Cow health concerns in cold and mud

Stuck in the mud, some cows across the state might not be putting on enough weight.

Cattle have been getting pretty muddy as a result of Ohio’s extremely heavy rainfall in 2018 and precipitation so far this year. The mud can lead to thinner cows because it takes a lot of energy for cattle to trudge through mud and to keep their bodies warm when cold mud sticks to them, said John Grimes, beef coordinator for Ohio State University Extension. OSU Extension is the outreach arm of The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).

Pregnant cows that don’t gain enough weight are at risk of having weak or stillborn calves and of not being able to produce enough milk for their offspring, Grimes said.

“When it’s cold and wet, you and I can be inside and set the thermostat at 70 degrees, but cows have to adapt,” Grimes said.… Continue reading

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Vaccinating with CDT

With lambing season right around the corner, shepherds need to start preparing now. The CDT vaccine is yet another management tool found in the shepherd’s toolbox that is used to protect small ruminants against clostridium perfringens types C and D as well as clostridium tetani (tetanus). Appropriate use of this vaccine is a safe, cheap, and an effective method used to control for clostridial diseases in your flock. Commonly referred to in the industry as the ‘overeating disease,’ clostridium perfringens types C and D are associated with feedstuffs and can lead to enterotoxemia. The bacteria that cause enterotoxemia are present in all animals, just at low population levels. Issues arise when these bacterial populations experience a rapid period of growth and proliferation due to an increase in actual bacterial numbers or due to a rapid change in the diet. As a result, the bacteria grow rapidly, toxins accumulate, and are then distributed throughout the body resulting in serious health issues or death.

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Winter feeding for beef cows

The goal is to have a winter feeding program meets the cow’s requirements and is economical. There is a biological priority for nutrients. The needs for maintenance, growth and milk production must be met before we can optimize reproduction.

The period from approximately 60 to 90 days prior to calving is affects the calf and the subsequent reproductive performance. Fetal growth is at its maximum and fat stores will be used for lactation. Nutrition during this time also affect colostrums quality. Underfeeding during this time period include:

  1. Lighter calf birth weights (although calving difficulty won’t be reduced).
  2. Lower calf survival.
  3. Lower milk production and calf growth.
  4. A longer period for cattle coming back into heat.


Cold temperatures

The only adjustment in cow rations necessitated by weather is to increase maintenance energy. Protein, mineral and vitamin requirements are not changed by weather stress. The general rule of thumb is to increase winter ration energy 1% for each degree (F) below the lower critical temperature.… Continue reading

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The winter of mud: Consequences of a wet year

By Michelle Arnold, DVM, Ruminant Extension Veterinarian, University of Kentucky

Record rainfall in 2018 has had major impacts on cattle health. Submissions at the UKVDL and telephone conversations with veterinarians and producers confirm cattle are losing body condition and some are dying of malnutrition. The very prolonged cloudy, wet weather with regular bouts of rain has resulted in muddy conditions that require substantially more energy in feeds just to maintain body heat. In addition, the hay quality is exceptionally poor this year as much of it was cut very ripe (late stage of maturity), rained on while curing, and baled with enough moisture to support mold growth. Many cows presented to the laboratory for necropsy (an animal “autopsy”) revealed a total absence of fat and few, if any, other problems. This indicates winter feeding programs on many farms this year are not adequate to support cattle, especially cows in late pregnancy or early lactation, or their newborn calves, even though bitter cold has not been a factor.… Continue reading

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Anti-animal agriculture concerns raised in push to make animal abuse a felony

A new bill — the PACT Act — has been introduced in Congress that looks to make animal abuse a felony — a more serious punishment than the current state-by-state laws. Livestock farmers in general continue to be at the forefront of animal welfare, but this latest federal legislation is drawing some questions. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is pushing for the measure. Hannah Thompson-Weeman, vice president of communications for the non-profit Animal Agriculture Alliance, said the PACT Act seems to have animal agriculture as a target. Read More…

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Only 1-in-5 consumers think plant-based products should be called milk

With only days to go before the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) comment period on fake milks ends, new consumer research shows Americans widely disapprove of dairy terms being appropriated by fake-milk producers, as well as confusion on the nutritional content of milk versus plant-based imitators, offering further evidence that FDA must enforce long-existing standards of identity on dairy imposters.

The national survey conducted by IPSOS, a global market research and consulting firm, found:

• Only 20% of all consumers said plant-based beverages should be labeled milk, as U.S. dietary guidelines do not recommend imitators as a substitute for dairy milk; even when limited to buyers of plant-based drinks, support for mislabeling rose to only 41%.
• About 50% of consumers mistakenly perceive that the main ingredient of a plant-based beverage is the plant itself; such drinks are mostly flavored water.
• More than one-third of consumers erroneously believe plant-based beverages have the same or more protein than dairy milk.… Continue reading

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Certified Livestock Manager training

By Glen Arnold, CCA, Ohio State University Extension

The 2019 Certified Livestock Manager (CLM) training will be on Wednesday Feb. 6 and Thursday Feb. 7 at the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s (ODA) Reynoldsburg campus.

A Certified Livestock Manager (CLM) certification is required for any of the following:

• For a Major Concentrated Animal Feeding Facility (MCAFF) with 10,000 or more cattle; 7,000 or more mature dairy cattle; 10,000 or more veal calves; 25,000 swine over 55 lbs. or 100,000 swine under 55 lbs.; 550,000 or more turkeys, or 820,000 laying hens with other than a liquid manure system. Other requirements for a CLM are in Section 903.07 of the Oho Revised Code (ORC) and Rule 901:10-1-06 of the Ohio Administrative Code (OAC).

• For a person who is a livestock manure broker that buys, sells or land applies more than 4,500 dry tons per year or 25 million gallons of liquid manure, or its equivalent.… Continue reading

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Time to share the facts about climate and food

By Hannah Thompson-Weeman, vice president of communications at the Animal Agriculture Alliance

A recent report published in the Lancet medical journal claims that people must drastically reduce their meat and dairy consumption to be healthy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. While the report may make for sensational headlines, it ignores evidence about meat and dairy foods’ positive role in healthy diets and environmental sustainability.

The EAT Forum, the organization behind the report, is a privately funded think tank based in Oslo, Norway, and the Lancet is a UK-based medical journal. Their prescriptive global diet severely limits meat and dairy consumption, drastically departing from U.S. dietary guidance. Quantity and calorie caps apply to staple foods, including:

  • Beef (or lamb): one-quarter ounce per day (7g)
  • Pork: one-quarter ounce per day (7g)
  • Dairy: 250 grams per day — about one glass of milk
  • Chicken: one ounce per day (29g)
  • Eggs: less than half an ounce per day — about 1/5 of an egg
  • Fish: about one ounce per day – limited to 40 calories

The EAT-Lancet Commission comprises a small group of researchers and does not represent a global consensus of scientific experts in animal agriculture, nutrition or sustainability.… Continue reading

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Winter weather impacts cattle markets

By Derrell Peel, Oklahoma State University Extension

A major winter storm this past week extended in a belt across the middle of the country from Denver east to the mid-Atlantic coast. Heavy snow hit parts of feedlot country across eastern Colorado, Kansas, southeastern Nebraska, southern Iowa and the eastern Corn Belt. Much of Nebraska and the northern Plains along with the Texas panhandle were spared the worst of the snow but rain has created wet, sloppy conditions in many places that will impact cattle performance in feedlots and in the country. Recent weather may delay fed cattle marketing enough to help support fed cattle prices or push prices higher. Whether or not weather impacts are widespread enough to noticeably impact overall market conditions, cattle producers in many areas face significant management headaches due to the weather.

Winter weather often impacts feedlot performance and efficiency. Feedlots typically post the lowest seasonal average daily gains (ADG) for cattle marketed in March to May, which reflects cattle fed over the previous four to six months.… Continue reading

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More from the OCA Annual Meeting and Awards Banquet

Ohio beef producers and industry leaders met to develop policy, learn about consumer preferences and beef demand and to celebrate the many achievements of cattlemen at the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) Annual Meeting and Awards Banquet, Jan. 12, 2019, at the Nationwide Hotel and Conference Center in Lewis Center.

More than 250 people attended the event. In addition to the annual meeting and evening banquet, there were educational breakout sessions and several youth opportunities throughout the day. Sponsors who contributed to the event’s success include Ag Credit, Alltech, COBA/Select Sires, Columbiana/Mahoning/Trumbull Cattlemen’s Association, Farm Credit Mid-America, Murphy Tractor & Equipment Company, Ohio Association of Meat Processors and the Stark County Cattlemen’s Association.

The day featured youth opportunities sponsored by Farm Credit Mid-America, including the Youth Beef Quiz Bowl and a beef quality assurance session. Nearly 30 youth participated in this two-part contest, consisting of written and verbal rounds. The winners were as follows: Junior Division: Lara Rittenhouse, Clark County, first place individual; Emma Yochum, Highland County, second place individual; and Tatumn Poff, Geauga County, third place individual.… Continue reading

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Beef Quality Assurance Program’s online certification hits a milestone

More than 50,000 cattle producers have been certified through the Beef Quality Assurance program’s new online learning system since it was first offered in February 2017. Throughout the country hundreds of thousands have now become BQA-certified through in-person and online training, with an estimated 80% of the U.S. fed beef supply now touched by BQA-certified operations.

The beef checkoff-funded BQA program is a nationally coordinated, state implemented program that provides systematic information to U.S. beef producers and beef consumers of how commonsense husbandry techniques can be coupled with accepted scientific knowledge to raise cattle under optimum management and environmental conditions. BQA guidelines are designed to make certain all beef consumers can take pride in what they purchase — and can trust and have confidence in the entire beef industry.

Online BQA training provides 24/7 access to the program through a series of videos and animation. While in-person training is still available through numerous sessions conducted by in-state BQA coordinators throughout the country, online certification provides a chance for certification at any time.… Continue reading

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Growing debate on alternative protein sources

Whether it is called fake meat or clean meat, products containing alternative sources of protein have been appearing in supermarkets and restaurants around the country, and are competing with traditionally raised animal agriculture products. Attendees at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 100th Annual Convention engaged with experts on what alternative sources of protein are, who backs them and how to get the message out about the products they produce.

Plant-based “meats” (Impossible Foods, Inc. and Beyond Meat) and cell-based meats (Memphis Meats and Mosa Meat) are two types of products that have been receiving national attention over the past few years according to Eric Mittenthal, vice president of public affairs for the North American Meat Institute. Though very different in how they are produced, both groups are targeting the marketing demographic dominated by animal agriculture.

“Their audience is not the traditional vegan or vegetarian looking for new products,” Mittenthal said. “They want to compete in the meat case for meat eaters.”… Continue reading

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Ohio Cattlemen’s Association 2019 Meeting and Awards Banquet

By Matt Reese

The 2019 installment of the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association Annual Meeting and Awards Banquet featured a wide array of topics and a great crop of award winners.

The Outstanding County Affiliate Award was presented to Clark County Cattle Producers; the Environmental Stewardship Award was presented to Andy, Erin and Brian Stickel of Wood County; the Young Cattleman of the Year Award was presented to Brad Thornburg of Belmont County; the Commercial Producer of the Year Award was presented to Allan and Kelly Robison and Thad and Amanda Robison of Champaign County; the Seedstock Producer of the Year Award was presented to the Lee Miller family of Paint Valley Farms in Holmes County; the Industry Service Award was presented to Tom Price of Delaware County; and the Industry Excellence Award was presented to Bob Agle of Clark County.

Among the discussion topics was the fair amount of criticism recently regarding sustainability in the beef industry.… Continue reading

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Semi carrying feeder pigs overturns near Dayton

By Joel Penhorwood

The busy interchange at I-70 West and I-75 North near Dayton was put on hold Monday afternoon shortly after 4 o’clock when a semi hauling feeder pigs overturned.

As originally reported by WHIO in this article, troopers said about 2,000 animals were involved in the incident. Several perished as the result of the crash. The many surviving pigs were transported to another trailer.

WHIO also reported the semi driver was not injured in the accident.

The Dayton Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol told Ohio Ag Net that troopers continued to be on scene just before 9 o’clock Monday evening.

A similar accident on the same interchange happened in October, also involving thousands of pigs.Continue reading

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New research reveals how Americans are eating

The National Pork Board recently released the first report from its Insight to Action research program. The report, Dinner at Home in America, examines the contextual occasions in which Americans are eating dinner in the home. The research identifies areas of growth opportunity for pork, serving up a bold new challenge to the pork industry: innovate or risk losing relevance with today’s — and more importantly tomorrow’s — consumer.

“People live, shop and eat differently today. The pork industry has tremendous momentum with consumers, and that can be leveraged further through innovation in product development, bringing contemporary eating solutions to consumers,” said Jarrod Sutton, vice president of Domestic Marketing for the National Pork Board. “This research helps us intimately understand the needs and constraints that influence consumer dining choices, and provides a clear path for industry innovation that is rooted in data.”

Dinner at Home in America is the first of several reports the National Pork Board will publish in 2019 as part of the Insight to Action research program.… Continue reading

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Livestock and the 2018 Farm Bill

By Matt Reese

By most accounts, the 2018 Farm Bill was a big win for livestock producers. Effective policy for the sector has largely been left out of farm bills in the past, but that trend appears changing in the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018.

The 2018 Farm Bill is expected to cost $867 billion over the next decade and features major changes with dairy policy with higher coverage levels in the new Dairy Margin Coverage program (DMC). The DMC allows all dairy producers to insure margins up to $9.50 per hundredweight on their first 5 million pounds of Tier 1 production history. The DMC features lower-cost $5 margin coverage, allowing farm operations wishing to cover more than 5 million pounds of production to have a higher level of affordable catastrophic protection and expanded access to additional risk management tools allowing producers to participate in options including the Livestock Gross Margin insurance program and the new Dairy Revenue Protection program.… Continue reading

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Improving air conditions in poultry layer houses using an innovative ventilation system

By Xinjie Tong and Lingying Zhao

The Ohio egg production industry is a significant economic sector in the state and is responsible for creation of 12,503 jobs and $438 million in annual earnings. Technology advances in egg production facilities over the past decades have enabled very efficient operations of large-scale layer houses, that can typically host 100,000 to 250,000 hens with stacked cages, automated manure-belts, feed and water delivery, egg transport, and mechanical ventilation systems. In these larger layer houses, ventilation plays a crucial role in maintaining a proper indoor air conditions and for disease control for hen health and efficient egg production. However, it has been a challenge to achieve the comfort and health standards with existing ventilation systems. At The Ohio State University, an innovative ventilation system has been designed at the air quality and bioenvironmental lab, which can potentially improve indoor environment and limit disease outbreaks in layer houses.… Continue reading

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African swine fever struggles continue in China as virus found in feed ingredients

As of early 2019, China has reported more than 100 cases of African swine fever (ASF) in 19 provinces and four municipalities, including Beijing, for a total of 23 distinct geographic areas. Recent outbreaks have been reported in Guangdong and Fujian provinces. However, a new case in the north’s Heilongjiang province has affected a farm with 73,000 pigs, the largest farm yet to report a case of the deadly disease.

On Dec. 25, Chinese officials announced the detection of ASF virus in some protein powders made using pork blood manufactured by a Tianjin-based company. The raw materials for the batches were from 12 slaughter and processing plants in Tianjin. The new ASF case occurred despite the farm banning of the use of food waste and pig blood as raw materials in the production of feed for pigs, in a bid to halt the spread of the disease.

In a related move, China recently announced that slaughterhouses will need to run a test for ASF virus on pig products before selling them.… Continue reading

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Life and lessons at Laurel Valley Creamery

By Kayla Hawthorne, OCJ field reporter

Nick and Celeste Nolan operate a 25- to 30-cow dairy on their family’s homestead in Gallia County. The family of eight has been working on the farm for 13 years and making cheese for nine of those years, which is a full-time job for both parents.

The property was owned by Nick’s grandparents and was a dairy farm from 1947 until 1990. In 2001, Nick and Celeste moved their family back to the farm.

“Nick worked for General Mills in Wellston as a project engineer. And then in 2005, they outsourced his position and we had [already] bought the farm and [were] just kind of hobby farming,” Celeste Nolan said.

Their hobby farm included hay, Scottish highland beef cows and goats, which she called her “gateway animals.”

“We had just moved out here and were just kind of playing,” Celeste said. “We were buying what we could afford.”… Continue reading

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U.S. pork industry ends 2018 with major antibiotic progress

America’s 60,000 pig farmers and their veterinarians are ending 2018 with recognition of their diligence to use medically important antibiotics in a strictly responsible way. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s newly published Annual Summary Report on Antimicrobials Sold or Distributed for Use in Food-Producing Animals cites 2017 data that shows a 33% decline in this most critical class of antibiotics intended for use in food animals. When added to the decline found in the 2016 data, it confirms a reduction of 43% in this class of antibiotics from the 2015 level.

“This report is another indicator of the hard work that my fellow pig farmers have been doing to reduce the need for antibiotics. We continue to work closely with our veterinarians to ensure that we use antibiotics responsibly and according to FDA-approved labels,” said Steve Rommereim, National Pork Board President a pig farmer from Alcester, South Dakota. “We’re committed to using antibiotics in a strategic way that focuses on animal health and well-being, as well as to protecting overall public health.”… Continue reading

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