Stan Smith, OSU Extension PA, Fairfield County
(Previously published in the Spring 2020 issue of The Ohio Cattleman)
With age comes experience, and with experience eventually comes some of those things that you can only shake your head at. This is the time of year when I usually begin to hear one of my favorites, “I don’t like to get in hurry with that first cutting . . . we don’t want it rained on, and I like to let it grow a little longer so we get more. Besides, even if made a little late, it’s still got to be better than snowballs!”
If nothing else, the last two springs have taught us this one thing. Not all first cutting forage is better than snowballs. In fact, the inability to make hay in a timely fashion has cost Midwest operators lots in terms of hay quality that’s resulted in loss of body condition, breed back issues, poor quality colostrum, and ultimately poor animal health and performance. If there was ever a time to carefully balance hay quality issues with the quantity of hay needed, weather permitting, this must be it! In fact, with some aggressive planning and a little cooperation from Mother Nature, perhaps we can have both quality and quantity this year. Following are Continue reading
Tim Barnes, OSU Extension Educator ANR, Marion County
(Image Source: Kunc and Harvest Public Media)
Lambs are just one of the many agricultural commodities that have been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. There is never a good time for a pandemic to strike, but COVID-19 hit the sheep industry at the traditional best market price. Spring lambs are a family favorite for traditional Easter meals (April 12), Orthodox Easter (April 23), the Muslin feasts of Ramadan (April 23 to May 23), some Jewish sects for Passover (April 8-16), and the secular May 10 Mother’s Day celebration.
America’s biggest market for fresh lamb is in the area from Baltimore to Boston. Major East Coast packers relay on the close location of Ohio producers (Ohio has the 5th most producers in the US) to provide a steady source of fresh lamb. The “white tablecloth restaurants” and the other segments of the food service industry account for greater than 50% of the United State’s lamb consumption. As demand builds back to pre-pandemic levels, Ohio lambs will Continue reading
Shelby Filley, Oregon State University, Regional Livestock and Forage
(Previously published on the Oregon State University Extension page: August, 2019)
Situation and Outlook
Some years the market for feeder and slaughter lamb prices isn’t very strong. Detailed information can be found in market reports. Follow prices on these websites:
By looking at the seasonal price index on feeders and slaughter lambs you can follow past trends in prices. However, there is no indication that these trends will hold true or that there will be any improvement in prices in the immediate future.
Things to Consider
The following information is not a list of recommendations for what you should do, but rather it is a
Melissa Bravo, agronomic and livestock management consultant
Previously published in Hay & Forage Grower: April 21, 2020)
Here we go again. Another mild winter of heave and thaw with little snow cover to protect the shallow roots and crowns of improved forage crops.
Without that snow barrier, species such as alfalfa and timothy — the most susceptible of our non-native forages — are subject to winter injury, which thins stands. This leaves less competition for weeds to establish and flourish.
Learning some skills to evaluate stand composition before you harvest first-cutting hay can add to profitability, but you must first be able to identify problem hayfield and pasture weeds.
During the dead of winter, most fields look uniformly brown. Then, as temperatures begin to warm, they look uniformly green. The problem is that sometimes “green” may consist of more than just desired forage species. Weeds can contribute to yield, but they also can Continue reading
Erika Lyon, OSU Extension Educator ANR, Jefferson and Harrison Counties
(Previously published online with Ohio Farmer: April 7, 2020)
Now that we are getting into the summer months, moldy feed might not be on your mind right now, especially if your livestock are grazing. But now is a great time to be cognizant of the conditions that lead to moldy feed in the winter months. The conditions that forages are grown and harvested in can determine the risk of mold developing later in storage.
First, let’s talk about what mold is. When we say something appears “moldy,” it usually has a dusty or fuzzy appearance or seems off-color. Maybe it produces a certain moldy odor. While many microbes might be referenced when we say mold, it is usually one group of microbes that is Continue reading
Dr. Ted Wiseman, OSU Extension Educator ANR, Perry County
(Previously published online with Farm and Dairy: February 11, 2016)
(Image Source: West et al., 2002 – Massey University)
Are your pastures ready for spring and your livestock ready for pasture?
As fast as this year seems to be going, pastures will be greening up and it will be time to start grazing again. Although we haven’t had much of a winter so far, and I hope I am not jinxing us by mentioning it here.
Spring arrives soon
Soon it will be time to start preparing our livestock for lush green pastures. Last year was a tough year for getting stored forages harvested, especially first cutting hay.
Some hay analysis I have seen this past year would suggest that
Dr. Mark Sulc, OSU Extension Forage Specialist, The Ohio State University
(Previously published in the C.O.R.N. Newsletter 2020-08)
Early spring provides one of the two preferred times to seed perennial cool-season forages, the other being late summer. Two primary difficulties with spring plantings are finding a good window of opportunity when soils are dry enough. The outlook for this spring is for planting opportunities to be few and short. As planting is delayed, the risk increases because of more competition from weeds and summer heat when seedlings are small and vulnerable to drying out. An accompanying article on preparing for planting along with the following 10 steps will help improve your chances for successful forage establishment in the spring. Continue reading
Brady Campbell, Program Coordinator, OSU Sheep Team
(Image Source: NADIS)
I’m sure that many of you are familiar with the old adage of “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.” In general, this piece of advice can be misleading as change is needed and certainly essential when trying to improve the efficiency of your operation. However, when it comes to vaccination programs on your farm, this piece of advice fits perfectly. Vaccines are administered as a means to control an underlying issue within your flock or herd. It is recommended to not vaccinate for a specific disease unless you currently or suspect that you will have issues. This is in part due to the nature of the vaccines. Vaccines contain the organism in which create disease. This organism is modified so that the host is able to mount an effective immune response without becoming ill from the disease. As a result, producers willingly give their flock or herd a specific disease; but if your operation does not have issues with it, it is not recommended that you give the vaccine if it is not needed. However, there is one exception is this rule. It is highly recommended that each operation vaccinate with CD&T. The CD&T vaccine is used to protect against Clostridium perfringens types C and D (overeating disease) as well as clostridium tetani (tetanus). For those interested in learning more about this vaccine, check out this Ag-note: Vaccinating with CDT.
Now you maybe thinking, why are we still talking about CD&T? This past spring I have received more questions than ever regarding sick and/or compromised lambs. By sick lambs, I’m not talking about those that have a couch or elevated temperature, I’m talking about those lambs that seem to be acting abnormally. According to the producers, all vaccination protocols that are commonly followed on-farm where adhered to. So, what went wrong this year? Continue reading