Iodine Deficiency in Small Ruminants

Lucienne Downs, New South Wales Government District Veterinarian, Central Tablelands Local Land Services
(Previously published online with New South Wales Government Local Land Services)

A severe deficiency of iodine causes a lack of essential thyroid hormone production and the thyroid gland enlarges. The enlarged thyroid gland is called goiter. The swelling occurs in the throat area and can be as large as an orange. Goiter is mainly a disease of lambs and kids, it rarely occurs in calves. Goats have a higher requirement for iodine than other livestock.

Causes of Iodine Deficiency

  • It mostly occurs due to insufficient intake of iodine from the pasture.
  • Iodine deficiency may also be caused by goitrogens – substances within the feed which inhibit the utilization of dietary iodine. Goitrogens have been detected in some legumes and forage crops, but are considered unlikely to be a significant cause of goiter.

Continue reading Iodine Deficiency in Small Ruminants

Wrangling More Days out of the Grazing Season for Sheep and Goats

As the weather in Ohio continues to not only challenge our agricultural operations but also the activities of our daily life, it reminds us that we must be prepared for anything that may come next. Additionally, with the continued increases in fuel and feed, considering options to help extend your grazing season may be the difference between making a profit, breaking even, or losing some cash this year. In this webinar, Mr. David Hartman from Penn State University discusses ways to improve the overall efficiency and utilization of forage systems for sheep and goats. Enjoy.

Nutrient Value of Wheat Straw

Dr. Laura Lindsey, Associate Professor, Soybean and Small Grains Specialist
Lee Beers, OSU Extension Educator ANR, Trumbull County
Ed Lentz, OSU Extension Educator ANR, Handcock County

Before removing straw from the field, it’s important farmers understand the nutrient value. This is especially important now with high N, P, and K fertilizer prices. The nutrient value of wheat straw is influenced by several factors including weather, variety, and cultural practices. Thus, the most accurate values require sending a sample of the straw to an analytical laboratory. However, “book values” can be used to estimate the nutrient values of wheat straw. In previous newsletters, we reported that typically a ton of wheat straw would provide approximately 11 pounds of N, 3 pounds of P2O5, and 20 pounds of K2O. According to June 2022 fertilizer prices and nutrient removal “book values”, one ton of wheat straw would remove N, P, K valuing approximately $30.31. Continue reading Nutrient Value of Wheat Straw

Ohio Coyote Ecology and Management Project

OSU Coyote Project,

Few animals elicit such strong, and opposing, emotions as the coyote. But love ‘em or hate ‘em, after decades of range expansion across the United States, coyotes are an established predator throughout Ohio. So, the question we can all agree on is: How do we minimize potential conflicts with coyotes in this state? And to answer that question, we need data.

Livestock production is a cultural and economic staple in Ohio but it differs in many ways from production in the western US, where most of the coyote research has been done. Although Ohio produces more sheep and lambs than any other state east of the Mississippi River, the average flock size is 36 head, which means the loss of even a single animal exacts a disproportionate financial toll from local operators. Additionally, ecosystems in the Midwest are vastly different than those in the west. For any management strategy to effectively protect against coyote predation in Ohio, we need to know more about Ohio coyotes. Continue reading Ohio Coyote Ecology and Management Project

Lamb and Goat Production Seminar: Facility Design

Although a bit lengthy, this video highlighting concepts for improved feeding systems and converting existing structures to house small ruminants by Mike Caskey from Southern Arkansas University is worth the listen. If there is a topic that you are more interested in, feel free to select that section within the video using the Youtube app. Trust me, there are some note worth pieces shared here. Enjoy!

Keeping your Vaccines Viable

Tracey Erickson, former South Dakota State University Extension Dairy Field Specialist
(Previously published online with South Dakota State University Extension: November 18, 2021)

Vaccines are a vital part of keeping all livestock healthy. Vaccines help in the prevention of disease, which results in less utilization of antibiotics due to fewer sick animals. Vaccines provide protective immunity approximately 21 days following the initial vaccination in the majority of livestock. Some vaccines may require a booster vaccination(s) to ensure immunity for the period designated by the manufacturer. There are multiple factors influencing immunity, including but not limited to, medical history, vaccine type, method of administration, age, and species being vaccinated. A valid Vet-Client-Patient relationship will help you as you select the vaccine of choice for your livestock health program.

Vaccine Types
You are probably utilizing one of two types of vaccines: inactivated (“killed”) vaccines, which contain bacteria or viruses that have been inactivated by heat or chemicals, or modified-live virus (MLV) vaccines, which contain whole viruses that have been altered in such a way that, while they are able to multiply within the body, their ability to cause disease has been taken away.

So how do vaccines become worthless? Continue reading Keeping your Vaccines Viable

Using Ram Lambs for Breeding

Ted H. Doane, Extension Sheep Specialist, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
(Previously published online the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension: August 1986)

Although this publication is a bit dated, it still provides quality content as it relates to the use of ram lambs for the upcoming breeding season. As producers begin to search for their next sire for 2022, remember not to discount some of the younger stock. As with anything else, diligent management and attention to detail will be of great benefit in the long run when it comes to the potential use of ram lambs in your operation.

This NebGuide explains how ram lambs can be most efficiently used in a breeding program and provides management suggestions for a successful program.

Are you planning to use a ram lamb this breeding season? If so, you should consider the capabilities and limitations of ram lambs.

It may be true that some well-grown, aggressive, vigorous, highly fertile ram lambs can settle 50 ewes and maybe more. However, these rams are exceptions. A good rule to follow for practical ram management is Continue reading Using Ram Lambs for Breeding

Solar Grazing 101

Currently, Ohio is slated to have approximately 85,000 acres of land put into photovoltaic (solar) energy production over the next decade. As our society continues to investigate alternative energy solutions, the face of agriculture will too. Although some see this opportunity as a loss of land, sheep producers have saw the silver lining as it relates to increased animal and forage production. For those that are interested in pursuing opportunities related to solar grazing and power generation, please reach out to your team at The Ohio State University as we are currently working in this field of work.

Broomsedge is Talking: Are you Listening?

Mike Rankin, Hay and Forage Grower Managing Editor
(Previously published in Hay & Forage Grower: June 14, 2022)

(Image Source: Hay and Forage Grower)

Among humans, most communication is accomplished by speaking or writing. However, there’s a whole world of science that studies what is called nonverbal communication. This is communication we convey simply by making certain body movements — a raised eyebrow, a slouched posture, a hand gesture, or a purposeful facial expression.

Unlike humans, plants have no choice but to speak to us using nonverbal communication. They wilt, turn various colors, contort with abnormal growth, or grow by leaps and bounds. As a farmer, analyzing our crops to see what they are telling us is an inherent and necessary activity.

There are some plants that speak to us simply by being present. Broomsedge is one of them.

It’s rare that you find broomsedge, a warm-season perennial grass, in Continue reading Broomsedge is Talking: Are you Listening?

How Do Sulfates in Water Affect Livestock Health?

Robin Salverson, South Dakota State University Extension Cow/Calf Field Specialist
(Previously published with South Dakota State University Extension: November 18, 2021)

Water sources that are often assumed to be safe, such as spring fed reservoirs and clear appearing water, can still be high in salts/sulfates. The visual appearance of water should not be used to determine if the water is good or bad. The only way to know if water is suitable for livestock is through testing.

Health Considerations
Poor-quality water will cause an animal to drink less. As a result, they also consume less forage and feed, which leads to weight loss, decreased milk production, and lower fertility.

Sporadic cases of polio can be Continue reading How Do Sulfates in Water Affect Livestock Health?

Summer Grazing with Winter Confinement (Intensive Management) of Sheep

Marie S. Bulgin, DVM, MBA, DACVM, University of Idaho
(Previously published in the Merck Manual – Veterinary Manual: June, 2016)

These types of sheep enterprises tend to use veterinary services the most. Smaller backyard producers may use veterinarians to perform procedures such as vaccinating, docking/tailing, castrating, and hoof trimming as well as to treat sick animals. However, larger producers in many countries often perform these routine procedures themselves, using veterinarians for such things as cesarean sections and help with disease control.

Wool production is usually a minor concern on the smaller production units; the number/pounds of lambs marketed per ewe joined/bred is the major determinant of economic return. The greatest potential loss is caused by neonatal lamb mortality, resulting from abortion, mismothering, starvation, and hypothermia. Second to that may be lack of growth weight due to internal and external parasites, protein deficiency, and lack of highly digestible and palatable feed for young lambs. Intensive management and Continue reading Summer Grazing with Winter Confinement (Intensive Management) of Sheep