2023 eBarns Report Now Available

eBarns – Connecting Science to Farmers

2023 eBarns Report

eBarns is a program at The Ohio State University dedicated to advancing production agriculture through the use of field-scale and applied research. The 2023 eBarns Report is a combination of the research conducted on partner farms and Ohio State agricultural research stations throughout Ohio. Current research is focused on enhancing animal production, growing high-quality forages, precisions nutrient management and to develop analytical tools for digital agriculture.

In this second addition of eBarns we have included research studies not only from the past year, but studies from previous years that have yet to be summarized in a producer friendly manner. It is our goal to continue to share result from applied livestock, forage, and manure nutrient management in this publication for years to come.

2023 Research Recap:
25 Total Studies 

  • 4 Forages
  • 4 Dairy
  • 3 Beef
  • 6 Small Ruminant 
  • 5 Manure Nutrients
  • 2 Equine
  • 1 Poultry

Make Most of Your Fall Grazing

Dr. Ted Wiseman, OSU Extension Educator ANR, Perry County
(Previously published online in Farm Progress – Ohio Farmer: September 22, 2023)

Take forage samples to determine what nutrient values are in the crop.

Depending on what part of the state or country you live in, this year has been another challenge with pastures and forages. Hay yields are all over the board as far as quantity.

Many in my area were able to get the first cutting off in great time this spring, but the quality has been surprisingly lower than expected. So as many finish up haymaking, now is a good time to take inventory of what you have and take forage samples to determine what nutrient values are in the crop.

If you find yourself with low forages going into fall, some options may include using land Continue reading

Common Hazards Associated with Sheep and Goat Feed

Chalise Brown, University of Florida Extension
Diwakar Vyas, Research Assistant Professor, Ruminant Nutrition, University of Florida/IFAS Department of Animal Sciences
Jason M. Scheffler, research assistant professor of muscle biology, University of Florida/IFAS Department of Animal Sciences
(Previously published online with the University of Florida IFAS Extension: December 22, 2020)

The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) was signed into law in January of 2011. FSMA attempts to shift the focus of food safety from reacting to foodborne outbreaks to preventing them from occurring. The law stipulates that complying facilities that manufacture, process, pack, or hold food (hereafter referred to as feed) or feed ingredients for animals must implement Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls, or HARPC (FDA 2018a; Scheffler and Carr 2016). Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls have similarities to the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) that are commonly used in foods for humans, such as meat, seafood, and juice, but may be unfamiliar to facilities producing feed for livestock. For more information on compliance requirements and the general structure of an animal food safety plan, consult EDIS document AN330, The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Preventive Controls for Animal Food.

The first step in writing a food safety plan is to conduct a hazard analysis. Hazards are divided into Continue reading

Fall Grazing Dos and Don’ts

Amber Friedrichsen, Associate Editor, Hay and Forage Grower
(Previously published in Hay & Forage Grower: September 19, 2023)

Although the first day of fall is fast approaching, many regions of the United States are still experiencing the aftermath from an exceptionally dry start to the summer. Even as milder temperatures bring cool-season forages out of their drought-induced dormancy, producers must continue to be mindful about grazing management.

In a recent article from the University of Minnesota, Craig Shaeffer, extension forage specialist, and a team of extension educators remind producers to avoid overgrazing, reduce stocking rates, give pastures adequate rest, and control weeds this fall. Doing so will protect drought-stressed forage from further damage and maintain animal performance.

Avoid overgrazing. Some species can tolerate more defoliation than others, but in general, plants must not be grazed lower than 4 inches. This is typically advised at any time of year, but it is especially critical following Continue reading

ASI Offers Online Wool Mill Directory

American Sheep Industry Association

Looking for a small wool mill near you? The American Sheep Industry Association has recently completed an update of the Small and Midsize Mills Directory on its website.

The directory provides information for anyone looking for processing services from scouring to weaving to dying and even for processing wool into fertilizer pellets.

Services and products included in the directory include:

  • Scouring
  • Carding
  • Pindrafting/Gilling
  • Combing
  • Yarn Spinning
  • Dyeing
  • Knitting
  • Weaving
  • Felting
  • Fertilizer Pelletizing

“We hope that both producers and fiber enthusiasts will find the directory to be a valuable resource as they look for opportunities to sell or buy wool in the future,” said ASI Wool Marketing Director Rita Samuelson. “These small and midsize mills play a vital role in the American sheep industry while working on a mostly local and regional level.”

Click Here if you’re a mill owner or operator and you’d like to have your operation added to the list.

Give Your Sheep a Dental Check

South Dakota State University Extension
(Previously published online with Farm Progress: August 15, 2023)

(Image Source: Farmers Weekly)

Examining a sheep’s teeth can help establish age and health of the animal.

Looking at a sheep’s teeth can help determine its age by examining the eight lower incisors. Learning to properly “mouth sheep” is a valuable tool to verify age when purchasing or culling ewes.

From 1 to 4 years of age, sheep will replace baby teeth with permanent ones. Beyond 4 years old, age can be estimated by incisor gaping and damage. Erosion of both incisors and molars is inevitable with aging, but proactively monitoring a flock’s dental condition can promote overall productivity.

How to mouth sheep
From birth to about 1 year of age, lambs have impermanent incisors called “milk teeth.” From 12 to 18 months of age, the first set of permanent incisors erupt. This occurs each year until the sheep is 4 years old, starting from the center teeth and going backward. Continue reading

Where to Buy Sheep?

Eastern Alliance for Production Katahdins (EAPK) Communications Committee
(Previously published online with EAPK: June 23, 2023)

We often get asked “Where’s the best place to buy sheep?” A lot depends on your goals and what you’ll use the sheep for, but one thing is pretty much certain: Don’t buy sheep from the local sale barn. Below are some of the more common sale venues with some of the pros and cons listed.

Venue Pros Cons
On Farm
  • Often lowest cost option
  • Least chance of biosecurity issues
  • Least stress for animals
  • Ability to inspect the whole flock and observe management
  • Potentially more choices of one farm’s genetics
  • May allow better opportunity to develop relationship with seller, especially important if looking for a mentor
  • More flexibility on sale dates
  • Limited to only that farm’s genetics
  • Location (potentially)
  • If out-of-state, veterinary transport certificate may require additional time/expense
  • Seller may require cash-only payment
In-Person Breed Auctions
  • Wider range of options and genetics available in one location
  • Ability to physically examine and compare animals
  • Consigners usually bring their best to sell
  • Seller usually available on site to answer questions
  • Animals sell quickly by sale order
  • On-site veterinarian for transport certificates
  • Most forms of payment typically accepted
  • Mingling with other animals at sale increases biosecurity risks
  • Additional stress for animal (transport to sale; sale itself)
  • Competitive pricing
  • Consecutive bidding means you can’t go back and bid on an earlier animal if you get outbid later in the sale
Online Auctions
  • Potentially wider range of options and genetics
  • Consigners usually offer their best to sell
  • Simultaneous bidding allows you to bid on other animals if outbid on first choice
  • Length of sale allows time to plan bidding
  • Competitive pricing
  • Electronic payment usually preferred
  • Unable to handle or visually inspect animal
  • Seller may be difficult to reach for questions
Combination Auction – online auction with animals available in one location for inspection
  • Wider range of options and genetics
  • Ability to physically examine and compare animals
  • Consigners usually offer their best to sell
  • Simultaneous bidding allows you to bid on other animals if outbid on first choice
  • Length of sale allows time to plan bidding
  • Sellers usually available onsite to answer questions
  • On-site veterinarian available to provide transport certificates for animals located on-site
  • Mingling with other animals at sale increases biosecurity risks
  • Additional stress for animal (transport to sale; sale itself)
  • Competitive pricing
  • If buyer not in attendance or animal not on-site, must arrange transport
  • Acceptable forms of payment vary by sale

Regardless of where you choose to purchase sheep, keep in mind the basics. First identify your goals for your flock and farm, and develop a plan to reach those goals. Set a budget (and stick to it). Identify what specific traits you want to improve and/or downplay. Do your research – talk to the breeders, understand how their sheep are managed and their goals for their flock. Study individual animals offered for sale and remember there is no perfect animal.

2023 Statewide Sheep Production Tour

Mark Badertscher, OSU Extension Educator ANR, Hardin County

2023 Statewide Sheep Production Tour Flyer

A OSU Statewide Sheep Production Tour 2023 statewide sheep production tour of the State up North (Michigan) has been planned for Ohio Sheep Producers the weekend of Saturday, September 30 and Sunday, October 1, 2023. This year’s tour is jointly sponsored by the Ohio Sheep Improvement Association (OSIA) and Hardin County OSU Extension. Join us for this sheep production tour focusing on Michigan lamb marketing and dry lot/confinement sheep operations. A schedule of the included visits are as follows:

Saturday September 30, 2023 Continue reading