A large number of Ohio farmers hire machinery operations and other farm related work to be completed by others. This is often due to lack of proper equipment, lack of time or lack of expertise for a particular operation. Many farm business owners do not own equipment for every possible job that they may encounter in the course of operating a farm and may, instead of purchasing the equipment needed, seek out someone with the proper tools necessary to complete the job. This farm work completed by others is often referred to as “custom farm work” or more simply “custom work”. A “custom rate” is the amount agreed upon by both parties to be paid by the custom work customer to the custom work provider.
Custom farming providers and customers often negotiate an agreeable custom farming machinery rate by utilizing Extension surveys results as a starting point. Ohio State University Extension collects surveys and publishes survey results from the Ohio Farm Custom Survey every other year. This survey will result in a new Ohio Farm Custom Rate Survey Summary for 2024.
Some of the most beautiful and luscious plants can have deadly consequences for our livestock. These are the plant toxicities seen most commonly in livestock in our area:
Cattle are most susceptible to acorn toxicity, although sheep can be affected. Tannins in the acorns and oak leaves are the main toxic agent and are present in higher quantities in green acorns. Toxicity is most commonly observed in recently weaned calves. The tannins consumed in acorns can cause kidney failure. Typical signs of this include abdominal pain, excessive thirst, frequent urination and down animals off-feed. Continue reading →
(Image Source: Greenhouse gas mitigation strategies for the US sheep industry – Summary; Erin Recktenwald and Richard Ehrhardt, Michigan State University)
A new resource outlines best practices for the US sheep industry to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The resource summarizes findings in a landmark Environmental Footprint Study by Michigan State University (MSU).
Many of the suggested practices align with the Lamb Crop Best Practices developed to improve on-farm productivity and profitability. Reducing lamb loss, breeding ewes earlier, and optimal nutrition practices are all areas where producers can maximize productivity while reducing GHG emissions.
“It’s encouraging that producers can implement sound practices that have been proven to help with productivity while reducing our environmental footprint,” said ALB Chairman Peter Comino, Buffalo, WY. “US sheep producers have long been stewards of the land, but seeing strategies that make sense for both productivity and sustainability is encouraging.”
Additional strategies to minimize GHG emissions include:
Sheep and goat operations all experience some amount of hay waste during winter feeding. Now is a good time to look back and evaluate how much hay was wasted.
The largest input cost for any livestock enterprise is feed costs. In forage dependent operations, most of these feed costs occur during the winter when feeding hay. Spring is a great time to assess hay feeding areas and consider how much hay the sheep or goats wasted over the winter.
Is there a large amount of wasted hay lying next to the hay feeders? Did pens inside the barn require minimal bedding last year due to the amount of hay waste? A “yes” answer to either of these questions should inspire producers to look more closely at feed quality and feeder design. Using feeders should be an obvious means to help reduce waste. Less obvious perhaps is the concept that feeders can also help to promote animal health. This occurs by preventing fecal or soil contamination that can lead to problems such as internal parasites, coccidia, or listeriosis. Hay losses can range from Continue reading →
Sheep are tolerant to cold weather with proper care.
Production systems in upper Midwest sheep operations often revolve around winter. Sheep producers need to make sure their flock is prepared for the cold weather, according to North Dakota State University Extension Service sheep and livestock stewardship experts.
“Well-adapted sheep are quite tolerant to cold weather, given a few management factors are adequately addressed,” sheep specialist Reid Redden says.
Due to wool’s insulative properties, the lower critical temperature for a sheep with Continue reading →
(Image Source: Michael Metzger, Michigan State University)
Listeriosis is a disease that can affect all ruminants as well as other animal species and humans.
Listeriosis is an important infectious disease of sheep and goats most commonly causing encephalitis, but also capable of causing a blood infection and abortion. The organism can be shed in milk from an infected carrier animal as well as sick animals which has a risk of infecting humans.
Listeriosis is caused by the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes and is commonly seen in cooler climates. These bacteria can be found in the soil, food sources, the gut, and feces of healthy animals. Most commonly, this disease of sheep and goats is observed as a result of feeding moldy or spoiled hay or silage that has not been properly fermented. It’s possible for your sheep and goats to become infected without feeding moldy or spoiled hay or silage as the organism is commonly found in the environment.
It’s never too late, or early, to begin thinking about your next lamb crop. Even if your resources are limited or if your sheep production system does not support intensive indoor management, I believe that many will benefit from this quick tour and layout of an Irish lambing shed. The basics of feed management, animal housing requirements, and quick tips are just a few bits of important information to consider. I encourage you to take a look for yourself, I know that I was able to to a few tips away myself. Enjoy!
Robert Walker, Eastern Alliance for Production Kathadins (EAPK) Member
(Previously published online with EAPK: December 1, 2023)
(Image Source: Eden Hills)
On the SheepThings Podcast, marketing emails and questions are becoming more prevalent. How do I market my sheep? That is such a broad question and I usually start with, “That depends ….” That is the easy part. When you first started in the sheep business, determining who your market is should have been the first step. Once you determine the market you want to be in, then you can set your sights on how to reach them.
One of the first things you need to do for your operation is to raise something people want to buy. Doesn’t matter how many ads you run or where you put your promotional efforts, if you are not raising what people want then it will not matter. Keep great records and be very diligent on what you choose to sell as breeding stock. Not every lamb is going to be breeding quality even if they’re out of that high priced ram or ewe you purchased. Remember those sheep represent you.