OSU Sheep Team

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Sheep Breeding and Selection Workshop

September 5th, 2013 · No Comments

            The Ohio Heartland Sheep Improvement Association (OHSIA) is sponsoring a program entitled “Breeding and Selecting Sheep for Maximum Profit” on Saturday, September 28.  The program will be held at the Kidron Livestock Auction Sprunger Building, Kidron OH and will run from 9:00 am until 3:00 pm.  Topics that will covered during the day include: Selection principles, Ewe breeding, management and ultrasound demonstration, Ram management and breeding soundness exam demonstration, Farm biosecurity, Practical uses of artificial insemination in sheep, Genetic selection for parasite resistance, Fecal egg count discussion and demonstration.

            Pre-registration is required by September 20 and the registration fee is $30 for the first member of the family and $15 for additional family members.  For more information contact Don Brown at 330-897-4320, email: don.pllc@gmail.com or Kathy Bielek at 330-264-5281, email: kathy.bielek@gmail.com.  An informational flier and registration form is posted on the Wayne County Extension web site at: http://wayne.osu.edu/topics/agriculture-and-natural-resources

→ No CommentsTags: Breeding/Reproduction · Management

Fall Grazing Managment and Plant Health

September 5th, 2013 · No Comments

Rory Lewandowski, 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 tissue dies during the winter, but the buds and roots of the plant remain as living tissues over the winter and continue to respire and burn energy.  If root reserves are insufficient the plant may die over the winter.  If the plant survives but root reserves are low, spring re-growth and vigor of the plant is reduced. 

From a plant health standpoint, overgrazing during the fall is more detrimental to the plant compared to overgrazing followed by rest in the early part of the growing season. Here is the reason why.  Early in the growing season environmental conditions are generally favorable for rapid growth.  If a plant is overgrazed, carbohydrate reserves are mobilized to start new leaf growth.  The long day lengths, warm air temperatures, cool soil temperatures and good soil moisture all combine to help the plant grow leaf area quickly.  New leaf growth allows the plant to once again capture energy from the sun through photosynthesis.  The plant rapidly achieves a positive energy balance.  Photosynthesis replaces the carbohydrate reserves and continues to provide energy needed for further leaf growth.

In the fall of the year environmental conditions are not as favorable for rapid leaf growth.  We can’t count upon an overgrazed plant being able to recover and generate a lot of leaf growth.   Physiologically the plant growth response or the ability to put out new leaf material is more sensitive to low temperature than the rate of photosynthesis.  In other words, even when plant growth might be very slow, if there is leaf area present, photosynthesis is not slowed down.  On a practical level this means that since the plant growth rate is slowed the carbohydrates produced by photosynthesis during this time period accumulate in plant storage organs.  This is exactly what the plant needs to survive the winter and produce new growth next spring.

We sometimes use the term carbohydrate root reserves to make a distinction between carbohydrates used for growth and those used for storage.  Technically, our cool season grasses store the majority of carbohydrate reserves in stem and tiller bases, some in rhizomes and only a little in roots.  Regardless of the technicality, root vigor and volume is linked to leaf growth and vice versa.  However, this technicality does help us to understand some management aspects of pasture grass and fall carbohydrate storage.  For example, orchardgrass stores carbohydrates in the lower 3 to 4 inches of stem bases and tillers.  Tall fescue and bluegrass both maintain carbohydrate storage at the base of tillers as well as rhizomes.  Tall fescue and bluegrass can both tolerate lower grazing/clipping heights than orchardgrass. 

Once we reach the fall period it is critical that grass plants be managed to insure that adequate leaf area is left after a grazing pass.  Photosynthesis will provide the carbohydrates needed for winter storage, provided there is adequate leaf area.  Since leaf growth will be slow, this means leaving a typical grazing residual plus some extra.  For orchardgrass this probably means 4 to 5 inches at a minimum.  Tall fescue and bluegrass should probably be managed to leave a 3 to 4 inch residual. 

What is the consequence of not maintaining enough leaf area in the fall and overgrazing the plant?  The 2012 drought provided us with the perfect example as quite a few pastures ended up being overgrazed through the fall period.  This spring I saw pastures that were overgrazed in the fall were very slow to green up and start growth in the spring.  I saw overgrazed pastures exhibit lower growth rates.  Some pastures never got back to pre-drought productivity.

I sometimes get asked at what point in the fall grasses can be grazed to soil level without harming the plant.  This has to be once top growth has ceased and when soil temperature falls below 40 degrees F.  Depending upon the year, that is likely to be in mid to late November in the Wayne County area.  Of course, overgrazing in the fall of the year might be used as a strategy to weaken a dominant grass stand and set it up for a frost seeding of clover.  This could allow the clover seedling to compete more favorably with the grass and result in better establishment.

Fall is not the time to relax grazing management.  It is a critical time for the plant to build carbohydrate reserves.  Good grazing management in the fall is the first step to more grass growth and better grazing conditions next spring.

→ No CommentsTags: Grazing

Ohio Forage and Grassland Council Fence Building Workshop

July 16th, 2013 · No Comments

Jorgensen Farms 5851 East Walnut Street Westerville, OH 43081

Phone 614-855-2697, www.jorgensen-farms.com

Thursday July 18, and Friday July 19, 2013

9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

 The workshop is for both the beginning and advance fence builder; sheep, cattle and horse owners; and grazing enthusiasts.  Thursday is designed for agency and commercial personal and Friday for the producer.  We will be installing Bekaert high tensile woven wire fence for Val Jorgensen’s sheep and cattle pastures. The workshop will show proper fence building techniques.  Bekaert employees will be providing the training and showing fence building procedures for high tensile woven wire fence construction.

Bob Hendershot, Green Pasture Services and T. J. Oliver, USDA NRCS Resource Conservationist will also be providing information on pasture management; (plant identification, forage measurement, pasture soil fertility, and making subdivisions for rotational grazing) and pasture conservation practices (Heavy Use Area Protection, access road, pipeline, livestock watering facilities, forage planting and fence).

McArthur Lumber and Post (www.totalfarmandfence.com) will be the source of the materials for the fence building workshop.  They have been providing fencing materials for over 50 years and are members of the Ohio Forage and Grassland Council.  They have all your fencing needs; posts , boards, nails, screws, staples, gripples, gates, wire, pneumatic staplers, post pounders, energizers and fencing tools.  Their new line of cedar posts are certifiable for organic farm use

Lunch is provided please give Jorgensen Farms a call 614-855-2697 to help in meal planning. Please bring a water bottle, work gloves and shoes along with sun protection.  This will be hands on learning workshop.


→ No CommentsTags: Events · Grazing

Ohio Sheep Day to be held July 13, 2013 at the OARDC Sheep Research Unit

June 12th, 2013 · No Comments

The Ohio Sheep Day is scheduled for Saturday, July 13, 2013, 8 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.  It will be held at the OARDC Sheep Research Unit, located at 5743 Fredericksburg Road, Wooster OH 44691.

The OARDC Sheep Research Unit has a long history of conducting research to answer questions that help sheep producers be profitable.  That has not changed.  Come and see what has been learned in the last five years.

This year’s Ohio Sheep Day will focus on successful strategies for sheep producers to increase and improve the profitability of their operations. Francis Fluharty, OSU Animal Sciences, will be the keynote speaker addressing the topic, “Myths of Successful Sheep Production”.

A partial list of what visitors will see at the 2013 Ohio Sheep Day includes:

  • Starting a small ruminant farm
  • Successful pasture and barn lambing strategies
  • Successful pasture and barn weaning strategies
  • Alternative forages for grazing small ruminants
  • Myths of internal parasite control in small ruminants
  • Basic sheep management practices for the beginning shepherd
  • Minerals for small ruminants Small ruminant livestock handling
  • Dealing with drought – alternative feeds
  • Use of small ruminants to control weeds and build fertility

A trade show will also take place, dealing with several aspects of sheep production and management, where attendees may visit and purchase supplies and equipment.

Sheep farmers and anyone interested in sheep management is cordially invited to attend.  Sheep producers who attend this program will receive great ideas about sheep nutrition, sheep management systems and many other areas of sheep production. A lamb luncheon is included as part as registration for the Ohio Sheep Day event, no preregistration necessary.  Registration is $10 for Ohio Sheep Improvement Association members and $20 for non-members.

For further questions regarding Ohio Sheep Day activities, please contact Roger A. High at (614) 246-8299 or by email at rhigh@ofbf.org. Additional Sheep Day information can be found on the Ohio Sheep Improvement Association website at www.ohiosheep.org.

Ohio Sheep Day is sponsored by the Ohio Sheep Improvement Association, Ohio Sheep and Wool Program, OSU Sheep Team, Ohio State University Extension and the Ohio State University Animal Sciences Department.

→ No CommentsTags: Economics · Events · Grazing · Management · Nutrition · Parasites · Presentations · Uncategorized

Summer Sheep Grazing Bus Tour

May 26th, 2013 · No Comments

Sheep Grazing Management Tour

July 12, 2013


Sponsored by:            Ohio Heartland Sheep Improvement Association

                                    Ohio Forage and Grasslands Council

                                    Ohio Sheep Improvement Association

                                    Ohio State University Extension


Sheep owners are invited to participate in the sheep grazing management tour scheduled for July 12 in Holmes County.  The tour will be conducted in the scenic Charm area, with stops at 4 Amish sheep farms.  Topics to be discussed at the farms will include information for the beginning sheep farmer using low cost start-up investment, cool season pasture species, warm season annuals, use of minerals, fencing and rotation management, breeding management and marketing.  Each farm will have something different to offer as they explain how their sheep operation works for their farm and family.  The sharing of ideas is how we all learn.

Resource people for the day will be Bob Hendershot of Green Pasture Services, Jeff McCutcheon, OSU Extension Morrow County, Rory Lewandowski, OSU Extension Wayne County and Troyce Barnett, NRCS grasslands specialist.  They will be on hand to provide information about pasture grasses, grazing management, sheep production and to answer questions.

Pre-registration is required and is limited to the first 100 people.  Thanks to financial sponsorship from the Ohio Sheep and Wool Program and the Ohio Forage and Grassland Council, the cost is only $35 per person which includes bus cost, lunch and refreshments. Registrations must be received by July 1, 2013.  No refunds after July 1st. 

Check-in for the tour will begin at 8 a.m. in the back parking lot of Keim Lumber located at 4465 SR557, Charm OH, 44617.  The bus will leave at 9 a.m. from Keim Lumber.  Lunch, included in the registration cost, will be served at the Carpenter’s Café located inside Keim Lumber.

For more information about the tour, contact Rory Lewandowski at the Wayne County Extension office at 330-264-8722, email: lewandowski.11@osu.edu.

To make a reservation, send the reservation form at the bottom of the page along with your check made payable to OHSIA to:


Velda Limbach

14950 Stanwood Street, S.W.

Dalton, Ohio  44618.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

No. of Reservations: _____   Check enclosed in the amount of $_________


Name: ______________________________    Phone No. __________


Address: __________________________________________________________


City: _____________________________________________________________


Email: ____________________________________________________________

→ No CommentsTags: Events · Grazing


April 22nd, 2013 · No Comments

Rory Lewandowski, Extension Educator Wayne County

OSU Extension, Wayne County and the Ohio Heartland Sheep Improvement Association (OHSIA) are sponsoring a FAMACHA Workshop/Training on Saturday June 1.  The workshop and training will be held at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) Sheep Unit at 5743 Fredericksburg Road (County Road 501), 4.5 miles southeast of Wooster.  

FAMACHA is a scorecard system developed in South Africa.  It is used as part of an internal parasite control strategy that focuses on selective chemical deworming of sheep and goats. It involves comparing animal eyelid color with a color chart.  Eye lid color is correlated with levels of anemia caused by infection of Haemonchus contortus, the barber pole worm.

The workshop will run from 9 am until 2:30 pm and will include a classroom session on the biology and lifecycle of the Haemonchus contortus, mechanisms of chemical resistance, control strategies, and use of FAMACHA.   After lunch there will be a period of hands-on instruction using sheep to teach participants how to properly eyelid score and use the FAMACHA system.  Dr. Bill Shulaw, OSU Extension Veterinarian will teach the morning classroom session as well as facilitate the afternoon hands-on teaching session.  Additional resource people from the OHSIA group who have been trained in the FAMACHA system will be on hand to help with the afternoon session.

The cost of the workshop/training is $30/person or $40 for 2 people from the same farm business sharing a FAMACHA card.  The cost includes a FAMACHA card, handout materials, lunch, and morning refreshments.  Class size is limited to 40 persons and pre-registration is required by May 22. Contact the Wayne County Extension office at 330-264-8722 for registration information or visit the Wayne County Extension web site at wayne.osu.edu/anr for a registration form.

→ No CommentsTags: Health · Parasites

Diagnostic sample submissions for animals

April 10th, 2013 · No Comments

by Bill Shulaw, Extension Veterinarian

Lambing, kidding, and calving seasons are well underway and the typical questions about abortions, calf scours, and other problems have been asked.  This week I was asked if I would provide some general guidelines about obtaining help with disease diagnosis.

First of all, getting at least a tentative diagnosis is crucial to formulating appropriate and cost-effective treatment, control, or prevention plans.  Sometimes this isn’t easy or simple, but it should start with your local veterinarian.  Most veterinarians can provide at least some diagnostic services that might include bacterial culturing, blood work, and post mortem examination of dead animals.  If additional testing is needed, the veterinarian might send samples they have collected to a laboratory for additional testing.  A full diagnostic effort on a live animal, especially a valuable one, might involve sending the animal to a referral center such as the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine’s large animal hospital.  This may be needed for situations involving several animals.

Occasionally, a veterinarian will recommend that an animal owner deliver a dead animal or other samples to a diagnostic laboratory such as the ODA’s Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory.  This is a full service laboratory accredited by the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians.  They can perform post mortem examinations and collect appropriate samples for further testing, and they can provide diagnostic tests for other kinds of samples such as placentas from abortion cases or tissue samples for trace mineral analysis (copper, selenium, lead, etc.).

When an owner delivers animals or other samples to the Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory, they will be asked to provide information about the problem and any other pertinent observations.  Often the veterinarian will call ahead to provide the laboratory some of this information and to let the laboratory people know that the animal/samples are coming.  If the veterinarian hasn’t called in advance, the animal owner will be asked the name of his or her veterinarian.  Results of post mortem examinations and diagnostic tests as well as charges for the service are sent to this veterinarian.  Usually the Laboratory sends out a preliminary report of the postmortem findings the next work day followed by test results within just a few days.  Sometimes owners and veterinarians can get information about the initial findings almost immediately depending on the case.  Also, with the laboratory’s current computer system veterinarians can access the cases they are managing for lab results and updates day or night, 24/7, year round.  A final report is sent to the veterinarian as soon as all results are available.  Laboratory results are considered medical records and the veterinarian shares them with the animal owner.

Sometimes there is an urgent need to submit a large animal to the Laboratory on a weekend in order to be able to preserve the animal under refrigeration conditions until the post mortem examination can be done.  Regular necropsy and diagnostic services are not available on weekends, but arrangements for this can be made by calling ahead at 1-614-728-6220.  If the call is made after normal work hours (8 AM – 5 PM Monday through Friday), an after-hours emergency phone number is provided.  Please note there is an after-hours service fee of $75 in addition to the costs of diagnostic tests.  In some cases, the veterinarian can perform the postmortem examination in the field, keep fresh samples refrigerated over the weekend (and formalin-fixed tissue samples at room temperature) and ship them overnight to the lab on the next work day.

Treatment and control efforts carried out without an accurate diagnosis may be costly and ineffective and may compromise animal welfare.  Today’s economic climate requires using the best information you can get.

→ No CommentsTags: Economics · Health

Use of EAZI-BREED™ CIDR® for Sheep and Goat Operations

March 2nd, 2013 · 1 Comment

If you missed the presentation on “Use of EAZI-BREED™ CIDR® for Sheep and Goat Operations”, by Dr. Keith Inskeep, WVU. Do not worry.  We recorded it.  You can find the recording by following this link:  http://go.osu.edu/2013Sheep-4  It was recorded on Monday, February 25, 2013.

→ 1 CommentTags: Breeding/Reproduction · Management · Marketing · Presentations

Drought Recovery of Pastures and Hay Fields

February 19th, 2013 · 1 Comment

In case you missed the third session of the 2013 Ohio Sheep and Goat Web Series don’t worry.  We recorded it  To view the recording of  Rory Lewandowski and Jeff McCutcheon, Ohio Extension Educators, speaking on “Drought Recovery of  Pastures and Hay Fields” follow this link:  http://go.osu.edu/2013Sheep-3 .  The presentation was given Monday, February 18, 2013.

Don’t forget the next presentation in the series “Use of EAZI-BREED™ CIDR® for Sheep and Goat Operations” , by Dr. Keith Inskeep, WVU.  It will be Monday, February 25, 2013 at 7 pm. Viewing locations can be found http://sheep.osu.edu/2013/01/14/2013-sheep-and-goat-web-programs/


→ 1 CommentTags: Grazing · Management · Nutrition · Presentations · Uncategorized

Artifical Insemination in Sheep & Goats

February 11th, 2013 · No Comments

In case you missed the second session of the 2013 Ohio Sheep and Goat Web Series don’t worry.  We recorded it  To view the recording of  Dr. Meghan Wulster-Radcliffe, CEO, American Society of Animal Sciences, speaking on “Artificial Insemination Techniques of Sheep and Goats” follow this link:  http://go.osu.edu/2013Sheep-2 .  The presentation was given Monday, February 11, 2013.

Don’t forget the next presentation in the series, “Managing Pastures and Hay fields After a Drought” by Jeff McCutcheon and Rory Lewandowski.  It will be Monday, February 18, 2013 at 7 pm. Viewing locations can be found http://sheep.osu.edu/2013/01/14/2013-sheep-and-goat-web-programs/


→ No CommentsTags: Breeding/Reproduction · Events · Management · Presentations