Precautions for feeding frosted and drought-stressed forages

By Mark Sulc, Ohio State University Extension

Livestock owners feeding forage need to keep in mind the potential for some forage toxicities and other problems that can develop this fall. High nitrates and prussic acid poisoning are the main potential concerns. These are primarily an issue with annual forages and several weed species, but nitrates can be an issue even in drought stressed perennial forages. There is also an increased risk of bloat when grazing legumes after a frost.

Nitrate toxicity

Drought stressed forages can accumulate toxic nitrate levels. This can occur in many different forage species, including both annuals and perennials. Several areas in Ohio have been dry of late. Corn, oat and other small grains, sudangrass, and sorghum sudangrass, and many weed species including johnsongrass can accumulate toxic levels of nitrates. Even alfalfa can accumulate toxic nitrate levels under severe drought stress.

Before feeding or grazing drought stressed forage, send in a forage sample to be tested for nitrates.… Continue reading

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OCA BEST adds Buckeye Breeders Series

The Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) Beef Exhibitor Show Total (BEST) Program announced important updates and additions to the program, including the creation of the Buckeye Breeders Series (BBS).

The BBS will replace the former Best of the Buckeye Program and will operate in a similar manner, but with increased recognition opportunities for BBS breeders and exhibitors. BBS has been incorporated into the BEST program in its own separate points division and will run throughout the BEST show season. Only registered cattle that were bred by an Ohio breeder are eligible. Crossbreds are not eligible to participate in the BBS.

Beginning with the Scarlet & Gray Midwest Showdown held Jan. 2 and 3, 2021 at the Clark County Fairgrounds in Springfield and continuing at every BEST show throughout the season, cattle entered in the BBS program will have their own separate set of points that will run parallel to the BEST program, like the Novice and Bred & Owned Divisions whose points are a subset of their regular class points.… Continue reading

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Century-old dream is modern reality on Dull Homestead Farm

By Matt Reese

In the late 1930s, 8-year-old Ralph Dull — the youngest of four children — felt as if he was on top of the world as he held the reins of a well-trained mule team, guiding them in the task of raking hay.

“Bob and Tom were the mules used for raking hay and they knew what to do so I didn’t have to do much,” Ralph said with a grin. “I wasn’t old enough to drive a tractor yet but felt pretty important driving the mules.”

Young Ralph would have had no way to comprehend the changes that were ahead for agriculture and the Montgomery County century farm he has always known as home.

Ralph’s father, Vernon Dull, and grandfather, Ira Brenner, purchased three parcels totaling 127-acres in 1918 and started farming the ground in 1919. The earliest days of the Dulls on the land included a diverse crop rotation and a variety of livestock, but Angus cattle were a key focus of the farm.… Continue reading

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Sycamore Hill Sesquicentennial Farm: Everybody needs a little bit of farm in their life

By Brianna Gwirtz, OCJ field reporter

To learn the history of Sycamore Hill Farm in Ashland is to take a step a back in time to Ohio’s earliest beginnings. In 1816, Philip and Mary Fluke and their four young children ventured west from Pennsylvania with a team of horses, two milk cows and whatever possessions their wagon could hold. Philip had purchased a 160-acre section of land for $2 an acre in Orange Township, Ohio and was on his way to create a new life for his family. After clearing paths through the virgin forest for his team to get through, Philip made it to his section of land, where he built a log cabin and started clearing the land to plant corn and wheat.

The land boasted fruit trees, planted with seeds from Johnny Appleseed, who had set up camp nearby. It was common to see Native Americans from the Delaware tribe passing along the trail by the farm, on their way to trading posts.… Continue reading

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When the art and science of grazing may not match

By Chris Penrose, Ohio State University Extension Educator, Morgan County (originally published in The Ohio Cattleman)

I remember the first forage presentation I did in Perry County back in 1989 and I have spent my life professionally and personally working with forages. When we started teaching grazing schools in the early 90s, one of the foundational topics taught was the basics of Management Intensive Grazing and those principles include no seed heads, rest periods, and short duration grazing.

That is the science, how about the art? I remember Lorin Sanford, our OSU Extension Beef Specialist saying to me almost 40 years ago that: “It is the eye of the master that fattens the cow.” That is the art. In our environment with so many things that go on, sometimes the art is more important than the science and sometimes the science even supports the art.

For example, we talk about rotating from one paddock to the next, but not all are created equal.… Continue reading

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Egg producers seeking new balance in a post-COVID market

By Matt Reese

When many people think of egg production, the packages of shelled eggs in the grocery store immediately come to mind. The reality, though, is egg producers supply a diverse array of egg-based products to meet very specific industry needs and consumer demands. The radical and rapid shift in the way consumers were buying eggs back in March caused food chain-wide turmoil.

Cooper Farms, based in western Ohio, certainly faced challenges when the nation changed forever in March of 2020.

“We all saw back in March a big spike in demand at the grocery store and as an industry we did our best to respond to that, but we saw a lot of empty shelves during that time. That had a very brief market impact on shell eggs. At the same time the food service industry was shut down. During that time, grocery demand spiked around 50% and restaurants went to zero.… Continue reading

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Livestock and COVID-19

With the rapid spread of the new coronavirus believed to have started in bats, some people might be genuinely concerned about their farm animals. Could the animals catch COVID-19? 

The answer is murky. 

While there have been no reported cases of pigs, horses, sheep, chickens, or cows getting COVID-19, their susceptibility to the respiratory disease has yet to be studied.  

And though some pigs have been able to get COVID-19 in lab studies, it does not appear that they can catch or spread the virus very easily, said Scott Kenney, an assistant professor of veterinary preventive medicine at The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).

“There are a lot of unknowns,” Kenney said. 

What is known is that ferrets, minks, domestic cats, and some dogs have become infected with COVID-19. But neither pets nor farm animals are thought to play significant roles in transmitting COVID-19. 

Kenney, whose research focuses on viruses that spread from animals to people, is pursuing grants with colleagues to study whether various farm animals are susceptible to COVID-19.… Continue reading

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The politics of cow farts and Burger King’s Whopper

By Don “Doc” Sanders

Many of you have probably read about Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s advocacy for plant-based diets to eliminate global warming caused by cow farts. Now Burger King has gotten into the act with a real whopper. And I’m not talking about the Whopper, Burger King’s double-decker hamburger with all the trimmings.

What I’m writing about is Burger King’s new marketing whopper, an ad that is trying to convince consumers that by buying a Whopper, they’ll play a role in reducing global warming. That’s because Burger King is beginning to sell burgers made with beef from cattle fed lemongrass. Burger King claims that lemongrass makes the cows fart less and thus release into the atmosphere less methane. (No promises for their customers, from what I’ve seen.)

Let me give you some background on lemongrass. ‎Cymbopogon is the genus of the lemongrass family, which includes 52 species. Commonly called barbed wire grass, lemongrass grows in countries ranging from Vietnam to Australia.… Continue reading

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Senators seek robust enforcement of USMCA dairy agreements

A bipartisan group of 25 Senators sent a letter identifying challenges with implementing several dairy-related provisions in the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). Underscoring USMCA’s importance to the dairy industry, the letter asks the U.S. government to use USMCA’s enforcement measures to ensure full compliance with the trade deal.

The letter, led by Sens. Tina Smith (D-MN) and Mike Crapo (R-ID), was sent to the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It reads, in part:

“As negotiated, the USMCA will create new export opportunities for America’s dairy industry and creates an equitable playing field for American dairy exports in Mexico and Canada. Given the importance of these provisions to our dairy farmers and to American dairy exports, we ask that you use USMCA’s enforcement measures to hold our trading partners accountable to their trade commitments. It is imperative that Canada and Mexico deliver upon their agreed upon commitments related to dairy products.”… Continue reading

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Opportunities with the 2020 OCA Replacement Female Sale

By John F. Grimes, Ohio Cattlemen’s Association Replacement Female Sale Manager

The Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) is providing an opportunity for both the buyers and sellers of beef breeding cattle this fall. On Friday evening, Nov. 27, the OCA will be hosting their eighth annual Replacement Female Sale. The sale will be held at the Muskingum Livestock facility in Zanesville and will begin at 6:00 p.m.

The 2020 Ohio Cattlemen’s Association Replacement Female Sale will provide an opportunity for both buyers and sellers to meet the need for quality replacements in the state. Consignments may include cow-calf pairs, bred cows and bred heifers. Females must be under the age of five as of Jan. 1, 2021 and may be of registered or commercial background. Bred females must be bred to a bull with known EPD’s and calves at side of cows must be sired by a bull with known EPD’s.… Continue reading

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Home butchering basics being covered at virtual FSR

This year’s Farm Science Review is being held 100% virtually, with sign up and all of the events being free of charge, because of the coronavirus pandemic. In a normal year, more than 100,000 people attend the event in person. This year, visitors can find the same learning opportunities on line on a number of topics.

There’s growing interest in on-farm butchering, say experts at The Ohio University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES), and they’re offering guidance for doing it right.

As major meat processors have suffered shutdowns and back-ups because of COVID-19, and as small processors have been swamped with business as an alternative for slaughtering market-ready livestock, more and more farmers have started to think about simply doing it themselves.

But processing livestock safely, humanely, and legally isn’t a simple thing at all, said Lyda Garcia, assistant professor of meat science in the CFAES Department of Animal Sciences.… Continue reading

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OYLE: The show did go on!

By Matt Reese

In most years, a story about a livestock show in Ohio’s Country Journal would be focused on the exhibitors, maybe their animals. This year, however, is not most years.

The 2020 Ohio Youth Livestock Expo (OYLE) featured the usual crop of hard working young people and quality livestock impressing the judges and spectators alike. The fact that the show actually took place though, in the midst of changing rules and cancellation of just about everything else, may be the most newsworthy part of the event. A group of dedicated volunteers worked tirelessly to put the OYLE together in a short timeframe and exhibitors were grateful.

“It has been different, but it has been fun. We didn’t know if we were going to have a State Fair or not. We’re all extremely grateful to go to a real show, not online,” said Ava Shroyer, who had the grand champion market goat at the OYLE.… Continue reading

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OYLE Barrow results

Grand Champion Barrow exhibitor Ella Sprang with her dark cross barrow earlier this week in Dark Cross Champion Drive. Photo credit: Linde’s Livestock Photography

Grand Champion Barrow: Ella Sprang (Dark Cross)

Reserve Champion Barrow: Ella Sprang (Reserve Dark Cross)

Third overall: Kamryn Kries (Champion Other Cross)

Fourth Overall: Wyatt King (Hampshire)

Fifth overall: Madelyn Harrison (Berkshire)

Breed results


Grand Champion: Madelyn Harrison

Reserve Champion: Oksana Gossard

Chester White

Grand Champion: Ava Genter

Reserve Champion: Seth Fearon


Grand Champion: Landon Rohr

Reserve Champion: Natalie Darner


Grand Champion: Kase Tidd

Reserve Champion: Sable Ruhenkamp


Grand Champion: Wyatt King

Reserve Champion: Caydence Scale


Grand Champion: Lindsey Dore

Reserve Champion: Brooke Huntsman

Poland China

Grand Champion: Ava Genter

Reserve Champion: Conner Smock


Grand Champion: Victoria Gossard

Reserve Champion: Ava Genter


Grand Champion: Landon Elchinger

Reserve Champion: Jacob Yenser


Grand Champion: Morgan Price

Reserve Champion: Wyatt King

Other Cross

Grand Champion: Kamryn Kries

Reserve Champion: Landon Rohr

Dark Cross

Grand Champion: Ella Sprang

Reserve Champion: Ella Sprang… Continue reading

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Managing pasture into fall, during a hot, dry summer

By Victor Shelton, NRCS State Agronomist/Grazing Specialist

According to the calendar and the weather, it’s August but it seems odd with no state fair. I won’t dwindle here but will state a familiar cliché that I look forward to being true; “this too shall pass.”

The last issue was a special edition and I want to thank all that emailed me afterwards. Your comments were greatly appreciated, and I have enjoyed them as they continue to trickle in.

Distribution of rain never seems fair, especially when you are on extreme ends of it. I greatly appreciate the rain that I’ve received and am pleased with good regrowth.

It certainly has been a good year for red clover and timothy. I thought I had a tremendous take where I had frost-seeded back in February, but fields not seeded were almost as good. The clover has rebounded after grazing events better than the grasses under the drier conditions.… Continue reading

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Let’s talk about Lepto

By Dr. Michelle Arnold, University of Kentucy Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory

What is Leptospirosis or “Lepto”? Leptospirosis is a complicated bacterial disease commonly associated with abortions, stillbirths and drop in milk production in cattle. However, this bacterium also causes sickness and death in cattle, dogs, sheep and horses worldwide and is an important zoonotic disease affecting an estimated 1 million humans annually. Farmers and those working in meat processing facilities are at highest risk.

What causes leptospirosis? The disease is caused by a unique, highly coiled, Gram negative bacterium known as a “spirochete” belonging to the genus Leptospira. These “leptospires” are highly motile due to their spiral shape and, once inside a host animal, they enter the bloodstream and replicate in many different organs including the liver, kidney, spleen, reproductive tract, eyes and central nervous system. The immune system will produce antibodies that clear the organism from the blood and tissues except from the kidney.… Continue reading

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OYLE market beef results

Haleigh Stephens from Ashland County had the Grand Champion Market Beef Animal at the Ohio Youth Livestock Expo with her champion crossbred.

The Reserve Grand Champion was the reserve champion crossbred exhibited by Savannah Holzen of Miami County.

Third overall was Calvin Trigg from Fairfield County with the third overall crossbred.

Fourth overall was Shayla Sancic from Stark County with champion Chianina.

Fifth overall was Caroline Blay from Portage County with the champion Maine-Anjou.

Here are more breed results.

Champion Angus Steer: Grace England, Portage Co.


Champion Charolais Steer: Madison Riley, Fayette Co.

Reserve Champion Charolais Steer: McKaylynne Helke, Tuscarawas Co.


Champion Chianina Steer: Shayla Sancic, Starke Co.

Reserve Champion Chianina Steer: Caroline Blay, Portage Co.


Champion Hereford Steer: Kalin Schrader, Putnam Co.

Reserve Champion Hereford Steer: Addie Sorgen, Van Wert Co.


Champion Maine-Anjou Steer: Caroline Blay, Portage Co.

Reserve Champion Maine-Anjou Steer: Colleen Minges, Butler Co.… Continue reading

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Commercially available cell line rapidly detects African swine fever

Scientists from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS) have identified a new way to detect the presence of live African Swine Fever Virus (ASFV) that minimizes the need for samples from live animals and provides easier access to veterinary labs that need to diagnose the virus.

“We have identified a cell-line that can be used to isolate and detect the presence of the live virus,” said ARS Scientist Dr. Douglas Gladue. “This is a critical breakthrough and a tremendous step for African Swine Fever Virus diagnostics.”

There are currently no available vaccines to prevent ASFV, and outbreak control has often relied on quarantining and removing infected or exposed animals. Until now, effectively detecting live ASFV required collecting blood cells from a live donor swine for every diagnostic test, because the cells could only be used once. The new cell line can be continuously replicated and frozen to create cells for future use, reducing the number of live donor animals needed.… Continue reading

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Asian longhorned tick confirmed in Ohio

The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) announced the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, has confirmed that an exotic tick, known as the Asian longhorned tick, has been found in Gallia County.

The tick was found on a stray dog originating from Gallia County, which was later transported to a shelter in Canal Winchester. The tick was identified on May 28 by The Ohio State University and sent to the federal lab for confirmation.

“Due to the nature of this pest, the female ticks can reproduce without a male, so it only takes one tick to create an established population in a new location,” said Dr. Tony Forshey, ODA State Veterinarian. “This pest is especially fatal to livestock, so producers should practice preventative measures and be on the lookout for this new threat.”

The Asian longhorned tick is an exotic East Asian tick that is known as a serious pest to livestock.… Continue reading

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OYLE market lamb results

Despite the heat (and then the rain), all those outside of the show ring were donning masks at Monday’s Ohio Youth Livestock Expo

market lamb show that featured over 600 entries. The show went (very) late into the night, but exhibitors and volunteers pushed through until the end. Here are the top five exhibitors.

Grand Champion: Bailee Amstutz, Union Co., with the champion black face cross

Res. Grand Champion: Clay Johnson, Wayne Co., with the champion Hampshire

Third: Elizabeth Shatto, Shelby Co., with the reserve champion black face cross

Fourth: Ava Shroyer, Logan Co., with the reserve champion Hampshire

Fifth: Elizabeth Shatto, Shelby Co., with the champion Oxford

Along with grand champion honors, Amstutz received a check for $3,500. Reserve champion was awarded $2,500. Third place received $2,000, fourth $1,500 and fifth overall received a check for $1,000. The exhibitors wanted to thank generous sponsors and the many volunteers who put on the effort.… Continue reading

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