Manure Science Review focused on water

Manure Science Review this year will have a clear focus on water.

The annual learning event will present more than a dozen sessions on getting the most from the nutrients in manure while limiting the chance of them reaching lakes and streams. It’s for farmers and others in the agricultural industry.

“Manure is an excellent soil amendment and provides nutrients for crop growth,” said Glen Arnold, an organizer of the event and manure nutrient management systems field specialist for Ohio State University Extension.

“Every positive step we take in properly applying manure is a positive step in the direction of better water quality,” he said.

Curbing farm nutrient runoff is in the spotlight due to the harmful algal blooms plaguing Lake Erie, Grand Lake St. Marys and other water bodies.

The issue made headlines last summer when toxins from a western Lake Erie algal bloom caused a two-day water use ban in Toledo.… Continue reading

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Ohio Cattlemen’s Roundup in Mercer County next month

The Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) invites all who have an interest in Ohio’s cattle industry to Mercer County, Ohio for this year’s Roundup, August 28 and 29, 2015, featuring farm tours, sessions with industry leaders, great food, and time with fellow cattlemen.

Roundup begins Friday evening, August 28, at Romer’s Catering & Entertainment Facility in Celina, Ohio. Dinner featuring a Mercer County wedding supper will be served at 7 p.m. Following dinner, Representative Jim Buchy, Ohio House of Representatives, 84th District, will provide an overview of the water quality issues facing Ohio and the proactive steps agriculture has taken to address these issues. Attendees will also hear from NCBA’s Colin Woodall, Vice President of Government Affairs. Colin will provide a legislative update on Waters of the United States, trade, Country-of-Origin Labeling and other important issues. Roundup speakers are sponsored by Farm Credit Mid-America.

An auction to benefit the NCBA and OCA Political Action Committees will take place on Friday night and will feature Ohio State football tickets.… Continue reading

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Weather winning in annual struggle with hay growers

Hay growers always battle against the weather and through early July in 2015, the weather was clearly winning the battle. By July 5, only 67% of the first cutting alfalfa hay in Ohio was done and only 47% of the first cutting of other hay had been made, according the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Second cutting was also lagging far behind.

Making hay has been tough going this year in northeast Ohio.

“I have been hearing a lot of grumbling about this rainy weather pattern and comments about how difficult or impossible it is to get any hay put up,” said Rory Lewandowski
 Wayne County Extension educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources. “There has not been much dry hay that has been baled. If it was dry baled, it most likely had some rain on it. There was a brief window late last week through Monday of this week that allowed some hay to get baled without rain, but the quality was low because it was so mature. … Continue reading

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U.S. beef, pork exports sluggish in May

After an encouraging performance in April, exports of U.S. beef and pork lost momentum in May, falling below year-ago levels in both volume and value according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).

Beef exports moved counter-seasonally lower in May, dropping 14% from a year ago to 88,466 metric tons (mt). Export value dipped lower year-over-year for the first time since January, reaching only $556.7 million (down 6%). For January through May, exports totaled 430,393 mt, down 10% from the same period in 2014. Export value remained ahead of last year’s pace at $2.68 billion (up 2%).

January-May beef exports equated to 13% of total beef production and 10% for muscle cuts only — down from 14% and 10.6%, respectively, last year. Export value per head of fed slaughter averaged $291.70, up 9% from a year ago.

Pork exports totaled 184,865 mt in May, down 2% from a year ago, while value slipped 18% to $489.2 million.… Continue reading

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Texas Longhorns coming to Ohio

On July 18 some of the best Texas Longhorns in the nation will be coming to the Wayne County Fairgrounds in Wooster.

Prizes will be awarded that day. Grand and Res Grand will receive Sterling Silver hunting knives, with engraving on the blade, ribbons for Grand and Res and medallions.

Youth will be receiving Chairs for Grand and Res Grand, and special showmanship awards for first place. Friday night at the exhibitor party, we will have special gifts for the youth. Please bring silent action items to put on the auction tables. Over night camping is available.

For more information contact  Tim Mills at 419-606-6184 from Perrysville, Ohio or
Andrew Morris at 740-502-1558 from Malhonding, Ohio.… Continue reading

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Sheep Day July 11

Improving the productivity and profitability of sheep and other small-ruminant livestock farms will be the focus of Ohio Sheep Day July 11.

The daylong program is designed to offer producers expert tips and techniques on pasture renovation practices and other management processes that can help improve their financial bottom lines, said Roger A. High, executive director of the Ohio Sheep Improvement Association and Ohio State University Extension state sheep program specialist.

The event is sponsored by OSU Extension, OSIA, the Ohio Sheep and Wool Program, the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, the Greene County Farm Bureau, the American Sheep Industry, and the Department of Animal Sciences and the Sheep Team at The Ohio State University.

The program will be led by experts from industry and from Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

The event is from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Schoolhouse Shropshires farm, 961 Hoop Road in Xenia.… Continue reading

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Livestock need good quality drinking water

As temperatures increase, so does the water requirement of our livestock. Most livestock owners know the nutrient content of the grains and forages they are feeding their livestock and can tell you if the feedstuff is low, medium or high quality. Do you know how your livestock water quality measures up? Water is the most essential of all nutrients required for our livestock but often other than making sure that water is available in sufficient quantity, little thought is given to the quality of that water. A lactating dairy cow has the highest daily water requirement of any of our farm livestock, consuming on average 25 gallons of water per day. Given that milk is 87% water, it is understandable that the daily water intake is so high. A lactating beef cow will drink on average 14 to 15 gallons per day; lactating sheep between three to four gallons per day, goats between two to three gallons per day and a lactating sow around five gallons per day.… Continue reading

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Ag gets waiver from “hours of service” rule

America’s hog, cattle and poultry farmers have been granted a two-year waiver from the U.S. Department of Transportation hours-of-service rule for certain drivers.

The rule, issued in mid-2013 by DOT’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), requires truck drivers to take a 30-minute rest break for every eight hours of service. It would have prohibited drivers hauling livestock and poultry from caring for animals during the rest period.

The National Pork Producers Council, on behalf of other livestock, poultry and food organizations, in 2013 petitioned the FMCSA for a waiver and exemption from complying with the regulation. The groups this spring asked the FMCSA to renew the waiver and to extend it for the two-year maximum allowable under federal law.

In petitioning the agency, the livestock organizations noted that the rule would cause livestock producers and their drivers irreparable harm, place the health and welfare of the livestock in their care at risk and provide no apparent increased benefit to public safety — and likely decrease public safety — while forcing the livestock industry and its drivers to choose between the humane handling of animals or complying with the rule.… Continue reading

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Milk production of Ohio dairy herds

It is always important to monitor the yield of milk and the composition of milk, especially for the individual farmer, because the income of the dairy farm depends on this source of revenue. The yields of protein and fat are the primary determinants of the price received by farmers. The proportions of fat and protein are useful in monitoring cow health and feeding practices within a farm. The income over feed costs (IOFC) and feed costs per hundred of milk are important monitors of costs of milk production.
The average production of milk, fat, and protein by breed for Ohio dairy herds in 2014 using the Dairy Herd Improvement (DHI; program are provided in Table 1. Not all herds on DHI are included in the table below because of the different testing options offered by DHI, some herds opt for no release of records, lack of sufficient number of test dates, and given that some of the herds consist of other breeds than the ones shown.… Continue reading

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Smith retires as Extension director

Keith Smith’s last official day as director of Ohio State University Extension is June 30. He is retiring after 35 years at The Ohio State University, 23 of them as head of Extension. Leading up to his last few weeks in office, he showed no signs of slowing down.

“I promised to stay engaged until June 30, and I am,” Smith said, after working until 9 p.m. the day before. “I’m trying not to leave too many untied ends.”

“Keith has led the organization through significant growth and has been a steady guide all the way through his final days as director, as the organization continues to adjust to rapid, societal changes,” said Bruce McPheron, Ohio State’s vice president for agricultural administration and dean of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

“Ohioans, and indeed individuals across the country, will benefit from Keith’s leadership for years to come,” McPheron said.… Continue reading

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Unfortunate reason boosts Ohio in egg production rankings

With avian influenza taking a terrible toll on egg laying operations to the west, Ohio has moved to the top of the list of egg production by state.

“We were No. 2. and Ohio is now the No. 1 egg producing state in the country. Darke County just went to the No. 1 egg producing county in the country,” said Sam Custer, Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension educator in Darke County.

The loss of upwards of 44 million birds in nearly 200 different locations, many in Iowa and Minnesota, devastated the U.S. egg industry and is still sending economic shockwaves throughout agriculture. Though summer heat has slowed down the highly contagious pathogen, Ohio poultry producers remain on high alert.

“I think we have probably survived this spring. The warm temperatures have really slowed the virus from spreading. Waterfowl do carry the virus and there will be more concern when the birds start migrating in the fall.… Continue reading

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COOL hearing held in Senate Ag Committee

The Senate Agriculture Committee last week held a hearing on the U.S. Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) law and efforts to avoid trade retaliation from Canada and Mexico, which object to the meat labeling provisions of the statute.

COOL requires meat to be labeled with the country where the animal from which it was derived was born, raised and harvested. Canada and Mexico asked the World Trade Organization (WTO) to authorize about $3.2 billion a year in retaliatory tariffs against U.S. goods exported to their countries, following the international trade body’s recent ruling that COOL discriminates against their livestock.

The United States asked the WTO for arbitration on each country’s retaliation amount — $2.5 billion from Canada and $713 million from Mexico. The WTO is expected to authorize retaliation as soon as late August. The Agriculture Committee heard from six agricultural industry representatives, who said the United States must avoid retaliation from Canada and Mexico.… Continue reading

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A 4-R program for summer grazing

With the arrival of summer we can generally expect warm to hot temperatures and less frequent rainfall. The vast majority of pastures managed for grazing in our area are composed of cool season grass species that grow best when temperatures are cool to warm and moisture is plentiful. Thus, we have the summer slump in pasture productivity.

Although summer weather conditions are not conducive to high yields with cool season grasses, there are some grazing management practices that can help to increase summertime productivity. These practices can be summarized as the four “Rs.”

The first “R” is remove seed heads. Clipping off seed heads in late June will return grass plants to vegetative growth and improve the quality of the forage that is grazed.

The second “R” is right starting height. Do not let livestock into a pasture paddock where grass height is too short because this is almost certain to lead to overgrazing.… Continue reading

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Poultry changes at the Ohio State Fair

The Ohio Department of Agriculture announced in June that, due to the spread of avian influenza across the United States, all live bird exhibitions for 2015 in Ohio would be cancelled. This includes all shows and sales at county fairs in the state and also the Ohio State Fair.

“It’s going to be a big change for us. In discussing this year, we’re not aware of a similar situation happening in history where all the poultry shows have been cancelled here at the Fair so it’s a little bit unprecedented for us. But, that being said, we do have some time to get things in order and that’s been really beneficial for us,” said Alicia Shoults, Ohio Expo Center and State Fair Director of Marketing and Public Relations. “We’ve been working really closely with Ohio 4-H along with FFA and the Ohio Poultry Association to try to come up with ways that youth, 4-H, and FFA exhibitors can still be a part of the Ohio State Fair with their poultry exhibitions even without live birds, and as well as ways to educate the public.”… Continue reading

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Pork Checkoff announces #RealPigFarming student social forces team

The Pork Checkoff has selected 12 college students from around the country to be a part of the #RealPigFarming Student Social Forces team this year. Participants were selected based on their involvement in the pork industry and their strong communication skills. The team will be active through the end of the year.

Included in the group is Karli Lane, from Castalia, Ohio, who is studying animal sciences with a specialization in biosciences at The Ohio State University.

“Social media is ingrained in young people’s daily lives,” said Claire Masker, public relations manager for the Pork Checkoff. “It’s easy for them to share their thoughts about an industry that they are proud to be a part of.”

Consumers continue to have questions about how pigs are raised, and no one knows the answers better than pork producers. The Pork Checkoff’s social media outreach program is helping real farmers share real stories with consumers through #RealPigFarming.… Continue reading

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Ohio Pork Ambassador applications now being accepted

The Ohio Pork Council is excited to announce that applications are now being accepted for the 2015-16 Ohio Pork Ambassador Team program.
The Ohio Pork Ambassador Team program (OPAT) serves as an opportunity for qualified youth to act as a voice for the Ohio Pork Industry.  It is the goal of the program to educate ambassadors about the pork industry so that they may better share their own agricultural-based story, including their background and experiences.  Team members will be involved in communicating with consumers on topics such as food safety, nutrition, and animal care practices of the pork industry.  Promotion of Ohio’s pork industry shall be carried out through the development of skills in self-confidence, communication, leadership, and teamwork.
The deadline for submitting an OPAT application is July 6, 2015.
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Ohio Cattlemen’s Association’s Young Cattlemen’s Conference and Tour

Every summer, young cattlemen meet in Central Ohio for an unforgettable three-day event. The Ohio Cattlemen’s Association’s (OCA) Young Cattlemen’s Conference and Tour (YCC) features many exciting and educational opportunities for beef industry leaders and cattle producers alike. The event offers industry insight and enhanced networking for attendees to take home and use their own operations to keep them progressive and profitable.

YCC will be held Aug. 13 to 15, 2015, in Columbus and the central Ohio areas. The Ohio Cattlemen’s Foundation and OCA coordinate the Ohio YCC Tour.

Participants will be challenged to think outside the box, as they practice their public relations skills and learn the best ways to present their operations and the beef industry as a whole to consumers. They will have the chance to visit the Ohio Statehouse and discuss current issues with elected officials, as well as, learn more about the product they produce by participating in a mini Beef 509 at the Ohio State University Animal Sciences Department.… Continue reading

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Ohio Pork Council announces recipients of 2015 scholarships

OPC awarded 15 scholarships for a total of $8,500.

Four $750 and eleven $500 scholarships were awarded. Recipients include: Daniella Straathof, Washington Court House, $750; Meghan Bruns, Fort Loramie, $750; Megan Harris, Yellow Springs, $750; Matt Shoup, Smithville, $750; Garrit Sproull, Uhrichsville, $500; Brooke Anderson, Xenia, $500; Kayle Ort, Bucyrus, $500; Macie Wippel, Orient, $500; Mallorie Wippel, Orient, $500; Katie Siegel, Marion, $500;David Seidel, Greenwich, $500; Nicole Straathof, Washington Court House, $500; Grant Price, Tiffin, $500; Ray Stahl, New Washington, $500; and Crystal Pennewitt, Wilmington, $500.

The Ohio Pork Council Women also awarded a $500 scholarship this year. The recipient is Kayle Ort, Bucyrus, $500. The Dick Isler Scholarship Fund awarded a $1,000 scholarship this year. The recipient is Larissa Stover, Prospect, $1,000.

 … Continue reading

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Poultry show ban can be handled in a variety of ways at fairs

In early June, the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) had to make the really difficult decision to cancel all live bird shows in the state in order to protect Ohio’s $2.3 billion poultry industry from the recent avian influenza epidemic. No Ohio cases have been discovered so far.

In Paulding County, the home of the first Ohio county fair for the year, Fair Board members made a decision about the poultry show before the State did.

“We needed to set a plan in place if there was going to be a ban on poultry shows in Ohio. We have Cooper Farms in our area and they create a large percentage of jobs for our county. We decided we didn’t want a large number of birds together in one building to give the disease more of a chance to spread. We made the decision as a board to cancel two weeks before the fair instead of waiting for the State to make their decision.… Continue reading

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Deadlines fast-approaching, other updates on Ohio State Fair

The 2015 Ohio State Fair is fast approaching and for those exhibitors wanting to compete, time is running out to sign up for competition.

“We’re getting really close to the deadline to enter a lot of our competitions, specifically our livestock competitions. The deadline to enter those is June 20. What’s nice is over the past couple of years, we’ve done a lot of efforts to try to encourage people to enter online,” said Alicia Shoults, Ohio Expo Center and State Fair Director of Marketing and Public Relations. “So for a number of the species, you can actually go to our website and enter right there online, and for some of the species not quite capable of that yet, you can go ahead and print off a printer friendly entry form and mail it back to us.

Though many entries are due on the 20th, some are due at the beginning of July.… Continue reading

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