Autumn Forage Harvest and Armyworm Management

Dr. Mark Sulc, OSU Extension Forage Specialist, The Ohio State University

Authors Note: Since preparing this article last week, a severe fall armyworm outbreak has developed across Ohio. Here are some comments about managing hayfields in view of this fall armyworm outbreak:

If the hayfield is close to having enough growth for harvest, cut it as soon as possible. If there are large numbers of fall armyworms present (more than 2 to 3 per square foot) and they are ¾-inch or larger, they will “cut” the entire field for you while you sleep another night or two. So be aware of what is in your hayfield! Be sure to read the accompanying article in this issue on the fall armyworm and how to scout for it and manage it.

If your hayfield is not quite ready for harvest, scout it now and continue to scout it every couple of days for fall armyworm presence until you do cut it. Be prepared to make a rescue treatment.

If an established hayfield has already been damaged by fall armyworm, Continue reading

Secure Sheep and Wool Supply Plan – What Producers Need to Know

Center for Food Security and Public Health, Iowa State University

Swine producers are nervously watching the outbreaks of African Swine Fever (ASF) that are happening around the world. Did you know there is a disease just as devastating that can impact sheep? It is called foot and mouth disease (FMD).

Luckily, the United States (U.S) has not had a case of FMD since 1929. However, with global travel and trade, the risk of FMD introduction to the U.S. exists. An FMD outbreak could cost the industry $15 to $100 billion U.S. dollars. The U.S. sheep industry has benefited from an expansion in lamb exports and more than half of our wool is exported. One case of FMD in the U.S. and our export market would be shut down. The American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) values preparedness. The ASI funded the development of the Secure Sheep and Wool Supply (SSWS) Plan (securesheepwool.org) to help producers protect their flocks from FMD. Recently, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) partnered with the ASI to fund outreach materials and efforts to increase FMD awareness of producers and other stakeholders. Continue reading

Steps to Speed Up Field Curing of Hay Crops

Dr. Mark Sulc, OSU Extension Forage Specialist, The Ohio State University

As the hay making season comes to a close, shorter days potentially mean less heat and sunlight needed to dry our final hay crops for 2021. For those planning on getting one more cut over the next month, the tips and tricks needed to speed up field curing time may be of great benefit to both you and your livestock. Enjoy!

The rainy weather in many regions of Ohio and surrounding states is making it difficult to harvest hay crops. We usually wait for a clear forecast before cutting hay, and with good reason because hay does not dry in the rain! Cutting hay is certainly a gamble, but waiting for the perfect stretch of weather can end up costing us through large reductions in forage quality as the crop matures.

As we keep waiting for perfect haymaking weather, we will reach the point where the drop in quality becomes so great that the hay has little feeding value left. In such cases, it may be better to gamble more on the weather just to get the old crop off and a new one started. Some rain damage is not going to reduce the value much in that very mature forage. Continue reading

The Do’s and Don’ts of Fencing

Regardless of the livestock species you are raising, a well kept fence is key to grazing management success. As many producers push summer grazing to the limits, hungry and curious small ruminants are bound to find problems, or in their case, opportunities to seek more feed. Join OSU Extension Educator Dr. Ted Wiseman as he discusses the key components of a hardy fence.

That Time of Year Again

Haley Zynda, OSU Extension Educator ANR, Wayne County

(Image Source: Michigan State University Extension)

As the days get shorter and the nights cooler, many shepherds are thinking about the upcoming breeding season. That is, if they haven’t already let their rams introduce themselves to the ladies. Breeding season is the exciting precursor and indicator of what kind of lamb crop you will have come spring. To ensure a successful lamb crop, there are a few things to consider and potentially remedy prior to letting the rams in with the ewes.

Rams
Just as bulls have breeding soundness exams (BSE), rams can go through a similar process to identify which rams should or should not be used. The Merck Veterinary Manual published a list of characteristics that need to be evaluated, the first of which is Continue reading

Using Nutrient Removal Rates to Improve Forage Productivity

James Morris, OSU Extension Educator, Brown County
Greg LaBarge, OSU Extension Field Specialist, Agronomic Systems

(Figure 1. Yellow unthrifty grass stand spring 2021)

As the calendar flips over to August and temperatures continue to rise, our cool season forages are in the heart of what we call the “summer slump” and vegetative growth begins to decline. Numerous resources are available that provide excellent strategies for reducing the negative effects of this slump. Forage growers can utilize summer annuals to boost yields during this time of the year, but it’s also important to ensure our forage stands are healthy prior to be exposed to heat and other environmental stressors. So, while “summer slump” seems to get all of the attention right now, what if our forages had “spring fever”? Continue reading

Double-Crop Forages to Maximize Summer Forage Potential

Jason Hartschuh, OSU Extension Educator ANR, Crawford County

Many producers use summer annual forages for grazing and stored forage to either fill the summer slump or keep livestock feed through the winter. With wheat harvest finalized across most of the state and straw baling completed for many now our attention turns to creating a second or third profit center off those wheat acres.

Wheat acres provide an excellent opportunity for double-cropping with forages that when harvested at the proper growth stage can either make high quality late gestation early lactation forage, grazing opportunities, or gut fill to mix lower the quality of other forages or concentrates.

Many species of summer annuals can be utilized for forage. Some of them such as radish and turnip can be easily grazed but do not make good stored forage as baleage or dry hay. For dry hay we have found the best two species to be teff and oats. Most other species can be harvested as silage or baleage. Be cautious making Continue reading

The Skills and Principles of Managed Grazing on Improved Pastures

Sponsored by the American Sheep Industry Association, Dr. Woody Lane discusses the importance of a well managed pasture system. For those that are interested in maximizing each grazing event in your respective operation, giving a listen to Dr. Lane’s webinar presentation will be time well spent.

So Lush, So Green, and Oh So Poisonous

Keith Johnson, Extension Forage Specialist, Purdue University

(Image Source: Over-Boer’D Farm – Japanese Yew removed from a goat at necropsy)

For those that follow agricultural education, Extension, and livestock pages on social media, I am sure that within the last month you have saw a post shared from Over-Boer’D Farm who suddenly lost 39 goats due to Japanese Yew poisoning. With summer in full swing and outdoor household chores on the to-do lists, landscaping is sure to be one of those tasks. As a rule of thumb to avoid health issues with livestock, lawn and flowerbed waste should be composted or thrown out rather than be fed to livestock. This weeks short article comes to us from Keith Johnson, Extension Forage Specialist at Purdue University as he further shares the importance of when in doubt, throw it out. Enjoy!

It’s that time of year when the yew (pronounced like the letter “U”) is likely in need of a trim to look best as a landscaping plant. Yews have been used as a common landscaping shrub or small tree for decades. They have closely Continue reading