History of The Ohio State Fair

Tim Barnes, OSU Extension Educator ANR, Marion County

In honor of the opening day at the Ohio State Fair, we are featuring a piece that was originally highlighted in 2019 by one of our very own team members, Tim Barnes. Whether you attend the state fair or not, it’s importance in the Ohio sheep industry has made a long lasting impact for all shepherds alike. Enjoy!

I realize that there may not be broad-based interest in this article but the impact of this fair is tremendous for many people in the Ohio sheep industry.

A History of the Ohio State Fair
The first Ohio State Fair was held on the site of Camp Washington about two and a half miles from what was then the center of Cincinnati, on the Miami Canal. The listings of premiums and regulations for the first annual Fair shows the dates for this event to be the 11th, 12th and 13th of September 1850, however, it was postponed until the first week in October.

An Agricultural convention was held in Columbus, June 25 and 26, 1845 in which friends of Agriculture from all sections of the State participated. One of the results of this gathering was the organization of a Board of Agriculture whose object was to encourage, promote and aid an exhibition of farm products at county and district gatherings. This was largely due to the influence of M. B. Bateham, Michael L. Sullivant, and Samuel Medary of Columbus and Franklin County.

The Ohio legislature passed an act Continue reading

Will You Have Enough Hay for the Winter?

Chris Penrose, OSU Extension Educator ANR, Morgan County

The early dry weather allowed most of us to get our first cutting hay in a timely manner, and now we are into second-cutting hay. This is the time of the year that I like to remind everyone that it is a great time to assess if you have enough hay for the winter, as well as to consider if there are other things that can be done to assure adequate feed for livestock this winter.

If you are going to have plenty of hay, can you graze some of those hay fields after second cutting? It is always cheaper to graze than to make hay. If you don’t need the fields to graze, can you make some extra to sell if you need the income? If you are short on hay, can you get enough in subsequent cuttings? If not, have you recently soil tested your fields? Improving fertility will help improve yields for the rest of the season.

How are your pastures holding up? So far Continue reading

Options for Short Season Summer Fall Forages

Dr. Mark Sulc, retired OSU Extension Forage Specialist
Dr. Bill Weiss, retired Dairy Nutritionist, The Ohio State University
Jason Hartschuh, OSU Dairy Management and Precision Livestock, Field Specialist

Short-season forages planted in late summer can be sources of highly digestible fiber in ruminant livestock rations. There are several excellent forage options that can be considered for no-till or conventional tillage plantings in the late summer or early fall planting window. These forages can be a planned component of the overall forage production plan. They can be utilized on land that would otherwise sit idle until next spring, such as following wheat or an early corn silage harvest.

Oat or Spring Triticale silage
These cereal forages can be planted for silage beginning the last week of July and into early September. Dry matter yields of 1.5 to 3 tons per acre (about 5 to 5.5 tons at 30 to 35% DM) of chopped silage or Baleage are possible if planted in late July to early August. Harvesting between late boot, or early heading, will optimize quality. Yields will be lower for plantings made in early September, in which case late autumn grazing would be a more viable option. Our research utilizing oats planted on September 1st versus September 15th showed about a one-ton difference in yield. Continue reading

Forage as Vegetative Cover for Utility-Scale Solar in Ohio

Christine Gelley, OSU Extension Educator ANR, Noble County
James Morris, OSU Extension Educator ANR, Brown County
Eric Romich, Associate Professor and Field Specialist, Energy Education and Community Development, OSU Extension
(Previously published online on Ohioline)

The Midwest has seen an increase in photovoltaic (PV) solar energy production over the past several years. Nowhere is this more evident than in Ohio. Traditional ground cover options for utility-scale solar projects includes stone, gravel, bare earth, and various types of turfgrass vegetation. However, as the buildout of utility-scale solar projects increases, many are exploring the feasibility of dual land-use strategies that incorporate agricultural and conservation practices with solar production. Popular examples include pairing solar production with specialty vegetable crop production, livestock grazing, and pollinator habitats. However, as the size of utility-scale projects in Ohio has evolved from 100- to 200-acre projects into projects that are 2,000 acres or more, widespread integration of these practices faces real, common challenges:

  • Growing specialty crops is labor intensive, requiring access for many people within the utility-scale solar site.
  • Raising livestock requires massive herds, frequent watering, and additional fencing to rotate the animals.
  • Creating pollinator habitats requires expensive seed mixes and the control of noxious and invasive weeds.

This fact sheet provides developers and landowners information about alternative vegetative cover strategies—including forage crops—that prevent greenwashing opportunities while also offering legitimate benefits to the landowner and the solar developer over the project lifecycle. Topics include common vegetative cover strategies and how cool-season forage crops can provide the greatest environmental, social, and economic benefit. This fact sheet also summarizes the requirements of utility-scale solar vegetative cover, species selection, establishment, and site maintenance.

Read more….

Preparing Sheep and Goats for Breeding Season

Michael Metzger, Michigan State University Extension Educator
(Previously published on MSU Extension, Sheep & Goat: September 7, 2022)

(Image Source: Michael Metzger, MSU Extension)

As fall approaches, so does the normal breeding season for most sheep and goats. Consideration for things like parasite count, hoof health, body condition scoring, and overall health of breeding stock should be evaluated prior to breeding.

Internal Parasites
All breeding stock, males and females, should be checked for internal parasites. The FAMANCHA eye scoring system allows small ruminant producers to make deworming decisions based on an estimate of the level of anemia in sheep. Animals that are showing a high FAMANCHA score (over 3) or have an elevated fecal egg count should be treated for internal parasites before breeding season. Managing internal parasites is an important management practice. Problems with parasites, especially gastrointestinal parasites, can cause irreversible damage and even death to the animal.

Hoof Care
Animals with long or damaged hooves should be trimmed before breeding season as well. You should inspect the animals’ hoofs and using a knife or hoof trimmers, remove any dirt, mud, manure, or stones from the hoof walls and then trim accordingly. A strong, rotten smell is often an indication of hoof rot, which can be treated by using a commercially available anti-fungal product.

Body Condition Scoring
Body Condition Score, or BCS, is a system used to Continue reading