Livestock



Challenging situations on both ends of the river in water quality struggle

Secret fishing spots are guarded more closely than cherished family recipes. Instead of the corn and soybean markets, they talk about the walleye catch and the perch numbers. Instead of high dollar tractors, they buy bigger, better boats.

For the people around Lake Erie, that productive blue green expanse on Ohio’s northern border is their life, food, water, career, heritage, recreation, and home. In short, is sort of like your farm is to you.

So, when the people of Lake Erie see their way of life marred by a slick, poisonous green nightmare, it is not something they take lightly. Then they see the convincing (and legitimate) numbers of extensive water quality monitoring pointing squarely to agriculture as a leading culprit. They don’t take that lightly, either.

Toxic algae need phosphorus (P) to grow, and while there is still room for debate about the exact contributions of various sources, there is no doubt that agriculture is one of the culprits sending P down the river to the lake — from your farms to theirs.… Continue reading

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Beef Industry Update Meeting to be held in Morgan County

The Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) will be hosting a Beef Industry Update Meeting Oct. 5, 2015.  OCA Allied Industry Council member, Multimin USA, is the title sponsor of the meeting. Their sponsorship will provide a complimentary New York Strip steak dinner to all of the attendees at the meeting.

The October 5 meeting will be hosted by the Morgan County Cattlemen’s Association. The meeting will be held at the Riecker Building Community Room, 155 E. Main Street, McConnellsville, Ohio 43756 at 6 p.m.

The meeting is open to all beef producers and will feature Dr. Robert Gentry, veterinarian and researcher with Multimin USA, as the speaker. He will be discussing how to enhance your herd’s performance with Multimin USA’s trace mineral program. Prior to Dr. Gentry, there will be an OCA membership and policy update.

Contact the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association at 614-873-6736 or email beef@ohiobeef.org for more information about the industry update meetings or to RSVP.… Continue reading

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Retaining cattle ownership in the midst of declining prices

Under normal market conditions, it can be profitable for cow-calf producers to wean and background their calves in the fall. Historically, feeder cattle prices dip in early fall when many producers choose to market their calves before bouncing back to higher levels in the late fall and early winter months.

Producers who wean and background their calves during this time frame are often able to ride out the seasonal price slump and take advantage of this cycle in normal years. Is that still the best strategy if the market is in the midst of a price decline that is not expected to fully recover? Some larger producers may be able to use the futures markets to hedge and “lock in” a profitable price with only basis risk, but many smaller producers are not easily afforded this luxury.

So what happens upon closer examination of a few price scenarios? First of all, assume that a producer will want to wean now and will continue to grow the calves for 90 days.… Continue reading

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Revolutionary method for reducing methane emissions in dairy cows

Dairy cows and other ruminants such as beef cows, sheep, goats, deer and buffalo are capable of fermenting and digesting the cellulose contained in grass. Cows have four compartments to their stomach. The first is called the rumen. It is a giant fermentation vat capable of converting many indigestible fiber sources such as grass and plants to meat and milk. The other compartments include the hardware stomach (reticulum) which traps metal if inadvertently swallowed, the omasum for water absorption and the abomasum, the true stomach similar to ours. Because of this unique characteristic of the ruminant GI tract, these animals are a huge asset to society because of the grass and food byproducts that are readily consumed to be converted into food.

Forty-five percent of the U.S. is comprised of grasslands that aren’t usable for food production. Cows and other ruminants grazing these grasslands convert grass and other plants to high quality protein and energy that are nutritious for humans in the form of meat and milk.… Continue reading

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2016 Dairy Margin Protection Program decision time-clock winding down

The clock is winding down for dairy farmers to sign up for the 2016 Dairy Margin Protection Program.  Instituted as part of the 2014 Farm Bill, the Dairy Margin Protection Program replaced the Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) program and the $9.90 minimum Class III support price programs for US dairy farmers.

The sign-up period for 2016 participation opened July 1 and is scheduled to run through September 30, 2015. With this “regularly scheduled” sign-up period, farmers now have to make their decisions a full quarter before the coverage period of January 1 through December 31, 2016. The 2014/2015 sign-up was uniquely late (September 2nd through December 19th) due to the time needed to establish rules for the program following the 2014 Farm Bill’s passage, and deadline extensions.

The advantage of that later sign-up was that we had a better feel for what 2015 might look like than we will have for 2016 when the coverage decisions have to be locked in by September 30th.… Continue reading

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Proposed changes to scrapie regulations

The Federal Register notice proposing changes to the scrapie regulations by USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service was posted last week. Items recommended to be amended include changing the risk groups and categories established for individual animals and for flocks; increasing the use of genetic testing as a means of assigning risk levels to animals; reducing movement restrictions for animals found to be genetically less susceptible or resistant to scrapie; and simplifying, reducing or removing certain recordkeeping requirements.

APHIS is also proposing to provide designated scrapie epidemiologists more alternatives and flexibility when testing animals in order to determine flock designations under the regulations. A change to the definition of high-risk animal is recommended, which will change the types of animals eligible for indemnity and to pay higher indemnity for certain pregnant ewes and early maturing ewes.

The proposed changes also make the identification and recordkeeping requirements for goat owners consistent with those for sheep owners.… Continue reading

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Push for immigrant reform continues

Half of all workers on U.S. dairy farms are immigrants, and the damage from losing those workers would extend far beyond the farms, nearly doubling retail milk prices and costing the total U.S. economy more than $32 billion, according to a new report commissioned by the National Milk Producers Federation.

The report, which includes the results of a nationwide survey of farms, found that one-third of all U.S. dairy farms employ foreign-born workers, and that those farms produce nearly 80% of the nation’s milk.

It concluded that a complete loss of immigrant labor could cause the loss of one-in-six dairy farms and cut U.S. economic output by $32.1 billion, resulting in 208,000 fewer jobs nationwide. Some 77,000 of the lost jobs would be on dairy farms.

Retail milk prices, the report said, would increase 90% if all immigrant labor was lost. That would drive the supermarket price of a gallon of milk, which averaged $3.37 in June, to approximately $6.40.… Continue reading

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Master in Animal Sciences graduate degree offered at OSU

The Department of Animal Sciences at The Ohio State University is offering a new Master in Animal Sciences graduate degree. This program is different from a typical Master of Sciences (MS) in that research is not required and it is a non-thesis program. Acceptance into the program is similar to the other graduate programs in that an application must be submitted to the OSU Graduate School (http://gradsch.osu.edu/), and after its review, the application is forwarded to the Graduate Studies Committee in the Department of Animal Sciences for review. Requirements include a minimum of 3.0 GPA and a Graduate Records Examination score of at least 300. Admission decisions also are determined by availability of space in the program, availability of an advisor, and their area of interest.

Students accepted into the program must complete a minimum of 35 credit hours, complete a final exam in the form of either a comprehensive written exam, professional project, research proposal, or a culminating paper, and present an exit seminar.… Continue reading

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Dairy price outlook

  • What is ahead for the markets?
  • How much safety in the Margin Protection Program (MPP) safety net?
  • MPP margin forecast for 2015-2016

As I write this, the market focus in squarely on the international markets.  Right at this moment, the turmoil in the U.S. equity market driven by concerns over the economic prospects for China is paramount.  Economic growth rate for China has slowed from double digits to around 7%.  While the rest of the developed countries would love a 7% growth rate, this is a much reduced level for China which needs a rate of economic growth in the range of 10 to 12% to manage its huge economy.  The equity market in China has declined by 35%.  Troubles with the China economy are certainly causing troubles for the rest of the world economies and only time will tell how this will all play out for the rest of us.… Continue reading

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Sheep with a dangerously overgrown fleece gets life-saving shear

Luckily, an Australian Merino sheep that had likely wandered from his flock five or six years ago and had never been shorn was spotted by a concerned hiker who raised the alarm by contacting the Australian Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

With hooves that were barely visible and eyes mostly covered, the animal was the size of a refrigerator and the color of dirty snow. It was a matter of life and death — this sheep needed a haircut. The gigantic sheep, named “Chris,” who was found outside Canberra, could barely walk. His wool had grown to four to five times the normal amount of wool for a merino sheep, resulting in some serious health problems. Besides being partially blinded by the wool flopping into his eyes, his hooves were damaged from carrying the weight of all that extra wool. He also had skin burns from urine trapped in his fleece.… Continue reading

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Schwab in the running for America’s Pig Farmer of the Year

The National Pork Board created the America’s Pig Farmer of the Year contest in order to recognize the best in pig farming. This prestigious honor is awarded annually to the pig farmer who demonstrates and lives by the We Care ethical principles. Lauren Schwab from Butler County is 

representing Ohio in this national effort.

“I want to share my experience as a farmer with consumers and further their understanding of how farmers produce food,” Schwab said. “It’s important to actively engage with consumers on a large scale and tell our story.”

Lauren Schwab proudly works as a second-generation farmer on the 230-acre farm founded in 1977 by her father, Jeff. The farrow-to-wean farm is home to 12 independent barns that house 1,100 sows. The modern barns provide the proper environment for the sows, which are individually cared for and observed daily to assess their needs. The sows produce about 30,000 piglets a year, which are then sold to other farmers for finishing.… Continue reading

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OCA holds successful roundup in Mercer County

Cattlemen from across the state gathered in Mercer County August 28 and 29 to attend the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association Roundup.

The event started off Friday evening at Romer’s Catering and Event Facility in Celina, Ohio. There were over 25 exhibits featuring Allied Industry Council members and Roundup sponsors. Keith Faber, President of the Ohio Senate; Representative Brian Hill, Chair of the Ohio House Agriculture and Rural Development Committee; and Representative Tony Burkley of the Ohio House 82nd District were all in attendance.

Colin Woodall, Vice President of Government Affairs for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), was the featured speaker for the evening. He touched on many of the issues that NCBA is currently working on in Washington D.C., including Waters of the United States (WOTUS), trade and Country of Origin Labeling.

The evening concluded with a PAC auction to benefit NCBA. Several great items were auctioned, including an OSU Basketball game suite, OSU vs.… Continue reading

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2015 Ohio State Fair Commercial Cattle Show results

The 2015 Ohio State Fair Commercial Cattle Show participants exhibited 17 pens of three for a total of 51 head of commercial steers and heifers on August 2, 2015 during the fair. Judging the event were John Adams, Feed Sales Director with Trupointe Cooperative, and Tony Reed, cattle buyer for JBS. The show was managed by United Producers, Inc. and the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association served as a sponsor.

Fred Voge of West Alexandria, Ohio, exhibited the Overall Grand Champion Lot of 3, which was also named the Champion Lot of 3 Steers, along with the Overall Reserve Grand Champion Lot of 3 which was also named the Champion Lot of 3 Heifers. The Reserve Champion Lot of 3 Heifers also went to Fred Voge.

Winning the Reserve Champion Lot of 3 Steers was Phelps/O’Connor Farms Limousin of Belle Center, Ohio.

Winners of the live show received premiums of more than $5,000 from the Ohio State Fair.… Continue reading

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World Dairy Expo deadline approaching quickly

World Dairy Expo is right around the corner and the deadline for dairy cattle entries is fast approaching. All entries must be submitted by midnight (CDT) on Monday, Aug. 31, 2015 to avoid late fees. Paper entries must be postmarked by that date as well. Late entries will be accepted until the day of the show at an increased rate (online late entries close Sept. 13, 2015).

Entry forms are available online through the Dairy Cattle Entry System or for print on the Expo website. Additional entry information, schedule of events, rules and changes/additions can be found in the Premium book, available on the Expo website.

Display booth space, end-cap display, stalling requests, discounted exhibitor passes, 2018 Futurity entries, 2016 judge nominations and Dairy Cattle Exhibitor Committee representative nomination forms can all be found on the online entry system as well. Youth fitting and showmanship contest entries may also be submitted.… Continue reading

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Phosphorus Recovery System addresses water quality challenges with manure

The vexing problem of phosphorus in the water continues to make big headlines and haunt animal agriculture. This political hot button, however, has led to some positive developments in research regarding on-farm practices and technology. One of the most recently announced innovations addressing this problem is the Phosphorus Recovery System (PRS) from Quasar Energy that removes nearly all of the phosphorus from manure.

The Brown family dairy farm near New Bremen, in the heart of one of Ohio’s key livestock regions, hosted an event in conjunction with the Quasar Energy Group demonstrating the new Phosphorus Recovery System (PRS) in July.

“It’s funny that we are doing this here because I’m probably the one that helped start this phosphorus problem in the first place,” Alvin Brown said. “I used to want every inch of every field covered with manure, and now, we are working to reverse that idea and the growing problem.”… Continue reading

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Beef school focuses on maximizing profit

Beef cattle producers who want to reduce costs while maximizing their profit potential can learn how during a Beef School Oct. 6, 13 and 20, taught by experts from Ohio State University Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center.

The three-day program focuses on forage weed control, spring development, working livestock, carcass beef breeds and open cows, said Cliff Little, OSU Extension educator in agriculture and natural resources.

“We’re hoping to show producers low-stress, economical and practical practices they can implement on their cattle farms,” he said. “For example, participants can see the effects of pasture clipping versus chemical weed control methods that we’ve implemented on land at the research station to see which method would offer them the best use of their time and resources to implement.”

The Beef School is sponsored by OSU Extension, OARDC and Farm Credit Mid-America of Cambridge. The school will be held from 5:30 to 8 p.m.… Continue reading

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Understanding the flood of water quality regulations in Ohio

When it rains, it pours. That pretty much describes this growing season, or lack thereof. Metaphorically, it also applies to the new regulations regarding manure and fertilizer application that became law on July 3, 2015 that now apply to Ohio farmers in the Western Lake Erie Basin that includes 24 Ohio counties. Although these fertilizer and manure protections sunset after five years, it is more likely these regulations will be expanded to include all Ohio farms in the future.

In the Western Lake Erie Basin, a person may not surface apply manure under any of the following circumstances: on snow-covered or frozen soil; when the top two inches of soil are saturated from precipitation; or when the local weather forecast for the application area contains greater than a 50% chance of precipitation exceeding a half-inch in a 24-hour period. The exceptions to these stipulations are if the manure is injected into the ground, incorporated within 24 hours of surface application, applied onto a growing crop, or in the event of an emergency, with written special permission from the chief of the division of soil and water resources.… Continue reading

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Control of ammonia and dust emissions in poultry facilities for improved health

The recent outbreak of avian influenza, a highly contagious viral disease that has infected about 48 million birds in the United States, resulted in a significant loss to the poultry industry. The initial response by the poultry industry to prevent widespread avian influenza was to more stringently enforce the USDA biosecurity measures defined by the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) (http://healthybirds.aphis.usda.gov). However, the continuous spread of the avian influenza made the industry wonder if the disease is airborne and transmitted through ventilation air of poultry facilities. We are looking at major air emissions — ammonia gas and dust particles — from poultry facilities and their potential effects on poultry health to explore the need of additional biosecurity measures to prevent transmission of infectious diseases among poultry in the future.

 

Ammonia emissions and its health effects

Ammonia is a colorless, irritant gas that is produced from the microbial decomposition of uric acid in poultry manure.… Continue reading

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Inoculants at silage harvest can help an already effective regimen

For dairy and other livestock producers wanting to optimize their silage, the addition of inoculant just prior to storage may help to improve their return by minimizing losses and getting the most out of their product.

Silage inoculants help the fermentation process, an essential part of any feed of its type. They contain anaerobic bacteria that result in a high fermentation rate, higher levels of lactic acid and lower amounts of acetic acid.

Normand St-Pierre, professor and dairy extension specialist at The Ohio State University, said there has been a substantial increase in inoculant use in the last few years. This is party due to economics.

“As a guide, if the silage goes above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, you will have a problem. The intake of the cows will drop and you’ll have some upset stomachs,” St-Pierre said. “Good grief, I remember working in New York 20 years ago. At the time, you could buy corn silage standing in the field.… Continue reading

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Beef Industry Update Meetings

The Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) will be hosting Beef Industry Update Meetings September 9 and 10.  OCA Allied Industry Council member, Multimin USA, is the title sponsor of the meetings. Their sponsorship will provide a complimentary beef dinner to all of the attendees at the meetings.

Carroll County Cattlemen’s Association is set to host the meeting on September 9. The meeting will be held at 6 p.m. at the Carrollton High School Cafeteria, 252 3rd St. NE, Carrollton, Ohio 44615.

The September 10 meeting will be hosted by the Knox County Cattlemen’s Association. The meeting will be held at Dudgeon Family Farm, 8230 Grove Church Road, Gambier, Ohio 43022, at 6 p.m.

Both meetings are open to all beef producers and will feature Dr. Brad Degroot, veterinarian and researcher with Multimin USA, as the speaker. He will be discussing how to enhance your herd’s performance with Multimin USA’s trace mineral program.… Continue reading

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