Fly control in confined livestock and poultry production operations

By Ralph E. Williams, entomologist, Purdue University

Fly Control in Confined Livestock Operations

Of flies occurring in livestock confinement operations, including feedlots, dairies, swine, and sheep, of most concern are stable flies, Stomoxys calcitrans, and house flies, Musca domestica.  Control of these two flies follows similar techniques.

Surveillance/Diagnosis:  Both stable flies and house flies can cause annoyance to livestock.  Stable flies feeding on livestock, especially on the legs, causes foot stomping, tail swishing, animal bunching, and nervousness.  Excessive house fly populations can also alter animal behavior.  Animals become reluctant to feed with high numbers of house flies present around feeders, and animals often bunch together to avoid fly activity.  Observing animal behavior can be an indication for the need for fly control.

Monitoring fly activity can be accomplished in several ways.  The use of light traps, baited fly traps, sticky ribbons, and spot (fly speck) cards are useful in monitoring fly activity, especially house flies inside buildings. … Continue reading

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Managing dairy costs

While rising feed prices and other production costs, are putting pressure on the dairy industry, a Purdue Extension dairy specialist says there may be ways for dairy farmers to reduce their on-farm input expenses.

“The three biggest input costs for dairies are feed, labor, and replacement heifers,” said Mike Schutz. “Two out of the three are influenced dramatically by corn prices.”

With rising energy and grain prices, Schutz said the economic model for dairies is shifting back to diversification. Producing feeds such as hay and grains allows farmers to better control their input costs.

“The dairy economic crisis of 2009 showed record low milk prices and high feed costs, and farms that were diverse were positioned to weather that crisis,” Schutz said. “During that year, the average dairy lost between $350 and $1,000 per cow, but losses were absorbed better by those raising their own feed.”

Since 2009, the milk price has increased; however, the margin between milk price and feed cost remains small.… Continue reading

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Livestock producers concerned with wet spring

Ohio has experienced its wettest April in more than 100 years of record keeping with a rainfall of 7.7 inches. The previous record was 6.37 inches set in April 1893. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Division of Soil & Water Resources also noted that it was Ohio’s wettest February to April period on record.

“The rains have caused a tremendous hardship on farmers who are unable to get into the fields to plant or safely apply fertilizer and manure,” said Ted Lozier, chief of the Division of Soil & Water Resources.

Lozier said that as a result of the heavy rains some manure storage facilities are near capacity. Recognizing that an overflow could have an environmental impact on waterways, the division is offering limited financial assistance to qualifying operators.

A cost share of up to $500 is potentially available to assist qualifying livestock facility operators to haul and dispose of liquid manure in a manner approved by the program.… Continue reading

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Vilsack will not withdraw proposed rule on buying livestock

According to an update from the National Pork Producers Council, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has said he will not withdraw a proposed rule on buying and selling livestock and poultry. The statement came following a letter the Secretary received from 147 House lawmakers asking that the proposed rule be withdrawn and that USDA propose a regulation — more consistent with the intent of Congress as outlined in the 2008 Farm Bill.

Under the farm bill, USDA is to promulgate new regulations under the Packers and Stockyards Act to address five specific areas related to livestock and poultry contracts. The bi-partisan letter highlighted concerns about the process and cited this as the reason the USDA should withdraw and re-propose.

A recent analysis of the proposed regulation conducted by Informa Economics found that it would cost the U.S. pork industry nearly 400-million dollars annually, resulting in 2,000 direct pork related job losses. NPPC — like the 147 bi-partisan House members – has strongly urged USDA to be open and transparent in its regulatory dealings with the U.S.… Continue reading

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Preserve the quality of your tower silo

A drive around the countryside this time of the year will enable one to see farmers out working in their fields. According to the International Silo Association (ISA), this is also the time of year to focus on preventative maintenance on the tower silos that will store the harvest.

“Preventative maintenance on a tower silo helps ensure proper feed storage and is necessary for safety issues, as well as to preserve the quality of the tower silo,” said Leroy Shefchik, spokesperson for ISA. “If a common sense approach to silo maintenance is used, similar to how one cares for other equipment used on the farm, the result will be many years of trouble-free feed storage.”

Many of the tower silos that owners are anticipating to use for their crop storage have been on the farm for many years. The tower silo may appear to be sturdy, strong and in good condition but with time and usage, maintenance is essential.… Continue reading

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New USDA guidelines lower pork cooking temperature

New cooking guidelines from the nation’s food-safety agency confirm Pork Checkoff research that shows pork can be consumed safely when cooked to an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit, followed by a three-minute rest time. The guidelines were announced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS).

The new recommended temperature is a significant 15 degrees less than what was previously recommended and typically will yield a finished product that is pinker in color than most home cooks are accustomed to.

“Our consumer research has consistently shown that Americans have a tendency to overcook common cuts of pork, resulting in a less-than-optimal eating experience,” said Dianne Bettin, a pork producer from Truman, Minn., and chair of the Checkoff’s Domestic Marketing Committee. “The new guidelines will help consumers enjoy pork at its most flavorful, juicy – and safe – temperature.”

The revised recommendation applies to pork whole-muscle cuts, such as loin, chops and roasts.… Continue reading

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Looking ahead for dairy farms

Midwest dairy managers continue catching up economically after a disastrous 2009 and 2010 business year, said Mike Hutjens, University of Illinois professor of animal sciences emeritus.

“Illinois milk producers need $17.00 per 100 pounds to cover feed, variable, fix, and labor costs with a modest return on assets,” Hutjens said. “Currently, milk prices have been favorable, but dairy managers need a full year of these margins to replace lost equity in 2009-2010.”

Several factors will be critical to maintain a successful 2011 dairy business model.

Hutjens said milk prices will depend on supply and demand with more than 13% of current U.S. milk solids being exported. World demand is important to keep supply and demand balanced, which may be impacted by the financial problems in some European countries and unrest in the Mideast.

“Corn price will also impact profit margin,” he said. “Late planting of corn in the Midwest, flooding along major rivers such as the Mississippi, and drought in the Southwest will impact corn and feed price.… Continue reading

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Livestock and streams

By Steve Boyles, OSU Extension Beef Specialist

A stream crossing will control animal and vehicles crossing the stream. It can also be used to control access point for livestock watering. Pastures with streams have areas where the animals have chosen spots to cross the stream. These areas are usually the best locations to construct the stream crossing. The animals choose these areas because of stable footing and ease of crossing. Improving the existing crossing with the livestock’s needs in mind will encourage the livestock use. Livestock avoid soft, muddy, and rocky streambeds. They prefer a firm gravel bottom to walk on. They need to be able to see the bottom in order to use the area as a water source.

The primary component of a stream crossing is a heavy layer of gravel thick enough to support the animals. The size of the gravel affects how long the cattle spend in the crossing.… Continue reading

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Ohio Sheep Day to be held July 16, 2011 at Blue Heron Farm

By Roger A. High, State Sheep Extension Associate and Ohio State University, Executive Director, Ohio Sheep Improvement Association and Ohio Sheep and Wool Program

The 2011 Ohio Sheep Day is scheduled for Saturday, July 16, 2011.  It will be held at Blue Heron Farm, home farm of Cynthia Koonce, located outside of Lisbon, Ohio in beautiful Columbiana County. Blue Heron Farm, under the direction of shepherdess, Cynthia Koonce, is a commercial oriented sheep operation, concentrating on marketing a variety of types and sizes of commercial lambs.  Blue Heron Farms is located in the upper part of the Ohio Appalachian region where the terrain is rolling and hilly, making it an ideal location for sheep production.

The 2011 Ohio Sheep Day at the Blue Heron Farm operation will focus on programming that will increase and improve the profitability of sheep operations, Richard Ehrhardt, Small Ruminant Specialist at Michigan State University, will be the keynote speaker. … Continue reading

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Grazing management reminders

By Rory Lewandowski, OSU Extension Educator Athens County, Buckeye Hills EERA

Plenty of moisture and favorable temperatures is a combination for rapid grass growth. May is generally the month when graziers struggle to manage the spring flush and stay ahead of the growth and seed head development. Here are some management reminders and thoughts related to this early season period.

* Manage beginning and ending grass height. In beginning level grazing schools we say to start grazing when plants are around 8 inches in height. Follow the take half, leave half principle and remove livestock from a pasture paddock when grass height is about 4 inches.

* When grass is growing fast, rotate fast. Under the good growing conditions experienced in the spring of the year, a healthy grass plant will begin to re-grow within a couple of days of being grazed or cut off. This new growth should not be grazed again until the plant has recovered back to the target beginning grazing height.Continue reading

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The shorter the better

By John F. Grimes, OSU Extension Beef Coordinator

The title of this article could apply to many things in our everyday life if you think about it. Nobody likes a long wait at our favorite restaurant, a long visit at the doctor’s office, long lines while attending an amusement park, or the long number of days waiting on a potential tax-refund from the IRS. You get the idea. Something else that should fall in the “shorter the better” category for beef producers is the breeding season. Regardless of the size and scope of your operation or your preferred time of year to calve, there is little economic justification for a lengthy calving season. This topic has been addressed through countless articles in popular press and Extension meetings. The arrival of breeding season for many herds seems like an appropriate time to revisit this issue.

Regardless of whether you use a natural service sire or artificial insemination in your breeding program, there is little justification for a lengthy breeding season.… Continue reading

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Ohio third graders win field trip to Ohio livestock farm for entire class

The Ohio Livestock Coalition announced the winners of a statewide essay contest for third graders in response to the question, “How do Ohio farmers make sure we have good, safe food to eat?”

Mary Gray from Big Walnut Elementary in Sunbury and Alice Yang and Kerim Pintol from Granby Elementary in Columbus won the contest. They were selected from more than 20 essays submitted in the contest’s second year.

In addition, the following third graders received honorable mention awards:

* Alexa Cooper, Scioto Elementary (Pickaway County)

* Joel Krebehenne, North Union Elementary (Union County)

* Cara Sheets, East Elementary (Athens County)

The winners’ entire third-grade classes will be taking a free, all-expenses-paid field trip to an Ohio livestock farm, courtesy of the Ohio Livestock Coalition. Price Farms Organics, Ltd., a hog farm in Delaware, Ohio, will host the two third-grade classes.

The essay contest is part of the Ohio Livestock Coalition’s ongoing For Your InFARMation program.… Continue reading

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OPA announces award winners

The Ohio Poultry Association (OPA) recently announced its 2011 award recipients, named each year at the organization’s annual banquet in Columbus. These awards honor businesses, farms and individuals who have made significant contributions to Ohio’s egg, chicken and turkey sectors.

“I am honored to work with so many talented individuals, farms and businesses who continually seek to go and beyond what is expected of them,” said Jim Chakeres, OPA executive vice president. “This year’s award winners are no exception.”

Awards and recipients at the 26th Annual Banquet included:

Environmental Stewardship Award: Paul Dahlinghaus

The OPA’s Environmental Stewardship Award is given each year in recognition of a farmer’s commitment to his or her neighbors and to the environment as a whole. This year’s recipient is Paul Dahlinghaus of New Bremen, Ohio. The farm has taken a number of actions to make their operation more environmentally friendly. Some of these projects include installing waterways and filter strips to keep fertilizers out of stream waters, and monitoring streams and wells on a regular basis.… Continue reading

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NCBA supports legislation to end ethanol subsidy, import tariff

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) President Bill Donald said the Ethanol Subsidy and Tariff Repeal Act, which was introduced by U.S. Senators Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), would end 30 years and more than $30 billion of taxpayer support for the corn-based ethanol industry and would finally level the playing field for all commodities relying on corn as a major input. The legislation would repeal both the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit (VEETC) and the tariff on imported ethanol by no later than June 30, 2011.

“NCBA supports the development of renewable and alternative fuels and we know ethanol plays a role in reducing our dependence on foreign oil. However, we don’t support forcing taxpayers to prop up an industry that should be able to stand on its own two feet,” said Donald who is also a cattleman from Melville, Mont. “Senators Coburn and Feinstein should be commended for their leadership on this issue and for introducing this commonsense legislation that will not only level the playing field for a bushel of corn but will also save taxpayers more than $6 billion annually.”… Continue reading

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Dairypalooza 2011

The Ohio Dairy Programs present Dairypalooza 2011, a learning and growing experience for 4-H dairy members of all ages. The event will be held April 30 at the Grammer Jersey Farm at 11810 Johnson Rd. in Beloit.

Highlights of the day include:

* Dairy JudgingClinic/Contest where we will give you pointers to help your succeed in judging and improve your oral reasons skills. Prizes will be awarded for the top individuals in each age category.

* Dairy Quiz Bowl Demo with a demonstration of dairy knowledge from the 2010 National 4‐H Dairy Quiz Bowl Champs.

* And a Showmanship Clinic covering what you should do once you are in the ring with your animals.

In addition, animal health experts will be on hand to talk with members about important nutrition and health topics. There will also be washing, clipping and fitting clinics and a career expo. Registration is $3 per person.… Continue reading

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State-inspected meat plants may soon, finally, have access to interstate sales

By Kyle Sharp

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced a final rule April 19 that will broaden the market for smaller state-inspected plants. By participating in this voluntary cooperative interstate shipment program, select establishments will have the option to ship meat and poultry products, bearing an official USDA mark of inspection, across state lines.

“We’re excited to announce this new rule that offers smaller plants the opportunity to expand their market and sell their products to new customers,” said FSIS Administrator Al Almanza. “Allowing these state-inspected establishments to ship their products across state lines has the potential to expand rural development and jobs, increase local tax bases, strengthen rural communities, and ensure that food is safe for consumers.”

While that sounds like great news, most state-inspected processors are taking a “wait and see” approach.

“I’ve learned not to get my hopes up,” said Mike Jessee, Ohio Association of Meat Processors (OAMP) president and owner of Dee-Jay’s Custom Meats, Fredericktown.… Continue reading

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Challenging decisions for forage producers

By John F. Grimes, OSU Extension Beef Coordinator

At the risk of stating the painfully obvious, it has been a very wet spring in the state of Ohio and most surrounding states. The cool, wet weather has put nearly every farming enterprise behind schedule thus far and this week’s weather forecast offers little immediate relief. Corn planting is well behind schedule and soybean planting may soon join the same trend. Poor field conditions have also prevented forage producers from making seedings for permanent pastures or hay fields.

The poor field conditions are particularly troubling for beef producers wanting to improve their forage situation. Even though it seems like a distant memory, the fall of 2010 was abnormally dry in many locations, which resulted in many substandard or delayed seedings. This fact combined with the current field conditions has put many forage enterprises in a precarious situation.

This week’s weather will push the earliest opportunity to return to the field into next week which puts us at the first of May.… Continue reading

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Zeedyk’s custom manure application venture stems from necessity

By Kyle Sharp

About 2001, Visser Dairy with about 1,600 cows started up next to the crop farm of the Zeedyk family in Defiance County. At the time, Roger Zeedyk Jr. farmed the land along with his sons Roger IV, Mike and Adam. An arrangement between the two farms soon materialized, with the Zeedyks supplying corn silage to the dairy and, as partial payment, the dairy’s manure would be applied to the Zeedyks’ fields for fertility.

In the first few years of this arrangement, the problem was finding someone to apply the manure in a timely fashion, said Roger Zeedyk IV.

“It always got there, it was just never quite when you wanted it, or it didn’t quite get applied the way you wanted it,” Roger IV said.

Roger IV had watched people do custom manure application over the years and talked with them about how it needed to be done.… Continue reading

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