Poultry Workshop

Small Poultry Flock Education Series
What: Small Flock Workshop
When: Saturday, September 20, 2014
Where: University of Delaware, Webb Farm
508 S. Chapel St., Newark, DE
Time: 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Want to learn more about starting up a small flock or get information on nutrition and feeding of your current flock. Then, come to our Small Flock Education Workshop on September 13. We’ll have experts form the University of Delaware, Delaware State University and Maryland Cooperative Extension on hand to provide information and answers to your questions.
The meeting is free and everyone interested in attending is welcome. If you have special needs in accessing this program, please call the office two weeks in advance.
To register or request more information, please call our office at (302)831-2506.
Thank you and see you there. Dan Severson

9:00-9:10 AM Opening Remarks and Introductions—Mr. Dan Severson
9:10-10:00 AM Getting Started with Poultry—Dr. Brigid McCrea
10:00-10:30 AM Biosecurity—Mrs. Jenny Rhodes
10:30-10:40 AM Break
10:40-11:20 AM Nutrition and Feeding—Dr. John Moyle
11:20-12:00 AM Chicken Breed Identification—Dr. Brigid McCrea
12:00-12:15 PM Break
12:15-12:30 PM Egg-citing Information—Dr. Jon Moyle
12:30-12:45 PM Mites and Lice in Poultry—Dr. Brigid McCrea
12:45-1:00 PM Why do you like to keep chickens? Survey

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Margin Protection Program

Register for Webinar on Margin Protection Program for Dairy Producers (MPP)

Register now for the farmdoc Webinar series. This will be a live event where participants have the opportunity to send specific questions to the presenter. The format will be fast-paced with about 30 minutes of presentation and 30 minutes for Q&A.

This webinar is free. However, registration is required to participate.

12:00PM-1:00PM CDT (GMT -5)

Tuesday September 16, 2014

Are You Ready for the Margin Protection Program for Dairy Producers (MPP)?

John Newton Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics, University of Illinois
Phil Cardoso Assistant Professor, Department of Animal Sciences, University of Illinois

Details & Registration


Please note: Registration is limited to 1000 attendees. The webinar can be viewed on desktop computers, laptop computers, and mobile devices. Technical requirements for the webinar can be found here.

For our full schedule of webinars visit farmdoc.illinois.edu/webinars

Please note that any email directed to the sending address (farmdocdaily@illinois.edu) will not receive a reply. To communicate with us directly via email use one of the following options:

Send email to farmdoc@illinois.edu or click the ‘Contact Us’ link in the subcription management area below.

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Is It Time to Plant a New Pasture or Hay Field? Part 5: Planting the Crop

Part 5:  When Do I Plant and How Much Seed Do I Use?

In the earlier posts in this series, I discussed some of the decisions and planning that need to be taken ahead of planting hay and pasture fields.  For this article, we have entered the ideal planting time for forage grasses and legumes.  However although we are in the ideal window for planting, there will be areas that have received enough rainfall to recharge the topsoil with moisture as well as areas that have not received enough rainfall for a successful seeding.  For those areas that remain dry until mid- to late-October, the best decision is likely to postpone planting until next year.

Some species have specific requirements that limit how late in the fall you can plant.  For example, reed canarygrass requires at least six weeks between planting and the average date of the first frost; otherwise, the crop could be winterkilled or severely weakened over the winter leaving the crop unable to compete with the usual spring flush of weeds.  Other species, such as Kentucky bluegrass, just take a very long time (21 to 28 days) to germinate and should not be planted late in the fall.  Before deciding to plant a species or mixture, be sure to study the species in question to avoid missing the ideal planting window.

In areas that have received enough rainfall to replace soil moisture reserves, planting can begin.  Early planting can lead to well established forage seedlings that are able to survive winter temperature extremes and get off to an early vigorous start next spring.  Early planted stands are better at competing against weeds next spring and often produce higher yields as well.  Work by Dr. Marvin Hall at the Pennsylvania State University showed significant yield decreases for all forage species tested as the date of fall planting was delayed with higher losses occurring the further north the site was located.

If planting into a prepared or tilled seedbed, be sure that all weeds have been killed during soil preparation and that a good smooth (clod-free), firm (your shoe should not sink deeper than the sole level) seedbed is prepared for planting.  Seed is then broadcast on the seedbed and firmed or pressed into the soil with any number of devices.  Seed of small seeded forages should not be buried more than 1/8 to ¼ inch deep.  Covering the seed is ideal since seed in contact with moist soil readily absorbs water but is not quickly dried again by the heat from the sun.  Seed can also be planted using a Brillion seeder followed by a cultipacker or roller or seed can be placed in the soil using a drill with packing wheels that firm soil over the seed.

Since drills (no-till and conventional drills) place the seed in rows from 4 to 8 inches apart, depending on the drill, I generally recommend that you drill at half the recommended seeding rate and run the drill twice over the field at about a 45 degree angle.  This will help new seedlings to cover the soil surface more quickly and reduce the chances for weed seed to germinate and compete with the new forage crop.

Another method of seeding is to use a no-till drill following an herbicide burn-down program.  This is especially useful when perennial weeds with underground rhizome systems are present.  Examples of these weeds are hemp dogbane, Canada thistle, and horsenettle.  Often several herbicide applications will be needed to get these weeds under control so plan a weed control program well ahead of seeding.  One of the best times to apply a translocated herbicide is in fall when weeds are sending carbohydrates (sugars) down to underground storage organs (rhizomes).  If a systemic herbicide that can move inside the plant is used, it will be taken with the sugars down to the rhizomes and help kill the meristem buds that are next year’s growing sites for the weed.  Read the herbicide label for the exact interval between treatment and seeding.  Generally for Roundup® or glyphosate you should wait several weeks after herbicide application before planting.  Since the herbicides used for control of these perennial broadleaf weeds will kill legumes that often are included as a component of pasture mixtures, it is best to work on controlling these weeds a year or two before spending the money to establish a new seeding or to renovate an existing stand.

In all cases I’ve talked about, be certain to calibrate your seeding equipment and make sure the drills and other equipment are clean and functional before entering the field.  These days forage seed is quite expensive so make the most of the money you spend by accurately calibrating your equipment.  This involves the following procedure:  weigh out some seed to add to the planting equipment, determine the width of area covered with seed by the equipment (in feet), run it for a certain number of feet (the length—say 50 or 100 feet); multiplying the two numbers together to get the number of square feet covered by the seed; divide that number by 43,560 (number of square feet in one acre); and finally weigh the amount of seed remaining in the equipment.  Subtract the final weight from initial weight and divide that number by the number of acres you covered (usually this will be a number such as 0.15 or even 0.015 or other very small number).  If your seed weights were in pounds of seed then the number you calculate at the end will be in pounds per acre or if you had access to an egg scale or something that measures in grams then divide the number of grams of seed used by 454 (grams per pound) to obtain pounds of seed and then divide that number by the number of acres planted in the calibration test.  If all else fails, email me or give me a call and I’ll help you do the calculations.

In summary, I’ll list some of the key points to keep in mind.

  • Make adjustments to soil fertility well in advance of seeding or renovating.
  • Have all perennial weeds under control before establishing a new seeding or conducting a major renovation in a field.
  • Monitor soil moisture levels to be sure an adequate reserve of soil water is available to establish the crop.
  • Understand the requirements for the forage specie or species chosen especially as it relates to fall planting date.
  • Start with a weed-free seedbed whether for conventional tillage or no-till.
  • Unless the site is known to be very low in available soil nitrogen (N), allow the new seedlings to develop 2 to 3 leaves before applying N in the fall.
  • Don’t delay planting; try to hit the optimum planting window.
  • Ideally, cover the seed with just a little soil but at the very least press the seed into the soil to ensure good soil to seed contact.
  • Most seeding rates really refer to the numbers of pure live seed (viable potential seedlings) that should be planted per acre so do the proper calculations to plant the correct amount especially when using coated seed.
  • If using preinoculated, lime-coated legume seed as a component of the pasture/hay mix, you should check to be certain the seed has been stored away from heat and high humidity and is not more than a year old, otherwise fresh legume inoculant should be applied to the seed just prior to planting.
  • Many small seeded species now come with a range of coatings (lime, moisture control compounds, etc.) that can halve the weight of pure live seed in the container so you should be sure to account for this when calculating the correct seeding rate.

In the last installment of this series, I’ll discuss how to manage new pasture and hay fields for long-term healthy stands.

This article was submitted by Dr. Richard Taylor, Extension Agronomist, University of Delaware.  Dr. Taylor can be reached at rtaylor@udel.edu

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Zoetis Receives Conditional Approval from USDA for PEDv Vaccine

Zoetis Inc. (NYSE:ZTS) today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has granted a conditional license for a vaccine to help fight porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv) in pigs. The two-dose inactivated vaccine, licensed for use in healthy pregnant female pigs (sows and gilts), is designed to help them develop antibodies which can be transmitted to their newborn piglets. Zoetis anticipates the vaccine will be available to veterinarians and pig farmers in September.

“We at Zoetis are proud to provide our customers with a vaccine to help battle this devastating disease,” said Catherine Knupp, executive vice president and president, Zoetis Research and Development. “Rapidly emerging infectious diseases such as PEDv not only threaten animal health but also the livelihoods of farmers. Bringing this vaccine to market quickly – in a little more than a year since the disease was identified in the U.S. – exemplifies our commitment to supporting veterinarians and livestock producers with high-quality vaccines to rapidly respond to and help control the evolving and complex threat of emerging infectious diseases.”

The vaccine is given as a 2 mL intramuscular (IM) injection to sows or gilts prior to farrowing (giving birth). Two doses given three weeks apart are recommended, with the second dose given two weeks pre-farrowing. Previously vaccinated sows should receive a single dose given two weeks before farrowing. On average, female pigs farrow twice each year.

In order to receive the conditional license, the vaccine was shown to be safe in a field safety study, and a reasonable expectation of efficacy was demonstrated. Zoetis is working to complete the studies necessary to obtain full licensure in the U.S.

“This vaccine is an important part of our commitment to working with veterinarians and pig farmers to help minimize the impact of PEDv on pigs in their care,” said Gloria Basse, vice president, U.S. Pork Business Unit, Zoetis. “To achieve the best possible results, farmers should work closely with their veterinarians and Zoetis technical services team to implement the new vaccine into their biosecurity programs.”

PEDv was first diagnosed in the United States in April 2013.1 Since then, it has spread to 30 states and is responsible for more than seven million deaths in piglets.2 There are approximately 5.85 million sows and gilts in the U.S.3; however, the exact number of those infected is not known. The USDA designated PEDv a reportable disease in June 20142, and it continues to be a serious threat to U.S. pig farms with an estimated 30 percent of farms reporting a recurrence of the disease within a year after an initial outbreak.4 Although PEDv is a significant health threat to young piglets, it poses no risk to food safety or to human health.

Zoetis continues work with Iowa State University on a second vaccine approach to help control PEDv. The results from these vaccine research programs could have applicability in countries outside the U.S. where PEDv has been identified and is threatening swine herds and the livelihoods of farmers who raise and care for them.

In the meantime, ongoing efforts to slow the spread of PEDv continue to focus on improving animal husbandry and hygiene measures. From the farm to transport trucks, stepped-up efforts include additional sanitation, better control of access points and review of employee protocols. All of these steps have been demonstrated to help mitigate the risk of the virus entering a farm.

For more information about the new vaccine, veterinarians and pig farmers should contact their Zoetis representative or visit www.zoetispork.com/pedv. For more information about PEDv, visit www.aasv.org and www.pork.org.

Source: Zoetis Press Release September 3, 2014 http://news.zoetis.com/press-release/manufacturing/zoetis-granted-conditional-license-porcine-epidemic-diarrhea-vaccine

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Is It Time to Think about Renovating or Planting a New Pasture or Hay Field? Part 4: Planting Method

Part 4: How Should I Plant My Hay Field or Pasture?

What’s the best means of seeding fields, no-till or conventional tillage (a prepared, weed-free, firm seedbed)? As with any choice, there are advantages and disadvantages to each method. Both seeding methods allow for weed control activities before seeding but no-till is limited only to herbicide applications. Whenever deciding on an herbicide to use, read the label carefully to be sure there are no rotation restrictions of what can be seeded following the herbicide application or how many days or months must separate the application and seeding activities. Also use the label to determine if a single application will be all that is needed or whether you will need follow-up applications and if you will at what stage of growth must the new seedlings reach before the next application is applied. This latter concern is especially important for perennial and hard to kill weeds such as hemp dogbane, Canada thistle, horsenettle, and others.

No-till drills must be calibrated properly to deliver the correct amount of seed per acre as well as be set to place the seed at the correct seeding depth with adequate soil to seed contact for fast germination and emergence. Never assume that the last person to use the drill set it up properly for your seeding. When you spend a hundred or more dollars per acre just for seed, you need to be sure the seed is being planted as best as possible to ensure a successful establishment. No-till drills also place the seed in rows usually from 7 to 10 inches apart so it often is useful to cover the seeded area in two directions making a cross hatch pattern over the field to help the plants fill in the space quicker. Brillion seeders that broadcast seed over a prepared seedbed and then press the seed into the soil have the advantage of achieving canopy closure much sooner than no-till seeding.

Canopy closure is when the new plants get large enough that they are able to shade the underlying soil and therefore reduce the ability of weeds from germinating and establishing in the field. Fields seeded with no-till drills can be many years (if ever) filling in so that a full canopy exists during normal grazing activity. This is one disadvantage to the no-till drill although it is offset by the soil conservation advantage of no-till when a field has enough slope to allow significant water erosion or enough exposure to allow wind erosion problems if the weather turns dry again.

Which method is best? Since each has both advantages and disadvantages, it will depend on your situation. No-till helps conserve the soil in situations where soil can be loss; it reduces moisture loss since the soil is not disturbed; it doesn’t encourage new weed growth since buried weed seeds are brought to the surface; it does not introduce oxygen into the soil causing the soil organic matter to be reduced via oxidation; and when done correctly it ensures rapid germination and emergence since seeds are placed in the soil and soil is firmed around the seeds. From the negative side, no-till does not allow nutrients and lime to be worked into the soil profile; no-till does not help break up compaction issues from previous grazing or haying equipment use; and no-till seeding is often in rows that can be seen for years in some cases.

Conventional tillage does allow nutrients and lime to be incorporated in the soil; it allows tillage during the summer to help with weed control issues; it allows for the summer establishment of annual smother crops for weed control and to introduce organic matter into the soil; it allows you to rip fields to help alleviate compaction issues; and it allows seed to be broadcast to ensure rapid canopy closure. Some of the disadvantages include the loss of soil moisture during the tillage operation as well as the loss of soil organic matter during tillage. The above lists of advantages and disadvantages are not meant to be exhaustive but to point to some of the important factors you should consider when deciding on seeding method.

This article was submitted by Dr. Richard Taylor, Extension Agronomist, University of Delaware.  Dr. Taylor can be reached at rtaylor@udel.edu

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Is It Time to Think about Renovating or Planting a New Pasture or Hay Field? Part 3: Planning to Planting


In Parts I and 2, I covered testing the soil in the field in which you plan to establish a new pasture or plan to do a total renovation and species selection.  Depending on how close you are to planting and whether you will be working the soil or planting using a no-till drill, it’s probably time to recheck soil pH and fertility levels in the field to be planted or renovated.  The final soil test should be taken approximately 6 to 9 months after the earlier limestone application.  This should be enough time for previously applied lime to react with both the active acidity (hydrogen ions in soil solution) and the reserve acidity (hydrogen and aluminum ions on the clay and organic matter cation exchange sites) and the soil pH to be reaching an equilibrium state.  In this way if another smaller application of limestone is needed to move the soil pH slightly higher, the lime can be applied and worked in the soil, assuming some type of tillage for incorporation of the limestone. In no-till situations, the process of adjusting the soil pH takes much longer and should be started as much as two or three years in advance of seeding or renovation  since lime moves downward through the soil at about one inch per year.

Now that the soil fertility requirements have been completed, it’s on to the planning and planting process.  One of the biggest challenges these days, especially if you have a small number of acres in the field, is finding someone with equipment the right size to fit the field and a willingness to do the job in a timely fashion.  Of course even if you’re lucky enough to find the equipment and operator, cost is going to be a critical factor when making the decisions of what parts of the plan are actually doable.  Another factor that has become more of a challenge in recent years is the availability of forage seed of the selected species and variety.  Many forage seed production fields have been converted to row crop production and in some locations restrictions on burning seed production fields have allowed disease issues such as ‘choke’ to reduce forage seed yield potential.

In planning the whole procedure, your time will be a valuable asset.  With high prices, limited seed supplied, and challenges in finding equipment and help to fertilize, lime, control weeds, and plant seeds, the time you take to shop around should pay big benefits.  July and August are the time to do these chores since the fall planting season is right around the corner.

For planting date, forage agronomists often list from mid-August through September as being the time to plant as long as soil moisture is adequate.  Soil moisture for many hay producers and grazers in the state and region really will be at critically low levels for much of August.  This can extend late into September due to the drought and hot weather conditions we usually experience during July and August.  With all our pre-planning and planning activities, the final decision on when to plant and even whether to plant on time will be determined by the weather conditions during August and September.  You may be tempted to plant as soon as the field receives the first rainfall in the planting window but you should keep in mind that if the deeper layers of soil are deficient in moisture the new planting will likely fail if fall turns dry.  Use a shovel or your soil probe to test the soil for moisture at the 6 to 12 inch depth.  If the field hasn’t received enough rainfall to supply this soil depth with at least some water, a new planting will be very much at risk if rain events do not continue from planting until winter dormancy takes hold.  Only you know the amount of risk you are willing to take to establish the new seeding this season and none of us know what the future weather will be.

What if enough rain to supply water to the deeper soil layers doesn’t fall until very late in September?  Certain species, such as low alkaloid reed canary grass, require a specific amount of time between planting and first frost (six weeks minimum for reed canary grass) but almost all species will not only yield less the following year but take a lot more time to reach full establishment if planted late.  Again, the hay producer or grazer must evaluate the amount of risk they are willing to take on when deciding to plant after September.

You should maintain frequent contact with your fertilizer/lime dealer, seed dealer, equipment supplier, and others who will be helping you with the process of planting the new pasture or hay field.  If you will be using equipment provided through the county conservation districts, be sure to get your name on the list as early as possible since many folks may want to seed about the same time when moisture conditions become favorable.

This article was submitted by Dr. Richard Taylor, Extension Agronomist, University of Delaware.  Dr. Taylor can be reached at rtaylor@udel.edu

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USBGA Offers Discount on Association Transfers and Dual Registrations for the Month of August

Received via email from the United States Boer Goat Association (USBGA)

“We have received a lot of calls recently from people wanting to register their goats with USBGA that are currently registered with other associations. USBGA accepts registrations from ALL associations ALL of the time! To help with the expense of dual registering or transferring your registrations to USBGA we are offering 25% of all Association Transfers/Dual Registrations thru the end of August!

In addition, if you know someone who is interested in USBGA but is not currently a member AND they have animals they want to transfer to us please refer them to us & they will receive 25% off a New Membership as well! (be sure to have them mention this ad and mention that you referred them…we also send out referral coupons to you for recommending our association!)

The process is simple!  All you have to do is fax, email or mail in a copy of the registration certificate from any other association! This special is only good thru the end of August so be sure to spread the word!”

For more information call the USBGA at 866-66-USBGA or email office@usbga.org




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Free Webinar- Winter Care of Backyard Poultry Flocks

EXtension logoBackyard poultry owners may be interested in participating in this free, timely webinar on September 25th, beginning at 7:00 pm EDT.  Fall is the time to prepare your flocks and coops for the toils of winter. Dr. Brigid McCrea from Delaware State University will cover the activities that are recommended for such preparations.  Whether this is your first  or fortieth flock, take the time to learn about changes to your management and biosecurity routines so that your flock stays happy and healthy all winter long.  For more information click on  https://learn.extension.org/events/1479#.U_SzLP5OW70 or to connect to the webinar directly, click https://connect.extension.iastate.edu/poultry

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Milk Protection Program

Dairy Margin Protection Program update

The Agricultural Act of 2014 (2014 Farm Bill) authorizes the Margin Protection Program for dairy producers (MPP-Dairy). This new voluntary risk management program replaces the Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) program which expires on September 1, 2014. MPP-Dairy offers protection to dairy producers when the difference (the margin) between the all-milk price and national average feed cost falls below a certain producer selected amount.

Eligible producers may purchase coverage for their dairy operations by paying an annual administrative fee of $100, and a premium as applicable, for higher levels of coverage. Producers in the dairy operation will have to select a desired coverage level ranging from $4.00 to $8.00, in $0.50 increments, and a desired coverage percentage level ranging from 25 to 90 percent, in 5 percent increments. Producers in the dairy operation will also have to decide whether or not to participate in the MPP-Dairy Program or the

Livestock Gross Margin program administered by the Risk Management Agency, but will not be allowed to participate in both. However. FSA is working on a process to allow maximum flexibility for dairy producers to make that decision.

Dairy operations will establish their production history upon initial registration for the MPP- Dairy program. Production history will be established for a dairy operation based on the highest annual milk production marketed during the full calendar years of 2011, 2012, or 20 13. New dairy operations in operation for less than a year will either have their production established on their available full months marketed milk production extrapolated to a yearly amount or their estimated actual marketed milk production based on the actual herd size of the dairy operation relative to the national rolling herd average.

Verification of the production records used to establish the production history for the dairy operation will be required. Payments under the program will be triggered when margins fall below their producer selected levels.

The regulations for MPP-Dairy are still being developed. Please watch for additional information about this program as it becomes available. 

The following schedule may be used for your planning purposes:

  • Now… Producers should obtain milk marketings for calendar years 2011, 2012, and 2013.
  • Sept 2014… Decision Tool will be made available to help make coverage level decisions.
  • Fall 2014… When announced by FSA, enroll in 2014 and/or 2015 MPP-Dairy program.
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Sheep Operations With Footrot Needed

The University of Maine Cooperative Extension is seeking sheep farms with footrot to participate in an applied research project funded by Northeast SARE. The project is in its 4th year and has already gathered data from approximately 1,000 sheep in the northeast. The researchers are seeking data from additional flocks to determine if a genetic marker can be identified for possible resistance to the footrot.Sheep on its knees

Sheep farms with footrot from the following states are sought: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and West Virginia

If you have footrot in your flock and would like to participate, please contact Principal Investigator Richard Brzozowski at richard.brzozowski@maine.edu or (207) 951-7155.

All information about participating farms is confidential. For more information about the project and the protocol, see http://umaine.edu/sheep


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