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Don’t remove your plants’ solar panel by grazing too early

Yes, it appears that we are trying to having an early spring, but I refuse to count those chicks before they hatch! Abnormally warm weather in February and early March is not that uncommon here in Indiana, unfortunately neither are late March and early April snows. The accumulated growing degree days so far this year, on average across the state, are higher than normal.

Now, it is early still, but I know how some think about new green growth in the pastures. Let’s think this through. Grazing too early in the spring does nothing but remove the solar panel the plants need to start building sugars and growing new roots. The forages really need to be able to canopy and get a good start before animals start removing that new growth otherwise production will be reduced.

I know sometimes the hay is not the best quality. It is better to supplement poor hay and keep feeding it, if available, than to start grazing too early.… Continue reading

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Topdressing wheat with liquid swine manure

Research on applying liquid livestock manure as a spring top-dress fertilizer to wheat has been ongoing in Ohio for several years. 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. The wheat fields have broken dormancy and are actively pulling nutrients from the soil.

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.

Some manure tests also list a “first year availability” nitrogen amount. This number is basically the ammonia nitrogen portion of the manure plus about half the organic nitrogen portion.… Continue reading

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Devastation and healing follow grassland wildfires

Matt Reese of Ohio’s Country Journal has a conversation with John Kellenberger of Kansas’ Ashland Veterinary Center in this video.

His area was hit hard by the grassland wildfires that swept across parts of Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas in early March. Now the heart of America is finding themselves looking down the road at what’s next for their part of the country.… Continue reading

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Stronger dairy program is a farm bill priority for some

As Congress begins its deliberations on the next farm bill, improvements to the dairy Margin Protection Program must be a top priority for lawmakers, said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation, who spoke before the House Agriculture Committee.

During the farm bill hearing on Capitol Hill, Mulhern told committee members that the dairy Margin Protection Program (MPP) is failing to live up to its intended role as a viable economic safety net for farmers, and that a series of changes is needed to restore dairy producers’ confidence in the program.

“While MPP was, and is, the right approach for the future of federal dairy policy, the program in its current form does not provide meaningful safety net support to the nation’s dairy farmers,” Mulhern said.

The MPP is designed to allow farmers to insure the gap between milk prices and the cost of purchasing feed for dairy cattle.… Continue reading

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Avian influenza discovered in Alabama

Alabama State Veterinarian, Dr. Tony Frazier, confirmed that a flock of chickens at a commercial poultry breeding operation located in Pickens County and a backyard flock located in Madison County have both tested positive for low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI).

During routine screening, a commercial company collected samples from their Pickens County flock and submitted them to the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries State Diagnostic Laboratory located in Auburn, Alabama. These samples, suspected positive for avian influenza, were forwarded to the USDA National Veterinary Services Laboratory (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa. NVSL confirmed the commercial flock is positive for LPAI. This commercial flock has been placed under quarantine. While this is different from the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) virus that has been found recently to the north in Tennessee, control measures are under way as a precautionary measure.

In addition to the suspected case in Pickens County, a backyard flock located in Madison County has also been confirmed positive for low pathogenic H7N9 avian influenza (LPAI) by NVSL.… Continue reading

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Ohio Cattlemen Seedstock Improvement Bull Sale set for April 8

The Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) will hold its annual Seedstock Improvement Sale on Saturday, April 8 at noon at the Union Stock Yards Company in Hillsboro, Ohio.  This year’s sale features 44 bulls from one year to five years of age.  Breeds consigned include Angus, Simmental, Hybrid Simmental, Gelbvieh, Hereford, Maintainer, Red Angus, and Shorthorn.

Buyers attending this sale have the opportunity to evaluate multiple breeds of registered bulls all in one location with the added assurance of buying bulls with known genetics, a completed vaccination regimen and a breeding soundness exam.  The bulls are cataloged for sale order based on a within breed evaluation star system using expected progeny differences (EPDs) for birth weight, weaning weight, yearling weight, milk, marbling and ribeye.

For more information on the sale or to obtain a sale catalog, visit www.ohiocattle.org and look under the Events and Programs section or contact the OCA office at 614-873-6736 or through email atbeef@ohiobeef.org. … Continue reading

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Regulating livestock welfare remains an issue around the country

While livestock producers in Ohio have been subject to standards for the care of livestock since 2011, animal welfare remains a topic of debate around the country. Most recently, attention turned to the care of livestock raised under the National Organic Program and animals raised in confinement in Massachusetts.


Federal organic standards

On January 19, 2017, the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) promulgated a final rule for the National Organic Program (NOP). The rule concerns practices for organic livestock and poultry. Namely, the rule “clarifies how producers and handlers participating in the NOP must treat livestock and poultry to ensure their wellbeing.” These treatment standards are applicable at numerous times throughout the lives of livestock, including when the animals are transported or slaughtered. Additionally, the rule spells out the amount and type of indoor and outdoor space organic poultry must have under NOP. The rule also describes the timing and methods for physically altering livestock and poultry under NOP.… Continue reading

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Ohio Beef Expo highlights

The Ohio Beef Expo celebrated its 30th year in grand style setting records and packing the Expo Center facilities full for the three-day event.

“It is great to come to an event like this because it creates enthusiasm,” said John Grimes, Ohio State University Extension beef specialist. “It is a little bit like a church revival.”

Grimes gave an overview of Ohio’s beef industry in a presentation at the event and sees reason for optimism moving forward.

“This decade has been pretty eventful. Grain prices were high early in the decade — I did not like buying $7 and $8 corn to feed cattle. Land values went up and there were challenges that way. That stabilized and then the drought out west reduced the numbers. In 2014 the cow herd was smaller than it had been in over 60 years,” Grimes said. “We responded to economic signals and the nation’s cow herd in the last year grew by a million cows.… Continue reading

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Visit OCJ/OAN at the Beef Expo

Come visit us at the Ohio Beef Expo!

The Ohio Beef Expo, the premier event of Ohio’s beef industry starts Friday and runs through March 19 at the Ohio Expo Center in Columbus. This annual event, coordinated by the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA), includes a kickoff social, breed sales, shows and displays, an educational seminar, 3-day trade show and a highly competitive junior show.

New and exciting things to note for the 30th Ohio Beef Expo include a three-day trade show for vendors. This provides the opportunity for Expo-goers to make a day trip to Columbus and experience all aspects of the event. The youth day events, including the judging contest and Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) sessions, will move to a new day and be held on Friday, March 17.

OCA members and Expo exhibitors are invited to attend The Social, sponsored by Merial, on Thursday evening, March 16, at the Expo headquarters hotel, Crowne Plaza North.… Continue reading

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Are you making the beef industry great again?

We are in the early days of the Presidency of Donald Trump.  Regardless of which side of the political fence you stand, I’m sure you will be closely watching the activity out of Washington D.C.  Based on the first few days of the Trump administration, the status quo will not be standard business as usual out of the nation’s capital.

I’m not sure that President Trump and his administration are going to have the luxury of a “honeymoon” period associated with the next four years.  It is obvious that the country is deeply divided on many “hot button” subjects such as trade, health care, immigration, and the size of government to name a few.  Both supporters and detractors have taken strong stances on nearly every issue and solutions to problems are being hotly debated.  Mainstream and social media are full of examples of the contentious discussions taking place in society today.  … Continue reading

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OLC launches new environmental website for farmers

The Ohio Livestock Coalition (OLC) announced the launch of the Livestock Environmental Assurance Program (LEAP) website — a voluntary program to help Ohio’s livestock farms take a proactive approach in protecting the land, air and water on and around their farms. The website, available at www.ohleap.org, helps farmers identify and address key management issues affecting environmental quality by providing helpful evaluation tools and resources.

“In recent years, consumers have voiced concerns about the impact of farming on the environment, which is why all farmers must do their part to make sure they are educated on what needs to be done to protect the state’s streams and waterways,” said Bryan Humphreys, OLC representative. “This program creates a win-win situation for both farmers and consumers, and now farmers across Ohio have easy access to it.”

On the website, viewers can learn:

  • Best farm management practices for issues, including water quality management, manure and nutrient management and storage, odor management and air quality, pest control, facility management, and more.
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Clipboard Syndicate raising money for OSU Dairy Judging Team expenses

Travelling and entry fees for the Ohio State University Collegiate Dairy Judging Team competitions are expensive. The students manage the dairy parlor at the Ohio State Fair and do other fundraisers to pay their own way, but as travel costs continue to rise, the long-term budget for the program is looking slimmer. Extension dairy program specialist and collegiate dairy coach Bonnie Ayars decided to address the issue.

“The students are working to raise money for their trips but we need a reserve for the future. For the very first time of my tenure, I am coming forth with a fundraiser for the collegiate dairy judging teams,” she said. “COBA has generously donated a calf for us to use at the Spring Dairy Expo Buckeye Classic Sale managed by the kids.”

Leading up to the March 30 sale, 100 shares for the calf will also be sold for $100 each to raise funds for the judging team.… Continue reading

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Beef Expo celebrates 30 years this week

The Ohio Beef Expo is celebrating its 30th anniversary and the incredible success of the event March 17 to 19 at the Ohio Expo Center in Columbus.

The Ohio Beef Expo is coordinated by the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) and includes a kickoff social, breed sales, shows and displays, an educational seminar, and a highly competitive junior show. The breed cattle sales will be Saturday, March 18 in the Voinovich building, starting at 10:00 a.m. Prior to the first lot selling, A Tribute to 30 years of the Ohio Beef Expo will take place in Sale Ring 2 with Angus, Hereford, Maine-Anjou, Shorthorn and Simmental cattle selling afterward.

“It is an exciting year and we are looking forward to some changes we are making,” said Pam Haley, Beef Expo co-chair. “We are going to have an opening ceremony on Saturday morning at 9:30 in Sale Ring 2 right before the Hereford Sale.… Continue reading

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Early grazing observations

March 3 was the last day I fed my spring calving cows hay. You may have read in previous articles (2/26/ 20143/7/20123/1/2006) some of the advantages of stockpiling fescue and grazing it during calving season. This includes a thick sod to calve on, no mud, and no hay to feed. I do have to admit that I feed a couple pounds of whole shelled corn right on the ground to give the cows a little more energy, but every year I see a rapid improvement in body condition when they go out on stockpiled fescue. When we moved the cows to the pasture on Saturday (March 4), I noticed that there was more new growth for early March then I have seen in over thirty years, so the quality of the grass is much better. I am seeing a nice mix of new growth fescue, some up to eight inches tall, mixed with some aftermath from last year.… Continue reading

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Multiple avian influenza outbreaks in Tennessee

In early March, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that a strain of the bird flu has been detected in a Tennessee chicken breeder flock contracted to food giant Tyson Foods Inc. As a result, the farm will euthanize 73,500 birds to stop the virus from entering the food system, the USDA said.

The Tennessee Department of Agriculture said in a news release that tests confirmed the presence of the H7 strain of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza, or HPAI, at the facility in Lincoln County, Tennessee. Then, a few days later, another poultry farm in Giles County tested positive for a different low pathogenic strain of avian influenza through routine testing. Tennessee State Veterinarian Charles Hatcher said the two cases do not seem to be related. The latest situation is less serious, but the premises at the Giles County site were still quarantined.

In 2014 and 2015, a U.S. avian flu outbreak required the slaughter of 50 million chickens (mostly egg-laying hens) and turkeys.… Continue reading

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Turner Shorthorns transforming land and cattle

With stunning views of rolling vistas, columns of vibrantly hued sandstone rising up from the scenic pastures and the gurgle of numerous springs and brooks, the setting of Turner Shorthorns looks to be from the wall of a fine painting gallery. But while the farm has a growing reputation for its quality cattle and scenic views, Tom and Susie Turner are, in some ways, better known for their work off of the farm.

They were the recent recipients of the Industry Excellence Award from the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) for their dedication to serving Ohio beef producers. Tom is known around Ohio, the nation and the world for with work with livestock judging.

As a professor at Ohio State, Tom coached 32 intercollegiate livestock judging teams that included 266 students and is the longest serving coach in the 105-year history of the program at Ohio State and the second longest in the U.S.… Continue reading

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Early season forage seeding

I have been getting questions about seeding forages, both frost seeding and drilling, and this year’s weather pattern needs to be considered when making a seeding decision. Generally March is a good time in our area to consider frost seeding. Frost seeding works better some years than others. Successful frost seeding is dependent upon several factors:

  1. The broadcast seed can actually get down to the soil surface. For this to happen you have to be able to see bare soil when you look down upon your sod base. This will not work if there is a thick sod base that covers the soil. Bunch types of sod, composed of orchardgrass and/or tall fescue, work better to frost seed into than sod-forming grasses such as bluegrass. To prepare for frost seeding the recommendation is to “rough up” or “open up” the sod by grazing down tight or mowing very low in the late fall or in the early spring.
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Alfalfa risks from the wild weather ride this winter

As farmers call in to discuss this strange winter and its risks to their alfalfa stand, concerns continue to grow as the green color has started to come back to alfalfa fields. Actually predicting what this weather is going to do to our alfalfa crop is impossible but scouting this spring will be imperative to determining how your alfalfa crop might do this year.

As temperatures rose into the 60s or even set records in the 70s in February it has awakened at least some of the alfalfa plants from their winter dormancy. Once dormancy is broke, the plants start using the nutrients that were stored in the roots and crowns to start spring growth. The early start to regrowth is not the problem, the challenge is going to be how many times winter temperatures return to average and force plants back into dormancy. Then when another round of warm weather comes through, the plants will break dormancy again utilizing more of their root reserves.… Continue reading

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Crossbreeding: It works for feral pigs

Crossbreeding, bringing together parents that are distantly related but capable of producing viable offspring, has increased hybrid vigor within domestically raised livestock.

Extensive research has shown positive improvement for several production traits, particularly survival traits that are lowly heritable. Interestingly, sometimes if one looks at what others are intentionally or not intentionally doing, one can learn a lot. The same is true about crossbreeding.

The concept of domesticated livestock mating with their wild relatives is not new and generally not encouraged. The reason comes back to the increased hybrid vigor of the offspring and their tendency to out-compete the parents.

In native environments, hybrid offspring can be very detrimental, particularly when reproductive capacity increases. For example, feral pigs are a very real, current and major problem. They are aggressive, productive and reproduce copiously.

The domestic pig (Sus Scrofa) is capable of producing viable offspring when mated to several subspecies. The vigor of the offspring borders on aggressive and environmentally destructive, so laws have been enacted to control feral and/or hybrid pigs.… Continue reading

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U.S. bison sales hit $350 million in retail

The U.S. bison business has notched $350 million in sales at the retail and restaurant level in 2016, with tight supplies of market-ready animals limiting additional growth in the business, according to information compiled by the National Bison Association.

The analysis released this week was based on the association’s latest Economic Size of the U.S. Bison Business model, along with its most recent survey of commercial bison marketers in the United States and Canada.

According to the association’s model, the bison business grew from $340 million in sales in 2016 to $350 million in sales last year. That increase, though, was due almost entirely to additional prices for bison meat, rather than from increased production. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 61,300 bison were processed under federal and state inspection last year, which was only 1,000 more than were processed the previous year.

Meanwhile, 85% of the marketers responding to the association’s latest survey in November reported that they were unable to fill all of their customers’ orders, with the majority of marketers saying they could sell at least 15% more product at the current prices if supply was available.… Continue reading

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