Grass tetany/ Hypomagnesemia — Start preventive measures now

By Michelle Arnold, Ruminant Extension Veterinarian, University of Kentucky Veterinary Diagnostic Lab; A special thanks to Dr. Jeff Lehmkuhler for his contributions to this article

What is “Grass Tetany” and when are cattle most likely to have it? Grass tetany, also known as spring tetany, grass staggers, wheat pasture poisoning, winter tetany or lactation tetany, is a condition resulting from a low level of magnesium (Mg) in the blood. Maintenance of blood magnesium depends on the amount obtained from the daily diet since the magnesium present in teeth and bones and is not easily mobilized in times of need. 

Magnesium is required for proper nerve and muscle function so low levels in the blood result in “tetanic spasms” where muscles contract uncontrollably. The disorder in an adult cow begins with separation from the herd and going off feed. The ears are often erect and twitching and the cow is alert, hyperexcitable and may be aggressive.… Continue reading

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Overcoming converging challenges for a better future

By Matt Reese

The last year saw a convergence of needs for local business, local consumers and a local farm in the Hillsboro community in Highland County. The response to the challenges of 2020 from Maplecrest Farms will hopefully help to meet those needs.  

Maplecrest Farms, founded by John and Joanie Grimes in 1990, has found solid footing as a seedstock operation providing high quality Angus and Simmental genetics for other cattle operations. The operation now has around 350 cows and sells cattle in numerous sales every year. These include a fall production sale every September, an annual bull sale in March, multiple online show heifer sales, as well as merchandising bulls through the Allied Producer Program with Gardiner Angus Ranch in Kansas. Maplecrest also sold a limited number of head as local freezer beef.

And, as the Grimes’ daughters (Lindsey and Lauren) and their husbands (Adam and Will) have phased into the operation, some expansion options had to be explored with new ways to add value to the cattle not being sold as seedstock.… Continue reading

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Beef Expo starts March 18

The Ohio Cattlemen’s Association’s (OCA) 2021 Ohio Beef Expo is finally here March 18-21 at the Ohio Expo Center in Columbus.

Maintaining a safe environment while providing Expo participants with the critical necessity to continue essential farm income are the objectives driving all decisions for the event. Accomplishing these goals has required the Beef Expo to reformat several elements to comply with the current COVID related state health orders. The seven seedstock sales have been changed to reduce the number of buyers in one area and scheduled for one sale at a time utilizing only one sale ring in the Voinovich building.

The sales will start Friday afternoon March 19 and continue through Saturday, March 20. Most sales will also provide potential buyers with an optional online bidding opportunity. In addition, the Online Feeder Cattle Sale will continue at a new time on Friday morning.

Ohio Beef Expo Schedule of Events


8:00 a.m.Continue reading

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Virtual grazing school

 Due to the pandemic, the Pastures for Profit Grazing School was held virtuallyIn case you missed the webinars, or if you do not have access to internet service or if you have poor Internet connection, Richland Soil and Water Conservation District will be sharing the webinars Wednesdays April 14, 21 and 28 from 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon. in the Longview Center Conference Room located at 1495 W. Longview

Avenue, Mansfield, OH. Registration is requested by April 7 and may be made at or by calling 419-747-8686.

The program is a grassland management school designed for grazing livestock producers and resource managers. 

The goals of the Grazing School are to:

  1. educate producers and resource managers in the art and science of grazing management
  1. transfer new technology in grassland management to producers and resource managers
  1. improve the producers’ ability to better manage their grassland and related natural resources

Participants will be able to use the information they receive to help ensure their grazing operations are environmentally responsible as well as economically viable.… Continue reading

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The potential disruption of Prop 12

It’s time for the pork industry to lead the discussion and shape its own economically viable animal welfare and sustainability targets nationwide. That’s one of the conclusions of a new RaboResearch report, “U.S. Pork Supply Chain Locked in Limbo as Producers Await Legal Ruling.” According to the report, California’s Proposition 12 raises many issues that could continue to challenge the supply chain if end-users institute more, un-uniform standards.

The report outlines how the U.S. pork supply chain faces significant disruption in 2022, when California’s animal welfare regulations go into effect.

·        California produces less than 2% of its internal pork needs, so the burden to comply with Proposition 12 regulations will fall on producers outside the state.

·        Less than 4% of U.S. sow housing currently meets the new standards.

·        RaboResearch estimates that compliant pork supplies could fall 50% short of California’s needs on January 1, 2022.

·        California will experience a severe pork deficit and high prices.… Continue reading

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January red meat exports down

U.S. beef and pork exports opened 2021 below the large volumes posted a year ago, according to January data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). 

Beef exports totaled 105,047 metric tons (mt) in January, down 2% from a year ago, while value slipped 3% to $653 million. The decline was due mainly to lower beef variety meat shipments, as muscle cut exports were steady with January 2020 at 81,398 mt, valued at $584.4 million (down 1%) and accounted for a larger share of production than a year ago. January beef exports were very strong to South Korea and continued to gain momentum in China. Following a down year in 2020, exports also rebounded to the Middle East.

January pork exports totaled 248,656 mt, down 9% from a year ago but slightly above USMEF’s projections. Export value was down 13% to $642.8 million. Pork muscle cut exports were down 11% in volume (208,234 mt) and 15% in value ($551.3 million), while pork variety meat shipments trended modestly higher than a year ago.… Continue reading

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What sparks insurance coverage for the loss of dairy income?

By Jeffrey K. Lewis, Attorney and Research Specialist, Ohio State University Agricultural & Resource Law Program

When was the last time you read your farm business insurance policy? Under your policy, do you know when coverage is triggered for loss of business profits and loss of assets? In the case below, you will learn about a dairy farm that recently dealt with the issue of stray voltage causing dairy cattle to unexpectedly pass away. Even though the farm had insurance, the farm continued to operate, albeit at a reduced capacity, while it dealt with the silent killer. The farm continued to operate under the assumption that any loss of business income and the loss of its primary assets would be covered under its insurance policy.

Mengel Dairy Farms

Mengel Dairy Farms could not begin to fathom why its dairy cattle were unexpectedly dying off. Beyond its loss of livestock, Mengel also suffered loss of milk production and business profits.… Continue reading

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Swine barn upgrades address efficiency, regulatory needs

Faced with aging barns and regulatory change, many hog producers will remodel or make upgrades to their facilities this season. While some new barn construction is likely, the focus will be on improvements to existing structures.

That’s the expectation of several dealers for AP, the AGCO brand that produces equipment used in swine production. 

“The average age of barns is getting older,” said J.D. Myers, national sales manager of swine projects, with QC Supply based in Schuyler, Neb. “The farming economy has gotten better and producers are looking to reinvest in their barns in 2021.”

The biggest issue driving the improvements, the dealers say, is California Proposition 12, which requires producers to provide more space for breeding pigs, egg-laying hens and calves raised for veal. Effective Jan. 1, 2022, a minimum of 24 square feet of usable floor space must be provided per gestating sow for pork products used in the state.… Continue reading

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House bill addresses agriculture labor shortage

Legislation introduced in early March in the U.S. House of Representatives, the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, would reform the H-2A visa program to address the agricultural labor shortage. Among other provisions, it would amend the H-2A program to allow a capped number of visas for farmworkers to work year-round. 

“The U.S. pork industry is suffering from a serious labor shortage, negatively impacting farms and processing plants. Unfortunately, the current H-2A visa program is designed for seasonal agriculture, ignoring the needs of U.S. pork producers and other year-round livestock farmers. Without visa reform to support a sustainable workforce, production costs may increase, which could lead to higher food prices for consumers,” said Jen Sorenson, Pork Producers Council (NPPC) president. “NPPC thanks the bill’s sponsors Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) and Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.) for jumpstarting this critical conversation, and believes this legislation is a step in the right direction. We look forward to working with Congress to enact meaningful labor reform that both opens the H-2A program to year-round labor without a cap and provides legal status for agricultural workers already in the country.… Continue reading

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Livestock manure properties and pollution prevention: Part 2

By Harold Keener, Fuqing Xu, Mary Wicks

In our February article (, we discussed how manure storage conditions can affect water soluble phosphorus, a contributor to algal blooms. This month we look at levels of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) in stored manure.

NPK levels in livestock manures

Researchers evaluated NPK levels in stored manure using 2018-2019 data provided by a commercial laboratory. The data consisted of analyses of 55 dairy (milking), 397 poultry (layers) and 501 swine manure samples. Farm names and manure management details were not provided. However, 219 of the swine manure samples, which were provided from 91 contract farms using the same feed formulations and deep pit storage, were evaluated separately for comparison. The data was evaluated on a dry basis for comparison purposes as moisture content affects nutrient levels, with high moisture manure being subject to large errors when converted to a dry basis.… Continue reading

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National use of livestock insurance products offered by USDA-RMA

By Elliott Dennis, Assistant Professor & Livestock Extension Economist, Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Nebraska – Lincoln

Changes to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Risk Management Agency (RMA) Livestock Risk Protection (LRP) insurance plan took effect on January 20, 2021, for the crop year 2021 and succeeding crop years. These changes included: (a) increasing livestock head limits for feeder and fed cattle to 6,000 head per endorsement/12,000 head annually and swine to 40,000 head per endorsement/150,000 head annually; (b) modifying the requirement to own insured livestock until the last 60 days of the endorsement; (c) increasing the endorsement lengths for swine up to 52 weeks; and, (d) creating new feeder cattle and swine types to allow for unborn livestock to be insured. These changes, in addition to the dramatic changes in subsidy levels and allowing premiums to be paid at the end of the coverage endorsement period, should significantly improve the use of LRP.… Continue reading

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Hog industry update from Pork Congress

By Matt Reese

Like any other year, award winners were recognized, educational seminars were attended and industry networking took place at the 2021 Ohio Pork Congress — in person. It was a daunting task, but the Ohio Pork Council successfully hosted an in-person event in this month. 

Attendance was limited and there was an online component to the event as well, but Ohio pork industry leaders were very glad to have the chance to gather to learn from experts and each other. 

“It has been a challenge over the last couple of months. We didn’t know if we’d be able to have Pork Congress this year. We have been fortunate with masks and social distance in place that we have been able to get together as a pork industry,” said Ryan McClure, Ohio Pork Council president. “We are one of three states in the U.S this year that actually had a trade show.… Continue reading

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Chick shipping catastrophe

By Matt Reese

Winter’s wrath is plaguing much of the country, causing shipping headaches nationwide and a first-ever challenge for Meyer Hatchery in Ashland County for delivering newborn chicks or “lives” throughout the country.

“Basically the U.S. Postal Service put an embargo on air shipments for ‘lives’ last week that basically made it so we couldn’t ship orders for this week. USPS is the only carrier for ‘lives’ and birds have to be shipped in 72 hours or they are not viable any more. The Postal Service ended up extending it to the end of next week, which makes 2 weeks in a row where we are unable to ship anything,” said Meghan Howard with Meyer Hatchery. “I understand why they did it this week. There were double-digit negative temperatures in a huge part of the country and we had hundreds of thousands of people without power. There was ice and devastation in Texas, so we understand.… Continue reading

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Resource kit available for those exploring meat processing business

A team of Ohio State business and meat science specialists have compiled a Meat Processing Business Tool Kit for people who are exploring the meat processing business. Designed as a decision-making aid for people exploring investing in or expanding a meat processing facility, this online tool kit can help entrepreneurs evaluate the business and navigate business planning. The Meat Processing Business Tool Kit is available in the Business section at the OSU South Centers webpage and at the OSU Extension Meat Science webpage. 

With the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers saw shortages of meat in large supermarkets caused by disruptions in large packing plant operations. 

“As a result, consumers started shopping at smaller, local meat shops, that didn’t have shortages of meat,” said Lynn Knipe, PhD, associate professor of food science and technology at Ohio State who worked with the team to develop the meat processing business tool kit. “This, in turn, increased business for the smaller meat processors to a point that people who were used to taking animals to their local slaughterhouse, had to schedule their animals much farther out than normal.” … Continue reading

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Providing extra energy in bad weather

By Dean Kreager, Ohio State University Extension Licking County Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator

Winter is here! As I write this, we have had some snow and freezing temperatures along with a healthy dose of mud, but the worst is yet to come. Some grazers may still be utilizing stockpiled forages but many of us have transitioned to feeding hay, baleage, or silage. Hopefully, we know the quality of our forage and the needs of the livestock that will be consuming it. Maybe we have even planned for supplemental energy sources when needed. This is all great until Mother Nature throws a monkey wrench into things. Rain, snow, wind, and mud can destroy our best laid plans.

There are charts that tell us the nutrient requirements of all types of livestock during different stages of their lives. These help us know which forages are best suited to which animals and when a supplement needs to be added to maintain performance and reach genetic potential.… Continue reading

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OPC recognizes 2021 award winners

Each year the Ohio Pork Council recognizes award winners at the Ohio Pork Congress. This year’s event was held both in person and with a virtual option. This year’s award winners are:

• Pork Industry Excellence Award — Duane Stateler

• Ohio Pork Council Service Award — Todd Price

• Ohio Pork Council Swine Manager of the Year — Travis Stahl (of Hord Family Farms)

• Ohio Pork Council Friend of Ohio Pork Industry Award — Ohio Dairy Producers Association

• Ohio Pork Council Pork Promoter of the Year Award — Lauren Schwab Eyre.

Here is more about each of the award winners.

Pork Industry Excellence Award: Duane Stateler

Duane Stateler has made many contributions to the pork industry — both at the state and national level. 

Stateler Family Farms spans six generations and agriculture has always been an integral part of Duane’s life as a fourth-generation pig farmer. Growing up on the family farm, Duane worked alongside his father to raise pigs farrow-to-finish and grow crops.… Continue reading

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Meat cutting workshops

Employees with meat cutting skills are in high demand due to the challenges of the 2020 pandemic. To help prepare those interested in food animal processing, Ohio State University Extension meat specialists are offering two-day 2021 Buckeye Fresh Mini Meat Cutting Workshops this spring.

The workshops will provide participants with an understanding of anatomy, muscle myology, cutting guidelines, food safety, meat quality, and the role of government regulated non-meat ingredients (salt, phosphates, nitrates, etc.). The workshops will include hands-on cutting tests to understand the impact of yields on profit margins. The workshops are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and open to those 18 years of age and older with an interest in working in the meat processing industry. 

Dates of the workshops are:

• March 26 and 27

• April 9 and 10

• April 23 and 24

• May 7 and 8

• May 21 and 22.… Continue reading

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A career of service built on a pig scramble

By Matt Reese

To the casual observer, a mud-spattered county fair pig scramble may not initially seem like a forum to set the stage for a distinguished career, though Todd Price, D.V.M. will say otherwise. 

“I grew up on a 90-acre grain and livestock farm Seneca County and worked for my uncle who owned a feed mill in Sycamore and had 300 sows. He raised pigs out in the woods and asked me to catch a piglet for him. He let me have it for my 4-H project to take to the fair when I was 10 or 11. At the fair I signed up for a pig scramble. I caught a gilt and she became my first sow and it all kind of went from there,” Price said. “By the time I was in high school I had 30 or 40 sows. That got it started. From there I went to Ohio State for undergrad in Animal Science and then vet school.”… Continue reading

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2020 pork exports shatter previous records, beef exports strong

U.S. pork exports reached nearly 3 million metric tons (mt) in 2020, topping the 2019 record by 11%, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). Pork export value also climbed 11% to a record $7.71 billion. Exports set new annual records in China/Hong Kong, Central America, Vietnam and Chile, and achieved strong fourth quarter growth in Japan and Mexico. 

U.S. beef exports finished 2020 lower year-over-year, falling 5% in both volume (1.25 million mt) and value ($7.65 billion). But beef exports finished the year with very strong momentum, with fourth quarter volume up 4.5% from 2019 and posting one of the best months on record in December. Beef exports to China were record-large in 2020 and a new volume record was also achieved in Taiwan. 

“Obviously the surge in demand from China, especially in the first half of 2020, was a driving force behind the record performance for U.S.… Continue reading

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Great Lakes Fiber Show

The Great Lakes Fiber Show, an annual Memorial Day Weekend event, has long brought together the Midwest fiber family for two days of sales, competitions, classes and fun. Artists and enthusiasts, teachers and hobbyists, animal owners and vendors, adults and children — everyone has a great time at the Midwest’s premier fiber event. 

The 25th Great Lakes Fiber Show is being held May 29 and 30 2021 at the Wayne County Fairgrounds in Wooster featuring workshops, activities, equipment and fiber vendors, a community spin-in, sheep herding demonstrations, sheep breed displays, open competition for fleece, skeins and handmade garments, and food. Workshop registration opens March 1. There is a special discount for early registration. 

For more information visit  Follow the fiber fest on Facebook at Great Lakes Fiber Show.… Continue reading

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