Livestock

2011 Beef Quality Audit underway, producer input needed

Cattle producers are being asked to provide their input to the 2011 National Beef Quality Audit by taking a short survey at www.cattlesurvey.com. The survey can be completed in approximately 10 minutes.

The 2011 NBQA, led by scientists from Colorado State University and Texas A&M University, is designed to collect and analyze information from cooler audits in the packing sector, face-to-face interviews with beef supply chain partners and for the first time cattle producers including feeders, stockers, cow-calf operators, and seedstock producers will be surveyed. According to Field, producer input is being sought to strengthen the measurement of quality-based practices implemented on farms and ranches that support consumer confidence in beef products and production systems.

The checkoff-funded National Beef Quality Audit (NBQA) has provided important benchmarks for the U.S. beef industry since 1991. According to Tom Field, Executive Director of Producer Education, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, contractor to the Beef Checkoff Program, the audit has been conducted approximately every four years with the historic focus centered on quantifying the performance of beef carcasses for a number of value enhancing characteristics.… Continue reading

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Ohio hog inventory down from last year

Ohio hog producers had 2.03 million hogs on hand June 1, 2011, down 3% from a year ago but up 2% from last quarter. The number of market hogs, at 1,865,000 head, was up 2% from last quarter but down 4% from last year. Breeding stock, at 165,000 head, was down 3% from last quarter but unchanged from last year.

The pig crop during the March-May 2011 quarter numbered 851,000 head, up 1% from last year and up 2% from last quarter. The number of sows farrowed during the March-May 2011 quarter, at 90,000, was up 1% from last quarter and from last year. Pigs saved per litter averaged 9.45, down slightly from last year but up slightly from last quarter.

Ohio producers intend to farrow 87,000 sows during the June-August 2011 quarter; down 4% from a year earlier. Farrowing intentions for the fall quarter, September-November 2011, is 87,000 sows, down 3% from the same quarter of 2010.… Continue reading

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Just because we’ve always done it that way, doesn’t make it right

By John F. Grimes, OSU Extension Beef Coordinator

One of the great strengths and at the same time, great weaknesses of the beef industry in this country is the wide diversity of genetics that we have at our disposal to utilize in a wide range of environments. We obviously have a wide range of climatic conditions where beef is produced ranging from the cold winters of upper Midwest, the arid conditions of the western states, the plentiful moisture and resulting mud in the eastern Corn Belt, to the heat of the southern states. When you compare these varying conditions to the controlled environments that species such as poultry, swine, and in many cases dairy utilize, you can understand why we see much more variability in the look of cow herds across the country. It certainly makes the job tougher for the beef industry to produce a consistent product for the consumer.… Continue reading

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Just because we've always done it that way, doesn't make it right

By John F. Grimes, OSU Extension Beef Coordinator

One of the great strengths and at the same time, great weaknesses of the beef industry in this country is the wide diversity of genetics that we have at our disposal to utilize in a wide range of environments. We obviously have a wide range of climatic conditions where beef is produced ranging from the cold winters of upper Midwest, the arid conditions of the western states, the plentiful moisture and resulting mud in the eastern Corn Belt, to the heat of the southern states. When you compare these varying conditions to the controlled environments that species such as poultry, swine, and in many cases dairy utilize, you can understand why we see much more variability in the look of cow herds across the country. It certainly makes the job tougher for the beef industry to produce a consistent product for the consumer.… Continue reading

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Cooling system may build eggs’ natural defenses against salmonella

Once eggs are laid, their natural resistance to pathogens begins to wear down, but a Purdue University scientist believes he knows how to rearm those defenses.

Kevin Keener, an associate professor of food science, created a process for rapidly cooling eggs that is designed to inhibit the growth of bacteria such as salmonella. The same cooling process would saturate the inside of an egg with carbon dioxide and alter pH levels, which he has found are connected to the activity of an enzyme called lysozyme, which defends egg whites from bacteria.

“This enzyme activity is directly related to the carbon dioxide and pH levels,” said Keener, whose results were published in the journal Poultry Science. “An increase in lysozyme would lead to increased safety in eggs.”

Freshly laid eggs are saturated with carbon dioxide and have pH levels of about 7. Over time, the pH level rises to 9 and carbon dioxide escapes, Keener said.… Continue reading

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Cooling system may build eggs' natural defenses against salmonella

Once eggs are laid, their natural resistance to pathogens begins to wear down, but a Purdue University scientist believes he knows how to rearm those defenses.

Kevin Keener, an associate professor of food science, created a process for rapidly cooling eggs that is designed to inhibit the growth of bacteria such as salmonella. The same cooling process would saturate the inside of an egg with carbon dioxide and alter pH levels, which he has found are connected to the activity of an enzyme called lysozyme, which defends egg whites from bacteria.

“This enzyme activity is directly related to the carbon dioxide and pH levels,” said Keener, whose results were published in the journal Poultry Science. “An increase in lysozyme would lead to increased safety in eggs.”

Freshly laid eggs are saturated with carbon dioxide and have pH levels of about 7. Over time, the pH level rises to 9 and carbon dioxide escapes, Keener said.… Continue reading

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Proper hay storage vital to protecting feed quality

After a wet spring and delayed hay harvest, a Purdue Extension beef specialist says it is vitally important for beef producers to store hay properly to reduce nutrient loss.

Much of the hay harvested now will be used as a main feed source this coming winter, said Ron Lemenager. Improper storage can lead to losses in weight or dry matter, as well as the nutrients required by animals, such as soluble energy, protein, vitamins and minerals.

“In an ideal world, producers would store hay bales inside,” he said. “But, with most producers using large, round bales, that’s often not possible.”

For outdoor storage, Lemenager said protecting hay quality starts with baling. The moisture level of the crop should be 15% to 18%. Anything above 22% poses a spontaneous combustion risk from bacterial growth. The same is true for bales with internal temperatures approaching 170 degrees, so producers making wet hay need to monitor bale temperatures, especially when hay is stored inside.… Continue reading

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10 tips for cutting the cost of rising show feed

As youth go to pick up feed for their fair animals this summer, they’re finding the price tag has increased several dollars over last year.

The increase price of corn is not just effecting livestock producers, but also the show animal industry. Those in the industry tell me the cost of show feed is up anywhere from 10  to 20 percent this year.

Some argue that many youth that show animals are not in it to make money. Heck, it can even be hard to make money showing animals when feed prices are low. This year, though, seems to be an especially  good time to go back to the basics and work on efficiency.

After speaking with several contacts in the show feed industry, here are 10 tips to help cut cost and things to keep in mind when feeding your show animal this summer.

1. Hand Feeding

One of the easiest and simplest ways to cut cost is to make sure you are not wasting feed to begin with.… Continue reading

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Pork Leadership Institute Educates Youth

Erica and Andrew Wilson of Columbiana County, Ohio; Megan Reisinger of Clark County, Ohio; and Adam McFarland of Wayne County, New Hampshire recently participated in the 2011 Youth Pork Leadership Institute held in Columbus, Ohio. Sponsored by the Ohio Pork Producers Council (OPPC) and the Ohio Soybean Council, the annual program gives high school and college youth hands-on experience in developing leadership, citizenship and communication skills.

“The Ohio Youth Pork Leadership Institute is a great opportunity for young pork enthusiasts to learn and experience all facets of the industry,” said Jennifer Keller, OPPC director of marketing and education. “From individual hog farms to local grocery stores, the program allows Ohio’s future leaders to learn about hog farmers’ commitment to providing safe, nutritious food for our consumers.”

During the three-day event, participants toured the Bob Evans Farms test kitchen and The Ohio State University (OSU) meat lab, where they learned about food service and pork quality, respectively.… Continue reading

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Spending measure puts ‘GIPSA Rule’ on hold

Livestock and poultry organizations praised House lawmakers for approving an agriculture funding bill that prevents the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) from finalizing its proposed regulation on livestock and poultry marketing contracts.

The House voted 217-203 to pass legislation that funds USDA, the Food and Drug Administration and related agencies for fiscal 2012, which begins Oct. 1, but denies money for USDA’s Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) to promulgate the livestock and poultry marketing regulation.

Known as the GIPSA rule, the regulation was prompted by the 2008 Farm Bill. But, as 147 House members recently pointed out in a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, the proposed rule goes well beyond the intent of Congress and includes provisions specifically rejected during debate on the Farm Bill. Lawmakers also criticized USDA’s failure to conduct an in-depth economic impact study of the proposal before it was published.

The livestock and poultry groups expressed strong support for the House action:

“The National Pork Producers Council is grateful that the House is requiring USDA to take a timeout on the GIPSA rule, which as proposed is bad for farmers and ranchers, bad for consumers and bad for rural America,” said NPPC President Doug Wolf.… Continue reading

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Bill to close a permitting loophole

By Matt Reese

Ohio Rep. Jim Buchy (R-Greenville) recently introduced a bill (229) to close a loophole used by local governments to block the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) permitting process for a poultry facility.

“We recently denied a permit for the Hi-Q egg facility permit. The current law says there has to be a meeting between the local government jurisdiction, township or county, and the company to discuss issues like traffic and roadways,” said Rocky Black, ODA deputy director. “In this case, the township refused to send the letter back to the company after that meeting. Effectively, they pocket vetoed the facility.”

The inaction from the township forced the State to deny the permit.

“Following a thorough review of the hearing officer’s report and recommendations regarding the Hi-Q permits, I’ve concluded that the Department of Agriculture has no other viable option but to deny the West Mansfield permits due to an incomplete application,” said Jim Zehringer, ODA Director.… Continue reading

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National Cattlemen’s Beef Association CEO in hot water

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association CEO, Tom Ramey, was recently reprimanded by the Cattlemen’s Beef Board Executive Committee for secretly listening in on National Cattlemen’s Beef Association conference calls.

Though he has not be asked to resign, Ramey is required to provide a written apology and has a 6-month employment probation period.

“Mr. Ramey has assured the CBB Executive Committee that he recognizes that his actions were improper and a breach of ethical standards and has promised to never do it again,” attorney Richard Rossier wrote in a letter to NCBA President Bill Donald in response to a number of allegations NCBA made against Ramey and other CBB officials.… Continue reading

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Fish farm tour June 15

Freshwater Farms of Ohio, the state’s largest indoor fish hatchery, will host a free public tour June 15 as part of the 2011 Ohio Sustainable Farm Tour and Workshop Series.

Freshwater Farms raises up to 100,000 pounds of fish a year, including such species as rainbow trout, largemouth bass, yellow perch, bluegill and channel catfish, though may be best known for its sturgeon “petting pool” and annual Ohio Fish and Shrimp Festival.

“Freshwater Farms is a unique business. They’re very diversified and support four generations of family members,” said one of the tour’s organizers, Laura Tiu, an aquaculture specialist with Ohio State University.

“They not only produce fish but they process and market their product in on-site facilities. They’ve developed several innovative value-added products using their fish. They also conduct quite a bit of business stocking recreational ponds and supplying equipment to the industry,” Tiu said.

“It’s that type of diversification that makes many small farm operations viable.”… Continue reading

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State of Ohio investigating outbreak of infections caused by Salmonella

State officials report that eight separate Salmonella illnesses in Ohio are part of a multistate outbreak associated with chicks and/or ducklings purchased this year at agricultural supply stores sourced from an Ohio hatchery. These birds were sold at numerous agricultural outlets across the state and with these confirmed reports of Salmonella infections health officials are encouraging any purchaser of baby chicks this year to use caution in their handling and care.

The eight ill individuals range in age from 3 months to 76 years and live in Ashtabula, Columbiana, Franklin, Hamilton, Jefferson, Licking, Medina and Wood counties. Specimens obtained from chicks belonging to one of the Ohio cases yielded the outbreak strain of Salmonella Altona.

“I encourage anyone who purchases baby chickens or ducklings to use caution when handling the birds and to always thoroughly wash their hands after touching them, “said ODH Director Ted Wymyslo, M.D.

The Ohio Departments of Health and Agriculture are working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S.… Continue reading

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Dairy industry receives $1.1 million to help producers benchmark and demonstrate their environmental stewardship practices

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced a $1.1 million Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) to the Dairy Research Institute (formerly known as Dairy Science Institute, Inc.), an affiliate of the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy. The funding will support the development of a Dairy Farm Stewardship Toolkit for dairy producers to evaluate their production techniques and identify potential improvements in management practices. These improvements could increase profitability or reduce costs on the farm.

“This grant will help take the industry’s heritage of dairy stewardship to a new business level,” said Bob Foster, owner, Foster Brothers Farm in Middlebury, Vt. “As dairy producers, we know that consumers want products that are not only nutritious and good-tasting, but also environmentally friendly. We have long been committed to stewardship, but have not had a science-based tool to identify and measure practices that reduce costs and environmental impact.”

The grant, awarded through a nationwide competitive process, is made available through the U.S.… Continue reading

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Dairy cows and other livestock need to be monitored in extreme heat

With heat indexes soaring over 100 degrees this week, livestock need to be closely monitored to prevent health and production problems, said Ted Funk, University of Illinois Extension specialist in agricultural engineering.

“Dairy cows will especially be impacted by a hot week,” Funk said. “If producers don’t anticipate problems in hot weather, cows could go off feed, produce less milk and even experience reproductive failure.”

Funk said there are three priorities dairy producers should focus on: shade, air flow and water.

“Fortunately this week, despite the high air temperatures predicted in the mid-90s, the dew point is expected to remain around 68 or 69,” Funk said. “Dew point, or the measure of moisture in the air, doesn’t change very fast unless a weather front comes through. If you have a sustained period of stable weather like we should have this week, you can look at the morning dew point and determine if it’s going to be a dangerous or manageable day.”… Continue reading

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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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