Barn Cameras: A Shepherd’s Saving Grace

By: Jacci Smith, OSU Extension Educator ANR/4-H, Delaware County

Just imagine: It’s the middle of February, minus 4 degrees outside, and 3:00 am. You roll out of bed, put on your coveralls and boots. Open the door to go check that ewe that wasn’t acting quite right at chore time. That bitter cold hits you in the face and boom you are wide-awake. Once you get to the barn, you look around and there is no lambing action. So you trek back to the house, take off your winter gear and try, and fail, to get back to sleep.

This is why the invention of barn cameras was so vital. Lambing season is a time of year that we all need to be on the top of our game. When you are run down without the proper sleep, this might not be the case. Barn cameras can be an amazing tool that shepherds can have if the right steps are taken. Continue reading

Winter Dairy Calf Management

By: Jason Hartschuh, Extension Educator, Crawford County, Ohio State University Extension

Winter roared in this year way before most of us were ready with corn still in the field, barn doors not dug out and winter calf supplies still in the back corner of the barn. Even though we know winter is coming, it never seems like we are ready when the first blast of winter comes.

Calves are most comfortable when the outside temperatures are between 50 to 68 degrees F, which is a calf’s thermoneutral zone. When temperatures are below the lower critical temperature of 50 degrees F, calves need extra energy to stay warm. At times during winter, this can be a challenge since 50 degrees F at night can have highs of 70 degrees F during the day. Usually calves deep bedded with straw manage this variation by nesting with their legs covered at least to the middle of the back leg when lying down. Continue reading

Be on the Lookout for Mycotoxins in Livestock Feed

By: Jennifer Shike, previously published by Farm Journal’s Pork online

Producers need to be diligent about monitoring for mycotoxins in livestock feed this winter on the heels of weather conditions that promoted their growth this fall.

Kansas State toxicologist Steve Ensley says Kansas’ summer drought conditions led to a heightened risk of aflatoxin in the state’s grain crop, while wet conditions during the 2018 harvest also made that grain susceptible to fumonisin.

“This year we have already had some death losses associated with mycotoxins in pigs and horses and so we’ve measured just a very few samples of corn and found very high concentrations of fumonisin and aflatoxin,” Ensley says. “I’m very concerned that it may be a bigger health issue statewide than the localized cases we’ve seen so far.” Continue reading

Your Hay Storage Impacts Quality and Quantity

By: David Dugan, OSU Extension Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources, Adams County

Where and how hay is stored can have a huge impact on the quality and quantity that’s available to be used for feed

With the calendar turning to November, and the temperatures dropping below freezing several mornings now, the time to feed hay is near, if not already here. Several have been feeding hay due to the pasture situation following a dry September that included several 90 degree plus days that zapped much of the grass. Continue reading

How Much Hay Will A Cow Consume?

By: Glenn Selk, Oklahoma State University Emeritus Extension Animal Scientist. (Previously published by Drovers online)

Estimating forage usage by cows is an important part of the task of calculating winter feed needs.  Hay or standing forage intake must be estimated in order to make the calculations.  Forage quality will be a determining factor in the amount of forage consumed.  Higher quality forages contain larger concentrations of important nutrients so animals consuming these forages should be more likely to meet their nutrient needs from the forages.  Also cows can consume a larger quantity of higher quality forages. Continue reading

Consider By-product Feeds in Rations This Winter

By: Erika Lyon, OSU Extension Educator, Jefferson & Harrison Counties (originally published in The Ohio Farmer)

By-products such as distillers grains, gluten or soyhulls can serve as lower cost feed alternatives.

The last two years made it challenging for many producers to find good quality, let alone a good quantity of, feed for livestock. Spoilage and high costs for subpar hay and grain can be discouraging. Health issues associated with poor quality feed may range from starvation-like symptoms due to lacking nutritional value of feed to death from contamination. Producers may want to consider supplementing other types of feeds into winter rations to make up for the loss in nutritional value of traditional feeds and to help off-set costs. Continue reading

Lamb Industry Requires Further Change, says American Lamb Summit

Source: American Lamb Board
(Previously published in the ASI Weekly Newsletter – September 6, 2019)

Outcomes from the inaugural American Lamb Summit were clear: all segments of the industry need to further improve lamb quality to keep and attract new customers and become more efficient to recapture market share from imported lamb. Yet, it was just as clear that production technologies and product research put industry success within grasp. Continue reading

Small Ruminant Production Workshop – Wilmington Ohio

By: Brady Campbell, OSU Animal Sciences

Small ruminant production continues to grow across the nation as the market for this industry remains strong. Small ruminants, including sheep and goats, are two livestock species that are most easily adapted to any type of production system. Regardless if you are someone that is interested in just getting into the industry or a seasoned veteran, I encourage you to attend the latest small ruminant production workshop.

Sponsored by the OSU Sheep Team, The Ohio State University Extension, Wilmington College, and Ohio Sheep and Wool Program, I’d like to invite you to the Small Ruminant Production Workshop – Addressing Needs for a Successful Production Season. This workshop will be held on Friday, October 4, 2019 from 9:00 am – 3:00 pm at the Wilmington College Academic Farm in Wilmington, Ohio. Over the course of the day, attendees will hear from Extension specialist and Animal Science faculty and staff members covering an array of topics including flock and herd management, facilities and handling, nutrition and health, forages and marketing, as well as carcass quality and fabrication. Continue reading

The Economic Importance of U.S. Animal Agriculture

By: Chris Hurt, Department of Agricultural Economics Purdue University, farmdoc daily (9):158

Diversified grain and livestock farms were once the model of U.S. agriculture. Farms often had crop and animal enterprises to help capture their complementary nature such as spreading the use of family labor throughout the year and recycling animal waste as nutrients to the crop enterprise.

Today, farms are much more specialized in crops or animals, and many fewer are in both. Has this changed the relative economic importance of crop and animal agriculture in the U.S.? Continue reading

From Across the Field – Biosecurity Basics 7/25/2019

A moderate cool down after last week’s heat was much needed across the region. Once temperature reach levels greater than 86F crop growth and development slows and water intake increases. In checking IPM insect traps this past week, it appears the Western Bean Cutworm moths are in or near peak flight. Trap counts ranged from 53 moths in Pleasant Township to 131 in Liberty. That said, from a pest management standpoint, damage risk is minimal as most of the corn in the county is yet to tassel. Corn that has tasseled should be scouted for egg masses. Continue reading