Forage Weeds: Fall Forgotten and Spring Startups

Alyssa Essman, OSU Extension State Specialist, Weed Science
Christine Gelley, OSU Extension Educator ANR, Noble County
Kyle Verhoff, OSU Extension Educator ANR, Defiance County

Spring means rapid forage growth, but it also means rapid weed growth. Due to the variability of spring weather, there are often only a few opportunities to control emerging summer annual weeds, winter annuals missed in the fall, and biennials that are small enough to effectively control. To manage weeds before they become a problem in forages, it is important to scout and plan accordingly. Forage is a broad category, and the spring weed control plan can look very different between species and operations. The problem weeds and whether control is necessary are going to be different between permanent pasture systems and alfalfa fields, and highly dependent on the consequences of specific weeds.

In established alfalfa, the decision for weed control of some winter annuals like 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

What to Watch for with Asian Longhorned Ticks and Theileria in Ohio in 2024

Dr. Tim McDermott, OSU Extension Educator ANR, Franklin County

(Image Source: Tadhgh Rainey, Hunterdon County Health Services, New Jersey)

One of the worrisome things about ticks in Ohio has been the increasing numbers of ticks of medical importance to humans, companion animals, and livestock as we have gone from one tick of medical importance twenty years ago to five now, including two new ticks in the past few years. While ticks have always been a problem in cattle, the invasive Asian longhorned (ALHT) tick that was first discovered in Ohio in 2020 has demonstrated the ability to not only vector, or transmit disease to cattle, but to cause mortality in cattle through high numbers of ticks feeding upon the animals. I first wrote about ALHT  in All About Grazing in July of 2020 with the article “The Threat of Asian longhorned tick continues” and then followed up with a March 2nd, 2023 article “Managing Asian longhorned ticks on pasture” so I want to provide an update on where we are in the state of Ohio with ALHT right now.

Where are we seeing ALHT in Ohio right now?
As of the end of 2023, we had positively identified ALHT in 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

Bedding Options for Livestock and Equine

Stephen Herbert, Masoud Hashemi, Carrie Chickering‐Sears, and Sarah Weis, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
(Previously published online with the Center for Agriculture, Food, and Environment: UMass Extension Crops, Dairy, Livestock and Equine Program: CDLE Pub. 08-5)

In general, bedding for an animal must be comfortable, clean, and absorbent. There are several materials, both organic and inert, that may be used for bedding, and most may be used for all types of livestock. When organic materials are used, ammonia volatilization is reduced, improving the air in the housing facility. Bedding, as with other aspects of livestock management, can be manageable through proper care and attention. In the case of milking, pregnant, nursing, or very young livestock, specific attention to bedding is required. These four categories of animals are the most susceptible to disease. With milking animals, because the udders are in such close contact with the bedding, environmental pathogens, mainly ones that cause mastitis are of major concern. Comfort is another crucial aspect of bedding because discomfort of an animal leads to sores and other ailments. The breed and age of animal, housing, flooring, and population density will dictate the type and amount of bedding needed. For example the foaling season is especially important with equine.

Considerations in choosing bedding
Labor‐ How time consuming is the overall management (obtaining the material, dispersing it into areas of use, cleaning, and disposal). Availability‐ How feasible is it to obtain material? Are there other uses for the bedding material and will that play a factor into the economics of that specific material? Evaluate source of material to ensure cleanliness. Continue reading