West Nile Virus found in Shelby County horse

The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) confirmed a case of West Nile Virus in a horse from Shelby County. Samples were collected on August 1, 2012 and results were confirmed by the agency on August 6, 2012.

Mosquitoes can pick up the West Nile Virus from wild birds and may then transmit the infection to people and other animals. Studies show that cool, wet weather in early spring followed by very hot temperatures throughout the summer can result in increased mosquito activity.

Infection with West Nile Virus does not always lead to signs of illness in people or animals.  In horses that become clinically ill, the virus infects the central nervous system and may cause symptoms of encephalitis. Clinical signs of encephalitis in horses may include a general loss of appetite, depression, weakness in limbs, and possible fever.

“Animal vaccination is a primary key to preventing the spread of West Nile virus among animals.… Continue reading

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Lawsuit seeks to cripple the Beef Checkoff Program

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) President J.D. Alexander expressed disgust following an announcement that the Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM) has formed a partnership with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) to destroy more than 25 years of market development and consumer demand building by the Beef Checkoff Program.

Specifically, OCM announced that it will file a lawsuit seeking an injunction against the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service, Cattlemen’s Beef Board and the Beef Promotion Operating Committee. OCM President and Director Fred Stokes stated during the press briefing that HSUS is helping fund its efforts to file the lawsuit. OCM claims to advocate for a fair, competitive agricultural marketplace; however, in doing so it partnered with an organization known for its anti-agriculture agenda. According to Alexander, independent research shows the beef checkoff is supported by nearly 75% of cattlemen and women.

“HSUS is an organization going state by state vowing to end production agriculture by outlawing scientifically validated production practices in animal agriculture.… Continue reading

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Know the basics of strategic deworming

Keeping a healthy herd requires proper planning

A strategic deworming approach involves more than administering a dewormer annually. It’s about knowing when parasites could be compromising the health of your cattle.

“Timing is critical for strategic deworming programs,” says Gary Sides, Ph.D., Cattle Nutritionist, Pfizer Animal Health Cattle and Equine Technical Services. “Along with timing, selecting the appropriate active ingredient, using proper administration techniques and even taking geography into consideration are all vital parts of getting the most out of your deworming program.”

A strategic program aims to interrupt the lifecycle of the parasite. To do that, cattle producers should deworm their herd twice a year — once in the spring at the beginning of grass green up and again in the fall before winter turnout.

“If spring deworming is done correctly, it can be very beneficial moving into fall because parasite loads are greatly reduced,” Dr. Sides says. “Likewise, fall deworming is still very important to clean up any parasites that might have been missed earlier in the year and takes care of the parasites that may overwinter in the cattle.”… Continue reading

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Supplemental forage options for late summer planting

By Mark Sulc and Stan Smith, OSU Extension

Many producers are looking to grow more forage this autumn and early next spring because of the reduced forage yields resulting from dry weather this year. Supplemental forage can be produced yet this year by planting small grains or annual ryegrass on land coming out of wheat or corn silage. In this article we discuss options for planting in early August (on wheat stubble ground for example), in late August to early September (after corn silage removal), and after soybean harvest (late September to mid-October).

Before making any plans to plant supplemental forages, be sure to check the plant back restriction interval for herbicides used in the previous crop. Corn herbicides, especially atrazine products, have a long rotation restriction interval for many of the forage options listed below. So check the labels for the herbicides you used this year especially.

Early August Plantings
The best options are to plant spring oat, spring triticale, or annual ryegrass (see section below on annual ryegrass).… Continue reading

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Drought leaving alfalfa quantity concerns

By Ty Higgins, Ohio Ag Net

Licking County livestock producer Popeye Thompson is doing double takes when he looks at the calendar. Thompson knows from his decades of experience that it is never a promising scenario to start feeding alfalfa in July, but that is exactly what happened, not only on Thompson’s Alexandria farm, but on hundreds of other farms all over Ohio as well.

“Things have deteriorated faster than I thought they ever could,” Thompson said. “Until we get a decent amount of rain, I will have to continue to supplement some of my hay, and hope that I can keep enough stored when I need it the most this winter.”

Generally this time of year, Thompson has a successful grazing plan in place. He rotates his cattle on two different pastures every three weeks. The extreme heat and lack of rain, though, changed that philosophy in quick fashion after drought

conditions set in this year.… Continue reading

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DDGs can help dodge rising feed costs

If the drought forces producers to feed a larger portion of distillers dried grains with solubles, cattle can maintain gains and improve meat quality if the animals are weaned early, a Purdue University scientist has shown.

The finding, reported at the American Society of Animal Science Midwest Meetings in Des Moines, Iowa, could allow some producers to save on rising feed costs in the face of this year’s drought. Distillers dried grains with solubles, or DDGS, are the leftovers from corn ethanol production. DDGS generally cost about 10% less than corn feed.

“You can essentially use a cheaper feed for a portion of the time and maintain high rates of gain, while improving the quality of the meat,” said Jon Schoonmaker, an assistant professor of animal sciences. “It decreases fat thickness, but doesn’t decrease marbling score.”

Schoonmaker tested cattle weaned at 100 days instead of a more traditional 200 days. Those early weaned cattle were fed diets with no DDGS or one with DDGS content of 30% or 60% for 99 days, after which they were fed a standard diet with no DDGS.… Continue reading

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Ohio Department of Health will continue monitoring illnesses at fairs

The Ohio Departments of Agriculture (ODA) and Health (ODH), along with local health officials and representatives from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), continue to monitor influenza-like illness in animals and humans throughout the county fair season in Ohio, and reminded Ohioans to exercise common sense health practices while around animals.

State Veterinarian Dr. Tony Forshey has veterinarians monitoring hogs weighing-in for exhibition at the Ohio State Fair and taking the temperatures of any that look ill. ODA is also contacting county fair boards and 4-H clubs with information that can be displayed in livestock barns while urging the installation of additional hand sanitizers.

ODH continues to partner with local health departments and health care providers across the state on any reports of human illness. Individuals who have reported close contact with swine and are exhibiting flu-like systems will undergo testing. Samples will be sent to the ODH laboratory for preliminary testing and then to CDC for confirmation.… Continue reading

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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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