Livestock



May margin triggers Dairy Margin Coverage Program payment

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced that the May 2020 income over feed cost margin was $5.37 per hundredweight (cwt.), triggering the third payment of 2020 for dairy producers who purchased the appropriate level of coverage under the Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program.

“This payment comes at a critical time for many dairy producers,” said FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce. “DMC has proved to be a worthwhile risk management tool, providing dairy producers with much- needed financial support when markets are most volatile.”

To date, FSA has issued more than $176 million in program benefits to dairy producers who purchased DMC coverage for 2020.

Authorized by the 2018 Farm Bill, DMC is a voluntary risk management program that offers protection to dairy producers when the difference between the all-milk price and the average feed price (the margin) falls below a certain dollar amount selected by the producer. Over 13,000 operations enrolled in the program for the 2020 calendar year.… Continue reading

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Pasture management in dry weather

By David Barker, Ohio State University

Dry weather in recent weeks throughout Ohio has raised several questions about how pastures should be managed during drought. Although the experts don’t all agree if this period of dry weather meets the definition of a drought (yet), there is no doubt that pasture growth will slow to zero. How should we be grazing our pastures in mid-summer?

Avoid over-grazing

Unfortunately, without rain or irrigation pastures will not grow, and close grazing will exaggerate this effect. Leaf removal by grazing (or mowing) results in a roughly similar proportion of root death. During moist conditions, roots can recover quite quickly, however, grazing during drought will reduce water uptake due to root loss. As a general rule of thumb, grazing below 2 or 3 inches will accelerate drought effects on pastures, and also, slow recovery once rain does come. Of course, optimum grazing height and management varies with pasture species.… Continue reading

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USDA makes first significant FMD Vaccine Bank purchase

The establishment of a robust Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) vaccine bank — a top, long-term priority for the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) — came closer to reality as the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced its first significant vaccine purchase. The establishment of the FMD vaccine bank was part of the 2018 Farm Bill.

Currently, the USDA, which has prescribed vaccination for dealing with an FMD outbreak, does not have access to enough vaccine should an outbreak occur. FMD is an infectious viral disease that affects cloven-hooved animals, including cattle, pigs and sheep; it is not a food safety or human health threat. The disease is endemic in many parts of the world and would have widespread, long-term fallout for livestock and crop agriculture, including the immediate loss of export markets.

“Today’s announcement is momentous, representing years of NPPC advocacy to ensure U.S. agriculture is protected should we have an FMD outbreak,” said Howard “AV” Roth, NPPC president.… Continue reading

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Manure fundamentals

By Mary Wicks

You can’t get more basic than manure — all animals create it although only humans manage it. We have created litter boxes, toilets, wastewater treatment plants, and a variety of systems for handling livestock manure. Let’s look at the latter.

Not all manure is the same. Fresh manure is a mixture of feces and urine and can include livestock bedding materials or poultry feathers. All manure is valuable. It contains nutrients, including nitrogen (N,) phosphorus (P), potassium (K), organic matter, and micronutrients, so it’s often applied to cropland as a fertilizer. However, manure properties vary depending on the species, handling practices, and application methods.

 

Species

Animals are different and so is their manure. For example, fresh manure from a broiler chicken is 4.91% N and 2.99% P on a dry basis, while a milk cow is 5.44% N and 0.80% P, and a hog is 7.66% N and 4.78% P.… Continue reading

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Economic headwinds slow red meat exports in May

U.S. beef and pork exports trended lower in May, due in part to interruptions in slaughter and processing, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). Beef exports dropped well below year-ago levels and recorded the lowest monthly volume in 10 years. Pork exports remained higher than a year ago but were the lowest since October 2019.

“As protective measures related to COVID-19 were being implemented, plant disruptions peaked in early May with a corresponding temporary slowdown in exports,” said Dan Halstrom, USMEF president and CEO. “Unfortunately the impact was quite severe, especially on the beef side. Exports also faced some significant economic headwinds, especially in our Western Hemisphere markets, as stay-at-home orders were implemented in key destinations and several trading partners dealt with slumping currencies.”

Halstrom noted that the recent rebound in beef and pork production will help exports regain momentum in the second half of 2020.… Continue reading

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Ohio Youth Livestock Expo now ramping up for events

By Matt Reese

While the Ohio State Fair will not happen in 2020, the show will still go on for many of those exhibitors. Megan Wendt, with showpig.com and The Wendt Group, is one of around 50 volunteers working to put together the Ohio Youth Livestock Expo (OYLE) to provide Ohio State Fair junior exhibitors with a chance to hit the show ring this summer.

“The OYLE was put together pretty quickly when the Ohio State Fair announced its cancelation. A group of leaders from the summer jackpot series as well as the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association came together pretty quickly to provide a place for these kids in the state of Ohio to finish out their projects that most of them had already started. Once the decision came from the Ohio State Fair, we just jumped in to make sure there was something for these kids to be excited about and keep working with their animals to see the project through to completion,” Wendt said.… Continue reading

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New Senate bill bolsters farmers in crisis

The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) strongly supports the Responding to Epidemic Losses and Investing in the Economic Future (RELIEF) for Producers Act of 2020, introduced by Sens. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.).

The bill would:

• Compensate hog and poultry producers who are forced to euthanize or donate animals that can’t be processed into the food supply due to COVID-related packing plant capacity reductions;
• Increase funding for animal health surveillance and laboratories, which have appropriately assisted and shared resources with their public health partners; and
• Revise the Commodity Credit Corporation charter so a pandemic-driven national emergency qualifies for funding.

“We thank Senators Inhofe, Burr, Ernst, Grassley and Tillis for their support of U.S. hog farmers who urgently need federal assistance to address this unprecedented crisis,” said Howard “A.V.” Roth, NPPC president. “While plant capacity has improved, millions of hogs remain backed up on farms due to the COVID-created bottleneck, one that could have a lasting impact on hog farmers.… Continue reading

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No more ag-gag in NC?

By Ellen Essman, Ohio Law Blog, Agricultural & Resource Law Program at The Ohio State University

We have mentioned a few times before on the blog that North Carolina’s ag-gag law has been embroiled in a lawsuit for several years. North Carolina’s version of “ag-gag” was somewhat different from other states, because the statute applied to other property owners, not just those involved in agriculture. The basic gist of the law was that an unauthorized person entering into the nonpublic area of a business was liable to the owner or operator if any damages occurred.

This included entering recording or surveilling conditions in the nonpublic area, which is a tool the plaintiffs use to further their cause. In a ruling, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina was decided largely in the plaintiffs’ (PETA, Animal Legal Defense Fund, etc.) favor. In order to not get into the nitty gritty details of the 73-page ruling, suffice it to say that the judge found that that law did violate the plaintiffs’ freedom of speech rights under the First Amendment to the U.S.… Continue reading

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Ohio’s Country Journal & Ohio Ag Net Podcast |Ep. 160 | OYLE with a side of Dale

We take the Quarantine Chronicles on for another week with Matt, Kolt, and Dale Hosting our guest Megan Wendt from the Ohio Youth Livestock Expo. Interviews this week include an interview from Matt with Bane Welker intern Macel Stowers. Bart includes an interview with Kyle Halseman of Halseman Ag.… Continue reading

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U.S. lamb retail sales data released for first quarter 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has provided an opportunity for consumers to cook more meals at home and explore new products including lamb. The new retail data released by the American Lamb Board (ALB) quantifies the growth in retail sales for all lamb (domestic and imported) during the first quarter of 2020.

Retail sales data analyzed by IRI/FreshLook Marketing show pounds of all lamb sold at multi-outlet supermarkets in the U.S. in the 13-week period from Jan. 1 through April 19, 2020, increased 8.5% compared to the same period in 2019, hitting 16.4 million pounds and $133.9 million in sales. As previously reported by ALB, Easter week sales of fresh lamb were strong with more than $19 million in sales across the U.S.

Total dollars spent on all lamb at retail during the first 13 weeks of 2020 increased 13.4%. With prices on the increase for all meat categories, lamb held its own with consumers’ pocketbooks.… Continue reading

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Watch out for the pitfalls of meat processing at home

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader: a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean checkoff

National headlines have repeatedly announced that COVID-19 has caused a disruption in the commercial meat system. The growing number of sick employees at major meat packers has caused a slowdown in the processing lines and even shutdown some entire facilities.

Over the years, the United States has created a highly efficient food supply, to the extent that the meat supply chain has become a “just-in-time” system. In the pork industry, efficiency is calculated down to the day. It takes 11 months (roughly 335 days) from the time a mother pig (sow) is bred, and then farrows (has the baby pigs), then those pigs are raised, and then butchered and delivered to the grocery store meat case. The entire system is dependent on every step of the process occurring on time and at the right time.… Continue reading

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The show must go on for Ohio’s livestock exhibition industry

By Madi Kregel, OCJ field reporter

Like the rest of the world, show pig and lamb breeders and exhibitors had to do some adjusting this spring after the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in the cancellation some of the biggest livestock shows and sales, including the biggest show of the year, the Ohio State Fair.

The word “adjusting” suits the show pig and show lamb industry well at this point. Some in the two industries feared they’d see a lower volume in sales this spring, but instead saw sales similar, or even higher than in the past. Allen Johnson said web-based sales helped him make the adjustment to have a successful sale season for his business, Johnson Show Lambs.

“Our live sales were cancelled all together. As a result, we scrambled around and got pictures up on our webpage and fixed up a web-based sale through ShowStockPlanet and that was the platform we used to sell all of our wethers,” Johnson said.… Continue reading

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Ohio’s Country Journal & Ohio Ag Net Podcast |Ep. 159 | Beef Gives Back

The Quarantine Chronicles continue, and we miss our office more and more. Kolt, Matt and Dusty host this week from their homes. Interviews include two Between the Rows interviews featuring Charlie Kail and Wille Murphy. Matt interviewed Jamie Graham from the Ohio Beef Council. And Bart interviewed Shane Kellogg from the Blanchard River Demonstration Farms.… Continue reading

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Prop 12 challenged by farm groups

The National Pork Producers Council and the American Farm Bureau Federation jointly filed an appeal, challenging California’s Proposition 12, which imposes arbitrary animal housing standards that reach outside of California’s borders to farms across the United States. By attempting to regulate businesses outside of its borders, California’s Proposition 12 violates the commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution.

The appeals challenge, filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, asks the court to strike Proposition 12 as invalid. It is unconstitutional and seeks to allow a single state without any commercial hog production to regulate how farmers across the country operate, imposing prohibitive costs with no benefits.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2022, Proposition 12 prohibits the sale of pork not produced according to California’s highly prescriptive production standards. The proposition applies to any uncooked pork sold in the state, whether raised there or outside its borders. Currently, less than one percent of U.S.… Continue reading

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Ohio beef farmers stepping up to help those in need

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact communities across the state, the Ohio Beef Council (OBC) has established the Beef Families Care Fund (BFCF), a matching program to assist non-profit agricultural groups that are working to provide beef meals and nutrition education to Ohioans in need and encourage beef consumption in communities across the state.

“Ohio beef farmers are proud to help feed their local communities,” said Jamie Graham, chairman of the OBC Operating Committee. “We are firmly committed to caring for and supporting Ohioans struggling with food insecurity.”

BFCF is made possible through the Ohio Beef Checkoff Program and will continue through the remainder of 2020. This one-time program is a direct result of several pandemic-related event cancelations, including the 2020 Ohio State Fair.

“The goal of the checkoff is to promote Ohio beef and it has been very challenging with a lot of the face-to-face communication and the promotions we try to do with things being canceled,” Graham said.… Continue reading

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Good planning extends the grazing season and protects resources

By John Kellis, Ohio Department of Agriculture grazing management specialist

Most southern Ohio pastures are located squarely in the “tall fescue belt.” As these grasses go dormant in the fall, they become a very palatable to cattle and can be intensively grazed. Often producers will strip graze these grasses beginning in December, moving portable fence back 50 feet at a time across the field. Cattle will struggle to get to the next available strip of brown fescue rather than eat hay that may be set behind the cattle. After dormancy, the fescue can be eaten down lower to the ground than you would typically leave after fall grazing where you need to leave at least 4 to 6 inches of growth. This “stockpiling” of forage is a good alternative for late fall and winter grazing. This practice further reduces the need for hay and can provide grazable acres into January or February.… Continue reading

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April meat exports held strong for beef and pork

April proved to be a solid month for U.S. beef and pork exports despite COVID-19 related interruptions in production and declining purchasing power of some key trading partners, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). Beef exports were below last April’s large totals but still topped $600 million in value. Pork exports remained well above year-ago levels but slowed from the record pace established in the first quarter.

“Considering all the challenges the U.S. red meat industry faced in April, export results were encouraging,” said Dan Halstrom, USMEF President and CEO. “Exporters lost several days of slaughter and processing due to COVID-19, and shipments to Mexico and some other Latin American markets declined due to slumping currencies and the imposition of stay-at-home orders. But despite these significant headwinds, global demand for U.S. beef and pork remained strong.”

While May export results will likely reflect similar obstacles, Halstrom noted that red meat production continues to recover, setting the stage for a strong second half of 2020.… Continue reading

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USDA clarifies CFAP provisions for livestock

USDA issued a Federal Register notice clarifying a handful of provisions in the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), which provides direct payments to farmers impacted by the COVID-19 crisis and was issued last month.

Among the changes, USDA clarified CFAP payment calculations for livestock, including the calculations based on unpriced livestock sales from Jan. 15 to April 15, 2020, and those based on livestock inventory owned between April 16 to May 14, 2020. Under the change, the swine provisions now read as: “Payments for hogs and pigs will be equal to the sum of the results of the following two calculations: (1) Unpriced hogs and pigs sold between Jan. 15-April 15, 2020, multiplied by the CARES Act payment rate in paragraph (h) of this section; and (2) Hog and pig inventory owned between April 16-May 14, 2020, multiplied by the CCC payment rate in paragraph (h) of this section.”

Read the Federal Register notice here.… Continue reading

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