Livestock



Maximize pastures with careful management

By Matt Reese

Allan Robison rotationally grazes 100 Simmental-Angus cows in 10-acre paddocks over around 70 acres in the summer on his Champaign County farm. Careful pasture management will be vital this growing season to maintain profitability and rebound from the grazing challenges of the recent past. Part of this challenge will be managing weeds.

“We had moisture last fall but the only thing that grew were weeds that put out roots and seeds,” Robison said. “We’ll have to see how the weed pressure develops this year.”

Moving forward, he will be paying careful attention to the details of rotational grazing that can make the difference between success and failure.

“We move the cows once a week, but we let the grass tell us when to move them,” he said. “We are really careful and plan our grazing ahead of time, but we need to be flexible to change within that plan.… Continue reading

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Meat export trends continue from late 2012

February continued the trend set at the end of 2012 for U.S. beef and pork exports with higher values on lower volumes for beef and a continued slight decline for pork, according to statistics released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).

Beef exports managed a 5% increase in value ($430 million) over February 2012 despite a slight decline in volume (86,367 mt). February pork exports slipped 5% in volume (178,510 mt) and 6% in value ($494.6 million) compared to a year ago.

“The good news is that the long-awaited change in beef access to Japan came through in February,” said Philip Seng, USMEF President and CEO. “Conversely, trade barriers and other obstacles seem to be emerging at a rather alarming rate in 2013. Sluggish economic conditions in certain markets also create a challenge, but this is why we have made such a strong effort to diversify our destinations for red meat exports over the years.… Continue reading

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Antibiotic data distorted to place blame on farmers

Just days after the release of a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report showing that medical doctors annually are prescribing enough antibiotics to give them to 80% of Americans, a group is issuing its own report, claiming that antibiotics use in food animals is the main cause for people developing antibiotic-resistant diseases.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is using selective and incomplete 2011 government data on retail meat samples to blame America’s livestock and poultry farmers for the growing problem of antibiotic-resistant illnesses in people.

In fact, 2000 to 2010 data from the federal National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System show a very low incidence of pathogenic bacteria on meat and stable to declining rates of those bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics.

The EWG report was set to be released ahead of congressional action on reauthorizing the Animal Drug User Fee Act (ADUFA). Many groups who support legislation to ban the use in food animals of antibiotics that prevent or control diseases and of ones that improve nutritional efficiency are weighing in on ADUFA, urging Congress to limit the animal health products available to livestock producers.… Continue reading

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Slow start to spring adds to grazing woes

By Matt Reese

The last year has not exactly been ideal for grazing livestock. The devastating drought was followed by a semi-soggy up and down temperature winter offering ample mud. Then, to worsen matters, the spring has been very slow to warm up and, by mid-April, Allan Robison in Champaign County is still feeding hay to his beef cows — an expensive but important way to buy time for the struggling grass in his pastures.

“We’ve had adequate moisture up until this point but we haven’t had good moisture and heat together at the same time. Grass is growing but we are maybe two or three weeks behind where we normally would be,” he said. “As warm and breezy as it has gotten, things dried up in a hurry. It will be scary if the water shuts off. I still don’t think we’re very far ahead on moisture. I am basically sacrificing one pasture so my others can

recover from the dry weather last year.… Continue reading

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Watch for poison hemlock in pastures

While poison hemlock isn’t likely to be as prominent a problem this year as it was in last year’s drought-stressed pastures, Purdue Extension specialists still encourage livestock producers to be on the lookout for the toxic plant.

Poison hemlock is often found along roadsides, edges of cultivated fields, stream banks and pasture fencerows. Its most defining characteristics are purple spots or blotches on the plant’s hairless, ridged stems. If eaten, all parts of the plant can be fatally toxic to cattle, horses, swine, sheep and goats.

“If there is adequate pasture growth, poison hemlock isn’t as big a deal because animals typically won’t eat it unless it’s all they have, but livestock producers still need to be on the lookout for it and think about how to control it,” said Ron Lemenager, Purdue Extension beef specialist. “They also need to be especially cautious when making hay.”

Control methods are most effective when applied at an early plant growth stage, said Travis Legleiter, Purdue Extension weed scientist.… Continue reading

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University of Findlay offers Animal Science options

By Jessica Shanahan, OCJ field reporter

With the current scope of the bustling facility at the University of Findlay’s Animal Sciences Center, it’s hard to believe that the idea all began as a sketch on a napkin.

“The first plan was drawn up on a napkin and it quickly grew from there,” said Farabee (F.D.) McCarthy, the director of the Animal Sciences Center and associate professor of equestrian studies at the University of Findlay. “It started as an idea for just a barn but the administration saw the need for much more.”

When planning out the future of the Animal Science program at Findlay, McCarthy knew the program needed a dynamic facility and began to think through how they could provide that for their students. The University of Findlay soon contacted a local architect to design the building and Clouse Construction Corporation in Tiffin broke ground in September four years ago.… Continue reading

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Injury prevention: Working with livestock safety

By Kent McGuire, Ohio AgrAbility Program Coordinator

Many farmers never stop to think of their personal safety when working with livestock. Farmers may work carefully around livestock most of the time, however because an animal’s behavior can be unpredictable at times, individuals can be injured because of preoccupation, haste, impatience, or even anger. Injuries that are common when working with livestock include bites, kicks, being stepped on, pinned against a solid surface, or overcome by a single animal or the whole herd. Some general guidelines when working with livestock include:

• Understand and study the typical behaviors of the livestock you are working with.

• Herd livestock such as cattle or sheep can become agitated or stressed when one animal is isolated from the herd.

• Maternal female livestock can become aggressive in an effort to protect their young.

• Mature male livestock can become aggressive in an attempt to show dominance.… Continue reading

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Grass tetany prevention

By Rory Lewandowski, Extension Educator, Wayne County

Pasture growth will soon begin, and for livestock owners who are short on stored forage as a result of last year’s drought, the temptation will be to begin the grazing season as early as possible. One of the risks associated with early spring pastures is the development of grass tetany.

Grass tetany is sometimes called grass staggers. Grass tetany is a metabolic condition of cattle and sheep associated with a magnesium deficiency. Symptoms of grass tetany include animal nervousness, twitching skin, and a staggered gait. Symptoms are not always observed and the first sign of any problem may be a dead animal. Generally early lactation animals are most susceptible to grass tetany, especially if they are an older animal. Young animals and later lactation animals rarely have problems with grass tetany.

Grass tetany can be triggered by the consumption of young, succulent cool season grasses including perennials such as orchardgrass, fescue, ryegrass, and bluegrass.… Continue reading

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Teaching veterinary medicine outside the classroom

By Don “Doc” Sanders

Many of you may know that I am a field service veterinarian who trains fourth-year veterinary students at Ohio State’s field services satellite clinic in Marysville. I am one of five veterinarians on staff. We work with a graduate veterinary intern, who is in advanced training, and eight to 10 fourth-year Ohio State veterinary students. All Ohio State vet students are required to spend at least two weeks training with us as we visit farms where we diagnose, treat, and prevent disease in farm animals. While training with us, most of the students live in an apartment OSU provides in our clinic. At night, the students answer phones, perform custodial duties, do laundry and prepare packs for the next day’s surgical cases. Sleep for the students is at a premium.

I am proud to say that the students get meaningful hands-on veterinary experience every day. And I mean every day.… Continue reading

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Teaching veterinary medicine outside the classroom

By Don “Doc” Sanders

Many of you may know that I am a field service veterinarian who trains fourth-year veterinary students at Ohio State’s field services satellite clinic in Marysville. I am one of five veterinarians on staff. We work with a graduate veterinary intern, who is in advanced training, and eight to 10 fourth-year Ohio State veterinary students. All Ohio State vet students are required to spend at least two weeks training with us as we visit farms where we diagnose, treat, and prevent disease in farm animals. While training with us, most of the students live in an apartment OSU provides in our clinic. At night, the students answer phones, perform custodial duties, do laundry and prepare packs for the next day’s surgical cases. Sleep for the students is at a premium.

I am proud to say that the students get meaningful hands-on veterinary experience every day. And I mean every day.… Continue reading

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Hotdogs and baseball a winning team

By David White, Ohio Livestock Coalition

I think April 1, 2013, should be a national holiday. After all, it is opening day for what is supposedly our national pastime. It’s probably also the unofficial first day of the hot dog eating season.

There are many good things that go together, and as far as I’m concerned, a hot dog and a baseball game are one of them. And it looks like I’m not the only one who thinks so as the National Hot Dog & Sausage Council (yes, there is a trade organization for everything!) reports that ballparks serve more than 21 million annually.

Additionally, a national poll conducted a few years ago revealed that hot dogs continue to dominate fans’ favorite stadium fare. Hot dogs were listed by 63% of fans as the one ballpark food they could not live without. Peanuts ranked second with 18%, followed by pizza, cotton candy and, finally, cracker jacks. … Continue reading

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Ohio Spring Dairy Expo Results

Ayrshire
Jr. Show Junior Champion: Geminaecho Showstar Sherry, summer yearling, exhibited by Ashley Hawvermale, Wooster
Jr. Show Senior Champion & Grand Champion: Geminaecho Remington Shellie, junior three year old, exhibited by Ashley Hawvermale, Wooster

Open Show Junior Champion: Tri-Line Lobo, winter calf, exhibited by Walton & Thornburg, Pleasant Plain
Open Show Senior & Grand Champion: Geminaecho Remington Shellie, junior three year old, exhibited by Ashley Hawvermale, Wooster

Brown Swiss
Jr. Show Junior Champion: Topp View Totally All In, winter calf, exhibited by Keaton, Kinley & Madelyn Topp, Botkins
Jr. Show Senior & Grand Champion: Rolling Knolls Agen Jerne, four year old, exhibited by Braxton Perry, N. Lewisburg

Open Show Junior Champion: Top Acres Wonder Girl ET, fall calf, exhibited by Wayne Sliker, St. Paris
Open Show Senior & Grand Champion: Rolling Knolls Agen Jerne, four year old, exhibited by Braxton Perry, N. Lewisburg

Guernsey
Jr. Show Junior Champion: Hearts Desire Jackpot Sweet, fall yearling, exhibited by Marshall Overholt, Big Prairie
Jr.… Continue reading

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March Hogs & Pigs Report

OHIO HOG INVENTORY

Ohio hog producers had 2.13 million hogs on hand March 1, 2013, up 4 percent from last quarter, but unchanged from last year. The number of market hogs, at 1,965,000 head, was also up 4 percent from last quarter, unchanged from last year. Breeding stock, at 165,000 head was unchanged from last quarter and last year.

The pig crop during the December-February 2013 quarter numbered 889,000 head, down 2 percent from last quarter but 4 percent above last year. The number of sows farrowed during the December-February 2012 quarter, at 88,000, down 3 percent from last quarter and unchanged from last year. Pigs saved per litter averaged 10.1, up 1 percent from last quarter and up 4 percent from last year.

Ohio producers intend to farrow 87,000 sows during the March-May 2013 quarter, 6,000 head below a year earlier. Farrowing intentions for the summer quarter, June-August 2013, is 86,000 sows, 4,000 head below the same quarter of 2012.

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Ohio hog farmers provided over 187,000 meals to hungry Ohioans

Ohio hog farmers have been actively involved in the fight against hunger for years, donating nearly 935,000 meals of nutritious pork to Ohio foodbanks since 2009. This Easter, the Ohio Pork Producers Council (OPPC) again rose to the occasion, donating 37,554 pounds of protein-rich ground pork to several Ohio foodbanks in a generous effort to make sure that no Ohio family goes without a nutritious, hearty meal this holiday season.

“This timely and generous donation means so much to the hungry people our foodbanks serve,” said Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, executive director of the Ohio Association of Foodbanks. “Providing Ohio-raised, Ohio-produced pork to people in need is a true testament to the generosity of our state’s agriculture industry. Our emergency food assistance network is thrilled to be able to provide this pork to the people it serves to make their Easter holiday a bountiful one.”

OPPC is proud to continue its commitment to fighting hunger in Ohio and encourages other agricultural leaders and everyday Ohioans to join them.… Continue reading

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Extension offering beef cattle artificial insemination school April 30-May 2

Beef cattle producers who want boost their profit potential by increasing success with artificial insemination can attend a school on the subject April 30 through May 2, taught by Ohio State University Extension and Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center experts.

The three-day program covers a broad range of artificial insemination topics, including factors that influence reproduction efficiencies, heat synchronization, semen handling and thawing.

The techniques taught at the school are important for beef cattle producers because they can influence the success artificial insemination, said Clif Little, OSU Extension educator in agriculture and natural resources.

“One reason we do this school is because it allows small cow-calf producers to bring in superior genetics to improve performance,” he said. “Using this technology for artificial insemination will allow producers to need fewer bulls or no bulls at all on their farms.”

The artificial insemination school is sponsored by OSU Extension and OARDC and is held at the Eastern Agricultural Research Station in Belle Valley, just off of Interstate 77 in Noble County.… Continue reading

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Water quality rules proposed for Ohio

By Matt Reese

Experts have been talking for years now about impending and increasing regulation on agricultural nutrients in an effort to address the notorious toxic algal blooms plaguing the state’s water. As of March 7, those regulations have been proposed for Ohio.

“There are essentially two components to this. One component deals with the Ohio Department of Agriculture and a fertilizer applicator certification program,” said Larry Antosch, Ohio Farm Bureau Federation senior director of environmental policy development. “If you are applying nutrients to more than 10 acres, you need to be certified by the ODA. This would be a companion to the restricted use pesticide applicator program. There are not a lot of details in the proposed legislation. Those details will come out in the rule making process and you never know what will happen there. We have questions about clarification regarding whether that applies to manure also or just commercial fertilizer.… Continue reading

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Fruit and vegetable producers considering new voluntary approach to food safety certification

Fruit and vegetable producers of all sizes now have the option of participating in a voluntary food safety certification program in Ohio. The Ohio Produce Marketing Agreement (OPMA) offers producers food safety standards and an opportunity to attain food safety certification through third party inspections. Born from growing concerns about fruit and vegetable contamination outbreaks, the OPMA takes an aggressive yet voluntary approach to addressing food safety risk.

The OPMA is the first “agricultural marketing agreement” developed under a new law in Ohio. The agricultural marketing agreement law allows agricultural commodities to create voluntary marketing programs to expand or improve the market for their commodity. Marketing programs may promote the sale and use of products, develop new uses and markets for products; improve methods of distributing products to consumers or standardize the quality of products for specific uses. To create a voluntary marketing program, the commodity group must obtain the approval of both the Ohio Department of Agriculture and producers within the commodity group.… Continue reading

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Record year for meat exports boosts feed demand

These little piggies went to market — international markets, that is, and in record numbers. Despite challenging issues, such as the struggling global economy and trade barriers, U.S. poultry and livestock farmers enjoyed a record year for meat exports, which helps keep domestic demand for U.S. soy strong.

U.S. poultry, egg and pork shipments exceeded previous highs for value and volume set in 2011. International beef sales dipped slightly in volume but broke the previous value record.

Growing U.S. meat and poultry exports reinforce demand for U.S. soy since soy meal constitutes a significant portion of animal feeds. Domestic animal agriculture uses about 98% of the domestic supply of U.S. soy meal, making it the U.S. soy industry’s No. 1 customer.

“Exporting meat and poultry is a big issue for U.S. soybean farmers,” said John Butler, a farmer-leader from Dyersburg, Tenn. “If we can feed animals soybeans here and sell them abroad, we’re creating a value-added product.… Continue reading

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2013 Ohio Beef Expo a success

By Matt Reese

As a reflection of the robust beef industry, the crowd was large and the sales were strong at the 2013 Ohio Beef Expo.

“It was the biggest Beef Expo combined that we have seen since the start. Our numbers were up in the sale barn with some new breeds exhibiting and having shows. In addition, the junior cattle numbers were up from previous years,” said Sam Sutherly, Ohio Cattlemen’s Association president and Expo co-chair. “I attribute that to having great support from our sponsors and having the ability to offer educational events for the youth of our industry. The trade show seems to continue to expand beyond the space we have available, but with creative minds of our volunteers we manage to expand utilizing outdoor areas. This event takes many volunteers and it would not be possible without the support of venders and sponsors. It’s a great feeling to see growth and support of the cattle industry in Ohio.”… Continue reading

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