmers and society as a whole.
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Establish high reproduction standards for heifers

Livestock farmers, who are now in the midst of breeding season, might find that selling heifers that aren’t meeting breeding expectations could make better financial sense than keeping an animal that isn’t achieving satisfactory conception rates, an Ohio State University Extension expert says.

Heifers that become pregnant and ultimately produce calves offer livestock farmers more financial benefit, so producers might want to consider replacing those heifers that aren’t meeting their breeding demands, said John Grimes, OSU Extension beef coordinator.

“Given the current prices seen in today’s cattle markets, culling heifers with poor reproductive performance shouldn’t be a difficult decision,” he said. “In today’s cattle economy, the bottom line is, if we don’t get cows pregnant, we don’t get live calves. And having live calves to sell gives us the ability to pay the bills.”

Livestock producers can weed out under-performing yearling heifers by selling them as heavy feeder cattle or by feeding them a finishing ration for a short period and then selling them as market heifers.… Continue reading

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Ohio Sheep Day to be held at Buckeye Acres Farm

By Roger A. High, State Sheep Extension Associate

The 2012 Ohio Sheep Day is scheduled for Sat., July 14, 2012. It will be held at Buckeye Acres Farm, home farm of the Ron and Carla Young family. The farm is located in scenic Van Wert County, at 12282 Harrison-Willshire Rd., Van Wert, Ohio 45891.

Buckeye Acres Farm is a purebred oriented sheep operation, historically concentrating on Purebred Suffolk’s, but now concentrating on the Katahdin breed of sheep. The farm is located in Western Ohio where the terrain is very flat, making it an ideal location for grain crop production, but also an exceptional place to grow forages for sheep production.

This year’s Ohio Sheep Day will focus on programming which will increase and improve the profitability of sheep operations. Daryl Clark, Vice-President, Ohio Sheep Improvement Association and Retired, OSU Extension Agriculture Agent, will be the keynote speaker.

Programming for the day will also include EQIP programming, internal parasite control, manure management, farm tours, forage demonstrations, grazing management and many other topics.… Continue reading

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USDA announces water quality improvement projects

By Ty Higgins, Ohio Ag Net

On June 19, USDA Secretary Vilsack introduced financial assistance to support 23 new partnership projects in several Mississippi River Basin states. Assistance comes through NRCS’s Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative.

“We are building on our Mississippi River actions from previous years by continuing to target priority conservation practices in priority watersheds to improve water quality in the basin,” Vilsack said. “USDA is committed to working cooperatively with agricultural producers, partner organizations and state and local agencies to improve water quality and the quality of life for the millions of people who live in the Mississippi River Basin.”

This is the third year for this initiative that involves 13 states, including Ohio. So far, 118 projects have been announced for improving the Mississippi River Basin Watersheds with funding totaling $190 million.

“We have four goals,” said NRCS Chief Dave White. “Those goals are to increase water quality, restore wetlands, increase wildlife habitat and maintain agricultural productivity.”… Continue reading

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Grazing management in dry conditions

By Jeff McCutcheon, Extension Educator, Morrow County

Talk about extremes. Last year we were still talking about planting at this time. This year, first cutting hay is in the barn and we are wondering if there will be any more. According to the information in the Ohio Pasture Measurement Project (weekly reports can be found at forage growth has not been what we have come to expect the last few years. With no rain in the forecast what is a grazier to do? Relax. Remember, we have been here before — dry periods are expected, but not enjoyed. Of course, if you just started managing grazing in the last two wet years, consider this a crucial part of your education. Many experienced graziers refer to it as the school of hard knocks.

Rotations need to slow down. Grass is growing slower, it takes longer to start regrowth after being grazed and it takes longer to reach optimum grazing mass (height) for the next grazing.… Continue reading

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Management can maximize wool income

By Matt Reese

Whether managing more for wool or for meat, sheep producers that maximize the production from their flock are better prepared to capitalize on the strong prices in today’s market.

“The meat and the wool are not bringing the prices that they were a year ago, but you have to go back a long way to find total lamb value where it is at right now. There is money to be made here,” said Dave Rowe, General Manager for Mid-States Wool Growers Cooperative Association based in Fairfield County. “Many producers review their breeding programs this time of year and wool quality should factor into determining the rams used for the upcoming year. While we focus on lamb production, focusing on wool quality as well is something that can make a positive impact to an operation’s bottom line.”

Unfortunately, though, wool management is not often a priority.

“The U.S… Continue reading

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BEST Program wraps up for 2012

BEST is a youth program of the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) that recognizes Ohio’s junior beef exhibitors through a series of shows. Juniors who participate in these sanctioned shows earn points for their placing at each show. The OCA BEST program promotes educating Ohio’s juniors about the beef industry’s issues and rewards the successful accomplishments and hard work of those junior beef producers.

The 2011-2012 OCA BEST (Beef Exhibitor Show Total) Program wrapped up on June 2 with its annual awards banquet held at the Ohio Expo Center in Columbus.

“The banquet is a time to celebrate with family, friends and BEST supporters the many achievements of our BEST participants,” said Stephanie Sindel, BEST coordinator. “Each participant is recognized for their hard work that goes above and beyond the show ring.”

Several representatives from program sponsors Bob Evans Farms, Farm Credit Services of Mid-America, Green Oak Farms, M.H. Eby, Ohio Farm Bureau Federation and Burroughs Frazier Farms were on hand to help present awards totaling more than $32,000 in belt buckles, furniture, jackets, show materials and other awards.… Continue reading

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NCBA concerned about animal care component in farm bill

Tom Talbot, chairman of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) Cattle Health and Well-Being Committee, is appalled that animal care could be taken out of the hands of experts and placed in the control of the federal government. Talbot, who is a veterinarian and California cattle rancher, specifically is referring to amendment 2252 to the 2012 Farm Bill offered by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.). The amendment, which would mandate on-farm production practices, was also introduced as legislation, Egg Inspection Act Amendments of 2012 (S. 3239 and H.R. 3298), by Sen. Feinstein and Congressman Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.).

“The U.S. beef community has changed through the years, but the one thing that remains the same is our commitment to raising healthy cattle and providing our animals the best care possible,” Talbot said. “NCBA’s Cattle Health and Wellbeing Committee relies on the latest information from government officials, veterinarians and cattle health experts to ensure our policies reflect the latest science and ensure effective cattle care practices on cattle operations throughout the country.”… Continue reading

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Wool prices remain strong

By Matt Reese

During the decades of dismal wool prices, Ohio shepherds have largely focused on meat production, but that dynamic has been changing recently. Higher wool prices mean more potential for extra income and greater penalties for not managing for a clean wool clip.

“Prices have risen over the past couple of years, strictly on the back of short supply. We’ve had low world numbers on sheep and low world numbers in wool. Also, the cotton market exploded a couple of years ago and went to all time highs, which made wool more competitive in the world market,” said Dave Rowe, General Manager for Mid-States Wool Growers Cooperative Association based in Fairfield County. “Last May was the recent high price for wool. The fine wools have come down maybe $1 and the medium type wools we have around here are down maybe 20 or 25 cents from where we were at last year, but the prices are still good.… Continue reading

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Rapidly cooling eggs can double shelf life and decrease risk of illness

Taking just a few seconds to cool freshly laid eggs would add weeks to their shelf life, according to a Purdue University study.

The rapid-cooling process, developed by Kevin Keener, a professor of food science, uses liquid carbon dioxide to stabilize the proteins in egg whites so much that they could be rated AA — the highest grade for eggs — for 12 weeks. Earlier research showed that the same cooling technology could significantly reduce occurrences of salmonella illnesses.

Eggs cooled under current methods lose the AA grade in about six weeks, Keener said.

“There is no statistical difference in quality between eggs as measured by Haugh units just after laying and rapidly cooled eggs at 12 weeks,” he said. “This rapid-cooling process can provide a significant extension in the shelf life of eggs compared to traditional processing.”

Haugh units measure an egg white’s protein quality. Keener’s results, published in the journal Poultry Science, also show that membranes surrounding the eggs’ yolks were maintained for 12 weeks when eggs were rapidly cooled.… Continue reading

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Dry conditions increase need for grazing management

Heat and dry conditions are limiting forage supplies and emphasizing the need for livestock producers to plan and carefully manage their grazing strategies, a Purdue Extension beef specialist says.

If weather conditions remain dry throughout the remainder of spring and summer, pasture conditions could deteriorate and forages could be in short supply – a situation livestock producers need to plan for.

One way producers can be proactive is by caring for pastures through rotational grazing, Ron Lemenager said. With rotational grazing, herds are moved from one section of pasture to another to maximize quality and quantity of forage growth. Doing so helps prevent overgrazing.

“I think most of us realize that if cows are continuous grazing, they are going to always go for the lush, young plant, and that continuous grazing will reduce root growth and root reserves of that plant, and the regrowth is going to be significantly retarded,” Lemenager said.… Continue reading

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