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Care Board veal standards put on hold, for now

By Kyle Sharp

Standards of care for veal production approved by the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board (OLCSB) in April have been put on hold, at least temporarily, after intense questioning by members of Ohio’s Congressional Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR) during a hearing on Monday, July 11. At the meeting, OLCSB and Ohio Department of Agriculture officials decided to pull the veal rules and re-file them at a later JCARR hearing after gathering and providing more supporting material.

“We have the chance to collect more information for the committee members, and our intent is to do that in the next couple of weeks and re-file at the Aug. 1 JCARR hearing,” said ODA spokesman Andy Ware. “The rules will be re-filed as submitted, and we are confident the committee will approve what we have submitted.”


Bob Cochrell, a Wayne County veal farmer and member of the OLCSB veal subcommittee, presented comments and information against the proposed standards at the hearing and does not believe JCARR will be so easily swayed.… Continue reading

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Hog prices on the rise

Pork prices are on the rise as international exports increase and high feed costs are passed on to consumers, said a Purdue Extension agricultural economist.

Retail prices this year are averaging a record $3.35 per pound, up 14% from $2.93 per pound in early 2010.

Increases in exports to South Korea, Japan, Russia and China have led to stronger demand for U.S. pork, said Christ Hurt.  Meat designated for export comprised 22% of all U.S. pork in production this spring, and he said that is leaving less for U.S. consumers.

“While it now appears pork production will rise about 1% this year, the large sales to foreign customers mean tight supplies here at home,” Hurt said.

In recent weeks, corn prices have fallen after reaching a record high of more than $8 per bushel in some locations. Margins between hog revenues and feed costs are now positive, which is welcome news for the pork industry.… Continue reading

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Summer pasture management sets stage for extended grazing

By Rory Lewandowski, Extension Educator, Athens County and Buckeye Hills EERA

Summer pasture management generally requires a different mindset compared to the spring season. As both air and soil temperature increase our cool season grasses will grow slower and recover from a grazing pass slower. Just how much slower that growth and recovery is depends upon rainfall and grazing management. Up to this point at the end of June our rainfall has been good and we have even had some stretches of cooler temperatures so our pasture growth has remained good. If we get our typical July and August weather this could change quickly. I think that summer management should focus on meeting two goals: do not over graze pasture paddocks and provide some paddocks to stockpile forage for winter grazing.

The first management goal is to insure that pastures are not over-grazed. During the spring flush, pastures are growing so rapidly that the management strategy generally is to just top the grass off and keep moving quickly through the paddocks.… Continue reading

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Ohio Sheep Day July 16

Ohio needs more sheep. That’s the conclusion of Ohio State Extension Sheep Specialist Roger High, coordinator of the annual Ohio Sheep Day slated for July 16 at Blue Heron Farm in Columbiana County.

“This year at the American Sheep Industry Association convention in Reno, we developed and implemented an expansion plan for the sheep industry,” High said. “One of things we’re going to focus on is expanding the flock in Ohio.”

High said the strategic plan, and renewed focus on expanding the Ohio flock, is a result of a significant imbalance in supply and demand of lamb. Demand for lamb is strong, and supplies to fulfill that market are very tight.

Naturally, a growth in demand without a corresponding result in supply leads to strong prices. The problem, however, is a long-term concern over having enough lamb to fill the market.

“If we don’t get some sheep numbers back into the industry, our infrastructure will not be able to stand those lower numbers,” High said.… Continue reading

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Manure Science Review set for August 16

Ohio’s annual Manure Science Review, featuring new and better ways to manage farm manure and wastewater, takes place in the state’s west on Aug. 16.

Speakers from Ohio agencies, the farming community, and Ohio State University highlight the program. Both morning presentations and afternoon field demonstrations are part of it.

Organizers say the event has a double focus: to put waste to good use — to fertilize crops, cut disposal costs and save farmers money — and keep water supplies safe.

New technologies and alternative methods are some of the topics, with an emphasis on reducing runoff risk and nutrient loss. Of note are sessions on separating dairy solids and on using those solids as alternative bedding for cattle.

The program takes place from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Winner Family Farm, 4317 State Route 47 West, in DeGraff in Logan County.

Registration costs $30 by Aug. 8, $35 afterward and at the door, with members of the Midwest Professional Nutrient Applicators Association receiving a $5 discount.… Continue reading

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HSUS teams up with industry to push for federal legislation of egg production

The United Egg Producers has joined with The Humane Society of the United States to announce an unprecedented agreement to work together toward the enactment of comprehensive new federal legislation for all 280 million hens involved in U.S. egg production. The proposed standards advocated by UEP and HSUS, if enacted, would be the first federal law addressing the treatment of animals on farms.

The proposed legislation would:

• Require conventional cages (currently used by more than 90% of the egg industry) to be replaced, through an ample phase-in period, with new, enriched housing systems that provide each hen nearly double the amount of space they’re currently allotted. Egg producers will invest an additional $4 billion over the next 15 years to implement the change;

• Require that all egg-laying hens be provided, through the new enriched housing system, with environments that will allow hens to express natural behaviors, such as perches, nesting boxes, and scratching areas;

• Mandate labeling on all egg cartons nationwide to inform consumers of the method used to produce the eggs, such as “eggs from caged hens,” “eggs from hens in enriched cages,” “eggs from cage-free hens,” and “eggs from free-range hens”;

• Prohibit feed- or water-withholding molting to extend the laying cycle, a practice already prohibited by the United Egg Producers Certified program adhered to by a majority of egg farmers;

• Require standards approved by the American Veterinary Medical Association for euthanasia for egg laying hens;

• Prohibit excessive ammonia levels in henhouses;

• Prohibit the sale of eggs and egg products nationwide that don’t meet these requirements.… Continue reading

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Down-under digestive microbes could help lower methane gas from livestock

The discovery that a bacterial species in the Australian Tammar wallaby gut is responsible for keeping the animal’s methane emissions relatively low suggests a potential new strategy may exist to try to reduce methane emissions from livestock, according to a new study.

Globally, livestock are the largest source of methane from human-related activities, and are the third-largest source of this greenhouse gas in the United States, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Wallabies and other marsupials — mammals like the kangaroo that develop their offspring in a pouch — are dependent on microbes to support their digestive system, similar to livestock such as cows, sheep and goats, but Tammar wallabies are known to release about 80 percent less methane gas per unit of digestible energy intake than do livestock animals.

Scientists have used DNA sequence data to devise a way to isolate and grow cultures of a dominant bacterial species from the Tammar wallaby gut and test its characteristics.… Continue reading

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Ertls received Young Jersey Breeder Awards from the American Jersey Cattle Association

David and Beth Ertl, Edison, Ohio, received one of six Young Jersey Breeder Awards given by the American Jersey Cattle Association in ceremonies on June 22, 2011, during the association’s Annual Meetings in Wisconsin Dells, Wis.
The Young Jersey Breeder Award is presented to individuals or couples who are at least 28 years old and under the age of 40 on January 1 of the year nominated, who merit recognition for their expertise in dairy farming, breeding Jersey cattle, participation in programs of the American Jersey Cattle Association and National All-Jersey Inc., and leadership in Jersey and other dairy and agriculture organizations.
David and Beth met at the Ohio State Fair in 2000 and bonded through their love for the Jersey breed. A month after taking their marriage vows in 2004, David accepted a position as manager for a 200-head commercial dairy operation in northern Ohio and after a year, incorporated their Jersey herd into the farm.
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EPA grant allows OSU farm to get conservation makeover

By Kyle Sharp

Ohio State University’s Waterman Agriculture and Natural Resources Laboratory, a working farm just west of OSU campus and nestled in the heart of metro Columbus, is being transformed into a learning laboratory of best management practices for water quality protection and whole farm sustainability.

A $194,324 grant from Ohio EPA and local matching dollars totaling $132,456 is enabling the Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) to demonstrate several progressive projects at Waterman (2433 Carmack Rd.). The grant was announced in April 2010, and projects planned for the first phase of improvements are to be completed by the end of 2011. The projects will serve as application tools for current and future farmers and showcase environmental stewardship for students, faculty and urban residents.

“With this Ohio EPA grant, OSU’s Waterman Agriculture and Natural Resources Laboratory will become the site of comprehensive conservation technologies that will serve as a model for both farmers and students in reducing nonpoint source pollution,” said Reagan Bluel, Waterman farm manager.… Continue reading

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Pork outlook looks up as corn prices go down

Pork producers are maintaining the size of the breeding herd in the face of a very uncertain financial outlook. This cautious position is expected given the wide swings in both hog and feed prices evident this spring. In addition, little change should be expected in the hog herd until the feed supply situation is better known this fall, said Chris Hurt, a Purdue University agricultural economist.

“The USDA’s June Hogs and Pigs report indicated that producers maintained the size of the breeding herd over the past year,” he said. “North Carolina continued to lead the states reducing their breeding herds. The national breeding herd has declined 5% in the past three years, and North Carolina alone accounts for about half of that total.”

The smaller sow herd remains very productive, however, as the number of pigs per litter reached 10 pigs for the first time ever this spring. This resulted in the number of market hogs being up by nearly 1% over levels of a year earlier, he said.… Continue reading

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Three species added to state fair sale of champions

This year’s Sale of Champions at the Ohio State Fair will have three new additions. Ohio State Fair General Manager Virgil Strickler said a block of Swiss cheese along with the grand champion meat goats and grand champion turkey have been added to the sale.

“The block of Swiss cheese will represent the youth exhibitors that win the six junior dairy breed champions,” Strickler said.

He said they have worked on this for years. These new additions help make the Sale of Champions a true reflection of Ohio Agriculture.

“We looked at what species bring money into our state,” Strickler explained.

The block of cheese will be capped at $3,000, the goat at $5,000 and turkey at $3,000. Anything above that will go to the Youth Reserve Program.

The Sale of Champions takes place August 7th at 2:00pm. It will be streamed live here on www.ocj.com.

The Ohio State Fair gets underway July 27th and runs through August 7th.… Continue reading

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Three-Day West Ohio Grazing School in Sidney: Register by July 8

A three-day, intensive-grazing educational program designed for livestock producers in both Ohio and Indiana is scheduled for July 14, 21 and 23 at the Shelby County office of Ohio State University Extension in Sidney, Ohio.



This year’s West Ohio Grazing School will include two evening sessions (6-8 p.m. on July 14 and 21) and one morning-afternoon session (10 a.m.-2:30 p.m.) on July 23. The last session will take place at a local intensively managed pasture site.

 Early registration (which costs $50 per person and includes lunch on July 23) is due by July 8. Late registration (July 9-12) costs $60.

To register, download the form at http://darke.osu.edu/graphics/July%202011%20Grazing%20School%20Flier.pdf, fax it to 937-547-6491, or mail it to OSU Extension Darke County, 603 Wagner Ave., Greenville, OH 45331.

The July 14 program includes sessions on “What is MiG (management-intensive grazing)?”, “How Soils Affect Grazing,” and “Environmental Considerations.”

July 21 topics include “Meeting Animal Nutritional Requirements,” “Mineral Supplementation,” “Forage Species Selection,” and “Pasture Weed Control.”

Finally, the July 23 session will go over “Pasture Plant Growth,” “Economics of Grazing,” “Designing a Grazing System,” “Fencing Systems,” “Livestock Watering Systems,” and “Paddock Layout and Design.”



Instructors are Bob Hendershot, state grassland conservationist with the U.S.… Continue reading

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2011 Beef Quality Audit underway, producer input needed

Cattle producers are being asked to provide their input to the 2011 National Beef Quality Audit by taking a short survey at www.cattlesurvey.com. The survey can be completed in approximately 10 minutes.

The 2011 NBQA, led by scientists from Colorado State University and Texas A&M University, is designed to collect and analyze information from cooler audits in the packing sector, face-to-face interviews with beef supply chain partners and for the first time cattle producers including feeders, stockers, cow-calf operators, and seedstock producers will be surveyed. According to Field, producer input is being sought to strengthen the measurement of quality-based practices implemented on farms and ranches that support consumer confidence in beef products and production systems.

The checkoff-funded National Beef Quality Audit (NBQA) has provided important benchmarks for the U.S. beef industry since 1991. According to Tom Field, Executive Director of Producer Education, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, contractor to the Beef Checkoff Program, the audit has been conducted approximately every four years with the historic focus centered on quantifying the performance of beef carcasses for a number of value enhancing characteristics.… Continue reading

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Ohio hog inventory down from last year

Ohio hog producers had 2.03 million hogs on hand June 1, 2011, down 3% from a year ago but up 2% from last quarter. The number of market hogs, at 1,865,000 head, was up 2% from last quarter but down 4% from last year. Breeding stock, at 165,000 head, was down 3% from last quarter but unchanged from last year.

The pig crop during the March-May 2011 quarter numbered 851,000 head, up 1% from last year and up 2% from last quarter. The number of sows farrowed during the March-May 2011 quarter, at 90,000, was up 1% from last quarter and from last year. Pigs saved per litter averaged 9.45, down slightly from last year but up slightly from last quarter.

Ohio producers intend to farrow 87,000 sows during the June-August 2011 quarter; down 4% from a year earlier. Farrowing intentions for the fall quarter, September-November 2011, is 87,000 sows, down 3% from the same quarter of 2010.… Continue reading

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Just because we've always done it that way, doesn't make it right

By John F. Grimes, OSU Extension Beef Coordinator

One of the great strengths and at the same time, great weaknesses of the beef industry in this country is the wide diversity of genetics that we have at our disposal to utilize in a wide range of environments. We obviously have a wide range of climatic conditions where beef is produced ranging from the cold winters of upper Midwest, the arid conditions of the western states, the plentiful moisture and resulting mud in the eastern Corn Belt, to the heat of the southern states. When you compare these varying conditions to the controlled environments that species such as poultry, swine, and in many cases dairy utilize, you can understand why we see much more variability in the look of cow herds across the country. It certainly makes the job tougher for the beef industry to produce a consistent product for the consumer.… Continue reading

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Just because we’ve always done it that way, doesn’t make it right

By John F. Grimes, OSU Extension Beef Coordinator

One of the great strengths and at the same time, great weaknesses of the beef industry in this country is the wide diversity of genetics that we have at our disposal to utilize in a wide range of environments. We obviously have a wide range of climatic conditions where beef is produced ranging from the cold winters of upper Midwest, the arid conditions of the western states, the plentiful moisture and resulting mud in the eastern Corn Belt, to the heat of the southern states. When you compare these varying conditions to the controlled environments that species such as poultry, swine, and in many cases dairy utilize, you can understand why we see much more variability in the look of cow herds across the country. It certainly makes the job tougher for the beef industry to produce a consistent product for the consumer.… Continue reading

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Cooling system may build eggs' natural defenses against salmonella

Once eggs are laid, their natural resistance to pathogens begins to wear down, but a Purdue University scientist believes he knows how to rearm those defenses.

Kevin Keener, an associate professor of food science, created a process for rapidly cooling eggs that is designed to inhibit the growth of bacteria such as salmonella. The same cooling process would saturate the inside of an egg with carbon dioxide and alter pH levels, which he has found are connected to the activity of an enzyme called lysozyme, which defends egg whites from bacteria.

“This enzyme activity is directly related to the carbon dioxide and pH levels,” said Keener, whose results were published in the journal Poultry Science. “An increase in lysozyme would lead to increased safety in eggs.”

Freshly laid eggs are saturated with carbon dioxide and have pH levels of about 7. Over time, the pH level rises to 9 and carbon dioxide escapes, Keener said.… Continue reading

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Cooling system may build eggs’ natural defenses against salmonella

Once eggs are laid, their natural resistance to pathogens begins to wear down, but a Purdue University scientist believes he knows how to rearm those defenses.

Kevin Keener, an associate professor of food science, created a process for rapidly cooling eggs that is designed to inhibit the growth of bacteria such as salmonella. The same cooling process would saturate the inside of an egg with carbon dioxide and alter pH levels, which he has found are connected to the activity of an enzyme called lysozyme, which defends egg whites from bacteria.

“This enzyme activity is directly related to the carbon dioxide and pH levels,” said Keener, whose results were published in the journal Poultry Science. “An increase in lysozyme would lead to increased safety in eggs.”

Freshly laid eggs are saturated with carbon dioxide and have pH levels of about 7. Over time, the pH level rises to 9 and carbon dioxide escapes, Keener said.… Continue reading

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Proper hay storage vital to protecting feed quality

After a wet spring and delayed hay harvest, a Purdue Extension beef specialist says it is vitally important for beef producers to store hay properly to reduce nutrient loss.

Much of the hay harvested now will be used as a main feed source this coming winter, said Ron Lemenager. Improper storage can lead to losses in weight or dry matter, as well as the nutrients required by animals, such as soluble energy, protein, vitamins and minerals.

“In an ideal world, producers would store hay bales inside,” he said. “But, with most producers using large, round bales, that’s often not possible.”

For outdoor storage, Lemenager said protecting hay quality starts with baling. The moisture level of the crop should be 15% to 18%. Anything above 22% poses a spontaneous combustion risk from bacterial growth. The same is true for bales with internal temperatures approaching 170 degrees, so producers making wet hay need to monitor bale temperatures, especially when hay is stored inside.… Continue reading

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Pork Leadership Institute Educates Youth

Erica and Andrew Wilson of Columbiana County, Ohio; Megan Reisinger of Clark County, Ohio; and Adam McFarland of Wayne County, New Hampshire recently participated in the 2011 Youth Pork Leadership Institute held in Columbus, Ohio. Sponsored by the Ohio Pork Producers Council (OPPC) and the Ohio Soybean Council, the annual program gives high school and college youth hands-on experience in developing leadership, citizenship and communication skills.

“The Ohio Youth Pork Leadership Institute is a great opportunity for young pork enthusiasts to learn and experience all facets of the industry,” said Jennifer Keller, OPPC director of marketing and education. “From individual hog farms to local grocery stores, the program allows Ohio’s future leaders to learn about hog farmers’ commitment to providing safe, nutritious food for our consumers.”

During the three-day event, participants toured the Bob Evans Farms test kitchen and The Ohio State University (OSU) meat lab, where they learned about food service and pork quality, respectively.… Continue reading

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