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Cover crop, double-crop, and feeding cattle with triticale

A number of producers tout how the benefits of cover crops can be found in the soil directly underfoot, and, some months down the road, in their wallets. Though that knowledge doesn’t always help to justify a non-harvested crop that takes time, energy and cash to plant. One livestock operation in southern Ohio is using a versatile cover crop that benefits them multiple, more immediate, ways.

Bolender Farms in Brown County, an Angus operation, has started to see some more visible evidence of cover crop effectiveness after using a plant that’s been gaining popularity in recent years for its double-duty value. Triticale is a wheat and rye hybrid known to combine the productivity of wheat with the hardiness and short-season abilities of rye.

“Between me and my wife and my dad and my uncle, we run about 95 angus brood cows,” said Adam Bolender. “The triticale works out nicely because we can, one, have a cover crop that’s grown all winter, two, take the forage off to feed the cattle in the winter, and then three, still be able to get a bean crop or a corn crop, whatever your choosing would be, planted in a timely manner — usually by the last week of May.”

The Bolender family implemented the forage for the first time this year after noting the success with triticale family friend Ben Parker had on his operation.

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First online fed cattle auction a success

At the end of May, something groundbreaking occurred for the livestock industry as Superior Livestock Auction conducted the first online fed cattle sale.

“I would say it was a very successful day,” said Ed Greiman, chairman of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s (NCBA) Cattle Marketing and International Trade Committee. “There were 1,600 head of cattle sold, which is where many sellers thought the market was going to be.”

The bigger news is that a lot of people were watching, so much so that the website hosting the sale went down as a result of too many people logging on.

“This is all about price discovery — showing people that there is a cash market out there and adding to the fundamentals,” Greiman said. “We’re not worried about how much volume is on the sale, it’s really all about moving some cattle.”

The glitches, that can be expected any time something new like this is attempted, will be worked out and Greiman said with each week that goes by, the online sales will go more smoothly.

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Beef industry reaches out to bloggers

A recent “#BLOGMEETSBEEF” program highlighting the Pasture to Plate Experience, sponsored by four state beef councils and the Beef Checkoff Program, has helped increase knowledge of beef and beef production among 14 key food bloggers. The event was held this spring in Columbus, Ohio, and funded by the Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin Beef Councils. It was also supported by the family-owned Meijer supermarket chain, which carries only Certified Angus Beef.

The bloggers invited to the event came from across the four states and are followed on their blogs by consumers throughout the United States. They represent a wide range of cooking and family interests, and regularly share knowledge and recipes with other consumers with an appreciation for food, reaching more than 984,000 people on multiple social platforms, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The event began with a tour of the Claylick Run Farm, an Angus seedstock and grain operation located in Licking County.

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Dairy farm economics not adding up

It has happened to every farmer.

The production numbers are plugged into the calculator, and double-checked, but they just do not seem to be adding up quite right on the short side of profitability.

These days many dairy producers are drinking a couple of extra glasses of milk to calm their nerves and enjoying an additional scoop of ice cream to take their minds off of the unpleasant budget realities on the farm.

Lou Brown of New Bremen has been crunching the numbers on his dairy farm and does not like the numbers he is seeing.

“We’re at $13 milk right now on our 275-cow herd with a 70-pound average. That is 19,250 pounds of milk a day. That is 192.50 hundredweights at $13 that comes to $2,502.50 a day in the value of the milk. At $7 a day per cow with 275 cows, that comes to $1,925 a day for my feed bill.

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What is a veterinarian-client-patient-relationship?

Exactly what is required in maintaining a valid Veterinary-Client-Patient-Relationship as described in the Veterinary Feed Directive?

A veterinarian-client-patient-relationship (VCPR) is defined by the American Veterinary Medical Association as the basis for interaction among veterinarians, their clients, and their patients and is critical to the health of your animal. A VCPR means that all of the following are required.

1. The veterinarian has assumed the responsibility for making clinical judgments regarding the health of the patient and the client has agreed to follow the veterinarians’ instructions.

2. The veterinarian has sufficient knowledge of the patient to initiate at least a general or preliminary diagnosis of the medical condition of the patient. This means that the veterinarian is personally acquainted with the keeping and care of the patient by virtue of a timely examination of the patient by the veterinarian, or medically appropriate and timely visits by the veterinarian to the operation where the patient is managed.

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We need to gain a little perspective on cattle profitability

Through the 2016 winter “meeting season” I had discussions with many individuals involved in all levels of the beef industry about the current status of the beef economy. Much of the discussion has focused on the price volatility in beef markets since the historic price peaks reached in 2014 and the first half of 2015. These once-in-a-lifetime price levels will always be a fond memory for active participants in the market at that time. Unfortunately, the memory of these prices and the current beef economy has combined to make price forecasting and long-term planning a challenging task.

Sales of all classes of cattle at weekly auction markets as well as at production sales featuring bulls and females have seen lower prices compared to the previous 12 to 24 months. Producers have expressed concerns over the significant drop in prices and where do we go from here. At the risk of oversimplification of a complex economic phenomenon, I think we should review a few of the key factors that impacted prices in the second half of 2015.

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Animal health a top concern for farmers and veterinarians

A few weeks ago I attended a college reunion. It was fun and refreshing to see friends from years ago. Although I returned home feeling fine, apparently the stress of traveling combined with being around a new group of people was too much for my immune system. A few days later, I was sick. Luckily it was a viral infection and I quickly recovered, but not all illness clears up without medication. Both humans and animals get sick, and sometimes recovery requires antibiotics. On the farm, the age of the animal, time of year, weather conditions, pen changes and other stressors can all contribute to the need to use medications to treat sick animals. Withholding treatment from an ill animal is poor husbandry and could be considered animal cruelty.

It frustrates me to see advertisements and labels on meat and dairy products that claim they are “antibiotic-free.” All meat and milk that enters the food chain is antibiotic-free due to antibiotic withdrawal periods.

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Methionine could help in calf survival rates

Research at the University of Illinois has shown that adding methionine to the diets of Holstein cows during the prepartum and postpartum periods may impact the preimplantation embryo in a way that enhances its capacity for survival.

“Methionine is the first limiting amino acid for dairy cattle,” said Phil Cardoso, U of I animal scientist. “We know that the lack of methionine limits cows in producing protein in the milk. Now we’re beginning to understand that it affects more than just the milk protein. We want to learn more about the biological effect it has on the cow, and in this case, on the embryo.”

Because cows cannot produce methionine, it needs to come from the diet.

“But anything I feed to a cow is first going to come in contact with, and be digested by, the bacteria in the rumen,” Cardoso said. “If I give crystal methionine to a ruminant animal, it gets used up by the bacteria.

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Auction of Ohio’s prison farm dairy cattle begins

The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections are following through with a plan set last month to terminate the state’s prison farms as the auctioning of state-owned dairy cattle began Monday.

On Monday, 42 dairy cows from the Marion Correctional Institution were scheduled to be sold at Mt. Hope Auction in Holmes County. The sale was the first of many in order to liquidate the 1,000 head of state-owned dairy cows.

The Columbus Dispatch reported the animals were removed from the prison earlier in the day, though the transport didn’t go unnoticed. About 100 people from the Ohio Civil Services Employees Association, a union representing prison workers, picketed the prison on auction day in opposition of the decision to close the state’s prison farms.

Gary Mohr, director of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, announced last month that all 10 prison farms around the state would be phased out by the end of the year and the land used for said operations would be sold.

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Taiwan reopens for U.S. lamb

For the first time since 2003, U.S. lamb and lamb products have regained access to Taiwan. Dennis Stiffler, chief executive officer of Mountain States Rosen, a producer-owned and operated processor and distributor of lamb and veal products, thanked U.S. agricultural and trade officials for their efforts to restore market access for U.S. lamb and said the announcement provides a much-needed lift for U.S. lamb exports.

“This is the culmination of many months of work by U.S. government officials, as well as the U.S. meat industry, and we are very excited to resume exporting lamb to Taiwan,” said Stiffler, who also serves as vice chair of the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). “Taiwanese consumers enjoy high-quality, grain-fed meat, as evidenced by the success U.S. beef and pork have achieved in the market. The U.S. lamb industry is anxious to capitalize on significant opportunities in Taiwan’s restaurant and retail sectors.”

U.S. lamb lost access to several key markets, including Taiwan, following the first U.S.

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Maximizing early season germination and emergence

Today, in America’s agriculture industry, we look to push the limits on every input we can to maximize the return on investment and simplify our operations. The fact is there is simply not enough margin in a crop or hours in a season to do much less. However, there are costly consequences associated with running that close to 100% capacity. Figuratively speaking, if the train begins to derail, you could spend the rest of the year trying to get everything back on track. The adoption of reduced tillage farming and early planting are just a few reasons today’s hybrids are faced with challenging conditions. Although, if managed correctly, these practices can be implemented without impacting final yields and thus, increase the overall efficiency of a grower’s operation. Let’s discuss some of the causes of germination and emergence issues, and management tips that can improve your planting methods this year.

1  Soil Temperature — Low soil temperature is one of the main reasons we see delayed emergence in our crops.

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Ohio Cattlemen’s Association BEST Program concludes a successful 17th year at annual banquet

The 2015-2016 Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) BEST (Beef Exhibitor Show Total) Program wrapped up on May 7 with its annual awards banquet held at the Ohio Expo Center in Columbus.

“The banquet is a time to celebrate the many achievements of our BEST participants, both in and out of the show ring,” said Stephanie Sindel, BEST coordinator. “Each participant is recognized for their hard work by family, friends and BEST supporters alike.”

Several representatives from program sponsors, Bob Evans Farms, Burroughs Frazier Farms, Farm Credit Mid-America, M.H. Eby, Ohio Farm Bureau Federation and Weaver Livestock, were on hand to help present awards totaling more than $50,000 in belt buckles, luggage, show materials and other awards.

This year’s BEST program featured 15 sanctioned shows that weaved its way across the state with over 550 youth participants showing 740 head of market animals and heifers.

 

Banquet sponsors

The BEST program also receives tremendous support for awards and the awards banquet.

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The Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) and the beef producer

As of Jan. 1, 2017, all “medically important” antibiotics used in feed will fall into the FDA’s Veterinary Feed Directive Program. This will mean that to obtain and use these drugs in feed, you will need a written Veterinary Directive (VFD) from your veterinarian, who must be licensed in the state of Ohio.

A VFD is a written (by hand or electronically) statement from your veterinarian, authorizing you to feed a medically important antibiotic, for a period of up to 6 months. This must be delivered to the feed mill prior to purchasing a VFD feed.

What are the “medically important” antibiotics? These include tetracycline, penicillin, neomycin and tylosin, to name a few.

This VFD rule eliminates the use of medically important drugs for feed efficiency or growth-promotion claims. VFD drugs may only be used to treat, prevent or cure disease.

This new regulation does not require a VFD for feed containing ionophores such as Bovatec or Rumensin, or any drug used to treat/prevent coccidia, such as Decox.

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Veterinary Feed Directive implementation deadline coming soon

The clock is winding down on implementing the Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) final rule from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Some livestock farms are well on their way to have the necessary changes in place at the start of 2017, but others have much yet to do.

“This is a huge issue. We will see over the coming months growth promotion and nutritional efficiency labels and uses of antibiotics that are also important to human medicine will be going away. The labels will change,” said Dr. Liz Wagstrom, chief veterinarian for the National Pork Producers Council. “If those antibiotics are used in feed, it will be illegal to use them to improve growth or improve nutritional efficiency. The remaining uses — the therapeutic uses for disease prevention control and treatment — will require a veterinarian to write a prescription if those are in water or a VFD if they are delivered in feed.

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National sheep sales in Ohio this month

Six leading breeds of sheep have chosen the state of Ohio to host their 2016 National Sales.

Shropshires and Natural Colored sheep will be offered for sale during the Big Ohio Sale Weekend, Thursday through Saturday, May 12, 13 and 14 at the Preble County Fairgrounds in Eaton.

The three-day event will have approximately 750 head of sheep for sale representing 14 different breeds. In addition to Shropshires and Natural Colored sheep, Cheviots, Corriedales, Dorpers, Hampshires, Montadales, Oxfords, Southdowns, Suffolks and Wether Sires and Dams will be sold. Plus, for the first time, Dorsets, Columbias and Katahdins are added to the sale.

Most breeds offered special futurity nominated ewe lambs and yearlings in their classes for sale. The timing of the event was before every National, 4-H, FFA and Junior Show ownership deadlines.

Border Leicesters, Lincolns, Merinos and Tunis are holding their National Sales in conjunction with the Great Lakes Sale held Saturday and Sunday, May 28 and 29 at the Wayne County Fairgrounds in Wooster.

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OPA accepting nominations for American Egg Board

The Ohio Poultry Association (OPA) is now accepting suggestions for nominations to serve on the 2017-2018 American Egg Board (AEB), which is U.S. egg farmer’s link to consumers in communicating the value of the incredible egg. Members serve two-year terms on the national board.

“Board members serve a vital role in overseeing and carrying out AEB’s mission to increase demand for egg and egg products on behalf of U.S. egg farmers,” said Jim Chakeres, OPA executive vice president. “I encourage Ohio egg farmers to consider nominating themselves or another producer to serve in this important role to help guide the egg community and further our commitment to provide safe, wholesome, affordable eggs to Ohioans and the world.”

To be eligible for nomination, persons must be producers or representatives of producers and they must own 75,000 or more laying hens. Producers who own less than 75,000 hens are eligible provided they have not applied for exemption and are paying assessments to AEB.

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Taiwanese farmers threaten protest over lifting ractopamine ban

Taiwanese agriculture representatives threatened to stage a large-scale protest if the country lifts its ban on imports of pork from hogs given the feed additive ractopamine. The threat was prompted by Taiwan Agriculture Minister-designate Tsao Chi-hung’s statement that Taiwan “cannot shut its doors to U.S. pork containing ractopamine forever in the face of globalization,” noting that Japan and South Korea now allow ractopamine imports.

Taiwan’s new president, Tsai Ing-wen, previously indicated she wants the island nation to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership and that the country must resolve issues related to imports of U.S. pork products, including its ban on ractopamine. The National Pork Producers Council has been pressing the Obama administration to urge Taiwan to lift the ban, which is not based on science.

Ractopamine, which is widely used as part of a healthy, balanced diet to help pigs convert dietary nutrients into lean muscle, was determined to be safe by the U.S.

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Plant health and profitability

With the current prices of most crops, I think the majority of growers would agree that profitability is high on their list of priorities. Critical to profitability is a healthy crop. Obviously, there are many variables involved in keeping a crop in top condition. Let’s look at several of the factors involved in keeping a plant functioning at full potential depending on the conditions.

The first factor needed for optimum plant health is proper amounts of water — you know, not too much, not too little, just right. Mother Nature can keep growers wondering when the next rain will happen, while the ground is still black from the last rain. But, please don’t come so soon that the ground is water-logged, right? It is unnerving to have so much riding on timely rains, and when prices are low it seems like risks beyond our control are elevated.

In areas that irrigate, it seems like life should be good.

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Cooper Farms adds a new sow farm

Cooper Farms held an open house and ribbon cutting on April 22 for their new sow hog farm, Pheasant Run, located in Mark Center.

The new farm will be home to female hogs and their piglets. Utilizing state of the art technology, Pheasant Run takes farming to a new level.

“We like to think of it as more of a smart barn,” said Kevin Stuckey, Sow Division Manager. “With the help of technology we can provide high quality individualized care for each animal in the barns.”

This technology controls barn temperatures, alternating fans, airflow and cooling cells to keep a consistent and comfortable climate for the hogs at all times. The system also has the ability to self-heal.

“If a fan were to stop working correctly overnight, the system would recognize that and turn on a different fan in the same area,” said Bud Koenig, Facility Maintenance Manager.

Open pen gestation allows the pregnant sows to roam in large stalls of 80 sows each.

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Ohio Pork Council scholarship deadline quickly approaching

There are numerous scholarship opportunities available to college students interested in the pork industry. Students are reminded that applications for OPPC, OPCW and Dick Isler scholarships are due April 29.

The Ohio Pork Council is currently offering scholarships, ranging from $500 to $1000 per individual. Students entering their freshman, sophomore, junior or senior year in college are encouraged to apply. Applicants, or their parents, must be actively involved in the pork industry. Children of pork industry employees, managers and contract growers are eligible.

In honor of 42 years of service to Ohio’s pork industry, as executive vice president of the Ohio Pork Council, a scholarship fund recognizes Dick Isler and provides an annual scholarship of at $1,000 to college students pursuing a degree in agriculture.

The Ohio Pork Council Women will also be offering $500 scholarships to college students in their junior year or higher. To obtain an application for these scholarships, please visit: OhioPork.org.

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