New Study: Don’t Graze Fescue to the Ground

Lauren Peterson, Hay and Forage Grower summer editorial intern
(Previously featured in Hay & Forage Grower: December 5, 2017)

The verdict is in. Grazing toxic fescue to the ground is dangerous to pastured livestock. Findings released by the University of Missouri indicate that the highest levels of toxic alkaloids are held in the bottom 2 inches of infected grass.

Sarah Kenyon, an MU extension agronomist based in West Plains, Mo., documented these findings in her Ph.D. dissertation.

Kentucky 31 fescue, the most-used grass in Continue reading

Managing Starvation/Hypothermia

Dr. Bill Shulaw, OSU Extension Veterinarian

This piece from Dr. Shulaw was previously posted on the web page about 8 years ago. However, it contains a lot of valuable information as many producers here in the state of Ohio transition into the winter lambing season. Check out this article to refresh yourself on the dangers of the starvation/hypothermia complex. Understanding this complex will help you as a producer better prepare yourself for potential issues during this lambing season.

The starvation/hypothermia complex usually comes about when multiple contributing factors are present and not just the simple occurrence of cold weather. Some of these include failure of the ewe to care for the lamb, difficult birth resulting in a weak lamb, bacterial mastitis in the ewe, “hard bag” in the ewe caused by ovine progressive pneumonia (OPP) virus, and several infectious causes of abortions which also may result in live, but weak, lambs. Most producers will be confronted with the occasional hypothermic lamb. Continue reading

EPA Delays Hazardous Substance Release Notification Deadline

Stan Smith, OSU Extension PA, Fairfield County
(A follow up to the EPA Delays Hazardous Substance Release Notification Deadline post from November 15, 2017)

Late in the day on November 15, 2017, the EPA announced that farms with continuous hazardous substance releases as defined by CERCLA do not have to submit their initial continuous release notification until the DC Circuit Court of Appeals issues its order, or mandate, enforcing the Court’s opinion of April 11, 2017. While it appears the reports will be required sometime, producers may Continue reading

Using Goats to Improve Pastures

Marcus McCartney, OSU Extension Educator, Washington County
(Previously published in Farm and Dairy, December 1, 2017)

Do you have leftover fair goats, or inherited some that did not make weight at the fair?

Perhaps your kids or grandkids have been bugging you for the small ruminant animal for some time. Or by chance, did you come into a small herd recently?

If so, then don’t perceive goat ownership as a chore or inconvenience but rather embrace it, think positive, and start letting the goats work for you.

Useful goats:
There are several ways goats can be a useful management tool in Continue reading

How to get More out of your Pastures and Improve Water Quality

Bob Hendershot, Retired State Grassland Conservationist

Improving your pasture management skills will grow more forage that will have higher quality that will better feed your livestock and make you more money. A better pasture should just keep getting better year after year including; improving the environment; improving the soil, water, air, plants, and animals as well as reducing your energy requirements. Healthy soils can grow healthy plants that can allow animals to grow quicker, stronger and healthier, which will reduce the cost of production. We will discuss ways to improve Continue reading

Changes to Ohio’s Livestock Care Standards Take Effect Jan. 1

Ohio Department of Agriculture (Previously published in Ohio Farmer; 11-20-2017)

(Image Source: Ohio Department of Agriculture, Ohio Livestock Care Standards Guide)

Although the latest changes in Ohio’s Livestock Care Standards may not directly effect sheep producers in the state of Ohio, these regulatory changes can serve as a reminder for sheep producers to look into these Standards to ensure that your operation is adhering to the appropriate guidelines.

By following this link, you will be provided with a quick Fact Sheet that outlines Small ruminant care, handling, transportation, management, housing, and euthanasia.

Also, you can find the full Guide regarding the care of sheep, goats, alpacas, and llamas by following this additional link. Continue reading

Grazing Wind Damaged Corn Residue

Jeff McCutcheon, OSU Extension Educator, Southeast Regional Director

Although this information has been posted in the past, as harvest has come and gone, this opportunity may serve as a viable option for those looking for a cheap feed source to graze the mature ewe flock on. This strategy allows farmers to optimize on losses associated with harvest as well as serve as a means to save on winter feedings.

To survive the current feed economy livestock producers need to graze their livestock as long as they can.  Every day livestock are meeting their nutritional needs through grazing they are being fed as economically as possible.  Typically cattle producers utilize corn residue as a feed source but, in Ohio, sheep producers need to consider grazing Continue reading

Shearing the Flock: When are you Shearing?

North Dakota State University
(Published in The Shepherd’s Guide – Supplement to The Shepherd Magazine)

Shearing sheep prior to lambing improves flock productivity. Shepherds have some simple ways to capitalize on one of the best lamb and wool markets the American sheep industry has seen. One of them is shearing sheep. It can have tremendous impacts on flock productivity, according to Reid Redden, North Dakota State University Extension Service sheep specialist. He recommends sheep producers have their sheep shorn 30 to 45 days before anticipated lambing for several reasons, including: Continue reading

Impact of Selection and Breed on Resistance

Dr. Ken Andries, Kentucky State University
(previously published on wormx.info provided by the American Consortium for Small Ruminant Parasite Control)

Most producers of sheep and goats are experiencing resistant parasites to the common products utilized to control them. This continues to be a growing issue resulting in recommendations for change in management and selection practices. Selection for resistance can improve overall parasite status of a herd and reduce the need for treatment. Finding the individual within the breed that is more resistant is the issue when using selection.

For years, producers have been told they need to utilize selective treatment and cull animals that require greater numbers of treatments. Using the eye color score system (FAMACHA©), we are able to select for resilience, but there is little evidence of the impact on actual resistance using this method. There is also limited information on the impact of different parasites loads on performance of kids. Continue reading

Requirements of Hazardous Substance Reporting by Livestock Farms are Further Clarified

Stan Smith, OSU Extension PA, Fairfield County

Posted in last week’s Ohio BEEF Cattle letter and this week’s OSU Sheep Team blog update, Peggy Kirk Hall and Ellen Essman from OSU’s Agricultural and Resource Law office explained that beginning November 15, 2017, many livestock, poultry and equine farms were required to comply with hazardous substance release reporting requirements under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) section 103. Since that release last week, EPA has offered some further clarification of those requirements. In addition, Peggy Kirk Hall has provided additional Continue reading

Farms Must Begin Reporting Air Releases of Hazardous Substances from Animal Wastes

Peggy Kirk Hall, Assistant Professor, Agricultural and Resource Law
Ellen Essman, Law Fellow

Beginning November 15, 2017, many livestock, poultry and equine farms must comply with reporting requirements under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) section 103. The law requires entities to report releases of hazardous substances above a certain threshold that occur within a 24-hour period. Farms have historically been exempt from most reporting under CERCLA, but in the spring of 2017 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit struck down the rule that allowed reporting exemptions for farms. As long as there is no further action by the Court to push back the effective date, farmers and operators of operations that house beef, dairy, horses, swine and poultry must begin complying with the reporting requirements on November 15, 2017. Continue reading

Mixed Considerations to Mixed Grazing

Lauren Peterson, Hay and Forage Grower summer editorial intern
(Previously featured in Hay & Forage Grower: November 7, 2017)

(Image Source: Hay and Forage Grower)

“Multispecies grazing can be used to more effectively utilize all of the browse and forage in pastures, target weeds and brush, and reduce parasite loads across pastures,” says Rob Cook, planned consultation manager for the Noble Research Institute. “These benefits could also lead to increased revenues or decreased costs.”

While multispecies grazing may seem like a no-brainer from an economic and sustainability standpoint, these benefits do not always come easily. The added care and management of an additional species is only one added hassle associated with this profitable, yet challenging undertaking.

Cook asked successful land managers what they most struggle with and then compiled a list of top challenges for multispecies grazing.

Fencing
Producers looking to add sheep or goats to a traditionally cattle-grazed pasture will most likely require reinforced fencing. Cook notes that while producers with the typical five-wire barbwire fencing will struggle to contain smaller ruminants, they can easily be upgraded by adding new strands of hot wire. He adds Continue reading

De-worming Lactating Ewes May Contribute to the Development of Parasitic Resistance

Brady Campbell, Program Coordinator, OSU Sheep Team

Animal production losses associated with internal parasitic infection continues to be of great concern in the small ruminant industry. This is due to the development of parasitic resistance to chemical de-worming products.

For example, when a de-wormer is given at a lower dose than what is recommended on the manufactures label, the parasite in the treated animal may not receive an effective or lethal dose. A concern with treating lactating ewes is that Continue reading

NRCS can Help Develop Water Systems in Pasture Management

Clif Little, OSU Extension Educator, Guernsey County
(Originally published in Ohio Farmer – October 23, 2017)

(Image Source: Underwood Conservation District, White Salmon, Washington)

Planned paddocks, good fencing, improved forages, grazing management, pasture fertility, and livestock genetics are all important elements when maximizing a grazing system. Water distribution, however, is arguably one of the most important elements of pasture-based livestock systems.

In southern and eastern Ohio, spring systems are the most often developed water sources. Springs can provide adequate, low-cost, low-maintenance water systems. Water quality and quantity are major considerations when developing a spring. The first question to answer concerning spring development: Continue reading

Don’t Guess, Forage Test!

Al Gahler, OSU Extension Educator, Sandusky County
(originally published in the Ohio Cattleman, late fall 2017 issue)

Regardless of livestock species, it is important to test your forages. When in doubt, test them out!

Across most of Ohio, 2017 has been a challenging crop year, especially for those in the hay production business. In 2016, while most producers did not have significant yields, quality was tremendous due to the dry weather which allowed for highly manageable cutting intervals and easy dry down. Since the end of June, however, 2017 has been just the opposite, with mother nature forcing many bales to be made at higher than optimal moisture levels, and cutting intervals measured in months rather than days.

With adequate moisture throughout most of the state for much of the summer, this equates to substantial yields, which in turn for the beef producer, means hay is readily available at reasonable prices. However, for the astute cattleman that either makes his/her own hay or knows the nature of the business, this also means high quality hay may just be the proverbial needle in the haystack, and for the most part, as the old adage goes, you get what you pay for.

While there are many options to manage the situation, including Continue reading

Fall Manure Application Tips

By Glen Arnold, OSU Extension Field Specialist, Manure Nutrient Management
Kevin Elder, Livestock Environmental Permitting, Ohio Department of Agriculture

With warmer than normal weather forecast for the next couple of weeks, corn and soybean harvest in Ohio is expected to get back on track. Livestock producers and commercial manure applicators soon will be applying both liquid and solid manure as fields become available. Continue reading

Fall and Winter Grazing Strategies

Jeff McCutcheon, OSU Extension Educator, Southeast Regional Director

In Ohio it is possible to graze year round. Of course grazing in winter does take planning. Summer is the best time to plan for fall and winter grazing. Why? Because many of our options have tasks associated with them in summer. By planning ahead it is possible in Ohio to have adequate quality, grazable forage for most of the winter. Depending on the class of livestock and their stage of production it is possible to need to feed for weeks in winter as opposed to months.

The cheapest option for fall grazing is Continue reading

No More Free Plastic Scrapie Tags

Susan Schoenian, University of Maryland Extension, Sheep and Goat Specialist

As part of efforts to eradicate scrapie, US sheep and goat producers are required to follow federal and state regulations for officially identifying their sheep and goats. Prior to October 1, 2017, the National Scrapie Eradication Program provided free plastic ear tags and applicators. As of October 1, the program will only provide free metal tags. Continue reading

How Does Harvest Weight and Diet Affect Carcass Characteristics?

Brady Campbell, Program Coordinator, OSU Sheep Team

The most common method for finishing lambs in the United States is the use of a high concentrate diet. Although high concentrate diets allow for lambs to be finished at a younger age, one down fall of this feeding strategy is that lambs may to accumulate an excessive amount of carcass fat. An alternative method to finish lambs would be the use of pasture. Forage fed lambs develop less carcass fat, but require a longer period of time to finish and are harvested at an older age when compared to concentrate fed lambs. In order to determine which feeding strategy will yield the greatest amount of marketable product, a comparison of light and heavy weight lambs on two different diets has been summarized.

In order to make this comparison, lambs were harvested Continue reading

Hardin County Sheep Producers Visit Washington County

Brady Campbell, Program Coordinator, OSU Sheep Team

For most Buckeye’s, this past weekend (October 21-22, 2017) was spent watching Penn State beat that team up north as The Ohio State Buckeyes had the weekend off. However,this was not the case for the sheep producers of the Hardin County Sheep Management tour. For these producers, their weekend was spent in Washington county touring sheep operations that most described as unique due to the benefits and challenges associated with raising sheep in the hills of southeastern Ohio. Continue reading

Antiparasitic Resistance

Video credit: Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Veterinary Medicine

For those that are interested in the basics of parasitic resistance and a quick overview of how to manage parasites on-farm, view the video below. This is a great resource for all producers raising grazing livestock.

 

Fall Grazing Management and Plant Health

Rory Lewandowski, OSU Extension Educator, Wayne County

Grazing management during the months of September and October directly impacts the vigor and growth of pasture in the spring. For the perennial grass plant the fall season is a time of laying the foundation for next year’s growth. Although seed production is one way that a perennial plant can survive from year to year, in pastures the more important way that plants survive is through re-growth from buds located at the crown of the plant. It is during Continue reading

What Benefits are Gained by Processing Grain Fed to Sheep?

Brady Campbell, Program Coordinator, OSU Sheep Team

How does corn processing and fiber source affect feedlot lamb performance, diet digestibility, nitrogen metabolism?

(Image source: Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association)

Behaviorally, sheep and cattle are very different, especially in the way they eat. Sheep are more selective in their eating pattern and spend more time physically chewing and breaking down their feed than cattle do.

Regardless of the animal we are feeding, it is common practice in the livestock feed industry to process the grains fed to our animals. An issue with feeding processed grain is that due to an increase in surface area, the starches in grain become more readily available for the animal to digest. As a result, an increase in digestion may lead to metabolic issues such as acidosis in our ruminant species.

Therefore, a question of interest that arises is can sheep be fed unprocessed grains without Continue reading

What Flooring and Bedding Materials are You Using in Your Feedlot?

Brady Campbell, Program Coordinator, OSU Sheep Team

What effect does pen flooring type and bedding have on the performance of finishing lambs?

A common management practice used to finish lambs is to house and feed lambs in an enclosed feedlot. Feedlots are used to protect the lambs from several environmental factors, predators, and parasites as well as ensuring the quality and amount of feed each lamb is receiving. Within the feedlot environment, variation in structural design and feedlot management is to be expected. As a producer, have you ever considered Continue reading

Webinar: Replacement Ewe Selection and Culling of Underperforming Ewes

Brady Campbell, Program Coordinator, OSU Sheep Team

Last Tuesday evening, Susan Schoenian, Sheep and Goat Specialist from the University of Maryland Extension, presented a webinar entitled: Replacement Ewe Selection and Culling of Underperforming Ewes. The webinar was sponsored by the Let’s Grow Committee of the American Sheep Industry Association.

Susan has been with Maryland extension since 1988 and is a sheep producer herself. Susan emphasizes that it is the ewe that makes the money on an operation and therefore it is critical to assess the selection and culling criteria of your flock. Selection of the highest quality females is important in securing a progressive flock. She also expresses that any ewe that fails to raise a lamb (i.e. failure to conceive or does not raise the lamb) should be culled from the flock regardless of her status. To listen to Susan’s seminar, please follow the link provided below.

http://www.sheepagriculture.com/webinars/replacement-ewe-selection-and-culling-of-underperforming-ewes/

 

Ram Management

Tim Barnes, OSU Extension Educator, Marion County

(Image source: Shearwell Data – marking harness)

To achieve maximal fertility, rams should be physically examined for reproductive fitness to detect abnormalities that may affect breeding performance.  A breeding soundness examination can be completed before breeding season.  The scrotum and its contents as well as the penis and prepuce must be carefully examined.  The size and symmetry of both testes and epididymides should be assessed, and both testes should be firmly palpated for consistency and resilience. Semen can be collected and evaluated to check potential sires, particularly in ram lambs.  All screening procedures should be done Continue reading

Fall Grazing Management

Rory Lewandowski, OSU Extension Educator, Wayne County

After clipping pastures throughout the growing season and managing pasture rotations to insure that plants are not overgrazed and that there is enough rest period between grazing passes, it can be tempting in the fall to let grazing management slide. There is fall crop harvest and a number of other fall tasks to get done before winter. However, from a plant health standpoint, overgrazing during the fall is Continue reading

The Importance of Colostrum Management

Dr. Cassandra Plummer, DVM, Small Ruminant Veterinarian, Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine

As we find breeding season winding to a close it is time to start making preparations for lambing season to begin. When preparing for lambing, one thing to consider is your plan for colostrum management. How are you going to get colostrum into your lambs? What if a ewe doesn’t have colostrum? How will you handle orphan lambs or bottle lambs? All of these things need Continue reading

Protect Sheep and Goats with CDT Vaccine

Peggy Coffeen, Dairy/Livestock Editor

Failing to arm sheep and goats disease protection is a bit like heading into a tackle football game with no helmets or pads. Less protection means greater risk. Vaccines are an important component in suiting up small ruminants to hit the field – or pasture. At minimum, sheep and goats of all ages and stages should be protected from clostridial diseases.

Dr. Eric Gordon, DVM, The Ohio State University, believes that clostridial diseases are Continue reading

Fall Grazing Management and Plant Health

Rory Lewandowski, OSU Extension Educator, Wayne County

Grazing management during the months of September and October directly impacts the vigor and growth of pasture in the spring. For the perennial grass plant, the fall season is a time of laying the foundation for next year’s growth. Although seed production is one way that a perennial plant can survive from year to year, in pastures the more important way that plants survive is through re-growth from buds located at the crown of the plant. It is during the short day, long night periods in the fall of the year that flower buds are formed/initiated on the crown of the plant. The plant leaf Continue reading

Footrot: Coming Soon to a Flock Near You

Dr. Bill Shulaw, OSU Extension Veterinarian

Green grass is beginning to peek through the brown plant residues on many Ohio pastures. If our weather pattern is typical this spring, we will soon be enjoying warmer, but wetter, weather. Although we will welcome the flush of new forage that this weather will bring, this is the major transmission season for one of the most common of sheep diseases: contagious footrot. Warm wet weather softens the hoof and soft tissues between the toes making the foot more susceptible to infection. It also favors the transmission of Continue reading

A Decision Making Support Tool Now Available

Rory Lewandowski, OSU Extension Educator, Wayne County

Sorting through the information on sheep and goat parasite control: A decision making support tool is now available.

Farmers confronted with parasite infections in their sheep and goats soon realize there is no “magic bullet” or “one size fits all” solution. They can be quickly bombarded with a lot of information available on internal parasite control but with no help in sorting out which options they should consider in their farming operation.

OSU Extension personnel have developed a decision making support tool for farmers to develop Continue reading

Poisonous Trees

Clif Little, OSU Extension Educator, Guernsey and Noble Counties

Recent storms downed many trees throughout Ohio and some of these pose a threat to livestock. Poisoning is most common when grazing is scarce, such as periods of dry weather coupled with thunderstorms that down trees during the mid to late summer months.

Listed below are some of the most common poisonous trees found in Ohio pastures. Continue reading

Use FAMACHA Correctly for Best Results

Rory Lewandowski, OSU Extension Educator, Wayne County

An important component of summer management is internal parasite control.  By this point in the calendar year sheep, and/or goats on many farms have rotated through pasture paddocks at least a couple of times. Lactating ewes and does can shed large numbers of parasite eggs, effectively seeding pasture paddocks with parasite larvae that are waiting to be ingested with the next grazing pass.  As young lambs and kids learn to graze at the side of their mothers, they are very susceptible to acquiring large parasite infections. However, parasite loads are not equally distributed within the herd or flock.

Over the past several years targeted selective de-worming treatment of sheep and goats has been promoted as one way to avoid treating the entire flock or herd. Selective treatment can slow down the process of the parasite acquiring chemical resistance and thereby prolong the effectiveness of those chemical de-wormers available to sheep and goat owners. One tool that is being used to determine selective treatment is the FAMACHA system. Continue reading

Identify and Control Poison Hemlock

Rory Lewandowski, OSU Extension Educator, Wayne County

As I have driven around the county the past few weeks, I have noticed some patches of poison hemlock on roadside banks and also in some fields. This is a concern because all parts of this plant including leaves, stems and roots are poisonous when ingested. This is a good time to scout both hay fields and pastures for this weed and take steps to control it. This is not a weed that livestock owners can afford to ignore.

Poison hemlock has an appearance similar to wild carrot and is a member of the parsley family. The plant has compound leaves made up of multiple leaflets that are finely divided and have a triangular shape. Some descriptions say the leaf has a lacy appearance. One of the key identifying characteristics is the stem. The stem of poison hemlock is Continue reading

Use FAMACHA Correctly

Rory Lewandowski, OSU Extension Educator, Athens County

A number of sheep and goat owners have been trained across Ohio in the use of the FAMACHA system, yet problems with internal parasites, in particular, with Haemonchus contortus continue. This is to be expected. The FAMACHA system utilizes an eyelid scorecard that can help a farmer make a decision to treat or not to treat the animal with a chemical de-wormer. The FAMACHA system is not a cure-all, or a silver bullet for dealing with internal parasites. It is one tool that can be a part of an overall parasite control strategy. In order for this tool to be effective Continue reading

Pasture, Parasites, and Risk Management

Rory Lewandowski, OSU Extension Educator, Athens County

May through early June is generally a time of good pasture growth and corresponding livestock production. However, if you are grazing sheep and goats this is the time of year that needs careful consideration in regards to internal parasites, in particular Haemonchus contortus, the barber pole worm. One way to approach this grazing season is to think in terms of risk management.

What can be done to reduce or minimize the risk of a heavy parasite infection while sheep and goats graze pastures? Continue reading

CIDRs Now Officially Approved for Sheep

FDA Announces the Approval of a New Product for the Management of Reproduction in Sheep
November 16, 2009

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today is announcing the approval of EAZI-Breed CIDR Sheep Insert (progesterone solid matrix) for induction of estrus in ewes (sheep) during seasonal anestrus. This progesterone Continue reading

Grazing Corn Residue

Jeff McCutcheon, OSU Extension Educator, Morrow County

To survive the current feed economy livestock producers need to graze their livestock as long as they can.  Every day livestock are meeting their nutritional needs through grazing they are being fed as economically as possible.  Typically cattle producers utilize corn residue as a feed source but, Continue reading

Breeding Season Preparation

Rory Lewandowski, OSU Extension Educator, Athens County

Reproductive performance is an important factor in determining profitability in the sheep flock. Most breeds of sheep have seasonal breeding patterns and the majority of flocks in Ohio are spring lambing. In this scenario, the peak fertility of the ewe is from late September through November. The breeding season will extend Continue reading

Parasite Management for Small Ruminants Begins… in the Fall?

Rory Lewandowski, OSU Extension Educator, Athens County

The biggest enemy of pasture based sheep and goat production has got to be internal parasites and especially, Haemonchus contortus, or the barber pole worm.  Its incredible reproductive capacity, an adult female can lay up to 5,000-10,000 eggs/day, combined with the fact that the infective third stage (L3) larvae can survive 60 to 90 days or more on pasture during Continue reading

Fall Grazing Management

Jeff McCutcheon, OSU Extension Educator, Knox County

Fall is one of the most crucial time periods for our cool season pastures. The most important activity a livestock producer should be doing to help the pastures survive winter and remain productive next year is to avoid over-grazing.

Why is fall a critical time for our cool season perennial forages? Continue reading

Monitor Lamb/Kid Worm Burden

Rory Lewandowski, OSU Extension Educator, Athens County

July through September are critical times to closely monitor the internal parasite burden of lambs and kids. Preferably monitoring would start in June. The internal parasite of principal concern during the summer months is Haemonchus contortus, the barber pole worm. Lambs and kids grazing on pastures that are contaminated with large numbers of infective Haemonchus contortus larvae can go downhill very rapidly in July and August. It would not be uncommon that within a 7-10 day period Continue reading

Options for Fall and Winter Grazing

Jeff McCutcheon, OSU Extension Educator, Knox County

In Ohio it is possible to graze year round. Of course grazing in winter does take planning. Summer is the best time to plan for fall and winter grazing. Why? Because many of our options have tasks associated with them in summer. By planning ahead it is possible in Ohio to have adequate Continue reading

Oats, Planted Late, Continue to be Our Most Dependable Forage?!?!

Curt Stivison, Fairfield SWCD Engineering Technician
Stan Smith, OSU Extension Program Assistant, Fairfield County

Most know that for the past seven years, we’ve spent much time in Fairfield County investigating the virtues of oats as an annual forage when they are planted during mid to late summer, or even into early fall. While we’ve harvested from 2 to 5 tons, and consistently realized average yields of 3+ tons of dry matter from oats planted in July and August after a harvested wheat crop, it’s also apparent that yield and quality can vary greatly as planting date, nitrogen fertilization, and perhaps even oat varieties differ from each field planted.

For those looking to grow a cost-effective alternative forage crop Continue reading

Pasture Measurement

Rory Lewandowski, OSU Extension Educator Athens County

Pasture measurement allows a grazier to determine an estimate of how much forage dry matter (DM) is available in a pasture paddock. Once forage DM is estimated, then the grazier can figure out how many animals can be grazed in that paddock for a given period of time. This is something that experienced graziers gain an eye for over time with practice. For beginning graziers, pasture measurement Continue reading

Spring Pasture Management

Mark Landefeld, OSU Extension Educator, Monroe County

The time of year is quickly approaching when keeping pasture plants in a vegetative state is probably the hardest for forage producers. Managing pasture growth early in the growing season is important to maintain high quality and high quantity forage production throughout the spring, summer and fall. A “spring flush” occurs Continue reading

Interested in Finding Out How Your Lambs are Performing? Have Them Scanned!

Bill and Susan Shultz, Logan County Sheep Producers

Bill and Susan Shultz will be scanning their 2009 lamb crop on Friday, June 20, 2009 at their farm in DeGraff, Ohio. They have contracted with Bonnie Bradford, a skilled technician, to do the scanning of loin eye and back fat as she has done the past three years for the Shultz’s. Continue reading

What Resources are Available to Help Improve Your Sheep Operation?

Curt Cline, Director for Commercial Flock Owners, Co-Chairman of Membership Services OSIA
Daryl Clark, Director for Lamb Feeders, Co-Chairman of Membership Services OSIA

As I begin to embark on this subject, I can’t help but think I should have changed the title to, “Where are the resources available to improve your sheep operation?” Maybe I should begin by explaining what type of resource I am talking about. Natural resources are well, natural if you will. Financial resources come in many shapes. I suppose most people would consider Continue reading

Helpful Resources Available from the American Sheep Industry Association

Tim Fine, OSU Miami County Program Assistant
Dr. Bill Shulaw, OSU Extension Veterinarian

If you are producing sheep in the United States, there are a few resources provided by ASI that you will want to become familiar with.

The Sheep Care Guidepublished in 2006. The Sheep Care Guide was developed to serve as a reference to provide sheep producers with information about Continue reading

Management Considerations to Lower Lamb Mortalities

Dr. Bill Shulaw, OSU Extension Veterinarian

There are many factors that affect lamb survival. Serious shepherds should consult the Sheep Production Handbook, produced by the American Sheep Industry Association (www.sheepusa.org), for a more complete discussion of the various conditions and infectious diseases which impact lamb survival. However, if a pregnancy is carried to term, most losses occur Continue reading

Managing Starvation/Hypothermia

Dr. Bill Shulaw, OSU Extension Veterinarian

The starvation/hypothermia complex usually comes about when multiple contributing factors are present and not just the simple occurrence of cold weather. Some of these include failure of the ewe to care for the lamb, difficult birth resulting in a weak lamb, bacterial mastitis in the ewe, “hard bag” in the ewe caused by Continue reading

A Producer’s Perspective of the Sheep Industry after the Trip Out West

Roger High, OSU Ohio State Extension Sheep Specialist

As a long time sheep producer, and one that loves the sheep industry and the people involved in it, it was a fabulous, once in a lifetime experience for me. I have never been to “sheep country” so to speak in all of my years of raising and producing sheep, but this area of the United States is just really part of “sheep country”, but it was so great to be in it. The State of Idaho has approximately 100,000 more sheep than Continue reading

Grazing Wind Damaged Corn Residue

Jeff McCutcheon, OSU Extension Educator, Morrow County

To survive the current feed economy livestock producers need to graze their livestock as long as they can.  Every day livestock are meeting their nutritional needs through grazing they are being fed as economically as possible.  Typically cattle producers utilize corn residue as a feed source but, in Ohio, sheep producers need to consider grazing Continue reading

Culling the Sheep Flock

Roger High, OSU Ohio Sheep Extension Program Specialist

With increasing production costs, livestock producers really need to evaluate each animal and decide whether that animal is really a productive animal or an animal that is “just on the payroll” and not really contributing the profitability of the program. Marginal producing ewes and rams should not be maintained in the flock!

Culling is one of the tools that should be implemented to increase the efficiency of the sheep flock. But what criteria should a producer use to base their culling decision? The following are guidelines Continue reading

Summer Parasite Management

Rory Lewandowski, OSU Extension Educator, Athens County

July and August are critical months to control the internal parasite, Haemonchus contortus in pasture based sheep and goat production. Often producers may find that lambs and kids seem to “stand still” during the summer, with little or no weight gain. There can be several reasons for this situation. Continue reading

Pasture Lambing

Bob Hendershot, State Grassland Conservationist

What is lambing like, for your sheep flock, hours per lamb or lambs per hour? The shepherd’s labor and the size of the lambing barn are the two things that limit the size of most Ohio sheep flocks. Pasture-lambing avoids both of these concerns.

Pasture-lambing is the lambing of ewes on pasture where the ewes and newborn lambs bond without being penned or housed. Pasture-lambing works the best in concert with the peak pasture growth. Spring and fall pasture growth can provide the quantity and quality of feed that the ewe will need during the last part of gestation and early lactation. This greatly reduces the feed cost compared Continue reading

Why Wool Prices Differ

Don Van Nostran, Mid-States Wool Growers

Wool is wool is wool. Unfortunately, this is the feeling of many sheep producers when they look at this secondary product produced by the sheep. However, not all wool is the same and a producer has a big effect on the value of their wool clip just by their management practices. Continue reading