Livestock



It takes many steps to find the right rate

Galen Koepke farms in Ottawa County on the banks of the Portage River just a few miles from Lake Erie.

A television crew was at Koepke’s farm within a few hours after the news broke after the Toledo water crisis in 2014. Since then, all agriculture in the watershed has been the subject of great water quality scrutiny, but Koepke is under a microscope.

In many ways, though, Koepke welcomes the attention because he knows he is doing things right according to the 4Rs with his farming practices. This has not always been easy, however, particularly for one 34-acre field that borders the Portage River. For many years, he had farmed and carefully managed the 20-acre field and then around 20 years ago he purchased a neighboring 14-acre field and combined them.

“On that 14 acres they had two large layer operations with a total of around 100,000 chickens and they had spread all the manure on that field for many years.… Continue reading

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Dairy market update

Milk prices continued a generally solid recovery from their late-spring low through August, when the U.S. average all-milk price reached $17.10 per hundredweight. The rise was powered largely by a strong increase in Class III skim milk prices, which also drove up Class I skim prices. However, Class III and Class IV prices dropped in September, and milkfat prices have been drifting downward for the past few months. That indicates milk prices may have reached a ceiling for the time being. The Margin Protection Program monthly feed cost calculation dropped steadily from June through August, and the monthly MPP margin rose by more than $3.50 per hundredweight from its low in June to $9.26 per hundredweight in August.

U.S. exports of cheese and lactose are continuing to drop year-over-year, but the rate of decline has decreased steadily in recent months. A similar pattern of decreasing losses turned positive during June–August for nonfat dry milk, skim milk powder and dry whey, as well as for the percent of all U.S.… Continue reading

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Forage management considerations after frost

Heading into November we had a few, light scattered frosts in the area that have generated some questions about forage use after a frost. The two most common questions concern the use of warm season grasses in the sorghum family and grazing alfalfa. The issue with grasses in the sorghum family, which includes sorghum-sudangrass hybrids, sudangrass and Johnsongrass in addition to sorghum, is that they contain cyanogenic glycosides and enzymes that convert those compounds to free cyanide (sometimes called Prussic acid) within their cells. Prussic acid or cyanide is a lethal toxin.

The potential toxicity after frost varies by species. Sudangrass varieties are low to intermediate in cyanide poisoning potential, sudangrass hybrids are intermediate, sorghum-sudangrass hybrids and forage sorghums are intermediate to high, and grain sorghum is high to very high and is most likely to be toxic after a frost. Piper sudangrass has low prussic acid poisoning potential. Pearl millet and foxtail millet have very low levels of cyanogenic glucosides and rarely cause toxicity.… Continue reading

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U.S. pork industry seeks the Pig Farmers of Tomorrow

As National Pork Month draws to a close, the Pork Checkoff is launching a new national awards program to recognize, inspire and connect the next generation of American pig farmers. Through Nov. 22, the National Pork Board is seeking applications from young producers to become one of the 2017 Pig Farmers of Tomorrow at www.pigfarmersoftomorrow.com.

The new award will recognize future farm leaders, ages 18 to 29, who intend to make pig farming their life’s work and are committed to the U.S. pork industry and to raising pigs using the We Care ethical principles.

“One of the National Pork Board’s primary responsibilities is to train and motivate future pork industry leaders,” said Jan Archer, National Pork Board President, a pig farmer from Goldsboro, North Carolina. “The award is designed to recognize and inspire youth who are investing their time and energy into responsible pig farming.”

Up to three award recipients will be selected in the program’s inaugural year.… Continue reading

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Three young Ohio sheep farmers receive scholarships

Nick Fowler (Guernsey Co.) was awarded a $1,500 scholarship for the first annual Dr. Jack Judy Memorial Scholarship and Jacob Wenner (Delaware Co.) was awarded a $1,000 Ralph Grimshaw Memorial Scholarship at the 2016 Ohio State Fair.  Delanie Wiseman (Madison Co.) received a third scholarship for $500 awarded through the Ralph H. Grimshaw Memorial Scholarship Fund.

Fowler is a junior at the Ohio State University and Wenner is a freshman at the University of Wisconsin. Wiseman is a senior at the Ohio State University.

The Ralph Grimshaw Memorial Scholarship is sponsored by the Ohio Sheep Improvement Association and is awarded annually to at least one young sheep producer. Funds for this scholarship come from the Buckeye Shepherd’s Symposium and Ohio State Fair silent auctions and from private donations.

The Dr. Jack Judy Memorial Scholarship is also sponsored by the Ohio Sheep Improvement Association in coordination with the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation.… Continue reading

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Producer input sought for 2016 National Beef Quality Audit

Beef producers all across the country, from every segment of the industry, are being encouraged to participate in a survey that will help establish a benchmark and course for the beef industry for 2017 and beyond. The Producer Survey of the checkoff-funded 2016 National Beef Quality Audit (NBQA) will collect producer information and opinions, which will be added to the audit’s traditional production research to form an in-depth look at where the industry stands and its successes and shortcomings.

“It’s very important that every interested producer weigh in with their information and opinions,” said Jesse Fulton, NBQA audit manager. “By having substantial participation in the survey across all industry segments, we create the best opportunity for determining where the industry is and where we need to take it.”

The survey will be completely anonymous and include both information about the industry’s cattle operations and the opinions of the people who run them about the strengths and weaknesses of the industry.… Continue reading

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Small dairy farm concerns growing by the tank load

As Ohio’s small dairies continue to battle slim to negative margins, mounting regulations and rising input costs, there is growing concern about increasingly limited markets because of a growing trend from milk processors.

The typical milk transport trailer carries 7,000 to 8,000 gallons of milk per load. Small dairies are worried about what seems to be a heavy preference from milk processors that the entire load should be filled from one single farm rather than multiple dairies. That is leaving many “smaller” dairies feeling left out merely because they don’t have enough cows to fill one truckload.

The switch is ultimately being driven by the whims of consumers and adds an additional challenge for small dairies.

“We’ve gotten along just fine until now and then when I hear a processor say they won’t take my milk because it’s not a single load off a single farm, that tells me where all this is going to go,” said Carol Losey, a dairy farmer outside of Middleburg in Logan County.… Continue reading

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Could my cow have cancer?

Malignant Lymphosarcoma is the most common neoplastic (cancerous) disease identified in cattle slaughtered in the United States and largest single reason cattle are condemned during postmortem inspection. A 2009 report sites malignant lymphosarcoma for 13.5% of beef cattle condemnations and 26.9% of dairy carcass condemnations. The bovine leukemia virus (BLV) initiates the cancer and this virus routinely spreads through contact with blood from an infected animal. BLV can spread through procedures such as injections with used needles, surgical castration and/or dehorning, tattooing, rectal palpation with dirty sleeves, as well as through insect vectors such as horseflies. Calves may also be exposed during pregnancy or while nursing an infected dam.

Less than 2% of BLV-infected animals will go on to develop lymphosarcoma, a cancer affecting lymph nodes, multiple organs and white blood cells. Tumors may occur in the spinal canal, uterus, heart, abomasum, kidney and/or lymph nodes. The most common clinical signs include anorexia, weight loss and fever.… Continue reading

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Grazing bites for autumn of 2016

It is surprising how warm most of the fall was and even warm weather loving people were wondering how long this Indian summer will last. This type of weather, along with more than adequate moisture, means more opportunity and time to grow forage. Usually by this time of year, we are living on borrowed days if we are relying on a lot more forage growth. Too often, the first indications of winter weather are closing in by now, with the first frost just days away.

As I walked along the pasture early this morning, it certainly didn’t seem like fall, even though the calendar tells me differently. I felt a slight glisten of sweat on my brow while at the same time listening to squirrels cutting really hard in nearby trees. Do they know something I don’t know? I’ve mentioned some natural winter indicators in the past; but I won’t go there today.… Continue reading

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Ohio Ranch wins big with Longhorns

Dickinson Cattle Company (DCC) of Barnesville won eight Championship Bronze during the annual Horn Showcase finals in Lawton, Ok. — the world’s largest cattle competition for horn data measuring.

The TLBAA Horn Showcase is a horn-measuring event with careful detail to tip to tip measurement, total horn, which measures around the curl, and horn base circumference. Measurements are calculated to one sixteenth of an inch by a team of experienced horn masters. This event has built momentum for many years and has great influence on Texas Longhorn market popularity. In past years Texas Longhorn cattle have sold for amounts above $150,000, and many were sporting record wide serpentined spreads.

“We are very honored that — all the great cattle competing, in 23 different events, the DCC entries won 8 Bronze Champions,” said Joel Dickenson, ranch manager.

Texas Longhorn cattle are bred for all the main virtues of other cattle breeds, yet beyond that, longevity of production, attractive colors, unassisted calving, large weaning weights, lean high omega 3 meat, and long twisty horns.… Continue reading

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Cattlemen’s membership growth means strength in numbers

The Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) membership reached an all-time high thanks to the dedication of past members renewing as well as the 468 farm families that joined for the first time in 2016. The new record passes the all-time membership record by 115 members to total 2,131 families represented by OCA.

“OCA is proud to represent the best interests of cattlemen across the state, no matter the size or scope of their operation,” said Joe Foster, OCA president. “I am proud that fellow cattlemen in Ohio recognize the importance of belonging to OCA as it’s an organization that works to be member focused and issue driven.”

In addition to promoting the economic, political and social needs of Ohio’s cattle producers, OCA offers numerous member benefits including discounts on products and services, and opportunities to participate in industry and educational events.

“It’s certainly exciting and as a staff, we’re pleased to be able to work for Ohio’s cattlemen.… Continue reading

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Proposal would hold livestock haulers accountable for animal abuse

A proposal by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service would hold transporters responsible for the mistreatment of livestock.

An advanced copy of the notice was posted on the FSIS website on Friday, Oct. 7, and is expected to be published in the Federal Register soon after. The advanced copy could be subject to minor changes.

“The Food Safety and Inspection Service is announcing its intent to hold livestock owners, transporters, haulers and other persons not employed by an official establishment responsible if they commit acts involving inhumane handling of livestock in connection with slaughter when on the premises of an official establishment,” the notice states. “FSIS believes these actions will further improve the welfare of livestock handled in connection with slaughter by ensuring that all persons that inhumanely handle livestock in connection with slaughter are held accountable.”

Currently, the operators of farms and slaughterhouses are the ones held accountable for mistreatment of livestock on their property.… Continue reading

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Ohio Cattlemen’s Association hosted first–ever Cattlemen’s Camp

The Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) just wrapped up their first annual Cattlemen’s Camp in partnership with Weaver Leather Livestock on October 15-16, 2016 at the Madison County Fairgrounds in London, Ohio. This educational, fun-filled weekend included hands-on opportunities for the youth and their families to gain experience with their beef calf. Attendees were invited to bring their calf project along for on-site training to prepare for the upcoming OCA BEST show season.

Saturday camp attendees began with a session titled “More Than a Banner” provided in part with event sponsor, Weaver Leather Livestock, and the morning session also included a Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) and showmanship seminar. A beef lunch was provided to participants and their families before kicking off an afternoon of informative sessions including daily care of your calf including nutrition and a Cattlemen’s Skillathon Quiz Bowl competition among other activities. The evening kicked off with dinner, followed by tail-gating and big-screen televisions to cheer the Buckeyes on to victory with their fellow campers.… Continue reading

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The intrigue of a2 milk

Ray Jackson and his family are dairy farmers in western Logan County looking to diversify their product with what may be a trend on the horizon for the industry — something called a2 milk.

“It’s daunting right now, but we’re excited for the possibilities down the road,” said Jackson, who is a sales rep for ABS Global, formerly American Breeders Service along with working on the small dairy farm.

Regular cow’s milk is about 85% water. The rest consists of lactose, fat, proteins, and more. About 30% of the total protein in that assembly is made up of beta-casein. Two variants of this protein are found in cow’s milk, a1 and a2. Cows are genetically predisposed to produce milk with either a1 or a2 proteins, though a new trend has recently raised the eyebrows of dairy farmers looking to cows that can produce a2 without any a1 beta-casein.

Like in nearly every sector of the food industry, consumer preference has permeated through the store shelves to influence production at the dairy farm level.… Continue reading

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4Rs in one pass

It has been said many times that there is no silver bullet for addressing the challenges of implementing the 4Rs. While it is not silver, Legacy Farmers Cooperative has fabricated a tool that can accomplish nutrient application at the right rate, the right time, with the right product in the right place and it will be rolling over more than 5,500 acres this fall in northwest Ohio at eight to 10 miles per hour.

Logan Haake is the precision ag manager for Legacy Farmers Cooperative who leads all precision planting, climate, grid sampling, field scouting, variable rate prescriptions, and other precision ag programs for Legacy Agronomy. A fairly new tool in his battle to help implement the 4Rs is a John Deere 2510H — an anhydrous tool bar for either pre-plant or sidedress applications.

Findlay Implement has been working with using the 2510H for subsurface applications of nutrients with very minimal soil disturbance to preserve the benefits of no-till for a couple of years now, renting it out to area farmers.… Continue reading

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OCA sets membership record

The Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) membership has reached an all-time high thanks to the dedication of past members renewing as well as the 468 farm families that joined for the first time in 2016. The new record passes the all-time membership record by 115 members to total 2,131 families represented by OCA.

“OCA is proud to represent the best interests of cattlemen across the state, no matter the size or scope of their operation,” said Joe Foster, OCA president. “I am proud that fellow cattlemen in Ohio recognize the importance of belonging to OCA as it’s an organization that works to be member focused and issue driven.”

In addition to promoting the economic, political and social needs of Ohio’s cattle producers, OCA offers numerous member benefits including discounts on products and services, and opportunities to participate in industry and educational events. The membership committee is working on securing additional member benefits and incentives for 2017 and a complete list will be available on the OCA website in November.… Continue reading

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Who gets water quality?

First, let me say that I get it.

I understand that the farmers in the Lake Erie Watershed were listening to the science and doing what everyone told them. It was once common knowledge that phosphorus did not move in the soil and that reducing tillage was the answer to the algal woes of Lake Erie because phosphorus attached to the soil.

Farmers did what they thought they were supposed to do. With less tillage reducing erosion, phosphorus could be applied when most convenient in the most convenient way. Lake Erie got better and the problem was solved. But it wasn’t.

Unfortunately, the science used to develop the recommendations for those practices had not taken all of reality into consideration. With this compliant shift toward conservation, broadcast phosphorus in reduced tillage situations started to concentrate on the surface and not attach to soil particles. This led to issues with surface runoff of small amounts of very potent dissolved phosphorus after big rains.… Continue reading

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Research yielding some clear answers to murky water quality questions

Farmers want answers on water quality. The general public wants answers. The residents on and around Ohio’s lakes and streams want answers.

But first, what exactly is the problem?

Laura Johnson works with the long-term water quality monitoring efforts at Heidelberg University in Tiffin. The research has painted a fairly clear picture of the agricultural impact on water quality in Lake Erie.

“We have a one of a kind long-term water monitoring program. The longest-term river monitoring efforts are the ones that run into Lake Erie like the Maumee, Sandusky, and Cuyahoga. We also monitor rivers running to the Ohio River and ultimately the Gulf of Mexico. At those stations we monitor all year round, every day and we try and get all of the storm events because that is when everything comes off the fields and out into Lake Erie,” Johnson said. “When we look at our agricultural watersheds, we see this big increase in dissolved phosphorus and it is bioavailable for algae.… Continue reading

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OCF accepting scholarship applications

The Ohio Cattlemen’s Foundation (OCF) is offering several college scholarships available to beef industry youth. All scholarships recognize beef industry youth for academic effort, community service, and career interests that utilize agriculture to enhance our quality of life through service, education or research. Since the OCF was established, scholarships have increased due to the growing number of worthy applicants and committed supporters.

Among the various scholarships available is the Tagged for Greatness scholarship program funded by sales of Ohio’s beef license plate. To date, nearly $50,000 has been awarded to deserving youth, through the beef tag program. To support the Tagged for Greatness fund, purchase your beef plate at your local BMV or online at www.oplates.com. Beef license plates are also available for commercial farm trucks.

Established in 1995, the Ohio Cattlemen’s Foundation’s (OCF) mission is to advance the future of Ohio’s beef industry by investing in research and education programs.… Continue reading

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Fall is a great time to control next year’s poison hemlock

Late fall is a great time to control poison hemlock. There are a couple of good reasons but perhaps the best is that while those plants are presently storing energy in their root systems to survive the winter, it is also a time when herbicide is very easily transferred into that root system. The ability to more effectively use 2,4-D or similar products to kill broadleaf plants now, eliminates the possibility of killing desirable grasses such as when a glyphosate based product is used, thus maintaining desirable competition helping to prevent future broadleaf weed invasions. Another advantage is with few gardens or annual flower beds still intact, fall also provides an opportunity to use chemical broadleaf killers that have been known to volatilize when used in the spring, killing or severely damaging sensitive garden and landscape plants.

That being said, if you identified locations this past spring where poison hemlock was growing, it’s likely new plants will be emerging there soon if not already.… Continue reading

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