Livestock



Grazing in dry pastures

By Matt Reese

Dry conditions are hit and miss around Ohio, but by mid-July areas of “moderate drought” were starting to show up in northwest (Williams, Defiance, Paulding, Van Wert) and west central (Hardin, Logan and Champaign) counties. Along with hurting corn and soybeans, pasture ground around the state was really starting to suffer.

“Once it gets dry, the best option you’ve got is to pull your stock off. Most farms have some woods or marginal areas you can graze that would help a little bit. You can de-stock and cull surplus livestock. Or, you can design your system so that you have got stock that can be sold off,” said David Barker, Ohio State University grazing specialist. “It all takes planning. Without planning, people will graze the pastures down to the dirt. Once the pasture is that short, the ability to recover isn’t there. If a rain does come there is no vegetation to hold the water there.… Continue reading

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Study quantifies value of red meat exports to U.S. corn, soybeans

Since 2015, indirect exports of corn and soybeans through beef and pork exports has been the fastest-growing category of corn and soybean use, delivering critical returns for corn and soybean farmers. These producers support the international promotion of U.S. beef, pork and lamb by investing a portion of their checkoff dollars in market development efforts conducted by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).

USMEF has released an updated version of the independent study aimed at quantifying the value red meat exports provide to U.S. corn and soybean producers. The original study was conducted in 2016 with updates also released in 2018 and 2019. Key findings from the latest version, which utilizes 2019 export data, include:

 

Value of red meat exports’ feed use of corn and soybeans

  • In 2019, U.S. beef and pork exports used 480 million bushels of corn. Corn revenue generated by pork exports totaled $1.8 billion (480 million bushels x average annual price of $3.75 per bushel).
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Pork producers facing a national COVID crisis

U.S. hog farmers continue to face an unprecedented emergency as a result of COVID-related challenges, with an estimated two million hogs still backed-up on farms according to an analysis by Steve Meyer, an economist with Kerns & Associates. At a press briefing in July, the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) described the damage exacted on hog farmers and urged Congress to act swiftly to preserve their livelihoods.

Meyer said U.S. hog farmers face massive losses due to multiple COVID-19 crisis-related factors, which have turned profit potential for 2020 from robust to disastrous. According to his analysis, based on lean hog futures prices on March 1 and July 10 and actual hog prices in the interim, potential 2020 revenue from hog sales has been reduced by roughly $4.7 billion. Other losses associated with euthanasia, disposal and donation of pigs with no market outlet and insufficient space to hold them mean U.S. pork producers have lost nearly $5 billion in actual and potential profits for 2020.… Continue reading

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OYLE to feature 3,000+ entries

Ohio youth livestock exhibitors may not enjoy the thrill of the Ohio State Fair this summer, but they will have a competitive arena to finish their beef, sheep, swine, and boer goat projects. Led by a group of agriculture industry volunteers and livestock show enthusiasts, the Ohio Youth Livestock Expo (OYLE) will host a show for junior exhibitors over a series of dates in July and August.

More than 900 Ohio 4-H and FFA members will exhibit nearly 3,280 individual entries at the inaugural event.

Beef cattle, sheep, and boer goat projects will show at the Darke County Fairgrounds in Greenville, Ohio, with shows beginning July 25 and ending August 5.

Hogs will show at the Pickaway Agriculture & Events Center in Circleville, Ohio, with shows beginning August 9 and ending August 18.

Hosting the Expo across a range of dates at two different sites is designed to provide a livestock show environment that also fosters adequate social distancing.… Continue reading

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Soy in diet protects hogs from viral pathogens

Pigs that eat soybean as a regular part of their diet may be better protected against viral pathogens, a new study from University of Illinois shows. The researchers attribute the effect to isoflavones, a natural compound in soybeans.

Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) is a widespread disease that costs U.S. swine producers around $650 million every year. There is evidence that feeding soy helps protect pigs against the disease, but it’s not clear why or how it works, said Ryan Dilger, co-author on the study and associate professor in the Department of Animal Sciences, Division of Nutritional Sciences, and Neuroscience Program at U of I.

Dilger and his collaborators previously pointed to dietary soy isoflavones as the active ingredient, and they wanted to explore that hypothesis further.

“In this study, we’re looking specifically at isoflavones and whether they have a beneficial effect on the immune response,” Dilger said. “We wanted to understand how we can take a primary protein source in a diet that’s already used for pigs and provide a practical way for producers to combat the endemic PRRSV.”… Continue reading

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Opinion: Ag Twitter grills Burger King over methane reduction campaign

By Kolt Buchenroth, Ohio Ag Net

Ag Twitter — the term given to the larger agricultural community on the popular social media app — practically melted down Tuesday after fast food brand Burger King announced that they were changing their “#CowMenu” to reduce their methane emissions.

Burger King included a (rather strange) video features Mason Ramsey, the yodeling boy, singing about none other than bovine flatulence. The twittersphere leaped to life blasting the burger joint for its video and it’s stance.

Much of today’s society is developing into a cancel culture which refers to boycotting public figures or companies after they do something controversial.… Continue reading

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New job board for Ohio’s pork industry

To keep up with the ever-growing pork industry, members of the Ohio Pork Council have made it their mission to bridge the gap between rising unemployment and a deficit workforce. This summer, the Ohio Pork Council is pleased to launch Ohio Pork Careers – a job board website that farmers can use to inform jobseekers about entry-level job opportunities available on Ohio’s pig farms.

“It is super easy to add a job in minutes with this website. If a farmer wants to post jobs on our site they have to go through a short application process. We are actually fielding all of those registrations here in house to make to ensure this website is only being used by farmers. As far as the hiring process, we turn that over to farms themselves, but we are doing an extra level of security as far as the employee registration process to make sure we are not having any issues,” said Meghann Winters, with the Ohio Pork Council.… Continue reading

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Fairs are finding a way to make it work for livestock exhibitors

By Matt Reese, Dusty Sonnenberg, Kolt Buchenroth and Dale Minyo

So far, 2020 has been a tough year for 4-H.

Jane Warnimont is a Putnam County 4-H advisor and mother of 4-H members who has seen the ups and downs first hand.

“Back in February when things started occurring you got the inkling that something was coming down the pike. March, though, is kind of when things really shut down. That included 4-H and we couldn’t meet with our 4-H members. Those are critical moments for getting things done,” Warnimont said. “Clubs usually start meeting in January and February. Most clubs are really starting to meet their checkpoints in April or May in a normal year. Zoom meetings are helpful but you don’t have that one on one if kids are having problems. This was really tough for first year members too.”

It was maybe toughest for those with livestock projects.… Continue reading

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Congress pushing for greater dairy access in Japan

Members of Congress representing dairy districts from across the country joined together this week to send a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue asking them to work together to build upon the successes secured in a Phase One agreement with Japan and swiftly pursue a Phase Two agreement that addresses any remaining gaps and inequalities in market access and establishes robust commitments on nontariff issues that can significant impact dairy trade.

This bipartisan letter was led by Reps. Ron Kind (D-WI), Lloyd Smucker (R-PA), Josh Harder (D-CA) and Roger Marshall (R-KS). They were joined by numerous House colleagues, amounting to 51 in total, writing, in part:

“Given the fact that our domestic market is a top destination for Japanese exports, Japan must ensure that the terms of trade offered to the United States are better than those offered to other, less valuable, markets.… Continue reading

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May margin triggers Dairy Margin Coverage Program payment

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced that the May 2020 income over feed cost margin was $5.37 per hundredweight (cwt.), triggering the third payment of 2020 for dairy producers who purchased the appropriate level of coverage under the Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program.

“This payment comes at a critical time for many dairy producers,” said FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce. “DMC has proved to be a worthwhile risk management tool, providing dairy producers with much- needed financial support when markets are most volatile.”

To date, FSA has issued more than $176 million in program benefits to dairy producers who purchased DMC coverage for 2020.

Authorized by the 2018 Farm Bill, DMC is a voluntary risk management program that offers protection to dairy producers when the difference between the all-milk price and the average feed price (the margin) falls below a certain dollar amount selected by the producer. Over 13,000 operations enrolled in the program for the 2020 calendar year.… Continue reading

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Pasture management in dry weather

By David Barker, Ohio State University

Dry weather in recent weeks throughout Ohio has raised several questions about how pastures should be managed during drought. Although the experts don’t all agree if this period of dry weather meets the definition of a drought (yet), there is no doubt that pasture growth will slow to zero. How should we be grazing our pastures in mid-summer?

Avoid over-grazing

Unfortunately, without rain or irrigation pastures will not grow, and close grazing will exaggerate this effect. Leaf removal by grazing (or mowing) results in a roughly similar proportion of root death. During moist conditions, roots can recover quite quickly, however, grazing during drought will reduce water uptake due to root loss. As a general rule of thumb, grazing below 2 or 3 inches will accelerate drought effects on pastures, and also, slow recovery once rain does come. Of course, optimum grazing height and management varies with pasture species.… Continue reading

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USDA makes first significant FMD Vaccine Bank purchase

The establishment of a robust Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) vaccine bank — a top, long-term priority for the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) — came closer to reality as the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced its first significant vaccine purchase. The establishment of the FMD vaccine bank was part of the 2018 Farm Bill.

Currently, the USDA, which has prescribed vaccination for dealing with an FMD outbreak, does not have access to enough vaccine should an outbreak occur. FMD is an infectious viral disease that affects cloven-hooved animals, including cattle, pigs and sheep; it is not a food safety or human health threat. The disease is endemic in many parts of the world and would have widespread, long-term fallout for livestock and crop agriculture, including the immediate loss of export markets.

“Today’s announcement is momentous, representing years of NPPC advocacy to ensure U.S. agriculture is protected should we have an FMD outbreak,” said Howard “AV” Roth, NPPC president.… Continue reading

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Manure fundamentals

By Mary Wicks

You can’t get more basic than manure — all animals create it although only humans manage it. We have created litter boxes, toilets, wastewater treatment plants, and a variety of systems for handling livestock manure. Let’s look at the latter.

Not all manure is the same. Fresh manure is a mixture of feces and urine and can include livestock bedding materials or poultry feathers. All manure is valuable. It contains nutrients, including nitrogen (N,) phosphorus (P), potassium (K), organic matter, and micronutrients, so it’s often applied to cropland as a fertilizer. However, manure properties vary depending on the species, handling practices, and application methods.

 

Species

Animals are different and so is their manure. For example, fresh manure from a broiler chicken is 4.91% N and 2.99% P on a dry basis, while a milk cow is 5.44% N and 0.80% P, and a hog is 7.66% N and 4.78% P.… Continue reading

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Economic headwinds slow red meat exports in May

U.S. beef and pork exports trended lower in May, due in part to interruptions in slaughter and processing, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). Beef exports dropped well below year-ago levels and recorded the lowest monthly volume in 10 years. Pork exports remained higher than a year ago but were the lowest since October 2019.

“As protective measures related to COVID-19 were being implemented, plant disruptions peaked in early May with a corresponding temporary slowdown in exports,” said Dan Halstrom, USMEF president and CEO. “Unfortunately the impact was quite severe, especially on the beef side. Exports also faced some significant economic headwinds, especially in our Western Hemisphere markets, as stay-at-home orders were implemented in key destinations and several trading partners dealt with slumping currencies.”

Halstrom noted that the recent rebound in beef and pork production will help exports regain momentum in the second half of 2020.… Continue reading

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Ohio Youth Livestock Expo now ramping up for events

By Matt Reese

While the Ohio State Fair will not happen in 2020, the show will still go on for many of those exhibitors. Megan Wendt, with showpig.com and The Wendt Group, is one of around 50 volunteers working to put together the Ohio Youth Livestock Expo (OYLE) to provide Ohio State Fair junior exhibitors with a chance to hit the show ring this summer.

“The OYLE was put together pretty quickly when the Ohio State Fair announced its cancelation. A group of leaders from the summer jackpot series as well as the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association came together pretty quickly to provide a place for these kids in the state of Ohio to finish out their projects that most of them had already started. Once the decision came from the Ohio State Fair, we just jumped in to make sure there was something for these kids to be excited about and keep working with their animals to see the project through to completion,” Wendt said.… Continue reading

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New Senate bill bolsters farmers in crisis

The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) strongly supports the Responding to Epidemic Losses and Investing in the Economic Future (RELIEF) for Producers Act of 2020, introduced by Sens. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.).

The bill would:

• Compensate hog and poultry producers who are forced to euthanize or donate animals that can’t be processed into the food supply due to COVID-related packing plant capacity reductions;
• Increase funding for animal health surveillance and laboratories, which have appropriately assisted and shared resources with their public health partners; and
• Revise the Commodity Credit Corporation charter so a pandemic-driven national emergency qualifies for funding.

“We thank Senators Inhofe, Burr, Ernst, Grassley and Tillis for their support of U.S. hog farmers who urgently need federal assistance to address this unprecedented crisis,” said Howard “A.V.” Roth, NPPC president. “While plant capacity has improved, millions of hogs remain backed up on farms due to the COVID-created bottleneck, one that could have a lasting impact on hog farmers.… Continue reading

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No more ag-gag in NC?

By Ellen Essman, Ohio Law Blog, Agricultural & Resource Law Program at The Ohio State University

We have mentioned a few times before on the blog that North Carolina’s ag-gag law has been embroiled in a lawsuit for several years. North Carolina’s version of “ag-gag” was somewhat different from other states, because the statute applied to other property owners, not just those involved in agriculture. The basic gist of the law was that an unauthorized person entering into the nonpublic area of a business was liable to the owner or operator if any damages occurred.

This included entering recording or surveilling conditions in the nonpublic area, which is a tool the plaintiffs use to further their cause. In a ruling, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina was decided largely in the plaintiffs’ (PETA, Animal Legal Defense Fund, etc.) favor. In order to not get into the nitty gritty details of the 73-page ruling, suffice it to say that the judge found that that law did violate the plaintiffs’ freedom of speech rights under the First Amendment to the U.S.… Continue reading

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Ohio’s Country Journal & Ohio Ag Net Podcast |Ep. 160 | OYLE with a side of Dale

We take the Quarantine Chronicles on for another week with Matt, Kolt, and Dale Hosting our guest Megan Wendt from the Ohio Youth Livestock Expo. Interviews this week include an interview from Matt with Bane Welker intern Macel Stowers. Bart includes an interview with Kyle Halseman of Halseman Ag.… Continue reading

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U.S. lamb retail sales data released for first quarter 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has provided an opportunity for consumers to cook more meals at home and explore new products including lamb. The new retail data released by the American Lamb Board (ALB) quantifies the growth in retail sales for all lamb (domestic and imported) during the first quarter of 2020.

Retail sales data analyzed by IRI/FreshLook Marketing show pounds of all lamb sold at multi-outlet supermarkets in the U.S. in the 13-week period from Jan. 1 through April 19, 2020, increased 8.5% compared to the same period in 2019, hitting 16.4 million pounds and $133.9 million in sales. As previously reported by ALB, Easter week sales of fresh lamb were strong with more than $19 million in sales across the U.S.

Total dollars spent on all lamb at retail during the first 13 weeks of 2020 increased 13.4%. With prices on the increase for all meat categories, lamb held its own with consumers’ pocketbooks.… Continue reading

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