Wool Cooperative Closing Its Doors After Over a Century of Service

Matt Reese, Ohio’s Country Journal editor
(Previously published in Ohio’s Country Journal: April 20, 2023)

(Image Source: Ohio’s Country Journal)

In 1918 a small group of wool producers had a vision of cooperatively marketing their product to command better market prices for individual farms. The idea grew into Mid-States Wool Growers Cooperative with, at one point, 10,000 farmer owners marketing 6 million pounds of wool from 23 states.

In May, though, after more than a century of service to the nation’s sheep producers, Mid-States Wool Growers in Fairfield County — the last location of the cooperative — will be closing its doors.

“We’re going to quit taking in wool the first of May and then we’ve got to get the rest of it out of here throughout the summer — get it bailed and then get it sold,” said David Rowe, general manager of Mid-States Wool Growers. “We’re going into the Continue reading

White Muscle Disease in Sheep and Goats

Michael Metzger, Michigan State University Extension Educator
(Previously published on MSU Extension, Sheep & Goat: January 19, 2019)

If you are raising sheep and goats in Michigan or other selenium deficient areas, you need to take measures to prevent white muscle disease.

White muscle disease (WMD) is caused by a deficiency of selenium and/or vitamin E. It is a degenerative muscle disease found in all large animals including sheep and goats. Generally, it is not known which. Selenium (Se) deficiency is associated with selenium deficient soils and the inadequate uptake of selenium by forages grown on these soils. Certain areas of the U.S., including Michigan, are considered low in selenium levels. Vitamin E deficiency is independent of soil type and more closely reflects forage quality. Fresh legumes and pasture are good sources of Continue reading

Small Ruminant Workshop: FAMACHA and Integrated Parasite Management

Erika Lyon, OSU Extension Educator ANR, Jefferson and Harrison Counties

Small Ruminant Workshop: FAMACHA and Integrated Parasite Management

Bargar Farm and The Ohio State University Extension will be hosting a small ruminant FAMACHA and integrated parasite management workshop on Friday, June 2nd, 2023. Participants will get hands on experience with parasite diagnostics and learn about parasite management in sheep and goats. FAMACHA certification will be offered from 9am-noon and participants will spend the afternoon from 1-3pm conducting parasite egg counts. The workshop will be located at Bargar Farm, 36505, Deersville Road, Cadiz, OH.

Cost of the workshop is $20 per person and includes lunch. Call OSU Extension at 740-264-2212 to register. Send checks to: OSU Extension, Jefferson County, 500 Market St, Suite 512, Steubenville, OH 43952 or pay by credit card at go.osu.edu/jeffersonextensionpayment.

CFAES provides research and related educational programs to clientele on a nondiscriminatory basis. For more information, visit cfaesdiversity.osu.edu. If you require accommodations to attend this event, call 740-264-2212.

Some Ideas About Crossbreeding Sheep

Gerlad Q. Fitch, Extension Sheep Specialist, Oklahoma State University
(Previously published by Oklahoma State University Extension: March, 2017)

Why do commercial producers crossbreed sheep-or any animal, for that matter? There are two reasons. First, no breed of sheep is best in all characteristics. If a producer combines the best characteristics of several different breeds, they have a chance to get a better combination than he could get with any one breed. This is called breed complementarity.

As an example of this, the Finnish Landrace sheep are extremely early maturing and have a very high lambing rate. They do, however, have relatively poor conformation, and the wool is of poor quality. Rambouillet sheep, on the other hand, produce excellent wool, but they do not have a high lambing rate and they are slow maturing. Neither of these two breeds excels in growth rate and carcass conformation. The meat breeds are also used to sire market lambs because they are growthier and produce excellent carcasses. The meat breeds are not well adapted to many conditions under which sheep are raised, however.

Another reason for crossbreeding is that Continue reading

Lambing and Kidding Assistance Survey

Jacci Smith, OSU Extension Educator ANR/4-H, Delaware County

As your lambing and kidding season wraps up, we are hoping that you could help us better understand the prevalence of birthing assistance in small ruminants. Please take this quick survey to let us know your level of birthing assistance in your operation- even if it was zero. https://go.osu.edu/lkassist

First Cutting Can Make or Break a Season

Mike Rankin, Hay and Forage Grower Managing Editor
(Previously published in Hay & Forage Grower: April 11, 2023)

Over the course of the next two months, a large number of hay implements will venture out into fields for their maiden voyage of 2023. Be it grass or alfalfa, first cutting separates itself as a time that often defines the hay or haylage harvest season.

One of the unique advantages of harvesting forage is that desired forage quality can largely be attained by the grower simply manipulating the time of cutting. In the same vein, yield can also be dictated, but at the expense of forage quality.

No other harvest during the year offers more opportunity for obtaining high forage quality — as defined by digestible fiber — than the initial spring cutting. Further, this forage often makes up the greatest proportion of Continue reading

How Much Meat Should a Lamb Yield?

Carolyn Ihde, Agriculture Educator for Crawford and Richland Counties, University of Wisconsin-Madison
(Previously published online with: Livestock Division of Extension, University of Madison-Wisconsin)

(Figure 1. Lamb Primal Cuts)

Dressing Percentage
To better understand the amount of edible product expected from a grain finished lamb, the first step is understanding the difference in live weight compared to carcass weight. When a lamb (male or female sheep under one year of age) is harvested, certain parts of the animal such as the pelt (hide and wool), feet, blood, and viscera (internal organs) are removed. The post-harvest hanging weight, known as the hot carcass weight, includes the lean (meat), adipose tissue (fat), and bone. Dressing percentage is the difference between live animal and carcass weight and is influenced by factors such as muscle, fat cover and size, to name a few. These factors help determine how much meat the carcass may yield (Table 1). Continue reading

Considerations for Selecting and Installing an Electric Fence Charger

Kable Thurlow,  Beef and Grazing Educator, Michigan State University
Thomas Guthrie, Statewide Equine Educator, Michigan State University
Timothy Harrigan, Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering, Michigan State University
(Previously published online with Michigan State University Extension: June 22, 2022)

This bulletin covers the factors involved when selecting and installing an electric fence charger system to contain your livestock safely.

If properly constructed, a good fence should keep livestock contained and last 25 to 30 years without major repairs or total replacement. The old saying, “a good fence makes for good neighbors,” is true. Choosing high-quality materials when building your fence will ensure that it will be effective and last for many years. In some cases, electric fencing may be a significant part of a livestock operation’s fencing plan.

Electric fence technology has Continue reading