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

Managing Hay Fields and Pastures After Storm Damage

Jason Hartschuh, Dairy Management and Precision Livestock, Field Specialist

As the number of straight-line wind and tornado events seems to be increasing so does the number of times that parts of nearby buildings end up spread out across our pastures and hay fields.  This debris can cause significant health risks to grazing livestock, as well as animals fed harvested forages from these fields. Debris that is blown into pastures and hayfields quickly becomes hard to see as forages take off and grows in the spring. In pastures or stored hay, livestock often eat foreign materials that are present in the field either mixed in with the forage or just from curiosity. There is also a risk of livestock being injured from foreign materials entering the animal’s hooves or being tangled in the debris in a pasture. Each type of debris can cause slightly different challenges.

Large debris such as roofing, boards, and other debris scattered by the storm are the easiest to see and clean up. Once the large debris is no longer visible it is easy to move on to the next cleanup project, but the small stuff needs cleanup just as badly. Fiberglass insulation can be especially challenging as it can lead to blockages, bloat, and irritation of the digestive tract. Small amounts of Continue reading

Spring Pasture To-Do’s

Evie Smith, Small Farms and Master Gardener Coordinator, Oregon State University
(Previously published online with Oregon State University Extension Service: April, 2023)

When snow and ice finally ease up, and spring is just around the corner, your forage plants will start growing again. This means it’s time to start thinking about spring management for your pasture. Below are some management activities you should start planning for or doing.

Soil test
If you didn’t test it last fall, test the soil in your pasture this spring (or plan to do it this coming fall). OSU Extension recommends you test the soil in your pasture every one to two years to know how to amend your soil to get the most out of your pasture. The following resources can help you take and interpret your soil test. Continue reading

Dairy Goat Management: Seasonal Tips and Tricks

Dr. Mary Blankevoort, DVM
American Dairy Goat Association (ADGA) Publicity/Promotional/Educational Committee
(Previously published online with ADGA: January 13, 2024)

(Image Source: American Dairy Goat Association – Dairy Goat Management Calendar)

This dairy goat management calendar is offered as a guide to assist you in preparing for each season. Some breeds and breeders may have unique needs or practice out-of-season breeding. Always seek the advice of your small ruminant veterinarian and never disregard professional advice or delay seeking professional veterinarian assistance because of something you read on this website. (Printable Version of this Dairy Goat Management Calendar).


Prepare for Kidding Continue reading

Sheep and Solar: A Sensible Pairing

Allison Lund, Staff Writer, Indiana Prairie Farmer
(Previously published online with FarmProgress Indiana Prairie Farmer: February 26, 2024)

(Image Source: American Lamb Board)

Agrivoltaics make the most of land set aside for solar panels.

There will be an unlikely resident flocking to solar fields in northwestern Indiana: sheep. Landowners are collaborating with solar companies to get the most out of these solar projects through agrivoltaics — the use of land for both agriculture and solar energy generation.

Scott Fritz, Pulaski County, Ind., sees this as an avenue to continue tending to the land that he’s already cared for over the years.

“It’s our land,” Fritz says. “We still own the land. We might as well participate in taking care of it.”

Why sheep?
The grass seeded under solar panels needs to be maintained so it doesn’t compete with the panels for sunlight. This can be done with a mower or, as many are discovering, with livestock. The latter is better for the environment, Fritz says. Continue reading

Where Do the Sharps Go?

Dr. Russ Daly, Professor, South Dakota State University Extension Veterinarian, State Public Health Veterinarian
(Previously published online with South Dakota State University Extension: October 3, 2023)

(Image Source: FDA)

I Gave My Animal A Shot. Now What?
Animals receive shots for various reasons throughout their life, just like people. Sometimes they are used to prevent diseases, in the case of vaccinations; and sometimes they are used to help an animal recover from a bacterial illness, as with antibiotics. Regardless of why the animal received a shot, it is important to dispose of the needle in a safe way. Other sharp items such as scalpel blades used to perform various medical procedures on animals should be disposed of safely as well. Needles, scalpel blades, and other sharp items are sometimes referred to as “sharps.” They can inadvertently injure people and/or expose them to potentially harmful substances (e.g. blood, medicines, etc.) if they are not disposed of carefully.

Remember, disposal methods can vary by state, county, and city so please check with your local landfill or waste disposal service to verify approved methods of household disposal.

Are Sharps Considered Medical Waste?
Sharps used in livestock husbandry practices are considered medical or infectious waste. The Administrative Rules of South Dakota (ARSD) 74:27:07:01(41A) use the definition in the Code of Federal Regulations 40 CFR §60.51c to define medical/infectious waste as: Continue reading

Top Tips for Healthy Lambs

Sarah McNaughton, Editor, Dakota Farmer
(Previously published online with Dakota Farmer: January 19, 2024)

Montana State Extension shares management practices for lambing and kidding.

With lambing and kidding season arriving to ranches, now is the time to evaluate management and facilities for a successful spring crop. Brent Roeder, sheep and wool Extension specialist at Montana State University, shared health management tips for lambs and kids during a recent producer-focused webinar.

Sheep and goats are management-responsive, with nutritional, environmental, or predatory stressors opening the door to disease.

“A lot of livestock management with Continue reading