Hay fires are caused when bacteria in wet hay create so much heat that the hay spontaneously combusts in the presence of oxygen. At over 20% moisture mesophilic bacteria release heat-causing temperature to rise between 130°F – 140ºF with temperature staying high for up to 40 days. As temperatures rise, thermophilic bacteria can take off in your hay and raise temperature into the fire danger zone of over 175°F.
Assessing Your Risk
If hay was baled between 15% – 20% moisture and acid preservatives were used, there is still potential for a hay fire but not as great as on non-treated hay. A moisture tester on your baler can help you know how moisture varies across your field and when to use hay preservative. Without a moisture tester, if you occasionally find darker green damp spots or humidity is high, be sure to monitor for heating. Most propionic acid-based products are Continue reading →
The American Wool Assurance website launched today at AmericanWoolAssurance.org, allowing American sheep producers to take a crucial step in certifying their wool through this voluntary, American industry-driven certification process.
The American Sheep Industry Association worked with Colorado State University the past two years to develop the voluntary program and standards that will allow manufacturers to purchase American wool with confidence that the animals producing that wool have been raised with a high level of care. Industry input from producers, shearers, buyers, extension, animal welfare experts and processors was critical in development of program standards.
“This is something that consumers and brands are asking for increasingly, and so it has become Continue reading →
(Image Source: North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension)
The price of a single calf, lamb, or kid lost to a preventable disease could pay for the vaccination program for a producer’s entire herd or flock.
Whether raising sheep or cattle, livestock producers should always plan on vaccinating their young animals, Dr. David Fernandez, Extension livestock specialist and interim dean of Graduate Studies and Continuing Education for the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, said. The price of a single calf, lamb, or kid lost to a preventable disease would pay for the vaccination program for a producer’s entire herd or flock in most cases.
“Vaccines only cost about $15 per calf and $0.50 to $1 per lamb or kid,” he said. “They protect your flock or herd against diseases that can often prove to be fatal. Even if a disease is not fatal, a producer could lose several pounds of growth for each sick animal.” Continue reading →
Dean Kreager, OSU Extension Educator ANR, Licking County
(Image Source: K Bar K Farm)
Artificial Insemination (AI) results from a multi-breeder insemination day in Licking County.
The Licking County Sheep Improvement Association has been working with OSU Extension to provide the opportunity for multiple breeders to bring sheep to one location for artificial insemination. The August 2020 date marked the 3rd year of this event. Insemination of 104 sheep occurred during the 2020 event and included both fresh and frozen semen.
Below, breeding results from the 2020 event include the use of 20 different rams among 10 different producers. Continue reading →
In most cases, it cost just as much to make good hay as it does bad hay. With hay season among us, be sure that you are taking the correct steps this season to ensure quality feed for your livestock this winter.
Susan Schoenian, Sheep & Goat Specialist, University of Maryland Small Ruminant Extension Program
(Previously published on the Maryland Small Ruminant Page)
(Image Source: Maryland Small Ruminant Page)
Rectal Prolapse – A complex problem with many contributing factors
A rectal prolapse is when a portion of the rectum protrudes outside the anus. It is easy to recognize. The exposed tissue is usually a bright, cherry red (at first). Eventually, the exposed tissue becomes dry and cracked, causing more irritation and straining.
If left unattended, a rectal prolapse can become a life-threatening condition and a cruel way for an animal to die, as untreated animals may prolapse their entire intestinal tract and go into shock.
Sheep of any breed, age, or sex may be affected. Ewe lambs that prolapse should not be retained for breeding, as they are more likely to prolapse their vaginas at lambing. Prolapses occur less often in goats than sheep. Prolapses can occur in other livestock and humans as well.
If plants could talk, we could learn a lot, and our jobs as stewards of the land would be much easier. When we go to the doctor because we are sick, we do not sit quietly and expect the doctor to know how we feel and then tell us how to get better. We need to provide information that will help with the diagnosis.
But since plants cannot talk, our job is difficult when we try to locate the source of a problem, such as low productivity or an infestation of weeds.
Recently, one of my colleagues, Ed Brown, suggested a method of taking stock of what is growing in your pasture. Knowing what plants are growing in your pastures is an important first step in listening to what the pasture is telling you. Varieties of plants or changes in these populations from year to year can provide important clues. Continue reading →
There’s never been a haymaker who couldn’t improve on their craft. The opportunities to enhance forage yield, quality, and persistence are nearly endless. Whether you’ve already started cutting or are still waiting, Amanda Grev offers this bevy of suggestions in the University of Maryland’s Agronomy News to improve this year’s hay quality ledger.
Harvest at the correct maturity stage
“The single most important factor affecting forage quality is the stage of maturity at the time of harvest,” notes the extension pasture and forage specialist. “This is especially true in the spring when forages are growing and maturing rapidly.”
Target the onset of cutting at the boot stage for grasses or late bud to early bloom for legumes. For legume-grass mixtures, base your cut-time decision on
With pastures full of lush, green forage, depending upon the quality and quantity of forage available, producers tend to discount the need for supplementation when managing ewes and does before the next breeding cycle. Unfortunately, with this being said, the importance of a complete mineral program is often forgotten. Join Dr. Francis Fluharty, current Department Head and Professor at the University of Georgia and emeritus professor in the Department of Animal Sciences at The Ohio State University as he reviews the basic principles and importance of providing a comprehensive mineral program on a yearly basis within our small ruminant systems.
Small farming operations are becoming more popular as the amount of land available for large livestock enterprises and row crops is reduced by urban sprawl. Small ruminant livestock systems such as sheep and goats fit well with small farm operations. Forages, whether are grazed or hayed, supply the major source of nutrition and a critical component to small farm enterprises to maintain sustainability. Many of these small farm owners are either newcomers to farming or people living in urban areas and see them as “hobby” farms. There is a critical need to educate them on the basic agricultural practices and forage utilization for this type of livestock management.
The grazing habits of sheep and goats differ from traditional livestock production and they can be incorporated into the grazing systems for cattle and horses. Goats tend to browse more while sheep tend to graze. Goats are efficiently used in pasture utilization controlling brush and weed. Continue reading →
Coccidiosis is a serious problem that commonly causes death in kids and lambs. Knowing the facts about coccidiosis can help producers develop a plan for prevention and/or treatment of the disease.
Coccidiosis is not caused by a bacteria, virus, or roundworm but by single cell protozoa. There are multiple coccidia species that are found in the environment. Some of these are non-infective, some moderately infective, and others are highly infective. Strains of coccidia are animal species specific with some very limited crossover between sheep and goats.