Sarah Noggle, OSU Extension Educator ANR, Paulding County
Rachel Cochran, OSU Water Quality Extension Associate, Paulding County
We are now approaching the time of year to think about planting fall cover crops. Cover crops can serve many purposes, ranging from erosion control to nutrient sequestration. Depending on the type and species of cover crop, benefits range from providing a Nitrogen source, scavenging nutrients to decrease leaching potential, acting as a soil builder, preventing erosion, fighting weeds, acting as a forage, conserving soil moisture, and enhancing wildlife habitats.
Benefits of certain types of cover crops:
Can be used as a Nitrogen source due to their ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen into the soil
Many have good or excellent forage value, such as many clover species, alfalfa, and winter pea Continue reading →
Factors such as sheep health, nutrition, breed, bedding materials, forage feeding methods, moisture level, barn, and pasture conditions, stress as well as shearing technique, wool handling, and storage can influence the value of the wool harvested.
The quality of wool ought to be on the mind of the producer year-round as management decisions made months before shearing can affect the raw product and ultimately the finished products.
Your preparations for shearing will likely affect your bottom line. View your shearer (or shearing team) as a professional who is invited to your farm to accomplish this important task. Seek their input as you prepare your sheep and the facilities for shearing.
This checklist is designed as a basic framework to help producers make shearing day efficient and uneventful. Feel free to make changes to this checklist for your situation. Continue reading →
On behalf of The Ohio State University Department of Animal Sciences, Ohio Sheep Improvement Association, and Ohio Sheep and Wool Program we are pleased to announce the schedule for the 2020 Buckeye Shepherd’s Symposium virtual event! Although this year’s event will be condensed and we will miss gathering in person, its significance in networking and sharing knowledge to shepherds across the nation will not miss a beat. I hope you have your calendar ready as this years event will take place on Friday, December 4, 2020 from 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm via Zoom.
Those interested in attending this free event (yes, you read that correctly – no fee necessary) must register online by visiting https://go.osu.edu/ohiosheep. Once you have clicked this link, you will be sent to a new web browser that contains the Zoom webinar registration form. From here, all that is needed for attendance is Continue reading →
Richard Ehrhardt, Michigan State University Extension Specialist, Small Ruminants
(Previously published on MSU Extension, Sheep & Goat)
Shearing before lambing is a practice that benefits the welfare of the sheep as well as making management easier and increasing flock productivity. There are important considerations to keep in mind to perform this practice effectively. These relate primarily to timing relative to birth, stubble length, feeding, and protection post-shearing. If these conditions are considered carefully, the benefits are significant to both sheep and shepherd.
#1. Drier environment: Wool holds considerable moisture, with a full fleece capable of absorbing a lot of water under humid climates, even when sheep are housed indoors. This moisture holding capacity of wool creates a microclimate close to the lamb that is relatively damp, thus creating a prime environment for hosting pathogens and allowing them to proliferate. Both the
Feeding haylage to sheep is less common than the feeding of dry hay rations. However, a number of producers have been feeding haylage to sheep in Ontario, causing more to consider it as a component of, or an alternative to their current feeding program.
This paper will be limited only to discussions on baled haylage, with limited references to conventionally stored haylage.
Why the Interest?
Baled haylage offers producers a greater flexibility in harvesting their winter feed supply, the potential for improved quality in feed, and less wastage from feeding. Baled haylage requires less drying time than conventional hay (50 to 60% versus 16 to 18% moisture), so that during poor drying conditions, quality feed can still be made. Because of the higher moisture content in baled haylage, there is Continue reading →
Broadacre spraying of pastures is intended to reduce undesirable plants and increase grasses for livestock. This practice often results in unintended consequences including damage and reduction of native forbs and reduced profitability. One approach to managing perceived “weedy” plants that can offset those negative outcomes is incorporating different species of livestock into a grazing operation.
All species of livestock have different dietary preferences, and producers can harness this to help manage their plant communities in an ecologically and economically sustainable manner. Small ruminants, in particular sheep and goats, are the most common livestock species that are added alongside a cattle enterprise.
All species of livestock have different preferences when it comes to selecting the species of plants they consume, as demonstrated in the image above.
Spider Syndrome is a genetic problem, common in the Suffolk breed and becoming more common in the Hampshire breed. Spider syndrome has been compared to dwarfism in beef cattle. It has been prevalent since the 1950s. Spider syndrome has also been diagnosed in commercial flocks that keep brockle-faced lambs back as replacement ewes. Those ewes are coming from Suffolk or Hampshire rams that carry the syndrome. Researchers feel certain that spider syndrome is caused by a simple, autosomal, recessive gene. If a producer has a flock of carrier ewes and breeds them to a carrier ram, one-fourth of his or her lamb crop could have spider syndrome!!!
Spider lambs are affected in one of two ways: 1) lambs are abnormal at birth and will probably never be able to stand, or 2) lambs appear normal at birth, but develop into a spider lamb at two weeks to six weeks of age.
Do you have your ewes nutritionally prepared for lambing and lactation? If not, that’s okay! There is still plenty of time to get this important task accomplished. Learn to put a nutrition plan in place early in the season so you can decrease problems with your ewes later.
Two phases of the ewe’s biological cycle need special dietary consideration when it comes to lambing:
The first phase is the last four to six weeks of pregnancy, when 70% of fetal lamb growth occurs. In this late gestation period, ewes require significantly more dietary energy and protein than earlier in pregnancy. A good plane of nutrition here will help ensure that strong, healthy lambs are more easily delivered and have a good start in life. Ewes in poor nutritional condition are more susceptible to pregnancy toxemia, and may have weaker, lighter birth weight lambs to the point that lamb survival rate drops.
The second phase of the ewe’s biological cycle for nutritional consideration is during lactation, especially during the first six to eight weeks after lambing when milk production is high. This is the time when the ewe has the greatest nutrient requirements for energy and protein.
Fescue Lameness (Fescue foot)
Fescue lameness, which resembles ergot poisoning, is believed to be caused by ergot alkaloids, especially ergovaline, produced by the endophyte fungus Neotyphodium coenophialum in tall fescue grass (Lolium arundinaceum, formerly Festuca arundinacea). It begins with lameness in one or both hindfeet and may progress to necrosis of the distal part of the affected limb(s). The tail and ears also may be affected independently of the lameness. In addition to gangrene of these extremities, animals may show loss of body mass, an arched back, and a rough coat. Outbreaks have been confirmed in cattle, and similar lesions have been reported in sheep.
Did you miss us at Farm Science Review this year? We sure missed seeing you! Below is a short clip of Brady Campbell and Christine Gelley discussing their poster – Extending the Grazing Season – in the virtual Agronomy Tent for the 2020 Farm Science Review. Interested in viewing the poster? Follow this link to access. Enjoy!