Livestock

BEST program to kick off Thanksgiving weekend

The Ohio Cattlemen’s Association’s BEST program will get underway for 2011-2012 with the Heart of It All Show to be held Thanksgiving weekend on November 26 and 27 in Lima, Ohio.  BEST is a youth development program based on a series of sanctioned cattle shows held throughout Ohio. The program is proud to announce its sponsoring partners for the new show season. They are Bob Evans Farms, Burroughs Frazier Farms, Farm Credit Services of Mid-America, Green Oak Farms, M.H. Eby, Inc. and the Ohio Farm Bureau.

 

“BEST sponsors know they are helping develop the next generation of leaders with their support of the BEST program. Their tremendous support has allowed the program to continue to flourish during a time when many other programs are forced to downsize. We truly appreciate their partnership in this important youth development effort,” said Dave Felumlee, OCA President.

 

Complete exhibitor rules governing the BEST program and a show schedule for the season can be found at www.ohiocattle.org.… Continue reading

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Calves shifting to feedlots

Cattle producers are likely to use more corn than previously expected according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s latest Cattle on Feed report.

The implication of the October 21 report is that feed grains used by cattle in feedlots from the 2011 crop will be more than 5% higher than what was fed from the 2011 crop.

“The real surprise was the higher number of placements in September that resulted in more than one-half million more cattle being fed than a year ago,” said Purdue Extension agricultural economist Chris Hurt.

Calves can eat corn, but also can add weight with forages. However, according to Hurt, the high number of feedlot placements in September serves as an indication that corn has become “cheap” relative to forages.

“December corn futures fell by $1.75 per bushel in September, which was enough to shift the feedlot outlook from bleak to rosy,” he said. “Managers responded by buying light-weight animals, as placements of calves under 700 pounds were up a remarkable 14%.”… Continue reading

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USDA streamlines programs

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that USDA has streamlined a host of programs and processes in an effort to help farmers, ranchers and businesses continue to drive America’s productive agricultural economy. As USDA approaches its 150th anniversary, the changes — quicker disaster assistance, expedited reviews of pending product applications, and less reporting dates — will help build a better, stronger and more efficient Department. Improvements were announced by the Farm Service Agency (FSA), the Risk Management Agency (RMA), and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).

“As USDA continues to find ways to modernize our services, we remain committed to improving the customer experience by streamlining processes, accelerating delivery, and using innovative technologies,” said Vilsack. “The improvements announced today will help businesses respond more quickly to market demands, provide producers with a more responsive farm safety net, and help our customers create jobs. President Obama challenged USDA and other federal agencies to streamline operations, and today USDA is taking a big step toward answering that challenge.”… Continue reading

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OSU students get firsthand look at Dutch dairy industry

By Kyle Sharp

When a group of 10 Ohio State University students and two resident directors — Maurice Eastridge, Ohio State University professor of dairy nutrition, and his wife, Donna — visited the Netherlands this past summer for a Dairy Industry Study Abroad Program, they saw a lot of livestock on the farms they visited. But surprisingly, they saw plenty more almost everywhere they drove throughout the European country.

Because tourism is a big part of the Dutch tradition and people like to see the animals, Dutch farmers keep their animals out on pasture more than their U.S. counterparts. Right up to the city limits or even in the city, there would be animals out grazing, Maurice Eastridge said.

The students found it fascinating.

“I was very shocked to see sheep and cows grazing nearly along every road as we traveled throughout Holland,” said Brooke Barley, a junior human nutrition major from Canton.… Continue reading

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New edition of veterinarian Johne’s disease handbooks available

Dairy and beef producers and their veterinarians who want to help prevent or control Johne’s disease in their herds often ask where they should start with the process. The answer: Begin by conducting an on-farm risk assessment, then develop and follow a management plan specific to the farm.

Three recently updated handbooks—“Handbook for Veterinarians and Dairy Producers,” “Handbook for Veterinarians and Beef Producers” and “How to do Risk Assessments and Develop Management Plans for Johne’s Disease”—are available for dairy and beef producers and their veterinarians who are serious about addressing Johne’s disease and stopping the financial drain of this devastating disease. This fourth edition of the handbooks reflect the USDA’s updated Program Standards for the Voluntary Bovine Johne’s Disease Control Program and are significantly more user friendly.

“The team in charge of developing the 2011 edition of the handbooks brainstormed long and hard to develop easy-to-comprehend and easy-to-complete information and forms, and I think all three handbooks are homeruns,” said Elisabeth Patton, chairman of U.S.… Continue reading

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New edition of veterinarian Johne's disease handbooks available

Dairy and beef producers and their veterinarians who want to help prevent or control Johne’s disease in their herds often ask where they should start with the process. The answer: Begin by conducting an on-farm risk assessment, then develop and follow a management plan specific to the farm.

Three recently updated handbooks—“Handbook for Veterinarians and Dairy Producers,” “Handbook for Veterinarians and Beef Producers” and “How to do Risk Assessments and Develop Management Plans for Johne’s Disease”—are available for dairy and beef producers and their veterinarians who are serious about addressing Johne’s disease and stopping the financial drain of this devastating disease. This fourth edition of the handbooks reflect the USDA’s updated Program Standards for the Voluntary Bovine Johne’s Disease Control Program and are significantly more user friendly.

“The team in charge of developing the 2011 edition of the handbooks brainstormed long and hard to develop easy-to-comprehend and easy-to-complete information and forms, and I think all three handbooks are homeruns,” said Elisabeth Patton, chairman of U.S.… Continue reading

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Dairy producers considering distillers grains

Dairy producers looking for a high-quality heifer feed that often costs less than traditional corn and soybean feed grains should consider distillers grains, said a Purdue Extension dairy nutrition specialist.

Distillers grains, a co-product of ethanol production, are high in both protein and energy. Although distillers grains have typically been fed to lactating cows because of their demand for protein, recent Purdue University studies show that distillers grains are a viable feed option for young heifers, though other research has shown distillers grains can be introduced as early as the calf starter diet and are a viable feed option for young heifers.

In a time when grain prices are high, distillers grains also can provide a more economical feedstuff.

“We’ve seen similar growth performance whether producers are feeding distillers grains or more traditional feeds, such as corn and soybeans,” Tamilee Nennich said. “We also found that it doesn’t matter if an animal is being fed in a feedlot and has a diet based on harvested forages or if that animal is grazing.… Continue reading

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Select Sires seeking interns

Select Sires Inc. has announced plans to offer two summer internships at its headquarters facility in Plain City, Ohio, during the summer of 2012. Positions are available within the sales and marketing department, with applications due by January 1, 2012.
 


“Both practical work experience within the industry and networking are extremely important in helping college students prepare for full-time employment upon graduation,” said Dave Thorbahn, Select Sires president and C.E.O. “That’s why Select Sires offers hands-on internship opportunities each year. These internships help introduce students to the industry side of agriculture, while they contribute to the day-to-day operation of the Select Sires federation.”
 


College students pursuing a bachelor’s degree in dairy science, animal science, agricultural economics, agricultural communications or related agricultural fields may apply for these internships.

Applicants must be familiar with cattle pedigree information. Previous dairy judging team experience is an advantage. While important for all internships, strong writing and computer skills are a requirement for students working in corporate communications.… Continue reading

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Heart of America Grazing Conference

Livestock producers from across the Corn Belt can learn about the latest grazing and pasture management techniques at the Heart of America Grazing Conference, Jan. 25-26 in Mount Vernon, Ill.

The conference, sponsored in part by Ohio State University Extension and Purdue Extension, will offer a number of sessions to help producers deal with problem areas and keep pastures in the best possible shape.

“This is a very practical, goal-oriented conference talking about current issues in grazing,” said Jeff McCutcheon, Ohio State University Extension educator, and member of the Extension Beef Team. “We pull in both university experts, as well as farmers currently practicing these methods, so it’s a very balanced program.”

Agricultural entities from five states cooperate to plan and host the annual event. In addition to Purdue and Ohio State, Extension services from the University of Kentucky, University of Illinois and University of Missouri also are involved.

Along with Extension, event organizers include the Ohio Forage and Grassland Council, Indiana Forage Council, Illinois Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative Association, Illinois Forage and Grassland Council, Kentucky Forage and Grassland Council, Kentucky Grassland Conservation Initiative, Kentucky Department of Agriculture, Missouri Forage and Grassland Council, Missouri Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative and the U.S.… Continue reading

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Beef Checkoff announces landmark sustainability project

The U.S. beef industry announced initiation of a landmark checkoff-funded sustainability assessment. Previous checkoff-funded research demonstrated beef’s carbon footprint in the United States decreased 18% in the last 30 years; and numerous sustainability experts have recognized progressive cattle raising practices in the United States as a model for the world. The next and significant step in this sustainability journey is a multi-year research project that will quantify inputs, outputs and identify opportunities for continuous improvement in beef cattle raising practices.

The Beef Checkoff Program will partner with BASF Corp. to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the current state of the U.S. beef industry and identify the most important areas of focus for future innovation. BASF is internationally recognized for its sustainability efforts. It has created tools and initiatives such as S.E.T. (Sustainability, Eco-Efficiency, Traceability) to help the food industry develop more sustainable products to meet the many global challenges and demands confronting the industry today, including the need to increase overall food production by 70% over the next 40 years to feed a growing world population while protecting the planet.… Continue reading

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Ohio hog farmers fight hunger

The Ohio Pork Producers Council (OPPC), along with several partners, celebrated October being National Pork Month through the power of giving. On Nov. 1, five Ohio foodbanks (Dayton, Cleveland, Lorain, Yougstown and Columbus), each received part of a 30,000 pound donation of pork from Ohio’s hog farming community. This donation was made possible through a generous donation to OPPC from Farm Credit Services of Mid-America, Ohio hog farmers and businesses who support Ohio’s farming community.

As part of this latest donation, OPPC utilized Facebook to get consumers more involved and aware of the efforts being taken to feed hungry Ohioans. “Help Farmers Fight Hunger Virtually” is a Facebook “event” that allowed people to “contribute” to the cause by “attending the “event”. For each person that “attended”, the Ohio Pork Producers Council & Farm Credit Services of Mid-America donated pork (up to 125,000 meals) to the Ohio Association of Second Harvest Foodbanks.… Continue reading

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Rus-Men Farms direct markets meats

By Kyle Sharp

 

While Russ Sellman doesn’t know exactly how a Christmas tree grower feels watching excited families pick out the best tree prior to Christmas, he thinks he has a pretty good idea. It’s probably a lot like watching people clamber over the turkeys he and his wife, Mendy, along with their three children, Emely, 21, Jesse, 17, and Elaina, 13, raise and sell for Thanksgiving from their farm near Galion in Crawford County.

Twelve years ago, the Sellmans started marketing meat from the animals raised on their farm, Rus-Men Farms, and the venture has steadily grown over time. They began with beef and pork, and have added chicken and turkey to fulfill customer demand.

“Everything is direct marketed,” Russ said. “We haven’t hauled anything to market in probably two years.”

And while they enjoy the constant interaction they have with their enthusiastic, local customer base, the most memorable time of each year is when people come to pick up their turkeys.… Continue reading

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Ohio is well suited for needed sheep flock expansion

Two key messages came out of a media event held Oct. 25 at Riverwood Farms near Powell: the U.S. sheep industry needs more sheep, and Ohio is well suited to assist with that expansion.

“It’s runaway demand for both lamb and wool, and the only way we’re going to meet it is by increasing how much we have to sell into the markets,” said Peter Orwick, executive director of the American Sheep Industry (ASI), who was on hand to explain the industry’s “Let’s Grow with twoPLUS” campaign.

The primary objective of the Let’s Grow campaign is to encourage current producers to expand their sheep numbers by 2014. If carried out, the initiative will result in 315,000 more lambs and 2 million more pounds of wool for the industry to market. The three main goals are: encourage producers to increase the size of their operation by two ewes per operation or by two ewes per 100 by 2014; encourage sheep producers to increase the average birthrate per ewe to two lambs per year; and encourage producers to increase the harvested lamb crop by 2% — from 108% to 110%.… Continue reading

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Cattle numbers up, adding pressure to tight feed supply

Cattle feeders are going to use more corn than previously expected according to USDA’s latest Cattle on Feed report that showed 5% more cattle in the nation’s feedlots, said Purdue University economist Chris Hurt.

“The real surprise was the higher number of placements in September that has resulted in over one-half million more cattle being fed than a year ago. Feed grains used by cattle in feedlots from the 2011 crop will now likely be more than 5 percent higher than was fed from the 2010 crop,” he said.

Although calves can eat corn, they can also add weight with forages. The surprisingly high rate of placements in September indicates that corn had gotten “cheap” relative to forages, he said.

“December corn futures fell by $1.75 per bushel during September, which was enough to shift the feedlot outlook from bleak to rosy. Managers responded by buying lightweight animals as placements of calves under 700 pounds were up a remarkable 14%,” he said.… Continue reading

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NPPC questions EPA need for reporting rule

While questioning the need for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s latest proposed Clean Water Act (CWA) reporting rule for large livestock operations, the National Pork Producers Council applauded the agency for at least acknowledging the concerns of livestock producers and for offering options to address them.

EPA’s proposed Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) Reporting Rule seeks to have CAFOs submit to the agency operational information so it “can more effectively carry out its CAFO permitting programs on a national level and ensure that CAFOs are implementing practices to protect water quality and human health.” The information includes basic facility facts, such as contact information, location of a CAFO’s production area, permit status, the number and type of animals confined and the number of acres available for land application of manure.

The agency is considering one of two reporting options: 1) require every CAFO to report information to EPA unless states with authorized CWA permitting programs choose to provide it on behalf of the CAFOs in their state; or 2) require CAFOs in “focus” watersheds that have water quality concerns associated with CAFOs to report information to EPA.… Continue reading

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For the fifth year Certified Angus Beef reports record sales

Certified Angus Beef LLC, for the fifth consecutive year, reported record sales for its signature brand of beef, with nine out of 12 months in fiscal 2011 hitting new heights. Efforts by the brand’s licensed partners led to sales totaling 807 million pounds, an increase of almost 4% over 2010’s previous record 777 million pounds.

The Certified Angus Beef ® brand’s sustained growth, particularly during a period of significant economic downturns and rising costs across all segments of the industry, shows its value to consumers and producers, said company president John Stika.

“The brand’s growth represents a wave of momentum that took more than 30 years to build,” said Stika. The success, he added, is a function of both demand and supply of the high-quality Angus beef.

Increased demand is not only proven by sales success, but also documented by new research from Kansas State University that shows since 2002, demand for the Certified Angus Beef ® brand has risen 56%, while demand for commodity Choice beef rose 20%.… Continue reading

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“Meat MythCrushers” campaign expanded

The American Meat Institute (AMI), in conjunction with the American Meat Science Association (AMSA), expanded its “Meat MythCrushers” campaign with the first of seven new myth-crushing videos that sets the record straight about myths associated with the use of ammonium hydroxide in some beef products.

“We’ve received tremendous feedback thus far on the campaign,” said AMI Senior Vice President of Public Affairs and Member Services Janet Riley.  “We want to keep the momentum going and continue to provide consumers with facts to make informed choices.”

The Meat Myth Crushers campaign is centered around the website, http://www.meatmythcrushers.com/, and a companion Facebook page which feature science-based information and resources in response to some of the most popular meat and poultry myths held by consumers, covering topics such as food safety, production methods, nutrition and animal welfare.

“One of the more popular recent myths we’ve heard from consumers that has been spread by some movies and TV personalities is that ordinary household ammonia is used to make some hamburgers,” Riley added. … Continue reading

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Pork outlook back in black

Stronger hog prices and lower feed costs have put the pork outlook back into the black for the coming year, says a Purdue Extension agricultural economist. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Hogs and Pigs report, there has been little increase in the country’s breeding herd.

With growing demand and a fairly stable-sized breeding herd, producers can expect to return to profitability in the next 12 months. The USDA also reported in its September Grain Stocks report that corn inventories now are higher than expected, reducing the cost of feed.



“Pork producers have largely settled for the status quo because of the uncertainty over feed prices,” said Chris Hurt. “As a result, the USDA says the breeding herd has expanded only slightly as producers awaited the corn and soybean yield and price outcomes of the 2011 growing season.”



According to the USDA, the breeding herd increased 0.6% nationwide in the last year.… Continue reading

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Feed challenges continue to plague dairy farms

In a crop year full of uncooperative weather, dairy producers across the region are struggling with feed problems and rising prices, a Purdue Extension dairy specialist said.

Forages, corn silage and corn grain are low in yields and quality, but high in price after a wet spring followed by a summer-long drought, said Mike Schutz. The combination is tough on animal health and on the bottom lines of dairy farms struggling to stay profitable.

“Because of the drought, corn and forage yields are down and silage is lower quality, but the costs remain high,” Schutz said. “The per-ton value of silage is based on yields and corn prices. With corn trading above $6.50 per bushel, delivered silage prices are about $65 to $75 per ton despite the frequent lower quality. This is in comparison with the $30 to $40 per ton prices producers were paying in recent years.”

Purdue Extension dairy specialist Tamilee Nennich said the fluctuating corn prices can make it difficult to determine fair prices for corn silage.… Continue reading

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Most new livestock standards are commonsense practices

 

Now that Ohio’s livestock care standards, as developed by the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board, are officially signed into law, what exactly does that mean on a daily basis for Ohio’s livestock producers? Aside from the well-publicized housing standards and related transition periods, and adjustments some people building new facilities will have to make, the standards change very little in terms of daily care for livestock and poultry.

“Most of the rest of the standards for swine are good management practices we expect our producers to follow anyway,” said Dick Isler, executive vice president of the Ohio Pork Producers Council. “They’re basically just good, standard management practices.”

That sentiment is echoed by the leaders of all of Ohio’s livestock commodity groups.

“A lot of these standards are what beef producers have been doing for a long time with quality, everyday care of their animals,” said Elizabeth Harsh, executive director of the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA).… Continue reading

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