Hay Cost is Not Always Indicative of Value

Mike Rankin, Hay and Forage Grower Managing Editor
(Previously published in Hay & Forage Grower: August 30, 2022)

Hay comes in a variety of types, shapes, and prices. It’s relatively easy to count bales and determine tonnage for inventory purposes. Similarly, it’s also not difficult to calculate winter feed needs based on livestock numbers and the duration of time that hay will be fed.

But is there more to it than that?

Heather Gessner, a livestock business management field specialist with South Dakota State University Extension, says the pertinent question to ask is “Do I have enough bales to create a balanced ration that meets the nutritional requirements of my [livestock] through each stage of production?”

To answer the livestock specialist’s question, forage samples need to be taken and analyzed for quality. This is then matched to livestock nutritional needs at their various stages of production.

“Because feed costs for Continue reading

A Checklist for Fall Pasture Renovation

Amber Friedrichsen, Hay and Forage Grower 2021 and 2022 editorial intern
(Previously published in Hay & Forage Grower: August 30, 2021)

Similar to an old house that needs repair, an underperforming forage stand may need a renovation. Instead of cement foundations, blueprints, and constructions plans, though, a new seeding requires healthy soil, pest management, and an effective planting method.

Amanda Grev, a pasture and forage specialist with University of Maryland Extension, says mid-August to mid-September is the optimum time to renovate forage stands in her state. Although this window varies by region, producers across the country can implement similar strategies to ensure an effective transformation.

Test soil
Inadequate pH levels and nutrient deficiencies can hinder seedling establishment and stand persistence. Grev notes low soil pH is detrimental to root growth and development, and phosphorous is especially important for young plants to thrive. Therefore, it is essential to sample soil prior to pasture renovation and apply lime and fertilizer according to test results and recommendations.

Control weeds
Eliminate weeds before planting to prevent Continue reading

eBarns – Putting Data in Producers’ Hands

Garth Ruff, Beef Cattle Field Specialist, OSU Extension

In 1914, the Smith-Lever Act called for establishment of Extension program within land grant universities. The Act spells out that Extension is to disseminate “useful and practical information on subjects related to agriculture” and to disseminate reach being conducted at the experiment stations (OARDC – Ohio Agriculture, Research, and Development Center – here in Ohio).

Over the year’s this “translation” of research has been done in a variety of ways including field days, seminars, one-on-one instruction, and via printed or digital newsletters. Traditionally, faculty who had Extension responsibilities on campus led research efforts, wrote academic journal articles, and then it was up to someone to share and interpret data that was meaningful to clientele in the counties across the state. eBarns, much like Ohio State Extension’s eFields publication does just that, putting the data of applied research into the hands of producers who can then interpret the research to make production decisions.

eBarns in new in 2022, focusing on applied livestock, forage, and manure management research across Ohio. The report can be found online at go.osu.edu/ebarns2022. Continue reading

2022 Small Farm Ruminant Production Field Day

Dr. Brady Campbell, Assistant Professor, OSU State Small Ruminant Extension Specialist
Garth Ruff, Beef Cattle Field Specialist, OSU Extension

Have a small herd of beef cattle, goats, or a flock of sheep? Are you a new or beginning ruminant livestock producer? If yes to either of these questions, this program is for you!

Join OSU Extension educators and state specialists for an all-day workshop covering topics every ruminant livestock producer needs to know from grazing and nutrition, livestock marketing, facilities and housing. This event is slated to be held on Saturday, October 8th from 9:00 am – 3:00 pm at the OSU ATI Beef Center located at 2736 S. Apple Creek Road, Apple Creek, Ohio 44606. After lunch, those who have an interest in sheep or goats will depart to the Small Ruminant Research Unit located on Fredericksburg Road (5651 Fredericksburg Road, Wooster, Ohio 44691), while those focused on beef cattle will remain at the ATI Beef Center.

Afternoon training sessions will be species-specific that include hands-on training in animal care and handling, basic animal health, livestock evaluation, and much more.

Cost: $30 per person lunch Included.
Limited to first 40  Registrations.
Register at https://go.osu.edu/smallfarmruminantfieldday

Agenda Continue reading

Flushing The Ewe Flock: Is It Beneficial?

Anita O’Brien, Sheep and Goat Specialist, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs
(Previously published online as an OMAFRA publication: February 11, 2010)

The practice of increasing nutrient intake and body condition prior to and during breeding is called flushing. Its purpose is to increase the rate of ovulation and, hence, lambing rate.

The response to flushing is influenced by:

  • age of the ewe (mature ewes show a greater response than yearlings)
  • breed (prolific breeds are least responsive)
  • body condition (thin ewes respond more than those in above- average condition)
  • stage of the breeding season (greatest response is seen early and late in the breeding season).

Flushing is especially beneficial for Continue reading

Plan Now for Fall Pasture Fertilization

Dr. Mark Sulc, OSU Extension Forage Specialist, The Ohio State University
Greg LaBarge, OSU Field Specialist, Agronomic Systems Department of Extension

Early fall is one of the best times to top-dress maintenance fertilizer on perennial forages. Soils are usually firm in September, and autumn topdressing provides needed nutrients for good winter survival of the forage stand and vigorous regrowth the following spring. Now is a great time to begin preparations and acquiring fertilizer supplies so timely fall applications can be made.

Remember that hay crops will remove about 50 lbs. of K2O and 12 lbs. of P2O5 per ton of dry hay harvested. Adequate amounts of soil P and K are important for the productivity and persistence of forage stands. But nutrient over-application harms the environment and can harm animals fed those forages. A recent soil test should Continue reading

2022 Fall Statewide Ohio Sheep Shearing School Announced

Dr. Brady Campbell, Assistant Professor, OSU State Small Ruminant Extension Specialist

The Ohio State University departments of Animal Sciences and Extension are pleased to announce the dates of the 2022 Fall Statewide Ohio Sheep Shearing School to be held on September 9-10, 2022 from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm at the Dave Cable Farm in Hebron, Ohio.

During this two day schooling event, attendees will be given the opportunity to learn how to properly shear a sheep using the Australian shearing method. Those in attendance will be taught by veteran shearers as they walk through each step and demonstrate how to properly position the sheep and shearing hand piece in the correct location. Attendees will also learn to appreciate fleece quality by ensuring that their work station is clear of debris and how to keep the animals fleece all in one piece. This shearing session is open to any and all sheep producers, regardless of your shearing experience. Even if you are an experienced shearer, you are bound to learn something new or to improve upon from the school! Who knows, maybe it could help you shear off a couple of seconds on each sheep that you shear.

Continue reading

Changes to Livestock Antibiotics Coming in 2023

Dr. Tim McDermott, OSU Extension Educator ANR, Franklin County

(Image Source: Drovers)

There are some changes coming to the availability of over the counter antibiotics that the livestock producer will want to familiarize themselves with soon in order to make sure they are properly prepared before the changes are implemented in 2023.

What is being implemented is the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) guidance for industry (GFI) #263 entitled “’Recommendations for Sponsors of Medically Important Antimicrobial Drugs Approved for Use in Animals to Voluntarily Bring Under Veterinary Oversight All Products That Continue to Be Available as Over-the-Counter.”

The reason for this change to make sure that Continue reading