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Topdressing wheat with liquid swine manure

By Glen Arnold, CCA, Ohio State University Extension

Wheat fields will begin to firm up in Ohio and the topdressing with nitrogen fertilizer will soon start. There is usually a window of time, typically around the last week of March or the first week of April, when wheat fields are firm enough to support manure application equipment. By this date, wheat fields have broken dormancy and are actively pulling moisture and nutrients from the soil. With the limited fall and winter opportunities to apply manure to fields, many livestock farms have more manure than usual for this time of year.

The key to applying the correct amount of manure to fertilize wheat is to know the manure’s nitrogen content. Most manure tests reveal total nitrogen, ammonia nitrogen and organic nitrogen amounts. The ammonia nitrogen portion is readily available for plant growth. The organic nitrogen portion takes considerably longer to mineralize and generally will not be available when wheat uptakes the majority of its nitrogen in the months of April and May.

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Oversight agreement announced on cell-cultured products derived from livestock or poultry

Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a formal agreement to jointly oversee the production of human food products derived from the cells of livestock and poultry.

“The formal agreement announced today solidifies USDA’s lead oversight role in the production and labeling of lab-grown fake meat products. This is what National Cattlemen’s Beef Association has been asking for, and it is what consumers deserve. Under the terms of the agreement, USDA will be responsible for inspecting all facilities that harvest, process, package, or label cell-cultured products derived from livestock or poultry,” said Jennifer Houston, NCBA president. “All product labels will also be subject to USDA’s pre-approval and verification process. We look forward to working collaboratively with the USDA and FDA on next steps, including the development of a more detailed framework concerning the cell harvest stage.

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Fall and winter conditions offered significant challenges for manure application

By Matt Reese

There has been ample fodder for frustration this fall and winter for agriculture in general, but it surely could be argued that few have faced more challenges due to the persistent wet weather during this time frame than those trying to follow the letter of the law when applying livestock manure to farm fields.

Tim Wood is the sales manager for M&W Farm Supply, LLC that handles the manure from 14.75 million chickens at Trillium Farms locations around Marseilles, Mt. Victory and Croton. Conditions since last fall have been far from ideal for getting the poultry manure out of the barns and onto the fields.

“Our intention each fall is to spread roughly 100,000 tons on close to 50,000 acres. So, we are kind of in a hole. We cover an 11-county area and typically harvest starts earlier in the north than the south. Around the 20th of September we had only spread around 1,500 tons.

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Managing mud damaged pastures

By Mark Landefeld, Ohio State University Extension Agriculture Educator, Monroe County

Every livestock owner I have talked to the last few weeks has the same situation, more mud and more tracked-up fields than they can ever recall before.

Mud increases stress for the livestock and the farm manager. The way you manage, or don’t manage, muddy conditions affects your livestock’s performance and may have a big impact on damaging forage plants in your pastures.

So, what are we going to do with our pastures and areas, which have taken the hits this year? Options range from complete renovation of the area, to doing nothing and allowing nature to take its course. My guess is, that both options, and something in between may be practical on most farms this spring. Even within a paddock, different treatments will probably be necessary because zones closer the water source will likely have more damage than other areas of the paddock.

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Ohio Beef Expo kicks off March 15

The Ohio Beef Expo, the premier event of Ohio’s beef industry, will take place March 15 though 17 at the Ohio Expo Center in Columbus, Ohio. This annual event, coordinated by the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA), includes a kickoff social; breed sales, shows and displays; beef quality assurance sessions; a multi-day trade show and a highly competitive junior show.

OCA members and Expo exhibitors are invited to attend The Social, on Thursday evening, March 15, at the Expo headquarters hotel, the Hilton Columbus/Polaris. The kickoff event will auction items for OCA’s PAC fund such as two VIP parking spaces at the 2019 Ohio Beef Expo, an Ohio State fire ring and other great items.

For the first time in Expo history, the trade show will open on Thursday, March 14 from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. This allows more time for attendees, especially those that exhibit cattle at the Expo, to visit with vendors and check out the booths that line the Voinovich building.

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Mortality composting in Ohio

By Mary H. Wicks and Harold M. Keener

Inspiration strikes at unexpected times. Returning from a road trip to Missouri, a team of Ohio State University (OSU) researchers and extension educators had the “aha moment” that would form the basis of OSU’s mortality composting certification program. But first, some background . . .

 

Investigation

In 1994, when the Ohio legislature approved composting as an on-farm option for disposing of dead animals, an OSU team, working with livestock producers, Ohio Department of Agriculture and USDA NRCS, was tasked with developing a certification course to ensure it was done correctly. Research and Extension faculty with expertise in livestock and poultry systems as well as composting scoured the literature, learning how other states were composting dead poultry and swine. A trip to the University of Missouri’s swine composting system provided more information.

 

Insights

Connecting the dots between his compost research and what he had learned about controlled decomposition of dead animals, Harold Keener characterized the latter as “above ground burial in a biofilter.” As the team discussed this concept and what they wanted to achieve, they focused on developing guidelines that allowed for flexibility and the ingenuity of farmers.

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Citizens of Toledo approve the Lake Erie Bill of Rights

By Kolt Buchenroth and Matt Reese

The Lake Erie Bill of Rights was passed by the citizens of Toledo in a special election held on Tuesday, Feb. 26. According to the results from the Lucas County Board of elections, the measure was passed by a vote of 61.4% to 38.6% with only 8.9% of voters turning out to the polls.

There was a failed attempt to get this on the 2018 November ballot in Toledo. The effort to get LEBOR on the ballot was supported by out-of-state interests but it could have a very real in-state impact for a wide range of businesses. LEBOR opens up the possibility of thousands of lawsuits against any entity that could be doing harm to Lake Erie. This includes agricultural operations.

“Farm Bureau members are disappointed with the results of the LEBOR vote. Our concern remains that its passage means Ohio farmers, taxpayers and businesses now face the prospect of costly legal bills fighting over a measure that likely will be found unconstitutional and unenforceable,” said Adam Sharp, executive vice president, Ohio Farm Bureau Federation.

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ODA announces $23 million for programs in Western Lake Erie Basin

By Kolt Buchenroth, Ohio Ag Net

Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) Director Dorothy Pelanda announced new assistance programs for producers in the Western Lake Erie Basin funded by the passage of Ohio Senate Bill 299 last year.

The bill provides $23.5 million for the 24 soil and water conservation districts located in the Western Lake Erie Basin for nutrient management programs. ODA has already distributed $3.5 million to the Northwest Ohio districts.

“Water quality is a top priority of our administration,” said Governor Mike DeWine. “Roughly 3 million Ohioans rely on Lake Erie for their drinking water. These programs are a good step toward promoting better water quality and more will come.”

At the 2019 Ohio Federation of Soil and Water Conservation Districts Annual Meeting, Director Pelanda announced plans for the remaining $20 million, to be spread across three new assistance programs set to begin in March.

“The budget that Governor DeWine plans to introduce will demonstrate his administration’s commitment to improving water quality,” Pelanda said. 

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43rd Annual Ohio Dorset Sale March 15 and 16

Plans for the 43rd annual Ohio Dorset Sale have been set for March 15 and 16 at the Preble County Fairgrounds in Eaton, Ohio. Billed as “the first, the biggest, the best” Dorset sale, it will feature both Horned and Polled Dorsets. Dorsets from South Dakota to Connecticut have been entered.

Established in 1977, the Ohio Dorset Sale has been a barometer used to gauge how the registered sheep industry is doing in the New Year. Entered in the sale are 100 head of Polled Dorsets and 30 head of Horned Dorsets.

“The nation’s finest Dorset genetics from ten different states have been consigned to this year’s sale,” said Greg Deakin, sale manager. “The sale’s history is rich, dating back to 1977. More national breed champion rams and ewes have sold through the Ohio Dorset Sale than any other sale.”

Both Horned and Polled Dorset rams and ewes will be offered consisting of classes for yearlings, fall and winter lambs.

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Gene editing oversight clarification needed

Development of an emerging technology promising major animal health and environmental benefits is currently stalled at the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, prompting the National Pork Producers Council to renew its call for U.S. Department of Agriculture regulatory oversight of gene editing for livestock.

“The pace of FDA’s process to develop a regulatory framework for this important innovation only reinforces our belief that the USDA is best equipped to oversee gene editing for livestock production,” said Jim Heimerl, a pork producer from Johnstown, Ohio and president of the National Pork Producers Council. “U.S. agriculture is one our nation’s most successful export products; we can’t afford to cede leadership of gene editing to other countries.”

Gene editing accelerates genetic improvements that could be realized over long periods of time through breeding. It allows for simple changes in a pig’s native genetic structure without introducing genes from another species. Emerging applications include raising pigs resistant to Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome, a highly contagious swine disease that causes significant animal suffering and costs pork producers worldwide billions of dollars.

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Applications now open for 2019 pork industry scholarships

The National Pork Board announces the opening of the application period of the 2019 Pork Industry Scholarships. This program, now in its tenth year, is open to college juniors and seniors who have plans to pursue a career in swine production management or a related field. In addition, students who will be seeking to attend veterinary or graduate school with an emphasis on swine are encouraged to apply. The National Pork Board will award up to 20 scholarships in 2019 totaling $46,000. The top applicant will receive $5,000, the second-ranked applicant will receive $3,500 and all others will receive $2,000.

“Human capital and identification of future leaders is critical for the continued success of the swine industry,” said Chris Hostetler, animal science director for the Pork Checkoff. “The National Pork Board’s Animal Science Committee recognizes this need and continues its commitment to encouraging these students through these scholarships.”

The guidelines for the scholarship application and the online form can be found at www.pork.org/scholarship.

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Global concerns growing about African swine fever

Despite public and private efforts to control African swine fever (ASF) in China, most of the country is now positive for the disease that has reportedly killed as many as 1 million pigs. As of Feb. 13, there are 25 distinct geographic areas of China that have tested positive for the ASF virus. According to reports, supplies of pork to China’s big cities have been disrupted while prices have collapsed in areas with an oversupply of pigs from farmers who are barred from shipping to other provinces.

In addition, the current outbreak of Classical swine fever (CSF) in Japan is showing few signs of abating as the nation has recently reported additional infected farms. Geographically, this means five prefectures have either domestic and/or wild pigs that test positive for the virus.

Since last September, Japanese officials are frantically trying to step up biosecurity measures to contain and eliminate CSF, which had remained undetected on the island nation since 1992.

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Ohio Pork Congress recognizes producers, future opportunity

By Kolt Buchenroth

Ohio Pork Council held their annual Pork Congress this week. The annual event provides the opportunity to connect producers to trade show venders and business partners. In addition to educational sessions and seminars, the congress also aims to recognize Ohio Pork Producers for their service to the industry and its future. Several awards were presented to Ohio Hog Farmers doing just that. Our coverage of the event, and a discussion with Ohio Pork Council leadership is in this video.

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Award winners recognized at Ohio Pork Congress

Ohio is fortunate to be home to many outstanding leaders who work selflessly to make a difference in the pork industry. At yesterday’s Ohio Pork Congress Luncheon some of those individuals were recognized for their service with the presentation of the Swine Manager of the Year, Ohio Pork Council Service, Pork Promoter of the Year, Friends of Ohio Pork and Ohio Pork Industry Excellence awards.

Swine Manager of the Year Award: Nathan Isler, Prospect

Nathan oversees the sows and three full time employees in the sow barn for Isler Genetics.

“Commercially raising hogs for market is the way we are going and our future as I see it today,” Nathan said. “The vast majority of our hogs go to market, but we also sell breeding stock, show pigs, and pigs for medical research. We sell commercial semen as well. We also have three contract barns. Through the progression of things we are 70% pure York sows.

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Manure application opportunities limited by wet weather this winter

Rain falls, and that might make some farmers happy, depending on the time of year.

Then, a lot of rain falls, off and on, for months, and not only do fields fill up with water, but so do manure ponds and lagoons, and that might make some farmers a bit nervous.

Ohio had the third wettest year ever in 2018, and there’s been little letup since then, leaving farm fields across the state saturated. For farmers with a lot of livestock, spreading manure onto wet land as fertilizer is not an option right now, and manure ponds are filling up fast.

Because manure ponds and lagoons are outdoors and uncovered, they collect not only animal waste from livestock housed inside, but they also collect rainwater. Indoor pits located under livestock holding facilities, such as hog barns, also collect manure; those are also reaching capacity.

“Week after week and month after month have gone by, and there have been very few opportunities to get the manure applied,” said Glen Arnold, a manure management specialist with The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).

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Passion for putting pigs first drives swine manager of the year

By Matt Reese

As all aspects of the hog industry have evolved, Isler Genetics has changed accordingly. This incredible Marion County family tradition in the Ohio pork industry is now in the capable hands of another generation, including Nathan Isler, who is the Ohio Pork Council swine manager of the year.

“We’re working on six generations farming here. My grandfather had a little bit of everything. My Dad and uncle really grew with the hog industry. Our farm was built off of breeding stock. We’ve been a closed herd since the 70s,” Nathan said. “My Uncle Don and my Dad, Bill, built and grew the farm. Uncle Gene had a hand in it too. Dad came back in ‘68 to the farm. At that time we had Durocs, Yorks, Landrace, Hamps and large Whites. When Dad’s generation came back they started raising more breeding stock. There were maybe 50 sows before Dad and Don came back and grew it into what it is today.

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Cold weather dairy calf care

Shirecalf

By Rory Lewandowski, Extension Educator Wayne County, Ohio State University Extension

Cold winter weather presents some additional challenges to keeping dairy calves healthy, comfortable and growing. The biggest challenge is the increased nutritional requirement for body maintenance, especially for dairy calves in unheated facilities. Nutritional maintenance is what is required to keep all body systems functioning normally while maintaining a healthy body temperature and neither gaining nor losing weight. Cold weather nutrition requires understanding the concept of lower critical temperature. Lower critical temperature is the lower boundary below which the animal needs additional nutrients, primarily energy, to meet maintenance requirements. If the nutrient level is not increased, then the animal must burn fat reserves to meet the need. The lower critical temperature for calves from birth to 7 days of age is 55 degrees F. Between 7 and 30 days of age, the lower critical temperature is in the 48- to 50-degree F range.

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Legislation introduced allowing whole milk in school meals

robotic-milker-on-cow

Legislation sponsored by Reps. Glenn Thompson (R-PA) and Collin Peterson (D-MN), chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, would allow whole milk in school nutrition programs. The Whole Milk for Healthy Kids Act of 2019 (H.R. 832) has eight other co-sponsors, including Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX), ranking Republican on the House Agriculture Committee. Adding whole milk to school menus reflects research showing that such products benefit children and gives school administrators one more tool with which to develop healthy eating habits. Read More…

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Cow health concerns in cold and mud

Stuck in the mud, some cows across the state might not be putting on enough weight.

Cattle have been getting pretty muddy as a result of Ohio’s extremely heavy rainfall in 2018 and precipitation so far this year. The mud can lead to thinner cows because it takes a lot of energy for cattle to trudge through mud and to keep their bodies warm when cold mud sticks to them, said John Grimes, beef coordinator for Ohio State University Extension. OSU Extension is the outreach arm of The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).

Pregnant cows that don’t gain enough weight are at risk of having weak or stillborn calves and of not being able to produce enough milk for their offspring, Grimes said.

“When it’s cold and wet, you and I can be inside and set the thermostat at 70 degrees, but cows have to adapt,” Grimes said.

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Vaccinating with CDT

With lambing season right around the corner, shepherds need to start preparing now. The CDT vaccine is yet another management tool found in the shepherd’s toolbox that is used to protect small ruminants against clostridium perfringens types C and D as well as clostridium tetani (tetanus). Appropriate use of this vaccine is a safe, cheap, and an effective method used to control for clostridial diseases in your flock. Commonly referred to in the industry as the ‘overeating disease,’ clostridium perfringens types C and D are associated with feedstuffs and can lead to enterotoxemia. The bacteria that cause enterotoxemia are present in all animals, just at low population levels. Issues arise when these bacterial populations experience a rapid period of growth and proliferation due to an increase in actual bacterial numbers or due to a rapid change in the diet. As a result, the bacteria grow rapidly, toxins accumulate, and are then distributed throughout the body resulting in serious health issues or death.

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