Bull breeding soundness examination can pay dividends

When considering all of the traits of importance to today’s cattleman and current market prices for all classes of beef cattle, the primary focus of any cow-calf producer should be fertility. While both the male and female contribute to herd’s level of fertility and its ultimate productivity, the herd sire is the more important component. An individual cow with poor fertility will certainly impact one potential calf a year. However, the bull impacts every potential calf in a given herd or breeding pasture.

A Breeding Soundness Examination (BSE) performed by an accredited veterinarian is a necessary management tool for improving herd fertility levels. Through a BSE, a bull is given a physical and semen evaluation to determine his status as a satisfactory potential breeder on the test date. The physical examination portion of the test can include the evaluation of body condition, feet and legs, eyes, and the organs of the reproductive system.… Continue reading

Read More »

Ohioans receive 2015 Pork Industry Scholarships

The Pork Checkoff has awarded 21 scholarships to college students around the United States as part of its strategy to develop the pork industry’s human capital for the future.

Recipients of the national awards included: Grant Price, from Tiffin, Ohio and Garrit Sproull from Uhrichsville, Ohio. Both plan on attending The Ohio State University majoring in Animal Science Production.

Recipients were selected based on scholastic merit, leadership activities, involvement in the pork production industry and future plans for a career in pork production.

“Developing the next generation of leaders in the pork industry is one of the top issues that the Pork Checkoff has identified as being critical for the industry’s future. Finding new leaders also is part of our strategic plan,” said Dale Norton, president of the National Pork Board. “Our ongoing goal is to help ensure that there is a sustainable source of new leaders ready to take on the industry’s charge of producing a safe, wholesome food product in a socially responsible way.”… Continue reading

Read More »

National sheep sales heading to Ohio

Eight leading breeds of sheep have chosen the state of Ohio to host their 2015 National Sales.

“Enthusiasm for purebred sheep is high and the state of Ohio sits midway between east coast and western cornbelt breeders who represent the biggest numbers of purebred breeders in the nation,” said Greg Deakin, sale manager for both events. “To have the trust of the leadership of eight different breeds pick Ohio for their National Sales gives potential buyers confidence to attend the sales and be offered some of the finest genetics in their breed.  It also says a lot for the Ohio sheep Industry.”

Southdowns, Corriedales, Shropshires and Natural Colored sheep will be offered for sale during the Big Ohio Sale Weekend, Thursday through Saturday, May 7, 8 and 9 at the Preble County Fairgrounds in Eaton.

The three-day event will see approximately 750 head of sheep for sale representing eleven different breeds. … Continue reading

Read More »

Ohio poultry at risk for a potent strain of avian influenza

Though it is not present in Ohio, poultry owners should still be on high alert for signs of a novel strain of avian influenza capable of completely wiping out entire commercial flocks, exhibition birds and backyard poultry. While not a concern for humans or for food safety, this strain of avian influenza is devastating for birds and is of significant concern for the poultry industry.

“This strain of avian influenza moves really fast. We have seen complete flocks destroyed within 24 to 48 hours,” said Jim Chakeres, executive vice president of the Ohio Poultry Association. “If you see any symptoms — snicking, general lethargy, any respiratory symptoms in particular, or what you would consider a higher than normal death loss or sick birds — you need to contact the Ohio Department of Agriculture so they can investigate. Minnesota and Missouri are the closest two states to Ohio where this avian influenza has been discovered.”… Continue reading

Read More »

Records, busy shows highlight 2015 Ohio Spring Dairy Expo

The 2015 Ohio Spring Dairy Expo wrapped up three days of shows, sales, and overall industry activities on Saturday at the Ohio Expo Center in Columbus.

One of the more notable events at this year’s Expo was the sale of a Jersey female at the much-anticipated Best of Triple-T and Heath Sale Thursday night. Payneside Mac N Cheese from Nathan and Jenny Thomas, Michael Heath, and Dymentholm Genetics went to Arethusa Farm for $267,000, a new record for highest selling Jersey at public auction.

The Expo was also highlighted by the amount of showmen in attendance — a point helped out by the weather said Angi Kaverman, chairman of the Spring Dairy Expo.

“We have had approximately 500 head of cattle shown and an additional 200 head of cattle in our public sales,” she said. “I would say our biggest success has been the weather really cooperating which has made for successful shows, sales, and cooperation from the exhibitors.… Continue reading

Read More »

High magnesium mineral mix can help prevent grass tetany

While early grazing on cool-season grasses in the spring increases the potential for grass tetany in livestock, particularly in cows still nursing calves less than four months old, producers who supplement their livestock with magnesium could help prevent the potentially fatal disorder from occurring, according to a forage expert from The Ohio State University.

Grass tetany is a nutritional disorder in livestock caused by low blood magnesium levels, said Rory Lewandowski, agriculture and natural resources educator for Ohio State University Extension. While the disorder can be treated if caught very early, the best way to deal with grass tetany is to prevent it from occurring at all, he said.

Grass tetany could be prevented by feeding animals that graze in lush, rapidly growing grass pastures a high magnesium mineral mix starting at least a week or two before spring grazing and continuing throughout the spring grazing period, he said.

“Now is the time to start thinking about grass tetany and taking steps to prevent it from happening,” Lewandowski said.… Continue reading

Read More »

Ohio Pork Council launching new swine show circuit for Ohio youth

The Ohio Summer Show Circuit, a new youth program of the Ohio Pork Council, works to provide the best atmosphere for competitive swine shows. It is, by purpose, a competitive program that promotes the advancement of Ohio’s Showpig industry through providing consistency and continuity to a show circuit, tools to increase exhibitor knowledge and education, and opportunities for personal development in youth swine exhibitors.
The program will launch on May 16 in Washington Court House at the first show in a series of seven weekends. OH-PIGS sanctioned shows will take place at multiple locations throughout the state, as part of the circuit that runs through the end of June.
The new OH PIGS circuit will combine existing summer shows with even more opportunities to compete throughout the summer. Not only will participants have additional opportunities to exhibit their swine projects, the Ohio Pork Council will be offering several opportunities for youth development.
Continue reading

Read More »

AFBF offers “Learn About Livestock” barn banners

The American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture’s newest product, “Learn About Livestock” barn banners, was developed for use at fairs and livestock shows. The banners feature key information about major livestock species related to production, lifecycle, the environment, how farmers care for animals and safety. Banners featuring information about dairy cattle, beef cattle, goats, sheep, pigs and poultry are available and are a great way to add an ag literacy component to a fair or livestock show. In response to an overwhelming number of requests for safety-related resources at last year’s International Association of Fairs and Expositions Conference, the banners provide “Wash-Talk-Walk” safety recommendations:

• Wash your hands before and after handling animals

• Toss food or drink before entering an animal area

• Walk calmly and keep a safe distance from animals.

Banners are available for individual or bulk purchase in two styles: retractable roll-up with case and hanging (with grommets).… Continue reading

Read More »

Free BQA certification online

Through April 15, producers and those affiliated with the cattle industry can take advantage of free Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) online certification, courtesy ofBoehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. (BIVI) and the BQA program, funded by the beef checkoff. Visit to receive your certification today.

BQA helps increase consumer confidence in the beef industry by demonstrating that the industry strives to produce a safe, wholesome product. All segments of the industry can benefit from becoming BQA-certified, including producers from cow-calf, dairy, stocker and feedlot operations, and anyone affiliated with those segments. With an overall focus on animal handling and disease treatment and prevention, online certification modules are customized to meet each segment’s needs.

“It worked great to break up the training modules and complete them over a two-week period. It fit my schedule,” said Keith York, dairy producer from Lake Geneva, Wisc., and 2014 Dairy BQA Award winner. “It was not only helpful for me to review some of the new animal handling information, but it was also a great tool for my employees.… Continue reading

Read More »

Lake Erie water bill signed by Gov. Kasich

In late March, the House of Representatives passed a compromise bill known as Substitute Senate Bill 1 that combines parts of the House and Senate bills addressing water quality that were passed earlier this year. Senators Randy Gardner, R-Bowling Green, and Bob Peterson, R-Sabina sponsored the bill. Governor John Kasich signed the bill today at Maumee Bay State Park. It takes effect in 90 days.

The bill has broad support within agriculture for not only what it does, but also what it does not, include.

“We thank Gov. Kasich for signing Senate Bill 1 today in an ongoing effort to support clean and healthy water in Lake Erie. The Ohio AgriBusiness Association supports the bill because its fertilizer application limits are based on sound agronomics, and because it addresses issues with water treatment plants and the dumping of dredged material in Lake Erie,” said Chris Henney, OABA president and CEO. “We appreciate the governor and the General Assembly’s comprehensive approach to the issue and their willingness to work with, and listen to, the agricultural community through this process.”… Continue reading

Read More »

Ohio Pork Council currently offering scholarships to youth involved in agriculture 

The Ohio Pork Council will be offering up to $9,000 in scholarships, ranging from $500 to $1000 per individual. Students entering their freshman, sophomore, junior or senior year in college are encouraged to apply. Applicants, or their parents, must be actively involved in the pork industry. Children of pork industry employees, managers and contract growers are eligible.

In honor of 42 years of service to Ohio’s pork industry, as executive vice president of the Ohio Pork Council, a scholarship fund has been established to recognize Dick Isler. An annual scholarship of at least $1,000 will be awarded to college students pursuing a degree in agriculture. The Ohio Pork Council Women will also be offering $500 scholarships to college students in their junior year or higher.

To obtain an application for these scholarships, please visit:

Applications for OPPC, OPCW and Dick Isler scholarships are due April 30.

The Ohio Pork Council is also proud to sponsor scholarships for incoming freshmen attending Ohio State ATI.… Continue reading

Read More »

Importance of collecting good milk samples

As basic as it looks, some producers are still not fully aware and familiarized with the importance of or how to collect a milk sample. Part of mastitis control programs consist on culturing and on the microbiological analysis of milk samples. However, to be able to identify the bacteria, strict aseptic procedures must be used when collecting the samples. Aseptic collection is extremely important to avoid contamination with bacteria present on the skin of the cow, hands of the sampler, and environment. And yet, the importance of collecting a good sample goes beyond udder health. Improper milk samples can interfere with how much producers are paid (improper samples can lead to violations for high SCC or high bacterial count). It is also detrimental for processors when evaluating milk quality (results based on an inaccurate sample can put at risk the whole tanker load of milk).

For purposes of a mastitis control program, either bulk tank or individual milk samples can be used.… Continue reading

Read More »

Hog farmers provide 8,300 pounds of pork to Mid-Ohio Foodbank

Ohio farmers, through the Ohio Pork Council (OPC), have partnered with generous supporters such as the Ohio Association of Meat Processors, Ohio Corn Marketing Program and many other Ohio businesses to support Mid-Ohio Foodbank with a donation of 8,322 pounds of lean ground pork. The protein-packed donation will provide nearly 42,000 meals to hungry families in central and eastern Ohio just in time for the Easter holiday.

“Recognizing that agriculture is the state’s number one industry, it is important that we continue to collaborate to find ways to connect these fresh, local, nourishing foods to neighbors struggling to make ends meet,” said Matt Habash, president and CEO of Mid-Ohio Foodbank, “With collective action across Ohio’s top industries, we truly have a chance to end hunger.”

Congresswoman Joyce Beatty (D), Ohio farmer Jim Heimerl and Foodbank President Matt Habash were present to show appreciation for the donation and discuss how the product will impact local families.… Continue reading

Read More »

NPPC testifies on COOL

Congress must repeal parts of the U.S. Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL) law to avoid trade retaliation from Canada and Mexico, the National Pork Producers Council said in comments before the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Affairs. The World Trade Organization (WTO) last fall ruled that the U.S. meat labeling law violates U.S. international trade obligations by discriminating against Canadian cattle and pigs and Mexican cattle. COOL requires meat to be labeled with the country where the animal from which it was derived was born, raised and slaughtered. The United States appealed the ruling, and a final decision on the appeal will be announced by May 18. NPPC President-elect John Weber, a pork producer from Dysart, Iowa, testified at the Wednesday agriculture subcommittee hearing, saying he expects the WTO will once again rule against the United States. “We cannot afford to have [pork] exports disrupted nor can workers in allied sectors,” said Weber.… Continue reading

Read More »

ASI leaders meet with lawmakers

Members of the American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) held their fly-in to the nation’s capital last week. Nearly 60 sheep industry leaders advocated issues of importance to the sheep business by carrying their message to members of Congress.

“The industry faces several serious legislative and regulatory challenges this year and volunteer leaders along with state wool grower associations worked the issues hard this week,” said Burton Pfliger (N.D.), ASI president. “More than 100 offices representing 18 states met with sheep producers as our members blanketed the Hill sharing cohesive messages on the top issues we face.”

Resolving the controversial plans of the U.S. Forest Service to manage wild sheep at the expense of dozens of family-owned sheep ranches was a top priority. Requiring science-based collaboration with the Agriculture Research Service and the provision for alternative grazing to replace any grazing allotments threatened by wild-sheep management is the sheep industry request of Congress.… Continue reading

Read More »

Bull purchasing tips

Beef cattle producers who want to boost their profit potential need to consider several factors when purchasing a herd sire, says a beef cattle expert in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University.

While beef cattle producers have a wide range of criteria when purchasing a herd sire based on their production goals and the size of their herd, price and calving ease usually become high priorities, said John Grimes, beef coordinator for Ohio State University Extension and a member of the OSU Extension Beef Team.

Given the value of feeder cattle and the level of expenses associated with beef production today, producers have to make sure that any potential herd sire they consider buying is able to get the cow pregnant and produce live calves, Grimes said.

“It’s like buying a car or life insurance, it’s never as easy as it sounds,” he said.… Continue reading

Read More »

Rickenbacker International Airport offers new option for shipping animals internationally

Since 2002, Christine Bomlitz from Licking County has been in the business of caring for horses that are being imported and exported from Blue Diamond Stables. The business involves a daunting labyrinth of logistics, regulations and protocols that few people care to tackle. Among the many challenges of the business (see story for more on page 29), was the fact that there were only a few airports capable of and legally allowed to handle horses. The nearest was Chicago, which necessitated a whole separate set of head spinning hoops to jump through in the import/export process. One can imagine Bomlitz’s great delight when she first realized the possibility of hauling horses for export to Rickenbacker International Airport, just a short drive away. This offers a huge logistical advantage.

“We are only 35 minutes from this airport,” she said. “The stress on the horses and the ease is going to be a monumental improvement.”… Continue reading

Read More »

Import export business is no horseplay

Horses hold a global appeal. Kevin and Christine Bomlitz know firsthand that U.S. horses are loved around the world and the United States loves the world’s horses.

The Johnstown couple owns and operates Blue Diamond Stables, a USDA approved Import and Export quarantine facility for horses entering or leaving the country. They have been importing and exporting horses exclusively since 2002.

“We work with mares and stallions of all breeds and disciplines as well as with all national and international shipping agencies,” Christine said. “We quarantine horses purchased for showing, breeding, or pets. We don’t own the horses, we just take care of them. We offer 12-by-12 rubber matted stalls with large windows, heated barns, daily turnout in the indoor lunging arena, and lunging to help keep horses fit during their stay while abiding by all USDA regulations and biosecurity guidelines.”

The procedures are different based on a number of different factors.… Continue reading

Read More »

Getting the most of spring forage

With planting season approaching, farmers planning to grow forage should keep in mind six major considerations that could determine the success of their crop, a Purdue Extension specialist says.

“Establishing forage requires planning and great attention to detail,” said Keith Johnson. “If all elements are considered, your efforts can result in a great forage stand that will provide healthy, sustainable and cost-effective feed for livestock in all seasons.”

To be considered when planting forage:

* Choice of seeding site. Johnson said forage sites should be considered according to the purpose of the forage being planted.

For forage that will be harvested by equipment (hay and silage) farmers should note the proximity of the field to the site where the crop will be stored. If it costs too much or takes too long to transport the crop to the storage site, the location should be reconsidered.

For pastures supporting livestock, farmers need to be sure that the site has access to a reliable water source.… Continue reading

Read More »

Dairy workshop to focus on genomics

Dairy producers wanting to increase the profit potential of future herds could consider genomic testing to help identify genetically superior heifers that will offer the best return on investment, said an Ohio State University Extension veterinarian.

Genomic testing can allow dairy producers to identify specific DNA markers for selection of reproduction, production and health traits in dairy cattle, said Gustavo M. Schuenemann, associate professor, Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, Ohio State, and OSU Extension veterinarian.

“Using such DNA markers allows for selection of superior bulls and replacement heifers before the traditional proof with progeny testing becomes available, accelerating the genetic gain and shortening the generation interval,” he said. “This can help producers focus their management and resources on those superior replacement heifers.

“Development and implementation of genetic selection of dairy cattle has been the major method to improve productivity per animal. However, selection has been focused on production traits and only more recently on reproduction and health traits.”… Continue reading

Read More »