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No waste left behind at the North American Manure Expo

Farmers can get a good grip on manure using cover crops, says an expert with Ohio State University Extension.

“Cover crops are an excellent practice to utilize nutrients from manure for growing grain crops,” said Alan Sundermeier, an educator in OSU Extension’s Wood County office. “Capturing the manure nutrients with a growing plant will keep the nutrients on the field and out of waterways.”


Sundermeier, who’s also the director of that office, gave tips on getting cover crops off the ground  — and then eventually back into it — as part of the North American Manure Expo earlier this month. The event was in London, about 25 miles west of Columbus.

His talk, called “Establishing Cover Crops,” was one of four during the expo’s Cover Crops track. It was one of about 40 talks in 13 tracks during the event’s two days overall.

The expo’s theme was “Returning nutrients to their roots.”

Sundermeier said more and more farmers are growing cover crops — annual ryegrass, red clover, buckwheat and many others — for their benefits, which include reducing soil erosion and adding soil- and yield-improving organic matter.

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Prepare for activists at the county fair

Summer is here that means county fairs and livestock shows are in full swing. For many producers and youth involved in agriculture, fair season means putting in extra hours of practice and preparation in order to show off a year of hard work in the show ring along with making friendships and memories to last a lifetime.

Unfortunately, animal rights extremist organizations see fairs and events as something entirely different — an opportunity to disrupt and protest, ultimately bringing attention to their cause of eliminating animal agriculture and promoting animal rights. Individuals representing activist organizations have disrupted everything from Independence Day hot dog eating contests to the Pennsylvania Farm Show this year. As another example, an organization called the Alliance for Animals and the Environment is campaigning to end the hug-a-pig event at Wisconsin fairs.

Those involved in a fair or expo this summer and fall, need to prepare for activist protests and disruptions.

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Production area does not affect phosphorus digestibility in soybean meal fed to pigs

Research at the University of Illinois is helping to determine the effect of growing conditions on the nutritional value of soybean meal.

“The digestibility of phosphorus is the same in soybean meal grown in various regions in the United States,” said Hans Stein, professor of animal sciences at Illinois.

“The chemical composition of soybean meal is somewhat dependent on the area in which soybeans are grown, but it was not known if there are differences in the concentration of phytate among soybeans grown in different areas,” Stein said.

He and Kelly Sotak-Peper, then a doctoral candidate, set out to determine whether any differences existed.

They sourced soybean meal from crushing plants in three different areas within the United States: the northern growing area (comprising Michigan, Minnesota, and South Dakota), eastern growing area (Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio), and western growing area (Iowa, Missouri, and Nebraska).

They measured no statistically significant differences in concentrations of phosphorus, or in the percentage of phosphorus bound to phytate, among soybean meal from the different regions.

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Late summer seeding of perennial forages

Although it may be a dim memory at this point, we started the 2016 growing season on the wet side. Some planned spring forage seedings did not happen due to wet conditions and a compressed spring planting season. Add to this the fact that some alfalfa stands are not holding up as planned because of harvest injury during the wet and rainy conditions of 2015 and now the dry summer conditions of 2016 and there are potentially a lot of acres of alfalfa or another perennial forage that need to be planted as we look ahead to 2017. August gives us another window of opportunity to establish a perennial forage stand and it fits nicely into rotations after wheat grain harvest.

Typically the main risk with an August planting is a question of sufficient moisture for seed germination and plant growth and it looks like this year will not be an exception, as the weather outlook for August is for rainfall to be below normal.

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New process adds weeks to milk shelf life

A rapid heating and cooling of milk significantly reduces the amount of harmful bacteria present, extending by several weeks the shelf life of one of the most common refrigerator staples in the world, according to a Purdue University study.

Bruce Applegate, Purdue associate professor in the Department of Food Science, and collaborators from Purdue and the University of Tennessee published their findings in the journal SpringerPlus, where they show that increasing the temperature of milk by 10 degrees for less than a second eliminates more than 99% of the bacteria left behind after pasteurization.

“It’s an add-on to pasteurization, but it can add shelf life of up to five, six or seven weeks to cold milk,” Applegate said.

Pasteurization, which removes significant amounts of harmful pathogens that can cause illness and eventually spoil dairy products, is considered a high-temperature, short-time method. Developed by Louis Pasteur in the 19th century, the treatment gives milk a shelf life of about two to three weeks.

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Swine summer camp brings “All-Stars” to Ohio

Young people from across the country involved in the show pig world converged on Columbus in mid-July to take part in a unique learning sure to make an impression for years to come.

“The Showpig.com All-Stars was a camp that we started a couple of years ago. The first two years we were in Romney, West Virginia,” said Kevin Wendt, auctioneer and CEO of the Wendt Group. “We were on a campus of a local high school that had an awesome animal department and we could do some really cool things obviously being in Appalachia to tie in the service part of it, but we decided this year to come to the Ohio State University, do some things here on campus, do some things in town, and still tie in to showing pigs and teaching them about leadership and those kinds of things.”

While the focus of the event may seem to be on showing hogs, Wendt says the goals of the program excel far beyond the show ring.

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Biosecurity recommendations for youth exhibitors

As county fairs continue across Ohio and the great Ohio State Fair is about to begin, biosecurity does not take a rest. Pork Checkoff director of swine health information and research, Dr. Lisa Becton, said that message is very important for youth exhibitors during the summer show season.

“As kids are actively in the fair season, showing animals and moving them around, it’s very important to know that diseases can transmit easily,” Becton said. “So it is important to do things like cleaning equipment or trailers between shows, making sure animals have proper vaccinations for things like influenza or other diseases just to make sure their not transferring anything or getting anything.”

Many times the importance of making sure a show animal is isolated from other animals on the farm after a show is overlooked.

“Even though an animal may look healthy, it may be carrying a virus or bacteria,” Becton said.

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ORVTLA 19th Annual Texas Longhorn Show

The Ohio River Valley Texas Longhorn Association’s 19th annual Texas Longhorn show was staged at the Wayne County Fairgrounds at Wooster on July 16. The show was organized by president Andrew Morris of Malhonding and past president Tim Mills of Perrysville. The ORVTLA is an affiliate of the International Texas Longhorn Association.

Registered Texas Longhorn cattle sparred for championship awards with 56 International Texas Longhorn Association approved classes offered. Contestants came mostly from Ohio, but several were from Indiana, Colorado, Texas and Pennsylvania.

The ITLA approved judge for the show was Stacy Workman of Gettysburg, Penn. Stacy and her husband Dan have raised Texas Longhorn cattle for 11 years and are serious competitors in the NETLA circuit. She is a home-school mother of three.

Unique classes included early starters “Pee Wee” classes, Youth Halter, Open Halter and Non Halter. Unlike other breeds, ITLA shows are popular for the Non Halter classes where cow/calf pairs, exhibition steers and all ages of registered cattle show freely in the show arena.

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Protecting water on our farm

Water quality. Two simple words that, when paired together, can stir the emotions of anyone regardless of whether or not they live near a significant body of water such as Lake Erie.

My family and I have always farmed in the Western Lake Erie Water Basin (WLEB). I have raised my family here and my kids are raising their families here. We have enjoyed living near Lake Erie, which offers so much to do in the summer months — fishing, boating, water skiing and more. I know how much Ohioans and out-of-state visitors look forward to spending family time and recreation time on the lake.

Because the WLEB is home to many farms, it is easy for people to jump to the conclusion that farmers are not doing enough to prevent nutrient run-off. I don’t think they take into consideration that farmers use and enjoy Ohio’s water in the same way they do.

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Does crabgrass really hate you?

You may have heard the rumor that crabgrass (Digitaria sanguinalis) hates you. Those who profit from the sale of lawn care products may like you to believe that, but despite the claims, it really isn’t true. Each year crabgrass works toward accomplishing the goal of all living things, to reproduce, and if it had a life motto it might be something like: “Life is short, so live it!” Any plant out of place can be considered a weed and in the eye of many, crabgrass fits this description. However in a forage system, crabgrass can be the right plant, in the right place, at the right time.

Crabgrass is an annual warm-season grass that reproduces by seed and completes it’s lifecycle in a timeframe offset from that of commonly used cool-season grasses like tall fescue, orchardgrass, and ryegrass. It begins germinating when soil temperatures reach 58 degrees F and can thrive while other species lay dormant in the summer heat.

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Ohio hosts shepherds from around the country through Howard Wyman Sheep Industry Leadership School

The 2016 Howard Wyman Sheep Industry Leadership School was held July 10 to 14 in Columbus. The program moves around the country and shepherds from around the nation flocked to Ohio for the event this year.

This year’s schedule included the popular Ohio State University Lamb 509 program plus an Ohio sheep industry tour through parts of northeast Ohio. A class of nearly 30 students was selected by the National Lamb Feeders Association to take part in this unique combination of presentations, tours, and hands-on activities to increase understanding of meat quality and marketing and enable participants to improve the profitability and competitiveness of lamb.

Tour stops included trips to Stitzlein Club Lambs, the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, Mt. Hope Auction, the farm of Amish shepherd Leroy Kuhns, and Don Hawk’s confined lamb feedlot in Knox County.

“It was a great learning experience. It was like-minded folks trying to learn from each other.

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Manure composting makes better use of valuable nutrients for cattle operation

After years of hauling liquid manure from their Fairfield County beef operation, Robert and Andy Wolfinger decided they needed to do something different to spread their nutrients over more ground.

“We talked to our agronomist and he had a friend who had started composting. We went to see him and see what we had to do to get in the business. We had the manure and we had trouble getting enough places to haul it every year close enough to home,” Robert Wolfinger said. “We started composting and we can scatter it out over more acres. We went from putting it on 100 acres to 500 or 600 acres and it takes some relief off of finding a place for our manure.”

The pen pack manure with corn stalks and wheat straw for bedding is hauled out in the spring and piled in windrows on a heavy use pad designed by and funded through the local Natural Resource Conservation Service Soil and Water Conservation District.

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Technology, equipment, education and more at the 2016 Manure Expo

The North American Manure Expo will be held on Aug. 3 and 4 near London at the Farm Science Review site. This unique national demonstration and educational event is the place to learn about the latest equipment, technologies and bests practices focused on returning manure nutrients to their roots to benefit crops and soils while protecting water quality. The show features tours, field demonstrations, and educational seminars, plus a huge trade show with more than 80 exhibitors.


Three tours will be offered on the morning of Aug. 3. Tour 1 focuses on composting and nutrient management. Participants will visit Price Farms Organics for an up close look at composting manure, including strategies for surface water runoff management, and Beck’s for an edge of field study site to learn what research tells us about reducing nutrient runoff from cropland. Tour 2 includes a visit to the Ohio Heifer Center, a 4,000-cow operation that recycles its bedding and has a gasifier for biochar production, and to Trupointe/Sunrise Cooperative for the latest in precision ag technology.

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New legislation offers protection from Super Fund litigation

The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) expressed its support for new bipartisan legislation introduced in the House of Representatives that would clarify the exemption of dairy farms and other livestock producers from being subject to the Resource Conversation and Recovery Act (RCRA), which governs the safe disposal of solid waste.

The Farm Regulatory Certainty Act (H.R. 5685), sponsored by Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA), would spell out that the RCRA law, enacted in 1976 to govern solid wastes in landfills, is not intended to regulate agricultural operations like dairy farms. Tin the past, NMPF feels the RCRA statute has been used to inappropriately target agriculture, specifically dairy and livestock producers, even if they have demonstrated that they have been following approved plans for using manure as a fertilizer. The Farm Regulatory Certainty Act will also protect farmers from citizen suits if they are undergoing efforts to comply with federal orders.

The new measure comes in response to a federal court ruling last year in lawsuits brought against several dairies in Washington state.

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A robot’s touch the answer for Bar-Lee Jerseys

The dairy industry’s constant search for the most cost effective and efficient production options has resulted in some unique technological changes in recent years. Milking a cow with robots, something thought of as near science fiction not long ago, is now being accepted as the way of life on a number of Ohio dairies.

Bar-Lee Jerseys, a family dairy farm in Willard, has in the past months put the technology to work. Jason Nuhfer is the fifth generation to milk and breed registered Jersey cattle.

“I graduated from Ohio State in 2008. At that time we started doing some facility improvements,” Nuhfer said.

A new free stall barn was added his graduation year. The calf barn was brought on in 2011 and the robotic milking system started the first of December this past year. Two Lely Astronaut A4 Robots were installed, each able to handle about 60 cows each.

“As we’ve done these facility improvements, kind of our number one goal was cow comfort — to keep that in mind,” he said.

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Plants of concern to livestock in summer

It seems like one of those years when growing conditions start off great but then we move into dry and hot conditions at the peak of summer. With such conditions we will have an increased potential for livestock poisonings. As summer progresses the preferred forages for grazing dry up and become less available and animals are forced to consume plants they might otherwise not eat. Therefore, there are recognizable circumstances like drought, overgrazing, nitrogen fertilization and summer storms that all have the potential to contribute to livestock poisoning. So what are some plants of concern for grazing livestock during these dry conditions in Ohio?

Buttercup: Beautiful small yellow flowers are common in pastures. Buttercup starts blooming in June and produces many typically bright yellow flowers of five or more petals with flowers spreading .75-inch to one-inch in width.

Tall buttercup and creeping buttercup are very aggressive perennials in pastures and can quickly overtake the field.

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Tips from the Chicken Whisperer

There is no denying the dramatic recent rise in poultry popularity and the booming backyard chicken trend. More small farm, suburban and even urban residents are learning that there are a number of benefits to having chickens in the backyard in addition to the eggs or meat they provide.

Andy Schneider, better known as the Chicken Whisperer, has become the go-to guy across the country for anything related to backyard chickens. He hosts the “Backyard Poultry with the Chicken Whisperer” web radio show, and serves as a national spokesperson for the USDA-APHIS Bio-Security for Birds Program. He is the editor of “Chicken Whisperer Magazine” and author of “The Chicken Whisperer’s Guide to Keeping Chickens.” This spring Schneider toured Kalmbach Feeds distributors around Ohio and shared plenty of poultry pointers.

“We know chickens are really good composters. For the most part your group of chickens will eat just about everything off of your plate.

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Pelleting and extrusion increase digestible and metabolizable energy in diets for pigs

Scientists at the University of Illinois using co-products from the ethanol and human food industries are helping shed light on ways processing high-fiber animal feed ingredients can enhance pigs’ utilization of the nutrients and energy they contain. The co-products from these industries typically contain more fiber than the standard corn-soybean meal diet.

“It is possible that the benefits of extrusion and pelleting are greater in high-fiber diets than in low-fiber diets. We set out to test that hypothesis, said Hans H. Stein, professor of animal sciences at Illinois.”

Stein and his team tested effects of extrusion, pelleting, or extrusion and pelleting: using a low-fiber diet based on corn and soybean meal; a medium-fiber diet containing corn, soybean meal, and 25% distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS); and a high-fiber diet containing corn, soybean meal, 25% DDGS, and 20% soybean hulls.

Each diet was divided into four batches. One batch was fed in meal form, one was pelleted at 85 degrees C, one was extruded at 115 degrees C, and the fourth was extruded at 115 degrees C and then pelleted at 85 degrees C.

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