Making Sense of Sheep

Garth Ruff, OSU Extension Educator ANR, Henry County- Originally Posted on The OSU Sheep Team Newsletter

Rookie Shepherding 101

Last summer when my younger brother moved out of our parents’ house and on to a 25-acre farm just six miles down the road, we decided to get into the sheep business together. Growing up we had experience with beef cattle and hogs and quite honestly sheep were an afterthought until the purchase of this small farm. The previous owners had had a couple of horses and had row cropped the majority of the farm. After some research and number crunching, here are 6 things that we considered as first time shepherds.

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Growing Vegetables in Straw Bales

By Craig LeHoullier- Originally posted in Gardeners Supply Company Website – April 25, 2018

Tomatoes growing in straw bales

CONSIDER the humble bale of straw. Think beyond its reputation as a Halloween decoration and picture it as a productive part of your garden. The concept is simple: As the straw begins to break down, it turns into a rich, compostable planter that’s ideal for growing vegetables.

Although the practice of gardening in straw bales dates back to ancient times, I learned of it only a decade ago during a chance encounter with a local straw-bale guru, Kent Rogers. When my publisher asked me to write about straw-bale gardening, I tested the techniques in my own gardens and was quite impressed with the results.

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Dewormers – Are They An Extremely Valuable Non-Renewable Resources?

– Michelle Arnold, DVM (Ruminant Extension Veterinarian, UKVDL), University of Kentucky

A “non-renewable” resource is a resource with economic value that cannot be readily replaced on a level equal to its consumption. Petroleum and coal are two familiar examples of valuable non-renewable products used daily but known to exist in limited supply, and formation of new product takes billions of years. Dewormers, on the other hand, are products that can be purchased from almost any farm or veterinary supply store and online. There are many different kinds, fairly inexpensive, and seemingly effective at killing parasites in the digestive tract of cattle and certain types also control flies, ticks and lice. Continue reading

Knox County Soil Temperatures




 OK – whats wrong with this picture????








Knox County 2″ & 4″ Soil Temperatures

  • Corn Stubble
  • Temperatures collected between 7 – 8 a.m.
    • Milford Township temp’s taken at noon.



Temporary Fencing- The Future of Grazing

Johnny Rogers, North Carolina State Grazing Program Coordinator
(Previously featured in Hay & Forage Grower: February 15, 2018)

There’s power in polywire

Pasture-based livestock production at first glance is a simple system. Producers use herbivores to harvest forage and create something they can sell (or enjoy).

In the past, it has been typical to use a continuous grazing system where livestock will remain on the same pasture for an extended period, but this can lead to poor forage utilization. Livestock will roam large pastures as they seek out their preferred plant species and leave others to become degraded, mature, and unpalatable.

Many producers do not appreciate the value of grass until they do not have enough during periods of drought or while feeding through winter. Numerous studies have evaluated the cost of grazing versus feeding hay or other stored forages; in most cases, extending the grazing season is profitable.

Farmers will spend large sums of money to harvest, store, and feed hay. In most cases, they would not consider giving cattle full access to stored supplies.

Why not do the same when utilizing your pastures?



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Absorbency of Alternative Livestock Bedding Sources

Reggie Voyles, undergraduate research intern, Department of Animal Science, Iowa State University
Mark Honeyman, professor, Department of Animal Science, Iowa State University
Iowa State University, Northwest Research Farms and Allee Demonstration Farm ISRF05-29, 31
(previously published on Talking Sheep – Sheep Education and Information: March 28, 2018)

As the demand for niche-marketed meats increases, so does need for research in this area. One niche market that is being examined is pork raised in deep-bedded systems. There is also a call for alternative bedding materials. Farm produced bedding sources such as cornstalks and various types of straws are commonly used. However, this study looked at other possible materials. Products were tested to see if they could be equal substitutes based on their absorbency. A ground lumber product and a ground lumber with drywall product with a ratio of 8:1 lumber-to-drywall were tested. These products were produced from demolished buildings. They had different performance qualities than wood shavings and were compared to cornstalks, recycled paper, oat straw, and triticale straw.

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Ohio Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) Frequently Asked Questions

Knox County will be hosting a BQA training in early Fall (September). Once the date is confirmed we will notice producers. 

Originally posted on the BEEF Newsletter – April 18, 2018

Garth Ruff, ANR Extension Educator, OSU Henry County Extension

Q: What is BQA?
A: Beef Quality Assurance is a nationally coordinated, state implemented program that provides systematic information to U.S. beef producers and beef consumers of how common sense husbandry techniques can be coupled with accepted scientific knowledge to raise cattle under optimum management and environmental conditions.

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Ohio Noxious Weed Identification – Week 11 Purple Loosestrife

Purple Loosestrife

FamilyLoosestrife, Lythraceae.

Habitat: Wet meadows, flood plains, wetlands, ditches.

Life cycle: Perennial.

Growth Habit: Usually 2- 4 feet tall, but may reach up to 10 feet in nutrient-rich habitats.

Leaves: Opposite or whorled, 1.5-4 inches long with smooth margins, lacking petioles. Lower leaves have downy hairs and clasp the stem.

Stem: Stiff, 4-sided, woody at the base.

Flower: July to early September. Long spikes of rose or purple flowers, each with 4-7 wrinkled petals.

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