2023 OSU Extension Mid-Ohio Small Farm Conference – Sowing Seeds for Success

Carri Jagger, OSU Extension Educator ANR, Morrow County

OSU Extension to host Mid-Ohio Small Farm Conference – March 11th, 2023- in Mansfield, Ohio

Ohio State Extension announced plans to host a Small Farm Conference in Mansfield Ohio on March 11, 2023.  The theme for this year’s Mid-Ohio Small Farm Conference is “Sowing Seeds for Success.”

Conference session topics are geared to beginning and small farm owners as well as to farms looking to diversify their operation.  There will be five different conference tracks including: Farm Office, Horticulture and Produce Production, Livestock, Agritourism/ Marketing, Natural Resources.

Some conference topic highlights include: How to purchase our family farm, food animal processing, bee keeping, sweet corn, blueberry and pumpkin production, small ruminant nutrition, agritourism laws, fruit tree pruning and cut flower diseases. Continue reading

Winter Forage Management Means Business Strategy

Rebecca Kern-Lunbery, Animal Scientist, Ward Laboratories Inc.
(Previously published online: Progressive Forage – December 7, 2022)

While we all get anxious during the winter months and feel as if there must be something we can do out in our fields, preparing a good strategy for the upcoming growing season may just be the most proactive thing to do.

Winter management for forage producers looks quite different from the rest of the year. Many might feel as if there must be something they can do to get a jump on next season. Fertilizer application is ill advised during winter months due to frozen ground and the risk of runoff. Use of heavy equipment for overseeding or perhaps removing an alfalfa stand is also not advisable during these months. If the ground is frozen, you won’t be successful. With any snow precipitation and muddy fields, you risk destroying established sod or causing issues with compaction. So, should we just sit back and relax until spring?

No. Now is the time for strategic planning on your operation. While it may seem dull to Continue reading

How Much Should You Charge? Pricing Your Meat Cuts

Brian F. Moyer, Education Program Associate, Business and Community Vitality, Penn State University Extension
(Previously published online: PennState Extension – December 22, 2022)

Pricing meat for direct-to-consumer sales.

It doesn’t matter if you are selling halves, quarters, or single cuts, you need to know your cost of production first. What are your costs of raising that animal from day one until the day of slaughter? In any business endeavor, keeping good records is essential to knowing if you are going to be profitable or not. Once you know your cost of production, there are some tools you can use to help you determine what price you may want to attach to your fine, farm-fresh product.

Mike Debach of the Leona Meat Plant in Troy, Pennsylvania, has a nifty process you can use thatwill help you figure out your costs after processing so you can determine your retail price. For this example, understand that the cost of production will vary depending on Continue reading

All About Grazing – Pasture Improvements by Osmosis

Christine Gelley, OSU Extension Educator ANR, Noble County

(Don’t miss the 2023 OFGC conference on Feb. 17th. Click the ‘continue reading’ tab below for more details and registration information.)

The New Year evokes a spirit of willingness to change for the better. Resolutions to make healthier, cleaner, more economical, more environmentally friendly, and/or more spiritually fulfilling decisions are prevalent right now. Something about flipping the calendar gives us hope that now is a good time for change. Regardless of what day on the calendar it is, if you want to change something for the better, today is the perfect day to start.

Personally, I am a fan of the kind of resolutions that create less work for myself rather than those that create more. My day and my mind are already divided between too many things, to add another or three makes me exhausted just thinking about it. What I need is change by osmosis.

Osmosis, what does that word really mean?

It means Continue reading

Adjusting Feed Requirements for Cold Weather

Dean Kreager, OSU Extension Educator ANR, Licking County

A few years ago, I used to smile a little when my wife complained that our house was too cold at 64°F. Now, I find myself sneaking over to the thermostat and bumping it up a couple of degrees.

It is easy for us to know when we are cold, but how do we know when livestock are cold? In some situations, it is easy to see, such as if they are hunched up and shivering. Often, though, it is hard to tell when they are cold. Their comfort range is not the same as ours.

Research has shown that below a certain point, our grazing animals will increase their metabolism to produce heat. This maintains body functions such as rumination and keeps the animal comfortable.

To meet the needs of increased Continue reading

Signs and Symptoms: What are Your Sheep Trying to Tell You?

Eastern Alliance for Production Katahdins (EAPK) Communications Committee
(Previously published online with EAPK: December 30, 2022)

We’ve all experienced a sick sheep, or at least one that doesn’t look quite right, but how do we distinguish a serious illness from one that is mild, or simply normal behavior? While your veterinarian should always be your primary source of medical advice, it’s still important that shepherds have the ability to accurately identify and describe any signs and symptoms your animal may be experiencing. When calling your vet, this information will help him/her determine whether a farm visit is necessary or if a plan of care can be initiated by phone. It will also assist you in researching the problem on your own to identify possible causes. Gathering key information and intervening early can be lifesaving, especially in emergency situations.

It’s important to regularly observe your flock so you’re aware of both normal and abnormal behavior. Some symptoms of disease can mimic normal behavior while others that seem concerning are actually benign. For instance, a healthy lamb often stretches when they get up from a nap which is a good sign. However, a lamb that stretches repeatedly, lies down again quickly and/or seems disinterested or isolates may be experiencing abdominal pain which could be serious. A healthy animal can be observed Continue reading

Late Gestation Management Considerations

Dr. Andrew Weaver, North Carolina State University, Small Ruminant Specialist

Ewes are bred, the holidays are just around the corner, and for all of us with winter lambing flocks, lambing season is almost here. Over the last year, we have invested in high quality genetics to move our flocks forward and now it’s important that we make sure our next generation of lambs get off to the right start. This begins with good late gestation management.

I have summarized nutritional requirements in Table 1 (think of this as nutrient demand by the animal). Requirements for energy (as indicated by total digestible nutrients) and protein increase substantially for late gestation and lactation compared to maintenance. Two-thirds of fetal development take place during late gestation. Additionally, ewes should be gaining body condition to prepare for lactation with a goal of BCS 3.5-4 at the time of lambing. Therefore, nutrients demands are high.

Table 1. Nutrient Requirements (Demand) at Different Stages of Production
150 lb. ewe raising twins Dry Matter Intake (lb./d) Total Digestible Nutrients (lb./d) Crude Protein (lb./d)
Maintenance 2.6 1.4 0.2
Late Gestation 4.0 2.7 0.4
Lactation 4.4 2.9 0.7

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Clean Up the Cost of Wasted Hay

Amber Friedrichsen, Hay and Forage Grower 2021 and 2022 editorial intern
(Previously published in Hay & Forage Grower: December 27, 2022)

Feeding livestock hay in the winter may be an inevitable expense to an operation, but paying for wasted hay doesn’t have to be. Choosing an appropriate feeding practice and adhering to a strict feeding schedule can help keep hay waste to a minimum this season.

Charlie Ellis with the University of Missouri Extension says feeding practices will vary with climate, labor availability, and ultimately, producer preference. Therefore, the field specialist in agricultural engineering shares some advantages and disadvantages of the following strategies.

Cone and ring feeders
According to Ellis, cone feeders are the most efficient at minimizing hay waste. Sheeted ring feeders allow more waste than cone feeders, and open ring feeder are the least efficient design of the three. Nonetheless, placing any type of feeder on an elevated surface in a well-drained area will reduce hay waste in general.

In addition

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