Spring Lamb Management Tips

David Brown, Livestock Field Specialist, University of Missouri Extension
(Previously published online with the University of Missouri Extension: April, 2024)

Lambing can take place at different times of the year and there is no “one-size-fits-all” production system. Spring lambing has been found to be a more profitable production system when compared to fall and winter lambing because it takes full advantage of the spring and summer flush of grass. The abundance of spring forage lowers feed cost associated with processed feeds, saving the producers dollars that would have gone into feed purchases. Conception rates are much higher in spring lambing system because breeding coincides with their natural mating and lambing seasons. It is also less labor intensive and requires little equipment.

Spring-lambing takes place from March to May. Weaned lambs remain Continue reading

Pneumonia – Sheep And Goats

Australian Livestock Export Corporation Limited
Meat and Livestock Australia
(Previously published online with the LiveCorp and MLA Veterinary Handbook Disease Finder)

(Image Source: Anexa Veterinary Services, NZ)

Pneumonia refers to inflammation of the lungs. It may be accompanied by inflammation of the larger airways (bronchioles) and referred to as bronchopneumonia, or by inflammation of the pleura (outer surface of the lung, adjacent to the chest wall) and referred to as pleuropneumonia. Pneumonia in sheep and goats is often caused by infectious agents, particularly by a combination of bacteria and viruses.

In sheep and goats, the important infectious agents associated with pneumonia include:

  • Viruses – Parainfluenza virus type-3 (PI-3), adenovirus, respiratory syncytial virus and caprine arthritis and encephalitis (CAE) virus (goats).
  • Bacteria – Manehimia haemolytica, Pasteurella multocida, Haemophilus sp., Chlamydia sp., Salmonella sp., and Mycoplasma sp.

Non-infectious causes of pneumonia include Continue reading

Forage Maturity Across Ohio

Jason Hartschuh, Dairy Management and Precision Livestock, Field Specialist

Warm weather this spring especially over the last couple of weeks has rapidly progressed forage maturity. Harvesting forages at the proper time for the livestock you are feeding is critical to farm profitability. Poor quality forages must be supplemented to maintain livestock. In the southern part of the state, many forage grasses are in head while in the northern part of the state, some varieties of Orchard grass and barnyard grass are in head but most are still in the vegetative stage but will be in head within a week.

Many growers may base harvest decisions primarily on alfalfa maturity; however, this method can be misleading due to climatic variations affecting the rate of bud and flower development.

Spring changes of alfalfa %NDF can increase about 5 percentage units each week. Therefore, it is imperative for growers to be monitoring their Continue reading

Yellow Flowers of Concern

Christine Gelley, OSU Extension Educator ANR, Noble County

Fields along the floodplain have been turning yellow over the past couple weeks as cressleaf groundsel is bolting and flowering. From a distance, a haze of yellow floats above the field. Upon closer inspection, you will find collections of daisy-like flowers on slender stems waving their sunny faces in the breeze. While it sounds sort of dreamy and whimsical, this plant (also known as butterweed) can cause livestock poisonings in harvested or grazed forages. All parts of the plant are considered toxic in both fresh and dried states.

Cressleaf groundsel is a member of the aster family and displays yellow daisy-like blooms in the springtime on upright hollow stems that have a purple hue. These plants are Continue reading

Forage and Pasture Planting Calendar

Ed Brown, OSU Extension Educator ANR, Athens County

Throughout the years, I have received many calls as to when the best time is to plant pasture grasses and forages. Farmers and ranchers also wanted to know the recommended seeding rates for either a pure stand or as a forage mix. I would always refer them to the Ohio Agronomy Guide and give them the bit of information they needed. I knew that there had to a more efficient way to get out this information.

At first, I developed a spreadsheet with all the forages and which months they should be planted. This worked to answer questions quickly but wasn’t really a resource that producers could quickly access. This led to the development of the Forage & Pasture Planting Calendar.

(Forage and pasture planting recommendations for April. To view the full calendar, be sure to visit the link provided below.)

I’ve taken the information from the Agronomy guide and put it into an easy to reference calendar that could be hung on the wall or on the side the fridge. The top of the calendar includes information and tips from the Ohio Agronomy Guide. The remainder of the calendar is organized by month with appropriate planting times and seeding rates.

The link to the calendar is https://athens.osu.edu/sites/athens/files/imce/Ag_Docs/Final%20Calendar_1.pdf

If you would like to print the calendar, it’s best done on 11 x 17 tabloid paper.

Use a Grazing Stick to Measure Forages

Christine Gelley, OSU Extension Educator ANR, Noble County
(Previously published on Farm Progress – Ohio Farmer: April 17, 2024)

Sticks help determine an estimate of available forage dry matter per grazing paddock.

Measuring the amount of forage available for livestock to graze is a helpful task for designing and adjusting pasture rotations for grazing livestock.

There are many potential methods for measuring the amount of forage mass growing in a pasture. All of them require time spent in the pasture and repetitious measurements to develop estimations of whole pasture forage availability.

One of the simplest methods for estimating forage availability is using a grazing stick.

What does the grazing stick do?
A grazing stick combines information about forage height, forage density, species of forages growing in the pasture and residual grazing heights into a tool that looks like a yardstick. Continue reading