Challenging Hay Quality in 2022

Stan Smith, OSU Extension PA, Fairfield County

From the Beef page, Mr. Stan Smith highlights the challenges that many producers have experienced during 2022 when it came to making quality hay. As you read through this piece, you will see several references to cattle and wonder why I chose to share this piece on our page. The current state of hay quality in the state of Ohio and across the nation is of concern and the reality is that if the hay available to producers now does not meet the standards for beef cattle, it certainly won’t make the mark for our small ruminants. Whether you are making your own hay or purchasing it, a simple hay test this year will be worth its weight in gold. For those interested in haying their hays tested or need assistance with interpreting your results, please don’t hesitate to connect.

In a year like this when, according to the National Ag Statistics Service (NASS) estimates, barely half of Ohio’s first cutting hay harvest was completed by mid-June, it is apparent that Ohio cattlemen will again be faced with finding ways to make “feed” from forages that were harvested way past their prime.

As an example of the hay quality we are seeing Continue reading

Managing Black Vultures Presents New Challenges for Ohio Farmers

Sarah Donaldson, Farm & Dairy Reporter
(Previously published online with Farm & Dairy: October 12, 2022)

(Image Source: Farm & Dairy)

In 2005, Tom Karr saw black vultures hanging around his cattle farm, in Meigs County, Ohio, for the first time. That same year, he lost 11 calves to vultures during the calving season.

“I didn’t know much about them then, but I’ve learned a lot about them since,” Karr, board president for the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association, told Farm and Dairy in a phone interview.

Now, 17 years later, he regularly sees them on his farm, and all over the nearby town of Pomeroy. They perch on houses, dumpsters, cliffs and trees, and intermingle with turkey vultures. But unlike turkey vultures, they also attack live animals. In recent years, Karr has downsized from about 300 brood cows to 150 and cut back on fall calving, partly due to issues with the vultures. Continue reading

REMINDER: 2022 Lamb and Wine Field Night

Dr. Brady Campbell, Assistant Professor, OSU State Small Ruminant Extension Specialist
Christine Gelley, OSU Extension Educator ANR, Noble County
Dr. Maria Smith, Viticulture Outreach Specialist

Registration ends soon – sign up today!

Shepherds, viticulturists, and foodies alike are welcome to join us for an evening in the vineyard to discuss how sheep and grapes can be compatible in vineyards and how lamb & wine can be compatible in the dining room. An introduction to grape production and challenges along with demonstrations of vineyard grazing, lamb preparation, wine tasting, and dinner will be included with registration for this event. The meal will consist of 4-5 cuts of lamb prepared during the live cooking demonstration, 5 Ohio grown wines, sides, and a dessert. The cost to attend this event is just $30 per person, payable to The Ohio State University, by October 15, 2022. Be sure to register quickly as registration is limited.

The event will be held at The Ohio State University South Centers: 1864 Shyville Road, Piketon, OH 45661 from 2:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Participants are encouraged to register online at may also view the event flyer here and register using the QR code included. 

Questions about the structure of the course may be directed to OSU State Small Ruminant Extension Specialist – Dr. Brady Campbell at or (330) 263-5563 or Dr. Maria Smith, Viticulture Outreach Specialist at or (330) 263-3825. Questions about the payment process may be directed to Noble County ANR Educator – Christine Gelley at or (740) 305-3173.

We look forward to seeing each of you at this years event!

Fall Forage Management for Hay and Pasture

Doo-Hong Min, Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, MSU Extension
Richard Lee, Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, MSU Extension
(Previously published on MSU Extension, Crop Advisory Team Alerts: September 18, 2008)

(Image Source: Texas A&M University)

Among the four seasons, fall is one of the most important seasons in terms of preparing for winter survival and spring regrowth by storing carbohydrate and protein reserves in the crowns and roots. Fall is also the season for regeneration and the formation of the shoots or growing points. Since plants become dormant in the fall as air temperature is getting lower and day length is shorter, nutrient uptake becomes accordingly slower. The following are points to consider for fall forage management for hay and pasture:

1.) Soil fertility and liming:
Since the price of fertilizer is so high these days, it’s important to use phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) efficiently. One of the best ways to save fertilizer costs is to Continue reading

Sheep and Goat Housing: Renovate or Build New?

Sarah McNaughton, Editor, Dakota Farmer
(Previously published online with Ohio Farmer: September 29, 2022)

When considering building or renovating housing for sheep or goats, producers should first examine their current level of production and management styles, while keeping future plans for potential growth or management changes in mind.

“We want to consider where we’re at,” said University of Minnesota Extension engineer Erin Cortus, during a recent webinar by University of Minnesota and North Dakota State University. “Where are we in terms of existing space or existing facilities?”

Cortus encourages producers to think about the number of head, a barn’s function, and how much time they have to commit to management, as well as future plans.

“We don’t want our current structures or plans to Continue reading

Feeding Frosted Forages

Dr. Mark Sulc, OSU Extension Forage Specialist, The Ohio State University

I am beginning to get questions about toxicities that can develop after forages are frosted. There is potential for some forage toxicities and other problems that can develop after a frost. Prussic acid poisoning and high nitrates are the main concern with a few specific annual forages and several weed species, but there is also an increased risk of bloat when grazing legumes after a frost.

Nitrate accumulation in frosted forages
Freezing damage slows down metabolism in all plants, and this might result in nitrate accumulation in plants that are still growing, especially grasses like oats and other small grains, millet, and sudangrass.  This build-up usually is not hazardous to grazing animals, but greenchop or hay cut right after a freeze can be more dangerous. When in doubt, send in a sample to a forage testing lab and request a nitrate test before grazing or feeding a forage after a frost. Continue reading