Livestock



2018 Great Lakes Professional Cattle Feeding and Marketing Short Course

This short course is a joint effort of Ohio State University Extension, Michigan State University, and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture to enhance the cattle industry in the Eastern Corn Belt. The first session will deal with early nutrition management, health, and genomics. The second session will include the BQA audit and Holstein steer management.

Both Ohio sessions will be held at the Wood County Junior Fair Building in Bowling Green on Wednesday, January 24 and February 7. Registration and refreshments will be provided beginning at 6 pm each evening.

Participants may enroll by:

• Registering on line at: https://commerce.cashnet.com/msu_3645

or

• Sending a check made payable (US Funds) to Michigan State University ($35 for 1st person and $25 for each additional family/farm member (College, FFA/4-H students can register for $15 each) and mailed to Carla McLachlan, Dept. Animal Science, Michigan State Univ., 474 S. Shaw Lane, 1287 Anthony Hall, E.… Continue reading

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Hay testing for efficient winter feeding

Most Ohio graziers are probably now feeding a good portion of hay as a part of their animals’ daily ration. Even if there is a supply of stockpiled forage available, we tend to make hay available just in case they need a little extra. It is likely that grain is also part of that daily ration. Well, how do you know how much hay, grain, and pasture they need? No one wants to leave their animals hungry. In addition, we do not want to waste time or money with unnecessary feeding. Figuring out the balance can seem like a guessing game, but the place to start is with a hay test.

Testing the hay you are feeding is well worth the price of sample analysis. Collecting a sample is not complicated and typically results are available from the lab within two weeks. You can acquire the tools and kits on your own to submit samples, or you can find them at most county Extension offices and often from Soil and Water Conservation Districts.… Continue reading

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Set goals rather than resolutions for your beef cattle

As we come to the end of 2017, you may hear people talk about making New Year’s Resolutions. While it is admirable to set targets for areas of personal improvement, much of the enthusiasm surrounding these resolutions peaks early in the calendar year and typically fade away after a few weeks. Maybe you have had more success with resolutions than I have!

I would suggest that a more business-like approach to your beef cattle operation would involve setting goals for improvement. Every business needs to set aggressive goals for improvement to remain competitive and profitable in today’s challenging economy. The following are a few realistic goals thatthe average beef producer in the state of Ohio can set for 2018.

1. Limit the breeding/calving season to no more than 90 days.
University research has shown the profitability found in the older calves born in a given calving season. There are volumes of documentation on the herd management advantages associated with a relatively short calving season.… Continue reading

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Label language continues to confuse consumers

I have always been curious about what goes through a person’s mind while shopping at the grocery store.

In the past couple of weeks, I have read several articles regarding consumer surveys, gauging consumer wants and purchasing habits when at the grocery store. I shared one such article in my weekly online newsletter titled, “Informed Consumers Won’t Pay More For ‘Natural’.” In this experiment researchers at Arizona State University polled 663 beef eaters about their willingness to pay for steak labeled with different attributes, one of which being natural. Half of the participants were provided with the definition of natural and half were not.

In summary, those who were provided the definition of “natural” were not willing to pay the extra price per pound for the natural label alone. However, those consumers who were not informed on the definition were willing to pay a premium for the product. This leads me to ask the following question: Are you an informed consumer?… Continue reading

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Even with forages, the end of the year is the time to plan

The month of December is a great time to plan. We still have the opportunity to make changes to the 2017 year and plan for 2018. When I think of 2017, especially as it relates to forages, two things come to mind for me. First, what worked and what went wrong? Next, is there anything that can be done to improve the operation for this and next year?

What worked and what went wrong?

For many of us, the growing season for the most part was good. Most were able to get hay up in a timely fashion, although I did get some rained on. Pastures grew well throughout the season until a dry period after Labor Day.

Now is time to assess your stored feed supplies for the winter to determine if you will have enough. If you do not, what are your options? Are there any standing forages that can still be grazed without damaging the soil and ground cover?… Continue reading

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Preparing cows for a successful breeding season

A successful breeding season actually begins with management decisions made prior to calving. As we move into the winter feeding period, cattlemen need to review their management plan to ensure optimal rebreeding and success. Rebreeding efficiency can be optimized by focusing on body condition score (BCS), early assistance during calving difficulty, scheduling a breeding soundness exam for the herd sires, planning their herd reproductive health program, and developing a plan to regulate estrus in their first-calf heifers and late-calving cows.

Reproductive management begins with evaluation and management of BCS. Body condition score is a numerical estimation of the amount of fat on the cow’s body. Body condition score ranges from 1-9; 1 is emaciated while 9 is extremely obese. A change in a single BCS (i.e. 4-5) is usually associated with about a 75 pound change in body weight. Evaluation of BCS prior to calving and from calving to breeding is important to ensure reproductive success.… Continue reading

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USDA to rescind organic livestock and poultry rules

Agriculture Sec. Sonny Perdue announced that his agency will withdraw a proposed organic rule for livestock and poultry.

The rule was finalized in January 2017, but placed on hold when the new administration took office.

The Obama-era regulation — the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices (OLPP) rule — would have incorporated into the National Organic Program animal welfare standards that were not based on science and that were outside the scope of the Organic Food Production Act of 1990. The act limited consideration of livestock as organic to feeding and medication practices.

The move was supported by the National Pork Producers Council.

“We’d like to thank Sec. Perdue and the Trump administration for listening to our concerns with the rule and recognizing the serious challenges it would have presented our producers,” said Ken Maschhoff, NPPC President.

NPPC pointed out a number of problems with the regulation, including animal and public health concerns and the fact that animal production practices have nothing to do with the basic concept of “organic.”… Continue reading

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USDA seeks nominees for National Fluid Milk Processor Promotion Board

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is asking fluid milk processors and other interested parties to nominate candidates to serve on the National Fluid Milk Processor Promotion Board. The deadline for nominations is Jan. 12, 2018.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue will appoint eight individuals to succeed members whose terms expire on June 30, 2018, and two members to fill vacant positions with terms expiring on June 30, 2019.

USDA will accept nominations for board representation in six geographic regions and two at-large positions. Nominees for the regional positions must be active owners or employees of a fluid milk processor. At least one at-large position must be a member of the general public.

The geographic regions with vacancies are: Region 3 (Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and District of Columbia); Region 6 (Ohio and West Virginia); Region 8 (Illinois and Indiana); Region 9 (Alabama, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee); Region 12 (Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, and Utah); and Region 15 (Southern California).… Continue reading

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Vitamin A and D supplementation

Because of a perfect storm of vitamin production problems, supplemental vitamins A and E are becoming scarce and prices are skyrocketing. Supplies probably will remain very tight well into summer of 2018. In this time of high vitamin prices and limited supply, vitamin supplementation strategies should be evaluated. The most recent dairy NRC (2001) has a vitamin A requirement of 50 IU of supplemental vitamin A/lb of body weight. For an average Jersey and Holstein cow, that translates to about 50,000 and 70,000 IU/day, respectively. That requirement is also for dry cows and growing heifers. For supplemental vitamin E, NRC recommendations are 0.35 IU/lb of body weight for lactating cows and 0.7 IU/lb of body weight for dry cows. This is approximately equal to 500 and 1000 IU/day of supplemental vitamin for lactating and dry Holstein cows and 350 and 700 IU/day for lactating and dry Jersey cows, respectively. Surveys have indicated that supplementation rates are commonly at least twice NRC recommendations.… Continue reading

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FDA report on antibiotics validates work by U.S. pig farmers

America’s 60,000 pig farmers continue to do what’s right on the farm for people, pigs and the planet when it comes to demonstrating their commitment to antibiotic stewardship. That’s why the findings in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s 2016 Summary Report on Antimicrobials Sold or Distributed for Use in Food-Producing Animals came as no surprise, but as a validation of the hard work U.S. pig farmers have put in to reduce the overall need for antibiotics while still protecting the health and welfare of the pigs under their care.

“This report, which still is based on sales and not actual usage, supports what we already know at the farm level — we’re using fewer antibiotics overall today because we’re committed to reducing the need for them while protecting the health and welfare of our animals,” said Terry O’Neel, National Pork Board president. “When we must use antibiotics, we work closely with our veterinarians to ensure that we use them according to the FDA-approved label.”… Continue reading

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Ohio veal producers prepared for barn changes

Ohio veal producers are ready for the changing livestock housing requirements put in place by the industry about a decade ago. The new housing changes and other requirements were decided by the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board. Veal farms have to comply beginning on Jan. 1, 2018.

“Around 10 years ago, the veal industry decided to move away from tethers and stalls and move into group housing,” said Marissa Hake, veterinarian with the American Veal Association. “We’ve achieved that goal with 100% of our barns now group house. Most of those calves are raised in either pens of two to 10 where they can stand up or lay down, groom naturally and interact with other calves.”

Ohio is one of the top veal producing states, an industry that trends closely with dairy production.

“There’s quite a bit of veal production in Ohio. Indiana is our number one state. Veal production is obviously very closely related to the dairy industry,” she said.… Continue reading

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Winter manure application reminders

The Ohio Department of Agriculture Division of Soil and Water Conservation would like to remind producers and nutrient applicators of laws and restrictions on manure application.

Signed into law by Governor John R. Kasich in July 2015, Ohio Senate Bill 1 clarifies and enhances the restrictions on manure application within the Western Lake Erie Basin (WLEB).

Application restrictions in the WLEB include:

• On snow-covered or frozen soil;

• When the top two inches of the soil are saturated from precipitation;

• When the local weather forecast for the application area contains greater than a 50% chance of precipitation exceeding one-half inch in a 24-hour period.

• Applicators are responsible for checking and keeping forecast information before application.

• Any source of weather prediction is acceptable.

Restrictions do not apply if:

• The manure is injected into the ground;

• Manure is incorporated with 24 hours of surface application, using a tillage tool operated at a minimum of 3-4 inches deep;

• The manure is applied onto a growing crop;

• The chief of the Division of Soil and Water Conservation has provided written consent for an emergency application.… Continue reading

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Reporting ammonia (NH3) or hydrogen sulfide (H2S) emissions from animal farms

Recently, air emission reporting requirements for animal feeding operations (AFOs) has caused turmoil among livestock and poultry producers. Without sufficient knowledge about air emissions from AFOs and proper tools to estimate the emissions, it has been a difficulty for livestock and poultry producers to comply with the reporting requirement. This article aims to summarize background information and the best available resources about the air emission reporting requirements for AFOs with a purpose to help the producers.

Farming had been traditionally exempt from the Clean Air Act (CAA) and state air quality regulations. However, as AFOs increased their scales of operations, public concerns over air quality impacts from AFOs have urged the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to start monitoring and regulating air emissions from AFOs. EPA announced a voluntary Air Quality Compliance Agreement (the Agreement) with Animal Feeding Operations on Jan. 21, 2005 with a purpose to ensure an AFO’s compliance with the applicable CAA, CERCLA (the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act), and EPCRA (the Environmental Planning and Community Right- to-Know Act) provisions by establishing Emissions Estimating Methodologies (EEM) and air emission thresholds for AFOs based on data collected through the National Air Emissions Monitoring Study (NAEMS).… Continue reading

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How to get more out of your pastures and improve water quality

Improving your pasture management skills will grow more forage that will have higher quality that will better feed your livestock and make you more money. A better pasture should just keep getting better year after year including; improving the environment; improving the soil, water, air, plants, and animals; and reduce your energy requirements. Healthy soils can grow healthy plants that can allow animals to grow quicker, stronger and healthier, which will reduce the cost of production.

There are ways to improve the water quality in the runoff from your grazing system and improve the soil fertility in your pasture that will improve the pasture plant composition and help improve the health of your pastures. Good managers know how to measure the things that they can change that will have a positive impact on their production system. You cannot manage things that you do not measure. How many things have you be monitoring, measuring in your pastures?… Continue reading

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Using goats to improve pastures

Do you have leftover fair goats, or inherited some that did not make weight at the fair?

Perhaps your kids or grandkids have been bugging you for the small ruminant animal for some time. Or by chance, did you come into a small herd recently?

If so, then don’t perceive goat ownership as a chore or inconvenience but rather embrace it, think positive, and start letting the goats work for you.

There are several ways goats can be a useful management tool in almost any farm operation. For beef producers, goats are incorporated into the operation with the goal of brush and weed management for new or existing pastures.

For establishing new pastures, goats are great at cleaning up brush and unwanted vegetation prior to the initial investment of starting a new pasture (seeding, liming, fertilizing, etc.) and loading with livestock.

For example, let’s look at the role of goats from converting a woodland area (timber) to pasture.… Continue reading

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Pork demand remains steady

Pig farmers and food production companies alike are wrapping up a successful 2017 that continues to show steady consumer demand for pork. The summer grilling season ended strongly, and signs point to a solid year-end opportunity for ham.

According to Nielsen Perishables Group data for the 13 weeks ended Oct. 28, total sausage and rib volumes were up from the same time last year 3.3% and 2.6% respectively, while sales were up in those categories 4.1% and 3.2%.

“Summer is always an ideal time for cooking pork outdoors,” said Patrick Fleming, National Pork Board director of market intelligence. “Whether it was brats on the grill or a few racks of ribs on the smoker, consumers made room for pork on their picnic plate in 2017.”

That momentum carried over into fall, as overall retail spending on pork by U.S. consumers was up by more than 3% in dollar sales during the month of October.… Continue reading

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Manure management strategies

Reducing manure volumes produced throughout the year is certainly worth considering when building a manure management plan. For example, what goes into your manure pit other than manure, urine and wash water? Additionally, it is important to note waste water can be from several sources, including:

1. Leaking drinkers and water lines,

2. Pigs wasting water when they drink; and,

3. Rain water entering the pit.

Leaking drinkers and water lines: One way to determine how many gallons go into the pit on a daily basis is to take a water meter reading when there are no pigs in the barn or no washing activities planned. Check the reading after a 24-hours. According to Adam Hocker’s 2014 Pork Congress presentation, Brenneman Pork in Iowa had records from 22 finishing barns that were leaking on average 4,000 gallons of water per week. That would be over 200,000 gallons of wasted water in a 2,400 head barn per year.… Continue reading

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Grazing wind damaged corn residue

As harvest has come and gone, this opportunity may serve as a viable option for those looking for a cheap feed source to graze the mature ewe flock on. This strategy allows farmers to optimize on losses associated with harvest as well as serve as a means to save on winter feedings.

To survive the current feed economy livestock producers need to graze their livestock as long as they can. Every day livestock are meeting their nutritional needs through grazing they are being fed as economically as possible. Typically cattle producers utilize corn residue as a feed source but, in Ohio, sheep producers need to consider grazing corn residue as well. When corn stalks become available for grazing livestock producers need to move to take advantage of this resource.

Because the feed is in contact with the ground and deteriorating in the field you should start grazing corn residue soon. The nutrient value of residue declines the longer it is exposed to weathering.… Continue reading

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Ohio Cattlemen’s Association offers unique opportunities for breeders and youth

The Best of the Buckeye Program, hosted by the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) in conjunction with the Ohio Beef Expo and the Ohio State Fair, is gearing up for its fifth season.

The Best of the Buckeye program recognizes top-placing Ohio bred, born and registered calves, along with the breeder and exhibitor, in each breed division at the two shows. This year’s sponsoring partners are The Folks Printing and Dickson Cattle Company, heifer division; Jones Show Cattle and R.D. Jones Excavating, steer division; Ohio Ag Equipment and Ohio Cat, scholarship division and Sullivan Supply and Stock Show University, breeder recognition. Thanks to these generous sponsors, $60,000 will be given through premiums at each show, scholarships and awards for both participants and breeders.

The program provides Ohio seedstock breeders an additional marketing opportunity, creates a source for moderately priced show steers and heifers by providing a program with awards and prestige and attracts new participants interested in showing at the Ohio Beef Expo and/or the Ohio State Fair with the benefit of added premiums.… Continue reading

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Kin Corriedales bloodline goes well beyond the state line

What started as a livestock project back in 1944 has become a multi-generational legacy for an Ohio family that has built a reputation across the country in the Corriedale sheep breed.

“This farm started as a general livestock farm with Shorthorn cattle, Poland China hogs and a few sheep,” said Al Kin, the eldest member of the Wyandot County family. “After a few years with Hampshire and Shropshire lambs, my dad was looking for a breed that had more wool and was easier to lamb with, so when my brother got into FFA he took on a Corriedale sheep project. Dad liked the results so much he bought a ram and started a purebred flock.”

After over seven decades of hard work, dedication and success, the Ohio Sheep Improvement Association and the Ohio Sheep and Wool Program saw it fit to name Al Kin, along with his sons Jim and Phil, as the 2017 Charles Boyles Master Shepherds of the Year announced at the Shepherd Symposium last weekend.… Continue reading

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