The Beauty of Baleage

Mike Rankin, Hay and Forage Grower managing editor
(Previously published in Hay & Forage Grower: September 28, 2021)

Baleage or Failage? When feeding small ruminants, baleage management and quality have to be just right!

Baleage. Can it be fed to small ruminants? Yes, yes it can! For those that are curious about how to implement this feeding strategy into your operation, be sure to check out this quick piece from the folks at Hay & Forage Grower as well as joining us at Ohio Sheep Day this Saturday, October 2! Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.

Somewhere between the territories of making dry hay and chopping haylage is the land of baleage. Its acreage is expanding at a rate that would gain compliments from the former Macedonian king and conqueror of all things land, Alexander the Great. Of course, Alex is no longer with us to offer such kudos or much of anything else, for that matter.

As one prominent beef seedstock producer told me a few years back, “Baleage is a game changer for the beef industry.” But baleage making is not limited to beef production. Dairy producers and many custom harvesters [including those that feed sheep and goats] are also members of the Baleage Fan Club. Continue reading

Optimizing Reproductive Efficiency in Sheep Production with Strategic Nutritional Management

This hour long webinar seems to be quite timely both due to the fact that fall breeding is well under way across the nation as well as many here in the Midwest are fully emerged in fall lambing. Nutrition is key when discussing the benefits and hardships of livestock production. For those that will be joining us for Ohio Sheep Day this Saturday, October 2, I encourage you to take some time to listen to Dr. Richard Ehrhardt as he discusses how to maximize nutritional management to improve reproductive efficiency. At Ohio Sheep Day, we will be discussing alternative forage and feeding options that can be implemented on farm to achieve these needs. We look forward to seeing you then!

Meat Goat Production and Budgeting

Tony Nye, OSU Extension Educator ANR, Clinton County
Robert Moore, Extension Associate, Agriculture, Environmental, and Development Economics

Interest in meat goats has grown rapidly in Ohio over the past 10 years. Goat is the most frequently consumed meat in the world. In the United States, meat goat production is growing because of goats’ economic value as efficient converters of low-quality forages into quality meat, milk, and hide products for many specialty type markets.

A big reason for the growing popularity of meat goats in this country is the large number of ethnic groups who have settled in this country and who prefer goat meat, milk, and cheese products. The meat goat is popular for another reason. Where resources are limited, a small herd of goats may be the only livestock enterprise that a small, part-time farmer can raise efficiently and profitably and become self-sufficient. In Ohio, goats are growing in popularity as a popular 4-H or FFA youth project, and many youth are raising meat goats for breeding or show. Continue reading

Preparing for Shearing

As summer comes to a close, the fall is full of management tasks in all areas of livestock production that need to be accomplished prior to the new year. For the small ruminant industry, shearing is one of those important tasks. In this episode of Forage Focus, OSU faculty and staff emphasize the importance of pasture management when preparing for the shearing of fleeced livestock. The presence of pasture weeds and time spent grazing prior to shearing can negatively impact the value and quality of your wool clip. For more tips on how to appropriately preparing for shearing day, be sure to take a listen to this short clip. We would also like to thank the Dave Cable Farm and 2021 Statewide Sheep Shearing School participants for their help in creating this film. For those interested in participating in any of our up-coming sheep shearing courses, please watch this page for event announcements.

Improving Newborn Lamb Survival

Melanie Barkley, Livestock Extension Educator, Penn State Extension
(previously published with Penn State Extension: March 17, 2016)

Livestock market prices are very good right now and I can’t think of a better time to be more concerned about newborn lamb survival.

Even if we are talking about only five lambs, at 75 pounds per lamb and at least $2.00 a pound market value, we are looking at an overall value of $750. This can be even more when we factor in the value of breeding stock. So, let’s look at a few ways we can ensure that lambs survive past birth.

Nutrition plays a critical role in the survivability of lambs both prior to and during lambing. Sufficient nutrient levels are needed for fetal development. This includes growth of the lamb, fat reserves at birth, and vigor once that lamb is born. Nutrition also has an effect on the quality and quantity of colostrum and we all know the importance of lambs receiving colostrum as soon as possible after birth. Ewes should have adequate amounts of feed, feed that provides the correct amount of protein and energy, and a good mineral supplement to keep them healthy and allow them to produce healthy lambs that are adequate in size. Continue reading

FSR 2021 – One Week Away!!

Jason Hartschuh, OSU Extension Educator ANR, Crawford County
Amanda Douridas, OSU Extension Educator ANR, Champaign County
Mary Griffith, OSU Extension Educator ANR, Madison County
Elizabeth Hawkins, OSU Extension – Field Specialist, Agronomic Systems

Farm Science Review is just a week away, held September 21st – 23rd with lots of excitement in store for farmers young and old. There will be a lot of new equipment and technology to view as you walk around the show grounds and of course milk shakes and delicious sandwiches from the OSU student organizations. OSU also has some exciting areas for you to stop by and learn more about agricultural practices being studied at OSU and view some of the latest technology in action.

Agronomy plots area
One major yield thief in both corn and soybeans is Continue reading

General Sheep Health and Management

Thomas R. Thedford, Extension Veterinarian, Oklahoma State University
Bill Crutcher, Purebred Flock Manager, Oklahoma State University
Joe Hughes, Extension 4-H Livestock, Oklahoma State University
Gerald Fitch, Extension Sheep Specialist Specialist, Oklahoma State University
(Previously published online with Oklahoma State University Extension: February, 2017)

The key to any successful livestock health and management program is planning. The guidelines in this fact sheet were developed for your use with this concept in mind. All matters concerning disease prevention and diagnosis should involve your veterinarian. If health problems exist, a postmortem examination can be conducted and tissues selected for submittal to a diagnostic laboratory as an aid in securing a diagnosis. The veterinarian can also advise you about specific vaccination programs for your area.

Ram Management Continue reading

Ohio Sheep Day Programming – October 2, 2021

Dr. Brady Campbell, Program Coordinator, OSU Sheep Team

After a long year away from you, The Ohio State University Department of Animal Sciences and Ohio Sheep Improvement Association (OSIA) are excited to announce that the 2021 Ohio Sheep Day will be held live, in person on Saturday, October 2nd at the OARDC Small Ruminant Center located at 5651 Fredericksburg Road, Wooster, OH 44691.

For those new to this program, this year is a bit different as we have chosen to provide this program in the fall as opposed to the summer. This unique opportunity will allow participants to see some alternative systems not previously highlighted in years past.

As we did in 2019, this year’s program will offer attendees the opportunity to visit one of Ohio State’s research stations that focuses on efficient ruminant livestock and forage production. This programs aim is to provide producers with the tools they need to continue increasing on-farm livestock and forage production.

A list of programming topics include: Continue reading

2021 Livestock Mortality Composting Certification Course

Dr. Brady Campbell, Program Coordinator, OSU Sheep Team

In conjunction with Ohio Sheep Day, OSU Extension welcomes local, regional, and state livestock producers to join us on Friday evening, October 1, 2021 from 5 – 7 pm for the Livestock Mortality Composting Certification Course to be held at the OARDC Small Ruminant Center located at 5651 Fredericksburg Road, Wooster, OH 44691.

Composting is an economical and efficient method of disposal for livestock. Certification is needed in the State of Ohio to compost cattle, horses, poultry, sheep, goats, and swine. This two hour course will review how to appropriately construct, monitor, and manage your compost system. The course will be taught by OSU ANR Extension Educators Christine Gelley of Noble County and Tim Barnes of Marion County.

There is a $10 fee for class registration and admission which will cover light refreshments and the training manual that will be received upon the conclusion of the course. Registration for the event is requested and can be completed by either registering online using this link, viewing the event flyer, calling the Wayne County Extension office at (330) 264-8722, or emailing OSU ANR Extension Educator Haley Zynda at Registrations are due by Monday, September 27, 2021.

For those interested in further details about the event, please view the attached flyer.

We look forward to seeing you there!