Avoid Heat Stress in Your Sheep and Goats

Michael Metzger, Michigan State University Extension Educator
(Previously published on MSU Extension, Sheep & Goat: June 29, 2012)

Make sure your sheep and goats have access to plenty of clean fresh water on hot, humid days.

Extreme heat is stressful to livestock, as well as people. High temperatures are even more problematic in states like Michigan, because high temperatures are also often accompanied by high humidity. The heat index (temperature plus humidity) is a more accurate measure of heat stress than temperature alone.

Some livestock tolerate heat better than others. Sheep and goats tend to be less susceptible to heat stress than swine, cattle, llamas, and alpacas. However, goats tend to tolerate heat better than sheep. Goats with loose skin and floppy ears may be more heat tolerant than other goats. Angora goats have a decreased ability to respond to heat stress as compared to sheep and other breeds of goats.

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The Process of Artificially Inseminating a Cow

– Clif Little, OSU Extension Guernsey County

What are some logical steps in utilizing artificial insemination (AI) on the farm?  We will assume cows and heifers are good candidates for a synchronization program.  However, months prior to AI implementation review the desired cow and heifer physiological condition and factors that influence response to AI.  As with any new venture, it is beneficial to first observe the AI process.  There are many steps to the process, and the timing and flow of work are of utmost importance to the success of AI.

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Hay yields off? Don’t panic, there’s time to take action!

By: Chris Penrose, OSU Extension

Originally posted in the CORN Newsletter.

I hope you do not have the hay season I am having. While the quality of my hay is good, my yields are incredibly disappointing. With over half of my fields made, I am around 50% of the usual crop. The two late freezes killed back growing grass last month, and honestly, I am mowing hay earlier than most years. I am also doing it much faster with my youngest son not working this summer at the Wilmington College farm due to the virus and helping on the farm. Another thing I have noticed over the past few years is that some hay fields have less fescue and orchard grass and more poor quality forage like cheatgrass reducing quality and yields.

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Grazing Summer Annuals

 

Brad Schick, University of Nebraska Extension (Previously published Drovers Newsletter: June 26, 2018)

Grazing summer annual grasses can be a great addition to an operation when annuals are chosen correctly and grazing plans are used.

Grazing summer annual grasses is a great way to add flexibility to an operation, but in order to make it worth your time and money some management decisions are required. Your goals and your location will determine what type of summer annual you should plant. This article will address:

1. Type of annual and planting date
2. Timing of grazing
3. Prussic acid and nitrates

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Prevent Parasites Through Grazing Management

Melanie Barkley, Livestock Extension Educator, Penn State Extension (previously published with Penn State Extension: May 31, 2017)

Grazing management and genetic selection can help your flock minimize the impact of parasites.

Parasites continue to plague many sheep and goat producers throughout the grazing season. Internal parasites decrease growth rates and in high levels can even cause death. However, sheep and goat producers can follow several practices to minimize the impacts to their flock or herd. These practices center on grazing management, but can also include genetic selection principles.

 

 

 

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Meat Processing Laws in Ohio and the U.S.

Originally posted in Ohio’s Country Journal

By Peggy Kirk Hall, director of agricultural law, Ohio State University Agricultural and Resource Law Program

Meat sales have been subject to serious supply chain issues wrought by COVID-19, raising many questions here in Ohio about who can process meat and where meat can be sold. In my opinion, explaining meat processing laws is nearly as difficult as summarizing the Internal Revenue Code. But one easy answer to the meat processing questions we’ve been receiving relates to Ohio’s participation in the Cooperative Interstate Shipment (CIS) Program established by the 2008 Farm Bill. Ohio was the first state to participate in CIS and is the largest of the seven approved state CIS programs. CIS participation means that a small Ohio processor can apply to operate as a “federally inspected” plant and sell meat across state lines, including through online sales.

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Cressleaf Groundsel in Hay

Source: Jason Hartschuh, CCA, Ted Wiseman, OSU Extension

Cressleaf Groundsel is in full flower currently in forage and unplanted fields across the state. While this is not a new weed prevalence has been increasing, causing concern for many livestock producers.

 

Toxicity

Cressleaf Groundsel is toxic to both cattle and horses. Cattle are 30-40 times more susceptible to poisoning than sheep or goats. Calves and younger cattle are more susceptible than older cattle, but it can be fatal at high enough doses to all age groups. Pyrrolizidine alkaloids are the principle toxin in these plants. It is known to cause liver disease in cattle, producing symptoms such as listlessness, decreased appetite, depression, anorexia, diarrhea, and photosensitization in extreme cases. It also appears that this species has been responsible for abortions in cattle, making control of butterweed a necessity. Cattle that consumed 4 to 8% of their body weight in the green plant over a few days developed acute liver necrosis and died within 1 to 2 days. Cattle that ingested 0.15% of their body weight (fresh weight) of a species in the same genus as butterweed for a minimum of 20 days resulted in 100% mortality. This comparative ratio equates to a 20-day cumulative dose of 2% of an animal’s body weight of dry plants (Knight and Walter 2001). Most beef cattle will consume 2-2.5% of their body weight in dry matter per day. Since these toxins are cumulative when hay is over 5% Cressleaf Groundsel dry matter weight, enough can be consumed within 20 days to cause mortality.

Cressleaf Groundsel

While toxicity decreases in some plants as they dry, that is not the case with Cressleaf Groundsel. These toxins are not decreased if the plants are dried and baled. Ensilaging will decrease the concentration of toxin but not eliminate them. Producers with high concentrations of Cressleaf Groundsel maybe forced to bale first cutting and throw it away so that livestock are not poisoned. Areas of sparse concentration may be baled and fed cautiously, ideally alongside hay that is free from poisonous weeds. Cattle may sort the weeds out. A new bale should be fed before the only thing left in the feeder is weeds. In grazing situations, cattle will usually not eat poisonous plants as long as they have access to other quality forages. Be cautious anytime drought conditions decrease forage stands.

Biology and Identification

Cressleaf groundsel reproduces only from seeds and emerges as a rosette in the fall, then bolts, flowers, and goes to seed in the spring.  Bolting stems are hairless, hollow, grooved, and can reach heights of three feet with inflorescences that have six to twelve yellow ray flowers.  The flowers are like other species in the Aster family, with ray (outside) and disk (center) petals.  The outer ray will normally consist of 5 to 15 petals that are bright yellow, and the inner disk will be a more golden yellow in color.  Plants will eventually produce seeds that resemble those of dandelions.  The seeds are small with a reddish to brown tint and have a feathery pappus that makes them easily carried by the wind.

Control

Cressleaf groundsel normally does not regrow after the first cutting of hay; however, our goal should be to prevent it from becoming established in the field. Take note of fields with Cressleaf Groundsel in them or nearby for increased scouting and control measures next year.  Effective chemical control is when the plants are still in the rosette growth stage in late fall or early spring.  Herbicides such as 2,4-D provide good control when applied at the correct growth stage.  Larger plants may require additional herbicides such as dicamba.  Products that can be used to control this weed and others can be found in the 2020 Weed Control Guide for Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois.  One caution using these broadleaf herbicides is that they also damage legumes such as alfalfa and clovers in pastures and hayfields.  For additional information on identifying weeds go to https://cpb-us-w2.wpmucdn.com/u.osu.edu/dist/7/3461/files/2014/04/Cressleaf_groundsel_article_-_p-zna9t9.pdf

Farm Office Live Webinar Slated for Thursday, June 11 at 9:00 a.m.

OSU Extension is pleased to be offering the a “Farm Office Live” session on Thursday morning, June 11 from 9:00 to 10:30 a.m.  Farmers, educators, and ag industry professionals are invited to log-on for the latest updates on the issues impact our farm economy.

The session will begin with the Farm Office Team answering questions asked over the two weeks.  Topics to be highlighted include:

  • Updates on the CARES Act, Payroll Protection Program, Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL), and Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) Update
  • Other legal and economic issues

Plenty of time has been allotted for questions and answers from attendees. Each office session is limited to 500 people and if you miss the on-line office hours, the session recording can be accessed at farmoffice.osu.edu the following day.  Participants can pre-register or join in on Thursday morning at  https://go.osu.edu/farmofficelive 

Hay yields off? Don’t panic, there’s time to take action!

 

– Chris Penrose, Extension Educator, Ag and Natural Resources, Morgan County

I hope you are not having the hay season I am having. While the quality of my hay is good, my yields are extremely disappointing. With over half of my fields made, I am around 50% of a normal crop. The two late freezes killed back growing grass last month, and honestly, I am mowing hay earlier than most years. I am also doing it much faster with my youngest son not working this summer at the Wilmington College farm due to the virus and helping on the farm. Another thing I have noticed over the past few years is that some hay fields have less fescue and orchard grass, and more poor quality forages like cheat grass reducing quality and yields.

Some suggest hay yields are half of normal. Is that the result of late freezes, or more timely harvest this year?

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