7 Ways to Maximize Manure as Fertilizer

Tom Bechman, Editor, Indiana Prairie Farmer
(Previously published in Indiana Prairie Farmer: April 6, 2021)

Corn Illustrated: Timing of applications and management of manure are important factors.

Big livestock operations produce lots of manure. In fact, some producers sell it to neighbors. More people are recognizing the value of manure in high-yield corn production systems.

If you want to get the most value from manure, Jim Camberato suggests understanding the basics of manure management and applying common sense. “It can be a good source of nutrients, but you need to handle it correctly and account for application timing and method, among other things,” says Camberato, a Purdue University Extension soil fertility specialist.

Camberato shared basic manure management guidelines virtually with Indiana Certified Crop Advisers recently. Here are seven tips based upon his suggestions. Continue reading

Contagious Keratoconjunctivitis (Pinkeye)

Susan Schoenian, Sheep & Goat Specialist, University of Maryland Small Ruminant Extension Program
(Previously published on the Maryland Small Ruminant Page)

(Image Source: Susan Schoenian, University of Maryland)

With sheep sale season here and fly season near, so is the potential for pinkeye. Join Susan Schoenian this week from the University of Maryland as she discusses the symptoms and preventative measures that can be taken to keep this issue at bay in your operation.

Pink eye is the lay term used to describe any number of diseases affecting the eye(s) of animals. The more proper name is infectious keratoconjunctivitis. Webster’s Dictionary defines keratoconjunctivitis as “a combined inflammation of the cornea and conjunctiva.”

Pink eye is an infectious and contagious bacterial disease of sheep, goats, and other animals. Though most common in the summer and in young animals, it may occur at any time of the year and in sheep and goats of any age. It occurs in all sheep and goat-raising areas of the world, though the primary causative organisms may vary.

Pink eye is caused by Continue reading

Feed Processing, Digestive Upset, and Observations During Feeding

During the 2020 Buckeye Shepherd’s Symposium, Dr. Francis Fluharty from the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at the University of Georgia and Emeritus Professor in the Department of Animal Sciences at The Ohio State University addressed how to manage your feeding regimen, including feed processing, digestive upset, and observing animal behavior. Dr. Fluharty further discusses which feed sources should to be processed and those that don’t. With the price of corn and hay in the market today, trust me, this 30 minute discussion will be well worth your time. Let the spring feeding begin!

Selecting Forages for Your New Seeding

Christine Gelley, OSU Extension Educator ANR, Noble County

The spring seeding window for the most popular forages in our region is quickly approaching. Producers looking for guidance on how to choose the best forage for their system should always start with a soil test rather than a seed catalog. Whether you have farmed your site for decades or days, soil testing is essential for success.

Once you know the characteristics of your soil, you can formulate a timeline to adjust fertility if needed, sow your selected seed, and set realistic expectations for production. Soil testing should be conducted when site history is unknown, when converting from a different cropping system (row crops, woodlands, turfgrass, etc.), or on a three-year schedule for maintenance.

Additional factors worthy of consideration prior to purchasing seed include Continue reading

Nutrition and Feeding Systems for Lamb Finishing

Christoph Wand – Beef Cattle, Sheep and Goat Nutritionist/OMAF
(Previously published on Ontario, Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs: August, 2014)

The purpose of market lamb feeding is to cost-effectively produce a product of marketable quality and quantity. Keeping this objective in mind will help you make good business and animal management decisions.

The rumen, the largest of the four stomach compartments in ruminant animals, is a fermentation organ, not an acidic stomach. This means digestion depends on the microbes that live inside the rumen. Maintaining the health of this environment is therefore critically important when you are finishing lambs.

Nutrients
Sheep and lambs need several nutrients and nutrient classes for optimum growth. They are listed below in order of importance. Continue reading

Pre-Breeding Management of Rams and Ewes

David C. Van Metre, DVM, DACVIM Extension Veterinarian, Colorado State University
(Previously published online with Veterinary Extension through Colorado State University)

Important notes for both spring and fall breeding!

The pre-breeding period is defined as the 8-10 week period prior to the first day that rams are turned out with the ewes. Although it is traditionally a relatively quiet period for the sheep producer, the pre-breeding period involves multiple physiologic processes in the ram and ewe that can significantly impact fertility during breeding season, and therefore can subsequently impact the size and uniformity of the lamb flock. During this period of time, the sheep producer can conduct a few fairly simple management practices to ensure that the ram and ewe flock are in optimal physical condition for breeding.

Pre-Breeding Evaluation of the Ram Flock
Creation of sperm in rams requires approximately Continue reading

2021 Small Ruminant Webinar Series: Commercial Sheep Culling Criteria

In Webinar #3 of the 2021 OSU Small Ruminant Webinar Series, Dalton Huhn, Research Assistant at the OSU Eastern Agricultural Research Station, gives viewers an overview of the culling criteria used to maintain the flock at the research farm.

Thank you all for joining us for the 2021 OSU Small Ruminant Webinar Series! If you have any comments on how we can improve or ideas for future webinars, please contact Brady Campbell at campbell.1279@osu.edu or Christine Gelley at gelley.2@osu.edu

Forage Planting – How to Do It Well

Dr. Mark Sulc, OSU Extension Forage Specialist, The Ohio State University
Jason Hartschuh, OSU Extension ANR Educator, Crawford County
(Previously published in the C.O.R.N. Newsletter 2021-06)

Early spring provides one of the two preferred times to seed perennial cool-season forages, the other being late summer. The outlook for this spring is for probabilities of above average precipitation in April and May. Planting opportunities will likely be few and short. An accompanying article on preparing now for planting along with the following 10 steps to follow on the day you plant will help improve chances for successful forage establishment.

Step 1:
Check now to make sure soil pH and fertility are in the recommended ranges. Follow the Tri-state Soil Fertility Recommendations. Forages are more productive where soil pH is above 6.0, but for Continue reading

Still Time to Frost Seed Red Clover

Chris Penrose, OSU Extension Educator ANR, Morgan County
(previously published in the C.O.R.N. Newsletter 2021-05)

We are at the point of the winter that daily average temperatures are rising and the days are getting noticeably longer. This freezing and thawing over the next few weeks is what gives frost seeding a great chance to work.

Frost seeding is a very low cost, higher risk way to establish new forages in existing fields by spreading seed over the field and let the freezing and thawing action of the soil allow the seed to make “seed to soil” contact allowing it to successfully germinate. When you see soils “honeycombed” in the morning from a hard frost, or heaved up from a frost, seed that was spread on that soil has a great chance to make a seed to soil contact when the soil thaws. I think the two biggest reasons why frost seeding fails is Continue reading

Are Parasites a Limiting Factor in your Operation?

Bill Fosher, Granite State Graziers coordinator and New Hampshire sheep producer
(Previously published in On Pasture: March 1, 2021)

The parasites that infest sheep can be an enormous drag on sheep production. Year in and year out, they probably cause more death and disease in some producers’ lamb crops than any other single factor, including predators.

The days when the answer to parasite management was to drench all the sheep every month are behind us. Parasites have started to evolve resistance to various classes of de-wormers. The problem with chemical resistance is so pronounced in some parts of the Southeast US that there are farms where no de-wormers work anymore, and there’s at least some degree of chemical resistance nearly every place where worms are a problem.

The first step in knowing how to manage parasites in your own farm is to know what’s going on in your flock’s guts and in the environment they inhabit. The second step is to know what environmental factors play into parasite reproduction and infectivity. In the final analysis, the answer for how to Continue reading