Reminder: 2020 Buckeye Shepherd’s Symposium Virtual Event

Brady Campbell, Program Coordinator, OSU Sheep Team

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 Once you have clicked this link, you will be sent to a new web browser that contains the Zoom webinar registration form. Continue reading Reminder: 2020 Buckeye Shepherd’s Symposium Virtual Event

How to Screw up a Forage Sample

Mike Rankin, Hay and Forage Grower managing editor
(Previously published in Hay & Forage Grower: November 24, 2020)

Let’s face it — cutting and baling hay is an enjoyable undertaking for most people in the hay business. The same is true for seeing a new stand of alfalfa (or whatever) successfully establish. Then there’s the smell of wilting forage in the early evening as you drive by — a reason alone to be in the hay business.

What isn’t always fun is getting a representative forage sample, although this exercise is foundational to our industry for being able to accurately formulate livestock rations and determine economic value. I know of few people who Continue reading How to Screw up a Forage Sample

Watch Vomitoxin Levels in Feed

Erika Lyon, OSU Extension Educator ANR, Jefferson and Harrison Counties

High vomitoxin levels are leading to the rejection of some corn at grain elevators this year. Vomitoxin detected in corn so far is enough that at some elevators, trucks are not permitted to leave scales until a vomitoxin quick test is completed. One central Ohio elevator has been rejecting corn at 5 ppm, with estimates of 10% of corn being rejected this season. The average level of vomitoxin in corn passing through central Ohio elevators is estimated at 2 ppm. What exactly does this mean for livestock owners who use this corn as a source of feed?

Vomitoxin, or deoxynivalenol (DON), is a secondary metabolite or mycotoxin produced by Fusarium molds that can cause health and productivity issues in livestock. The common source of DON in corn is the species F. graminearum, which is also occurs in other small grains such as wheat, barley and oats. Some livestock species, such as swine, are more sensitive to DON, while ruminants can typically transform the toxin into a less toxic product as it passes through their digestive tract (due to their rumen microbes). However, age and Continue reading Watch Vomitoxin Levels in Feed

Forage Botulism in High-moisture Baleage

Melissa Bravo, Certified Crop Advisor, Meadow Lake Farm Consulting
(Previously published in Progressive Forage: October 2, 2015)

For many forage producers in the Northeast, the weather has finally given a window to mow late-planted peas and oats for baleage. In fact, a lot of hay has been made into baleage this year all over the country, and some of that was put up just a bit too wet.

Toxic bacterial growth in under-fermented baleage is something every producer should take into consideration. Under-fermented baleage is at high risk for producing the toxin botulinum (which causes botulism). This can occur when the pH of the bales does not drop below 4.5 – the benchmark for clostridia formation. (A must-read on the entire process is a recent university trial on best management practices for round bale silage by W.L. Shockey, et al, published in the May 2014: Journal Of The National Association Of County Agriculture Agents.)

Guessing the moisture content of baleage is a gamble that Continue reading Forage Botulism in High-moisture Baleage

Don’t Blow your Cover

Lynn Jaynes, Managing Editor, Progressive Forage
(Previously published on Progressive Forage: October 27, 2020)

(Image Source: Carrie Veselka)

Which of these methods of hay storage do you identify with?

  • Small squares are stored upstairs in an old two-story dairy barn.
  • I only store round bales outside (no hay barn) – flat ends snugly butted together on sandy loam soil with 3-5 feet between rows and a gently sloping incline.
  • In my hay barn, rounds are stored three or four high on the flat sides (soup-can stack); squares are stored on an asphalt floor in the barn.
  • Our small squares go up the elevator to the second story of my old henhouse.
  • I store some rounds in fence rows – on top of stone piles or utility poles, if possible.
  • My hay is stacked in an open-sided barn on loose shaken-out bedding hay for ground cover. Outside hay is tarped.
  • Quality rounds are stored in a hoop building; second-grade bales are stored on a rock pad.
  • All hay is stored in repurposed barns or on pallets with a layer of poly under the pallets.
  • I use old chicken houses.
  • I use old dairy bank barns.
  • I wrap everything.
  • I put a 6-inch gravel base with used quarry conveyor mats on the gravel base and pallets above the mats.
  • I write off the entire bottom layer, disposing of it when new hay comes in.

Quite a variety of methods are used to store hay, and all of the above happen somewhere, I swear.

Hay storage looks Continue reading Don’t Blow your Cover

Feed for Profit: Mineral Supplementation

Dale Engstrom, M.Sc., P.Ag, Alberta, Canada
(Previously published in Sheep Canada Magazine: May 6, 2014)

I am often asked about using free-choice loose and block minerals. Are they needed? Do they do a good job of providing essential nutrients to sheep? Are they cost effective?

Let’s start by reviewing what minerals are. Minerals fit into two classes: major (or macro) minerals and trace (or micro) minerals.

Major minerals are those that are measured in feedstuffs and reported in requirement tables as percentages (parts per hundred). For example: alfalfa hay may contain calcium in the amount of 1.6% of the dry matter, and a mineral supplement may contain 16% calcium.

Trace minerals are measured or required and reported in Continue reading Feed for Profit: Mineral Supplementation

Grazing Corn Stalks with the Ewe Flock

Dan Morrical, Extension Sheep Specialist, Iowa State University
Joseph Rook, Extension and Agriculture Experiment Station, Michigan State University
(Previously published with MSU College of Veterinary Medicine – Sheep publication: December 10, 2008)

Ewes can utilize corn stalks for most, if not all of their daily nutrients if:

  1. quantities of stalks are adequate
  2. weather conditions allow grazing
  3. fencing is available
  4. weathering causes minimal deterioration of quality
  5. you have enough sheep to fully utilize crop residue.

The major concern with introducing ewes to harvested corn fields is grain overload with rumen acidosis and overeating disease. Acidosis resulting from grain overload can be minimized by gradually introducing ewes to corn stalk fields. When ewes are initially turned into stalk fields they should have restricted daily access of one to two hours on stalks. Offering ewes a small amount (~0.5 lb.) of corn for three to seven days before grazing will also help to minimize problems with grain. Vaccination against Continue reading Grazing Corn Stalks with the Ewe Flock

Sheep and Goat Vaccine and Health Management Schedule

Marcy Ward, Extension Livestock Specialist, New Mexico State University
Shad Cox, Superintendent – Corona Range and Livestock Research Center, New Mexico State University
John Wenzel, Extension Veterinarian, New Mexico State University
(Previously published with New Mexico State University: Guide B-127: Sheep and Goat Vaccine and Health Management Schedule)

Most livestock vaccine and health management protocols revolve around the animal’s stage of production. For sheep and goats, it is recommended to vaccinate prior to lambing, weaning, and breeding. The purpose of this publication is to offer a guide in establishing a health management schedule. Every operation is unique, and it is therefore imperative that producers consult with their veterinarian before establishing a specific vaccination and health protocol.

Table 1 provides information on vaccine timing, recommended and optional vaccines, and covered diseases. Continue reading Sheep and Goat Vaccine and Health Management Schedule