Workshop addresses livestock management in the drought

The 2012 drought has been one of the worst on record in Ohio, and many livestock producers will need adjust plans and reshuffle resources to minimize economic losses, two Ohio State University Extension educators say.

To help, OSU Extension is sponsoring a free workshop, “Livestock Management – After the Drought,” Aug. 13, 7-9:30 p.m. at the Mill Creek MetroParks Farm on State Route 46, across from the Canfield Fairgrounds in Canfield.

The lack of substantial rainfall, extreme heat and dryness have left many producers short on hay and silage supplies and looking for any alternative forages they can plant to make up for the shortages, said Rory Lewandowski, an agriculture and natural resources educator for OSU Extension.

“I’ve gotten calls from producers wondering what kind of tradeoffs they should be looking for in forages and the impact on pricing and economics they could be facing,” he said. “Growers want to know what they can do to set themselves up in a better place next year for forages.”… Continue reading

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Ohio farmers tell of hay prices and supply across the state

Compiled by Heather Hetterick and Hannah Thompson

County: Clark
Type of Operation: Grain and cow/calf operation
What is your current hay supply? We should be ok because we had some hay carryover from last year.
Do you have plans to downsize due to feed shortages? We’re actually having a dispersal sale this fall.


County: Wayne
Type of Operation:
What is your current hay supply?
Not very good. We had to bring heifers home from our heifer grower that we hadn’t planned on and it used up all our extra supply of hay. We have no hay at this time for our milk cows from this next year.
What is hay going for in your area? $300-$500/ton
Do you have plans to downsize due to feed shortages? We looked at selling heifers, but have basically been told there is no market for them at this time. We’re running numbers and scenario’s right now to see what would be the best option for us.… Continue reading

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USDA makes lamb buy

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) announced the purchase of 396,000 pounds of lamb leg roast and lamb shoulder chops at a cost of approximately $1.64 million. This product will be distributed in federal food and nutrition programs.

“American lamb producers and the entire market will benefit from the purchase of this lamb,” commented Margaret Soulen Hinson (Idaho), president of the American Sheep Industry Association (ASI). “The intent of the program is to strengthen lamb prices to the farm and ranch level and we are very appreciative of the department taking this very much needed action.”

Both companies that submitted bids — Mountain States Rosen LLC and Transhumance Inc. — were awarded contracts from this invitation. The lamb is scheduled for delivery in September.

“With deliveries in September, the winning companies can begin processing to fill the orders promptly,” said Peter Orwick, ASI executive director. “By my count, this bid accounts for the movement of more than a dozen semi loads of lamb.”… Continue reading

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Ohio Pork Rib-Off draws crowd while promoting pork

Savory smoke filled the air as 10 teams from across Ohio, gathered in Columbus for the 16th annual Ohio Pork Rib-Off. This event invites teams to prepare both ribs and pulled pork that are evaluated by a judging panel for taste, tenderness and appearance.

This year, those challenged with selecting Ohio’s top teams were Tristan Navera, Another Food Critic (blog); Matt Reese, Editor, Ohio’s Country Journal; Bethia Woolf, Columbus Food Adventures (blog); Virgil Strickler, General Manager, Ohio Expo Center and State Fair; and Paul Boyer, Columbus Foodie (blog).

Bob Nunnally of NBC 4 served as the competition emcee and announced the following award winners:

Grand Champion Ribs: Wally’s Great American BBQ, Tiffin, OH
Reserve Champion Ribs: Hickory River Smokehouse, Tipp City, OH
Grand Champion Pulled Pork: Wally’s Great American BBQ, Tiffin, OH Reserve Pulled Pork: Velvet Smoke BBQ, Hilliard, OH
People’s Choice Award Winner: Tony’s Restaurant, Findlay, OH
Best BBQ Sauce containing Soy: Wally’s Great American BBQ, Tiffin, OH

In addition to $3,000 in prizes, top teams received commemorative banners and silver serving trays.… Continue reading

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Tips to deal with drought-stressed forages

Put a plan of action in place to make the most of this year’s forages.

With extreme drought conditions affecting more than half of the U.S., and in excess of 30 percent of the corn crop rated at poor or very poor conditions – this year’s forages are likely to present some challenges.

“Unfortunately you can’t control the plant that’s presented for harvest,” says Martha Baker, dairy nutrition specialist with Purina Animal Nutrition LLC. “But you can control what you do with it.”

The upside to dealing with drought-stressed forages is that total plant digestibility tends to go up and they tend to be good quality feeds, because of higher stem to leaf ratios. “Improved digestibility offers some advantages and is something dairy producers and nutritionists need to keep in mind when formulating rations with this year’s crop,” she says.

To handle and feed drought-stressed forages, Baker offers the following advice:

Decide when to harvest.… Continue reading

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Forage options after corn

A wide range of forage crops could help grain and livestock producers salvage some value from their fields once the drought-ravaged corn crop has been harvested — if soil moisture returns to a level that can support plant growth.

While damaged corn can be used as forage to feed livestock, it won’t be enough to thwart forage shortages. Several forage crops are available for growers to plant in late summer or early fall and that could serve as livestock feed in the spring.

“For the August seeding, an excellent consideration would be spring oat that will be harvested by machine, or a combination of spring oat and forage turnip if grazed by livestock,” said Keith Johnson, Purdue Extension forage specialist. “Spring oat will not survive the winter. While the expectation is for turnips to winterkill, too, it has been observed that they can survive a mild winter.”

Another possible choice is annual ryegrass, but growers who go this route need to pay close attention to keep the crop from becoming a nuisance.… Continue reading

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Aquaculture conference next month

People interested in learning business strategies to develop and maintain a healthy and sustainable fish farming operation can do so during a conference on aquaculture offered by a group of educators, including those from Ohio State University Extension.

The conference, “Planning for Aquaculture Business Success,” will be held Aug. 6-7 in the meeting rooms at Cabela’s Inc., an outdoor retail store at 110 Cabelas Blvd. East, in Dundee, Mich. The event will highlight sound financial practices and innovative approaches in the aquaculture industry, said Laura Tiu, an aquaculture specialist for OSU Extension.

The conference, which is free and open to the public, is offered through a partnership with the Ohio Aquaculture Research and Development Center at OSU South Centers; the National Aquaculture Association with funding from the United Soybean Board; the North Central Regional Aquaculture Center; the Nature Conservancy; Michigan Sea Grant; the Michigan Aquaculture Association; and the Ohio Aquaculture Association.… Continue reading

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NIAA to host antibiotics symposium in Columbus

By Matt Reese

To build on the success of their first conference focused on antibiotics in 2011, the National Institute for Animal Agriculture is hosting a second conference on the topic this November in Columbus.

“A one health approach to antimicrobial use and resistance: A dialogue for a common purpose” will be held Nov. 13-15 at the Hilton Polaris Hotel in Columbus. Ohio presents a great forum for the symposium for a number of reasons.

“Columbus is an excellent choice for this. One of the main reasons for this is that we have seven health colleges here at Ohio State on one campus. There are no other universities that can say that,” said Leah Dorman, DVM, director of food programs, Center for Food and Animal Issues for the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation and symposium co-chair. “And, Lonnie King, who is the dean of the OSU veterinary school and the coordinator between these seven health colleges, is so knowledgeable in the topic of one health with antibiotics.”… Continue reading

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AFBF sides against EPA in poultry suit

Taking aim at the Environmental Protection Agency in support of a Farm Bureau member, the American Farm Bureau Federation on Thursday filed a motion to intervene in a lawsuit concerning EPA’s authority to regulate poultry and livestock farms under the Clean Water Act. AFBF filed to intervene on the side of West Virginia poultry grower Lois Alt, who brought suit to challenge an EPA order demanding that Alt obtain an unnecessary and costly CWA discharge permit. AFBF was joined in the motion by the West Virginia Farm Bureau.

Alt sued EPA in June after the agency ordered her to obtain a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System discharge permit. EPA’s order threatens Alt with $37,500 in daily fines for storm water that may come into contact with dust, feathers or dander deposited on the ground outside of poultry house ventilation fans, or small amounts of manure that may be present in the farmyard as a result of normal poultry farming operations.… Continue reading

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Drought could be disastrous for livestock industry

Drought that is spreading across the country is increasing feed prices and quickly spelling financial disaster for livestock producers, Purdue Extension agricultural economist Chris Hurt said.

While crop producers face serious economic losses from reduced or non-existent yields, the lack of corn, soybean and hay crops could make the fallout even worse for milk, beef, pork, lamb, chicken, egg, turkey and duck producers.

“The first thought is crop producers will bear the brunt of the financial losses, but losses in animal industries will be enormous over the next year — perhaps considerably greater than for the crop sector,” Hurt said.

Unlike many crop farmers, livestock producers don’t typically have any form of income protection comparable to crop insurance. December 2012 corn futures already have risen by nearly 55%, and soybean meal futures are up 24%.

“These higher feed prices have to be absorbed by the animal industry, causing a collapse in financial margins,” Hurt said.… Continue reading

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Beef 101 educates members of Congress

Representatives from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) and the Nebraska Cattlemen today gave an overview of the U.S. beef industry to congressional staff members as part of NCBA’s “Beef 101” educational series.

Beef 101 is an educational series for members of Congress and their staff. The program was developed to bridge the knowledge gap between elected officials and the beef industry.  The session featured a presentation by University of Nebraska-Lincoln professor Tom Field, Ph.D., who gave a general overview of the U.S. beef industry. Field told roughly 40 attendees that the $220 billion beef industry is largely family-owned, with 97% of beef producers located on family farms, ranches and feedyards.

Field, who runs a family cattle operation in Colorado, explained to attendees the current beef industry is made up of 751,000 beef herds totaling approximately 30 million cows and 26 million feeder calves. He also stated that since the 1970s, the U.S.… Continue reading

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Event reaches urban customers with the taste of lamb

By Matt Reese

The weekend Lamb Jam held in conjunction with the Wine Festival at the North Market in downtown Columbus showed consumers how delicious and versatile lamb can be. Seven top chefs from around Columbus competed for a $500 top prize based on their best lamb dish.

The winner of the event was Aaron White with Columbus Brewing Company. His Lamb Adobo Enchiladas wowed judges with their flavor. The runner-up was the Fig Glazed Lamb Ribs with a warm Ferro salad from Phil Gulis with Luce. Chefs from the Refectory, Bodega, Gourmet Pizza Bistro, Renaissance Hotels and  MoJoe’s Columbus also competed with delicious lamb dishes.

“This was a great way to expose more urban customers to the delicious lamb produced right here in Ohio,” said Roger High, executive director of the Ohio Sheep Improvement Association. “There was a great crowd here and plenty of opportunities for them to enjoy lamb.”… Continue reading

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AFBF concerned about FDA stance on antibiotics

Citing a lack of data to support limiting antibiotic use in livestock, the American Farm Bureau Federation has told the Federal Drug Administration that it is concerned with proposals that would restrict antibiotic use based on unproven theory.

AFBF submitted comments to FDA on two proposals made by the agency earlier this year. According to FDA, the agency is taking action to help preserve the effectiveness of medically important antimicrobials for treating disease in humans, but FDA has not demonstrated whether the actions will have any effect on antibiotic resistance, AFBF said.

“AFBF agrees that human antibiotic resistance is a serious and growing healthcare problem. Developing strategies for reducing antimicrobial resistance is critically important for protecting both public and animal health,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman. “However, we are extremely concerned with FDA actions, which seem to indicate the agency is basing complex animal health policies on theory, rather than sound scientific studies.”… Continue reading

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Gestation stall debate driving change

By Matt Reese

A picture of a sow in the tight confines of a gestation stall is tough for many consumers to see. And, while some consumers express unbridled outrage, animal rights groups drum up fund raising support and retailers demand change based upon that image, it seems that one thing is lost in the off-farm debate surrounding the animal welfare realities of gestation stalls — the welfare of the pigs.

With more retailers demanding gestation stall free pork, and the more concrete Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board requirements, hog farmers are grappling with what type

of housing system (group housing pens or gestation stalls) is really best for the animals. There are many opinions out there concerning the future of Ohio pork production. Pat Hord, who is based in Crawford County and among the largest hog producers in the state, is taking a proactive approach to this issue, but still acknowledges the challenges in the move away from gestation stalls.… Continue reading

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EPA withdraws CAFO reporting rule

Late Friday afternoon, July 13, 2012, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) withdrew its proposed Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 308 CAFO (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations) Reporting Rule. The rule sparked controversy within the agricultural community due to what was referred to as a serious overreach of EPA’s authority. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s (NCBA) primary concern was the likelihood the proposed rule could put the nation’s food system at risk of increased terrorist attacks. NCBA President J.D. Alexander said this move by EPA is a victory for cattlemen and women and illustrates the importance of the beef cattle community working together to educate government officials.

“Early on, we called for EPA to pull this rule. It turns out they listened. This really showcases the importance of cattlemen and women becoming engaged in the regulatory process and making sure their concerns are heard,” Alexander said. “We encourage the agency to redirect its focus to working with states and other partners to attain already publicly available information that would allow them to work toward their goal of improved water quality.… Continue reading

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Dry pastures don't discourage attendance at Ohio Sheep Day

By Matt Reese

The rising level of interest in sheep production was readily apparent at the Ohio Sheep Improvement Association Ohio Sheep Day as a crowd of more than 175 people gathered at Buckeye Acres Farm west of Van Wert today.

The drought did little to discourage the enthusiasm, but was an important topic of discussion at the event. Knox County Extension educator Troy Cooper and retired NRCS specialist Bob Hendershot led a pasture tour to discuss a variety of pasture management options.

“With the drought, if we can get some rain in the next two or three weeks, you can get a no-till drill an inter-seed some winter annuals such as turnips or rye, which would provide some quick feed for this fall grazing as our pastures try to regain health and strength,” Cooper said. “For a longer-term solution, you can come in with some perennials this fall and re-seed some grass.… Continue reading

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Dry pastures don’t discourage attendance at Ohio Sheep Day

By Matt Reese

The rising level of interest in sheep production was readily apparent at the Ohio Sheep Improvement Association Ohio Sheep Day as a crowd of more than 175 people gathered at Buckeye Acres Farm west of Van Wert today.

The drought did little to discourage the enthusiasm, but was an important topic of discussion at the event. Knox County Extension educator Troy Cooper and retired NRCS specialist Bob Hendershot led a pasture tour to discuss a variety of pasture management options.

“With the drought, if we can get some rain in the next two or three weeks, you can get a no-till drill an inter-seed some winter annuals such as turnips or rye, which would provide some quick feed for this fall grazing as our pastures try to regain health and strength,” Cooper said. “For a longer-term solution, you can come in with some perennials this fall and re-seed some grass.… Continue reading

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USDA to start testing meat for chemical residue

the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced new steps to safeguard the food supply and to protect consumers nationwide. Later this summer, the Department will launch a new approach to its testing to protect the public from exposure to harmful levels of chemical residues in meat, poultry, and egg products.

“The new testing methods being announced today will help protect consumers from illegal drug residues in meat products,” said Elisabeth Hagen, USDA Under Secretary for Food Safety. “By allowing us to test for more chemical compounds from each sample, these changes will enable USDA to identify and evaluate illegal drug residues more effectively and efficiently.”

Through its National Residue Program (NRP), FSIS tests for the presence of chemical compounds, including approved (legal) and unapproved (illegal) veterinary drugs, pesticides, hormones, and environmental contaminants that may appear in meat, poultry, and egg products. The new, modern, high-efficiency methods that FSIS is announcing today will conserve resources and provide useful and reliable results while enabling the Agency to analyze each sample for more chemical compounds than previously possible.… Continue reading

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Key features of the Dairy Title of the Agricultural Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2012

By John Newton and Cameron Thraen, Ohio State University Extension

The following key information has been generated by simulating the milk marketings of 5,000 representative farms over the time period 2006-2012. Representative farms were structured to include herd demographics, seasonal production patterns, and farm growth rates common to farms found in Mideast portions of the U.S. Portions of the 2012 margins were estimated using Chicago Mercantile Exchange futures prices. All of the provisions contained in the U.S. Senate version of the DMPP and DMSP have been implemented over this period.

Key factors from an evaluation of the Dairy Margin Protection Program

1. The outcome for the margin calculation depends on which National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) all-milk, corn, and alfalfa hay prices are used by the Secretary of Agriculture: (1) NASS preliminary prices, (2) NASS revised prices, or (3) NASS final agricultural prices. As the prices are revised the calculated dairy producer margin are subject to change; however, the Senate language does not indicate which prices will be used nor does it include language or provisions that allow for margin revisions.… Continue reading

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Risks of raw milk? Make mine pasteurized

By Donald “Doc” Sanders

While growing up I drank raw, unpasteurized milk harvested from my dad’s dairy cows. You could always bank on three inches of cream in the neck of my mother’s glass milk bottles.

Dad’s cows produced milk with cream so thick, that after it had been refrigerated, it took a knife to break through so it would pour. On the other hand, one of dad’s cows, Star, produced so little cream you could drop a quarter into the bottle and be able to read “In God We Trust,” assuming it landed heads. Star produced an incredible amount of “skimmed” milk. Her life was never in danger for being a loafer.

I like the taste of raw milk, but it poses too much health risk to be drinking it. My mother realized this, when I was a teenager, she purchased a home pasteurizer from Montgomery-Ward. She had us drinking pasteurized, non-homogenized milk.… Continue reading

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