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Machinery custom rates for silage operations

By Barry Ward, OSU Extension Leader, Production Business Management

Significant drought conditions in many parts of Ohio have led to an increased interest in harvesting corn as silage. With very few farmers owning silage-making equipment, many are looking to neighbors that do own silage harvesting-equipment or professional custom farming providers to help them meet their needs. Questions arise about custom farming rates and the data that you might use to answer your questions about “what should I pay to have my corn harvested as silage?”

Online resources are available that may help in calculating your total costs of performing a given custom operation. Some of the online resources available that may be of assistance include:
Farm Machinery Cost Estimates available at:

Machinery Economics at farmdoc:

Estimating Farm Machinery Costs

To access up-to-date custom farming rates for silage harvesting we can access the Pennsylvania 2012 Machinery Custom Rates (http://pss.uvm.edu/vtcrops/articles/PA_CustomRates_2012.pdf) or the 2012 Iowa Farm Custom Rates (http://www.extension.iastate.edu/agdm/crops/pdf/a3-10.pdf).… Continue reading

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Statewide sheep shearing school Sept. 14-15

Do you want to learn to shear sheep or know someone who does? Do you want to learn to shear sheep so that you can either shear your own flock or you want to learn for a little extra cash? Here is your opportunity.

We are once again offering a Statewide Sheep Shearing School which will be held Friday and Saturday, September 14 and 15, 2012 from 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. at the Dave Cable Farm, 10491 Canal Rd., Hebron, OH 43025.

There will be no class size limit and the cost is $40 per student to help defray the costs of the school. Payment must be returned with registration form by Friday, Sept. 7. If you decide to register after that date, please call Roger A. High at (614)246-8299 or via email at rhigh@ofbf.org. If you have questions, please call Roger A. High at (614) 246-8299 or via email at rhigh@ofbf.org.… Continue reading

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Is egg bill a wise compromise or a slippery slope?

By Matt Reese

Which came first, the enriched chicken cages or the egg bill?

The answer depends on the individual producer, for now, as enriched cages and other housing systems are voluntary, but that could be changing.

In what remains a shocking paring, animal rights advocates and the nation’s leading egg organizations (most notably the United Egg Producers) have teamed up in support of HR 3798, the “egg bill.” The proposed bill phases in federally mandated standards for laying hen housing, including enriched cages with perches, scratching pads, nesting boxes and other features that allow the hens to express natural behaviors in a group colony setting. The proposed U.S. House bill (with a very similar measure in the U.S. Senate) would basically double the existing per bird space.

As it currently stands, a version of the egg bill has bipartisan support in both chambers of Congress and 130 co-sponsors.

“There was talk of attaching it to the farm bill,” said Jim Chakeres, executive director of the Ohio Poultry Association.… Continue reading

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Strong beef profits possible for those who maintain herd size in tough conditions

The U.S. beef herd has been shrinking, and the worst drought in decades has only encouraged that trend to continue. But for beef producers who can withstand the financial hardship over the next several months, reduced beef supplies could mean bigger profits starting as early as late 2013.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s midyear cattle inventory report showed beef cow numbers dropped by 3% in the last year. It projects the 2012 calf crop to be down 2% from last year, and down 8% since 2006.

Part of what has been driving the decline is skyrocketing feed costs and prolonged drought in the Southern Plains, said Chris Hurt, Purdue Extension agricultural economist.

“This year’s drought likely means further decreases in cow numbers over the next 12-14 months,” he said. “The impacts of the drought are just beginning to show up in some of the national data. We do know the direction, but not the final magnitude.”

Since mid-June, corn prices have jumped by 60% and soybean meal prices by 25%.… Continue reading

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Beef sector looks at potential in Russia

Russia was one of the hottest markets for U.S. beef during the first half of 2012, a trend upon which the beef checkoff has capitalized through trainings and promotions. Coming off a record performance in 2011, beef and beef variety meat exports to Russia were up 17% in volume (84.2 million pounds) and 57% in value ($162.2 million) year-on-year through the first half of 2012.

Looking ahead, prospects for continued export growth are bolstered by Russia’s entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO). Though Russia’s invitation to join the WTO became official in December 2011, the Russian Parliament just recently (in late July) passed legislation to complete its accession to the WTO. This means that many of the trade commitments Russia agreed to as part of its WTO accession on Aug. 23, 2012.

“The duty on frozen beef muscle cuts will remain unchanged at 15%,” said Thad Lively, senior vice president for trade access for the U.S.… Continue reading

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Awareness key to preventing H3N2 illness, minimizing impact on pork industry

Minimizing the risk of human disease and any potential impact on the country’s pork industry from the outbreak of the influenza A H3N2 variant virus can best be accomplished through education about the nature of influenza viruses and how to prevent infection along with stepped-up efforts to keep sick pigs away from agricultural fairs, Ohio State University animal virologists said.

According to the latest update from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the H3N2v virus — called “variant” because it has some unique genetic changes compared with typical swine H3N2 viruses — has infected 153 people since July. All but two of the cases occurred in Ohio and Indiana. The majority of those who have contracted the virus had direct contact with pigs, mainly at state or county fairs. Most of the cases have been reported in children.

So far, no one has died from the virus. The severity of illnesses associated with it in humans has been similar to the severity of illnesses commonly seen with seasonal flu, the CDC reported.… Continue reading

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Awareness key to preventing H3N2 illness, minimizing impact on pork industry

Minimizing the risk of human disease and any potential impact on the country’s pork industry from the outbreak of the influenza A H3N2 variant virus can best be accomplished through education about the nature of influenza viruses and how to prevent infection along with stepped-up efforts to keep sick pigs away from agricultural fairs, Ohio State University animal virologists say.

According to the latest update from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the H3N2v virus – called “variant” because it has some unique genetic changes compared with typical swine H3N2 viruses – has infected 153 people since July. All but two of the cases occurred in Ohio and Indiana. The majority of those who have contracted the virus had direct contact with pigs, mainly at state or county fairs. Most of the cases have been reported in children.

So far, no one has died from the virus. The severity of illnesses associated with it in humans has been similar to the severity of illnesses commonly seen with seasonal flu, the CDC reported.… Continue reading

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Give incoming cattle a strong, healthy start

Stocker and feedlot operators understand the importance of getting incoming cattle off to a good start. The addition of an intranasal respiratory vaccine to their on-arrival programs can offer early protection against bovine respiratory disease (BRD) to help keep cattle healthy and productive for the entire production phase.

“Vaccination against respiratory diseases should be done during arrival processing,” says Lee Bob Harper, DVM, Cattle and Equine Technical Services, Pfizer Animal Health. “Since the health, management and vaccination histories are typically unknown for incoming cattle, it’s crucial that on-arrival programs include BRD vaccination to help get calves off to a good start.”

Dr. Harper recommends stocker and feedlot operators talk with their veterinarian about including an intranasal vaccine in their on-arrival programs for several reasons. First, intranasal vaccines allow producers to help jump-start the calf’s immune system by stimulating a quick immune response, Dr. Harper says.

“Intranasal vaccines can stimulate a different part of the immune system than injectable vaccines,” he says.… Continue reading

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USDA meat purchases

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced USDA’s intent to purchase up to $170 million of pork, lamb, chicken, and catfish for federal food nutrition assistance programs, including food banks. The purchase will help relieve pressure on American livestock producers during the drought, while helping to bring the nation’s meat supply in line with demand while providing high quality, nutritious food to recipients of USDA’s nutrition programs.

“President Obama and I will continue to take swift action to get help to America’s farmers and ranchers through this difficult time,” Vilsack said. “These purchases will assist pork, catfish, chicken and lamb producers who are currently struggling due to challenging market conditions and the high cost of feed resulting from the widespread drought. The purchases will help mitigate further downward prices, stabilize market conditions, and provide high quality, nutritious food to recipients of USDA’s nutrition programs.”

USDA announced its intention to purchase up to $100 million of pork products, up to $10 million of catfish products, up to $50 million in chicken products, and up to $10 million of lamb products for federal food nutrition assistance programs, including food banks.… Continue reading

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Beware of rising nitrate levels in forages

Drought conditions that have gripped Ohio and many parts of the Midwest could increase the potential for rising nitrate levels in forages, an Ohio State University Extension expert says.

That means growers and producers need to take extra care to test corn they feed their livestock to ensure that nitrate levels aren’t high enough to sicken or kill the animal, said Bruce Clevenger, an Extension educator and a member of Ohio State’s Agronomic Crops Team.

“It’s important that farmers take steps to make sure drought-stressed forage is safe to eat,” he said. “Drought-stressed corn has the potential for elevated levels of nitrate in the stalks.”

Nitrate poisoning is a real concern for livestock production right now because of the ongoing drought conditions impacting growers statewide, Clevenger said.

This is a significant concern for growers and producers, considering most of Ohio except for some counties near the Kentucky, West Virginia and Pennsylvania borders is experiencing moderate drought, with some counties near the Indiana and Michigan borders experiencing severe and extreme drought as of Aug.… Continue reading

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Beef Checkoff changes coming

A newly approved structure for joint beef checkoff committees endeavors to engage more cattle producers and beef importers who pay the checkoff in a more efficient decision-making process about investment of their hard-earned checkoff investments.

Adopted unanimously by both the Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB) and the Federation of State Beef Councils during the recent 2012 Cattle Industry Summer Conference in Denver, the new structure effectively reduces the number of checkoff program committees — which are responsible for making recommendations to the Beef Promotion Operating Committee about programs to fund with checkoff dollars — from the current 13 to just four in 2013.

Each of those four new committees will be tied directly to core strategies identified in the 2011-2013 Beef Industry Long Range Plan, with subcommittees for the domestic market formed around the beef demand drivers identified in that same plan. As envisioned, committees will be flexible enough to change with adoption of a new long range plan, if those strategies and demand drivers change.… Continue reading

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More CRP haying and grazing options opened up

In response to the continued drought conditions, the Ohio Farm Service Agency (FSA) State Executive Director Steve Maurer, announced the addition of 5 CRP practices that livestock producers and other participants in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) will now be able to emergency hay and graze.

“Many of these additional acres have wetland-related characteristics and are likely to contain better quality hay and forage than on other CRP acres,” Maurer said.

The list of eligible practices has been expanded to include:

  • CP8A (grass waterways) – haying and grazing available
  • CP23 (wetland restoration) – haying and grazing available
  • CP23A (wetland restoration, non-floodplain) – haying and grazing available
  • CP25 (rare and declining habitat (oak savanna, wetland complexes, tall grass prairies)
    • Oak Savannas – haying only
    • Wetland Complexes – haying and grazing
    • Tall Grass Prairies – haying and grazing
  • CP27/CP28 (farmable wetlands pilot wetland and buffer) – haying and grazing available

Eligible producers who are interested in haying or grazing CRP under the emergency authorization, and current CRP participants who choose to provide land for haying or grazing to an eligible livestock producer, must first request approval from their local FSA office and obtain a modified conservation plan from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).… Continue reading

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Be wary at county fairs as H3N2V spreading

The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) and the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) announced the launch of an outreach plan to increase awareness of H3N2v at county fairs. A representative from ODA and ODH, or a local designee such as the fair veterinarian or health commissioner, will visit every fair to make in-person contact with swine exhibitors and reinforce the importance of preventing the spread of flu. As part of that outreach, ODA has set guidance for fair boards. Together, the agencies created an informational video for fairgoers and exhibitors: http://youtu.be/WBJsCcqscU0.

ODH has confirmed six additional cases of Influenza A variant H3N2 in Ohio. There are currently 36 cases of H3N2v statewide. At this time, surveillance indicates that the individuals most likely became ill with the flu virus after exposure to swine.

County of Residence

Number of Confirmed H3N2v Cases

















Those with confirmed cases of H3N2v are between the ages of 6 months and 36 years old.… Continue reading

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West Nile Virus found in Shelby County horse

The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) confirmed a case of West Nile Virus in a horse from Shelby County. Samples were collected on August 1, 2012 and results were confirmed by the agency on August 6, 2012.

Mosquitoes can pick up the West Nile Virus from wild birds and may then transmit the infection to people and other animals. Studies show that cool, wet weather in early spring followed by very hot temperatures throughout the summer can result in increased mosquito activity.

Infection with West Nile Virus does not always lead to signs of illness in people or animals.  In horses that become clinically ill, the virus infects the central nervous system and may cause symptoms of encephalitis. Clinical signs of encephalitis in horses may include a general loss of appetite, depression, weakness in limbs, and possible fever.

“Animal vaccination is a primary key to preventing the spread of West Nile virus among animals.… Continue reading

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Lawsuit seeks to cripple the Beef Checkoff Program

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) President J.D. Alexander expressed disgust following an announcement that the Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM) has formed a partnership with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) to destroy more than 25 years of market development and consumer demand building by the Beef Checkoff Program.

Specifically, OCM announced that it will file a lawsuit seeking an injunction against the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service, Cattlemen’s Beef Board and the Beef Promotion Operating Committee. OCM President and Director Fred Stokes stated during the press briefing that HSUS is helping fund its efforts to file the lawsuit. OCM claims to advocate for a fair, competitive agricultural marketplace; however, in doing so it partnered with an organization known for its anti-agriculture agenda. According to Alexander, independent research shows the beef checkoff is supported by nearly 75% of cattlemen and women.

“HSUS is an organization going state by state vowing to end production agriculture by outlawing scientifically validated production practices in animal agriculture.… Continue reading

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Know the basics of strategic deworming

Keeping a healthy herd requires proper planning

A strategic deworming approach involves more than administering a dewormer annually. It’s about knowing when parasites could be compromising the health of your cattle.

“Timing is critical for strategic deworming programs,” says Gary Sides, Ph.D., Cattle Nutritionist, Pfizer Animal Health Cattle and Equine Technical Services. “Along with timing, selecting the appropriate active ingredient, using proper administration techniques and even taking geography into consideration are all vital parts of getting the most out of your deworming program.”

A strategic program aims to interrupt the lifecycle of the parasite. To do that, cattle producers should deworm their herd twice a year — once in the spring at the beginning of grass green up and again in the fall before winter turnout.

“If spring deworming is done correctly, it can be very beneficial moving into fall because parasite loads are greatly reduced,” Dr. Sides says. “Likewise, fall deworming is still very important to clean up any parasites that might have been missed earlier in the year and takes care of the parasites that may overwinter in the cattle.”

When a dewormer is used correctly as part of a strategic deworming program, it can help cow/calf producers ensure that they are feeding cattle, not the parasites, and ultimately allow the animal to utilize forage more efficiently.1

After determining the appropriate timing and identifying the parasites of concern in the area, the next step is choosing the right dewormer.… Continue reading

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More swine results

2012 Ohio State Fair Junior Barrow Sale- $49,580


Champ Berkshire: Cierra Whitesel, Ansonia, exhibited the 251-pound grand champion Berkshire that sold for $2500 to Tony and Dicka Nye and family, PNC Bank and the Buckeye Barrow Boosters.


Champ Chester White:  Justin Goldsmith, Williamsport, exhibited the 279-pound grand champion Chester White that sold for $2375 to Producers Livestock, Event Marketing Strategies and the Buckeye Barrow Boosters.


Champ Dark Cross: Meghan Bremke, Wellington, exhibited the 277-pound grand champion dark cross that sold for $5800 to Bodey Insurance, Nationwide, Buckeye Barrow Boosters, Bremke Show Feed and Huffman’s Market.


Champ Duroc: Mitchel Shawhan, South Charleston, exhibited the 271-pound grand champion Duroc that sold for $5450 to Agrigold Seed Corn, Bluegrass Farms of Ohio, ICAP Crop Insurance, Tekuro Corp., Trupointe Cooperative, Producers Livestock and the Buckeye Barrow Boosters.


Champ Hampshire: Hunter Nichols, London, exhibited the 280-pound grand champion Hampshire that sold for $4350 to Sollars Farm, Isla Grande Farms, Schrader Real Estate and Auction Co., Murray and Edwards, Wilt Farms, Dean Glispie Racing Stables, Charle Andrews, Larry Criswell and family, Cutting Edge, Thompson Show Feed, Carl and Leah Davison, Doug and Cindy Peterman and family, Kuhlwein family, Green and Son, Advantage Bank, Ron and Kyla DeOrnellas, Davis Hay and Straw, Reiterman Feed and Supply, Vallery and Dorn Insurance, Brian Mast-Pioneer Seed, and JCW Farms.… Continue reading

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Supplemental forage options for late summer planting

By Mark Sulc and Stan Smith, OSU Extension

Many producers are looking to grow more forage this autumn and early next spring because of the reduced forage yields resulting from dry weather this year. Supplemental forage can be produced yet this year by planting small grains or annual ryegrass on land coming out of wheat or corn silage. In this article we discuss options for planting in early August (on wheat stubble ground for example), in late August to early September (after corn silage removal), and after soybean harvest (late September to mid-October).

Before making any plans to plant supplemental forages, be sure to check the plant back restriction interval for herbicides used in the previous crop. Corn herbicides, especially atrazine products, have a long rotation restriction interval for many of the forage options listed below. So check the labels for the herbicides you used this year especially.

Early August Plantings
The best options are to plant spring oat, spring triticale, or annual ryegrass (see section below on annual ryegrass).… Continue reading

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Drought leaving alfalfa quantity concerns

By Ty Higgins, Ohio Ag Net

Licking County livestock producer Popeye Thompson is doing double takes when he looks at the calendar. Thompson knows from his decades of experience that it is never a promising scenario to start feeding alfalfa in July, but that is exactly what happened, not only on Thompson’s Alexandria farm, but on hundreds of other farms all over Ohio as well.

“Things have deteriorated faster than I thought they ever could,” Thompson said. “Until we get a decent amount of rain, I will have to continue to supplement some of my hay, and hope that I can keep enough stored when I need it the most this winter.”

Generally this time of year, Thompson has a successful grazing plan in place. He rotates his cattle on two different pastures every three weeks. The extreme heat and lack of rain, though, changed that philosophy in quick fashion after drought

conditions set in this year.… Continue reading

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DDGs can help dodge rising feed costs

If the drought forces producers to feed a larger portion of distillers dried grains with solubles, cattle can maintain gains and improve meat quality if the animals are weaned early, a Purdue University scientist has shown.

The finding, reported at the American Society of Animal Science Midwest Meetings in Des Moines, Iowa, could allow some producers to save on rising feed costs in the face of this year’s drought. Distillers dried grains with solubles, or DDGS, are the leftovers from corn ethanol production. DDGS generally cost about 10% less than corn feed.

“You can essentially use a cheaper feed for a portion of the time and maintain high rates of gain, while improving the quality of the meat,” said Jon Schoonmaker, an assistant professor of animal sciences. “It decreases fat thickness, but doesn’t decrease marbling score.”

Schoonmaker tested cattle weaned at 100 days instead of a more traditional 200 days. Those early weaned cattle were fed diets with no DDGS or one with DDGS content of 30% or 60% for 99 days, after which they were fed a standard diet with no DDGS.… Continue reading

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