To bloom or not to bloom?

By Kassidy Buse

A common recommendation of agronomists is to let one alfalfa cutting reach bloom each year.

Ev Thomas, retired agronomist from the Miner Research Institute in Chazy, N.Y., says otherwise in The William H Miner Agricultural Research Institute Farm Report.

“For many years, I’ve said that in managing alfalfa for dairy cows, you should never see an alfalfa blossom, from seeding to plowdown,” says Thomas.

Thomas also notes there’s room for difference of opinion due to no research supporting either opinion.

But, if one cutting is to bloom, which cutting should it be?

The first cut of alfalfa-grass typically contains the most grass. Grass, even the late-maturing species, is close to heading when alfalfa is in the late bud stage.

The second cut is exposed to long, hot June days that result in highly lignified, fine stems. A Miner Institute trial found that the stem quality of bud-stage second-cut alfalfa was no better than full-bloom first-cut alfalfa.

The third cut can be influenced by prior harvest management. If it was a late second cutting, the third cut was growing during midsummer heat. This cut would also have highly lignified stems.

The fourth cut often takes a long time to bloom, if it makes it there. A killing frost might arrive first.

For any cutting, the more grass in the stand, the lower the forage quality if alfalfa is left to bloom.

“The objective of letting alfalfa bloom is to improve root reserves, and therefore extend stand life,” says Thomas. “We need to balance the impact of delayed harvest on plant health with the economics of feeding alfalfa of lower quality that is needed by today’s high-producing dairy cows,” Thomas adds.

How alfalfa and alfalfa-grass is managed depends on if the goal in mind is long stand life or high milk production potential.

FEC and FAMACHA

Fecal Egg Counting
and FAMACHA© workshop

When:   June 2, 2018 9AM–3pm

WHERE: University of Delaware REC
16686 County Seat Highway
Georgetown, DE 19947

COST:    $25 (check or money order)*

Learn Parasite Control

University of Delaware
Susan Garey
Daniel Severson
Delaware State University
Kwame Matthews

Internal parasites are a major health problem affecting sheep and goats. This workshop is designed to help producers learn the basics of selective internal parasite control. Join us as we provide hands-on training to certify producers in the use of FAMACHA© score card and fecal egg counts.

Presented jointly by:
 

Register online: https://hub.desu.edu/Famacha-Workshop-DSU-UD2018

 

Lunch included!

Limited to 25 attendees!

Pre-register by May 25, 2018!

Log on!
Register today!

Only $25 per person!*

*Make checks or money orders payable to:
Delaware State University
Mail to:
Dr. Kwame Matthews

For more information, for registration payments, or for assistance due to disabilities
contact:

Kwame Matthews, Ph.D.
Cooperative Extension
Small Ruminant Program
Delaware State University
1200 N. Dupont Hwy
Dover, DE 19901

302.857.6540

Facebook.com/DSUSmallRuminantProgram


FEC and FAMACHA© Workshop Registration

Limited to 25 attendees. Please complete the following questions to register or register online at the above link for the FEC and FAMACHA© Workshop. Cost is $25 per person. Check or money order can be sent to: Dr. Kwame Matthews, 1200 N. DuPont Hwy, Dover, DE 19901. Please make checks out to Delaware State University. Thank you! Pre-register by May 25, 2018!

  1. Please complete the registration information below.

First and Last Name: ___________________________________________________

Street Address: _______________________________________________________

City: _____________________________ State: ____________ Zip Code: _________

Email:  __________________________________ Phone: _____________________

  1. Please choose your sex: Male or       Female
  2. What is your age? 17-29 30-49                                    50+
  3. What is your race?

White or Caucasian ___     Black or African American ___             American Indian/Alaskan Native ___ Asian ___            Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander ___     Hispanic or Latino ___

Two or more races ___       Other (please specify): _______________________

  1. What small ruminant are you raising? Goat Sheep                         Both

Other (please specify) ___________________________________________________

  1. What is the purpose of raising? Milk Meat                                    Fiber

Other (please specify) _________________________________________________

  1. How did you hear about our training?

Word of mouth ___             Flyer ___      Email ___            Facebook___

Other (please specify) ____________

  1. I’m available for future trainings:

Weekday EVENINGS ___              Weekday MORNINGS ___

Weekend EVENINGS ___             Weekend MORNINGS ___

Other (please specify) _________________________________________

  1. Please feel free to include any questions you may have here:

 

 

Fecal Egg Counting and FAMACHA

Fecal Egg Counting
and FAMACHA© workshop

When:   June 2, 2018 9AM–3pm

WHERE: University of Delaware REC
16686 County Seat Highway
Georgetown, DE 19947

COST:    $25 (check or money order)*

Learn Parasite Control

University of Delaware
Susan Garey
Daniel Severson
Delaware State University
Kwame Matthews

Internal parasites are a major health problem affecting sheep and goats. This workshop is designed to help producers learn the basics of selective internal parasite control. Join us as we provide hands-on training to certify producers in the use of FAMACHA© score card and fecal egg counts.

Presented jointly by:
 

Register online: https://hub.desu.edu/Famacha-Workshop-DSU-UD2018

 

Lunch included!

Limited to 25 attendees!

Pre-register by May 25, 2018!

Log on!
Register today!

Only $25 per person!*

*Make checks or money orders payable to:
Delaware State University
Mail to:
Dr. Kwame Matthews

For more information, for registration payments, or for assistance due to disabilities
contact:

Kwame Matthews, Ph.D.
Cooperative Extension
Small Ruminant Program
Delaware State University
1200 N. Dupont Hwy
Dover, DE 19901

302.857.6540

Facebook.com/DSUSmallRuminantProgram

 

What You Can’t Do With a VFD

For some time now, livestock producers and veterinarians have been gaining an understanding of the new Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) rules. These rules went into effect on January 1, 2017, and as the year progressed, livestock producers have been confronting what those rule changes mean for their own operations. Before January 1, feed-grade antibiotics such as chlortetracycline (CTC) for their animals could be purchased and used by livestock producers without any input from a veterinarian. Now, in order to use those medications, a VFD form from a veterinarian must be obtained.

Understanding the New Rules

As all parties have quickly discovered, the VFD process is more than just having a vet’s signature on a scrap of paper. Because there is no allowance for using feed-grade medications in an “off-label” manner, veterinarians completing the VFD’s have had to pay exquisite attention to every detail on the label, including the dose, duration of feeding, reasons (disease treatment vs. control) for feeding, and the diseases the medication could be used for.

For many cattle producers, the fall of 2017 has been the first time they’ve encountered this new way of doing business. Issues with pneumonia post-weaning, or following arrival of feeder cattle have always been challenges. In past years, uses of CTC in cattle feed have been subject to very little oversight, and some of those uses, although well-intended, were off-label. With the onset of the new rules, producers are having to square their previous treatment methods with what a VFD can – or can’t – allow them to do.

  • Refills
    A VFD can’t provide for refills, like a prescription one might get from a family doctor. This means a producer can’t use the same VFD form to come back and get another quantity of medicine if it’s determined to be needed later on.
  • Expiration Dates
    All VFD’s have expiration dates, and that’s a point of confusion as well. A VFD actually expires when the treatment is done (or the expiration date is reached – whatever comes first). Even though a VFD might not expire until February (authorizing a treatment any time until then), if a 5-day treatment is finished in November, the VFD is finished too.
  • Repeat Treatments
    A VFD can’t contain a statement authorizing a “retreatment as needed” or “repeat treatment in xx days.” An animal can’t show up on a VFD form more than once. If another round of treatment is necessary, a veterinarian will have to issue another VFD for the second treatment. That means that some groups of cattle might need 2 or 3 separate VFD’s written for them.
  • Animals Covered
    A VFD can’t be written for more animals than the veterinarian expects you’ll have on the farm. The veterinarian is responsible for indicating the number and location of the animals to be treated. This might get a little tricky for producers who buy several groups of feeder calves over time. Veterinarians might decide to only write the VFD for what is currently on the farm, or they could write it for the number eventually expected, if they are confident that number will be eventually procured.
  • Pneumonia 
    A VFD can’t be written to treat or control pneumonia when there isn’t any pneumonia in the cattle. In the past, it was not uncommon for treatment doses of CTC to be fed to cattle to “get ahead of” an outbreak, or to “clean up” the calves’ respiratory tract in anticipation of problems. When treatment doses are authorized by a VFD, this implies that active pneumonia is present in the group. It doesn’t mean producers have to wait until each and every calf is sick – but clearly, CTC labels don’t allow for using treatment doses in a group of completely healthy calves. This is the veterinarian’s call. If their clinical judgement tells them there’s pneumonia present in the group, they can write the VFD.

In Summary

It’s understandable that some livestock producers are feeling pinched by what a VFD can’t do. However, these new rules can do one very valuable thing: giving livestock producers an opportunity to interact with the one local professional who can best guide them through health-related decisions about their animals – their veterinarian. Since the VFD’s implementation, many of these interactions have resulted in more effective and efficient use of these tools and consideration of disease prevention methods that preclude the need for antibiotics. These conversations are definitely a positive by-product of these new regulations.

Scrapies

Scrapie is the most common reportable disease of goats and sheep in the United States today. Scrapie is a difficult disease to diagnose and is always fatal. It can take up to six years or more for clinical signs to appear. Scrapie is in the same category as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), or “mad cow disease,” and chronic wasting disease (CWD) of deer and elk. There is no evidence that scrapie or CWD can spread to humans, either through consuming the meat or dairy products or by handling infected animals. Scrapie is a disease of both sheep and goats; however, it is rare in goats.

Transmission: Scrapie is believed to be spread primarily vertically through direct contact between breeding stock and their offspring. The cause is most likely a prion, which is a sub-viral protein particle. It is transferred through contact with the placentas or fetal fluids of infected dams. The prion first invades the lymph nodes and then the nervous system. The prior somehow takes over protein synthesis in the brain and sheets of abnormal proteins are produced, eventually causing the classic “spongy” appearance of brain tissue.

Clinical signs usually progress slowly over a period of one to six months and have not been seen in goats less than 2 years of age. Animals suspected to have scrapie may show changes in gait, tremors of the head and neck, behavioral changes, lip smacking, loss of coordination, increased sensitivity to noise, rubbing against fences or feed bunks, skin/wool biting, and progressive weight loss with a normal appetite. Genetic testing can be used in sheep to identify a scrapie susceptibility gene; however, such a gene has not yet been identified in goats. The disease is much more likely in black-faced sheep breeds.

Videos of clinical signs may be viewed and information on the eradication program is available at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_health/animal_diseases/scrapie/

FAMACHA

Small Ruminant Producers:

 

We are pleased to offer an online training program for FAMACHA© certification as part of new Northeast SARE Grant (LNE15-342).  Online FAMACHA© certification can be obtained through a 4-step process:

 

  1. View our 2 hour video on Integrated Parasite Control and our 30 minute video, Why and How To Do FAMACHA© Scoring. Complete an online post-video summary.
  2. Practice the Cover, Push, Pull, POP! technique.
  3. Record and email us a video of your FAMACHA© scoring technique.
  4. Follow-up by phone and/or email as needed.Live video sessions can be utilized if needed.

Once this certification process is complete, you will be able to purchase a FAMACHA© card.  Visit our website for detailed instructions including contacts for more information, http://web.uri.edu/sheepngoat/famacha/

 

For those producers that are already FAMACHA© certified, our online videos serve as an excellent refresher on integrated parasite management as well as the FAMACHA© system including hands-on demonstration of the proper scoring technique.

http://web.uri.edu/sheepngoat/video/

Shropshire Assocation Offers Starter Flock Award

The National Junior Shropshire Sheep Association is pleased to announce that through the generosity and vision of several prominent Shropshire breeders, the third Shropshire Starter Flock Award will be given to a lucky youth in the spring of 2016.

The Shropshire Starter Flock Award is presented annually and helps to establish one new Shropshire flock every year.  The award in 2016 will be a credit voucher of $1,500, which can be used to purchase no less than two ewes in one of the following sales:  Shropshire Classic, Great Lakes, Shropshire Spectacular and The Midwest.

In addition, ewes can be purchased at any sale that has ewe lambs nominated for the Shropshire Futurity.

The National Junior Shropshire Sheep Association will identify a local breeder to act as a mentor to the recipient.  The sheep will range in age from lambs to yearling ewes.  The animals selected will be of sound structure and will maintain good breed type.  If you are interested in winning this award flock, you are expected to write an essay to the National Junior Shropshire Sheep Association.  Be sure to include background information about yourself.  This document6 should illustrate your goals and intentions with the animals should you win the award.  There should also be a budget included in the paperwork that is sent in.  Type your essay and email it to shropsec@hotmail.com by April 1.  Please include your mailing address and telephone number.  All applicants should be between the ages of 8 and 20.

Winners are asked to give back to the Starter Flock Award Program in some way in the years to come.  The awarded animals are asked to be shown at a county fair, state fair and a regional national show (All American Junior Show, NAILE, The Big E or the Midwest Regional Show).

All essays will be reviewed and discussed by the board members and the winner will be chosen and contacted to make arrangements to receive their award at a spring sale.  Whichever sale you choose to make your purchase, you will have a $1,500 credit which can be used when you pay for your purchases.  You must purchase at least two ewes with this award.  Whether you are looking to add a second breed to your farm or looking to make a start in the sheep business, you are invited to take a chance and write to win.

For more information contact Alan Bruhin, wabruhin@utk.edu or Becky Peterson, shropsec@hotmail.com

 

Small Ruminant Workshop

Small Ruminant Health Workshop

November 5, 2015
Paradee Center
Dover, Delaware
6:30-9:00 pm

Learn to assess vital signs and recognize signs and symptoms of common diseases in sheep and goats

Featured Speaker:
Dr. Wendy Freeman, VMD

Workshop Schedule:

6:30-6:45- Welcome and Overview of the Small Ruminant Health Grant Project
6:45-7:15- Assessing Vital Signs in Small Ruminants

7:15-7:30- Break

7:30-8:45- Signs and Symptoms of Common Diseases in Small Ruminants

8:45- Questions, Evaluation, Adjourn

November 5th Small Ruminant Health Workshop with Dr. Wendy Freeman, VMD

As part of a larger small ruminant health grant, please join us on the evening of November 5, 2015 at the Paradee Center in Dover, Delaware for our initial workshop in a series of health related workshops to focus on vital signs and health assessments and recognizing the signs and symptoms of pre-parturient diseases (diseases of pregnant ewes/does) and diseases in lambs and kids.  Our featured guest speaker for the evening will be nationally recognized expert on small ruminant veterinary care, Dr. Wendy Freeman, VMD.

Dr. Freeman graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Veterinary School in 1985.  After graduation, Dr. Freeman completed an internship and residency in Field Service at the University of Pennsylvania New Bolton Center in 1988.  Following her residency, Wendy joined the faculty at New Bolton Center and became Assistant Professor of Medicine and Field Service in 1992, where she worked on developing and directing the small ruminant program.  Dr. Freeman directed the reproductive program and implemented total health care and clinical studies of the teaching flock.  Wendy is one of the most experienced small ruminant specialists in the United States and sees both large and small animal patients at Longwood Veterinary Center in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania on a full-time basis.

The Small Ruminant Health Program is a project developed by University of Delaware extension professionals Susan Garey and Dan Severson in response to a deficiency of veterinarians in the region with the desire to treat small ruminants. As a result, producers need to further develop their skills in assessing animal health and treating common diseases.  A Risk Management Grant Proposal was funded by the Northeast Extension for Risk Management Education Center to develop the project. A needs assessment was completed to determine needs for technical training and skill development. If producers can develop knowledge and skills in assessing animal health, recognizing disease symptoms, determining treatment and performing treatment skills, producers can ultimately reduce mortality rates increase productivity of their flocks and herds.

For questions or to register for this free workshop, please contact Susan Garey, Extension Agent Animal Science, University of Delaware (302)730-4000 truehart@udel.edu or Dan Severson, New Castle County Extension Agricultural Agent, (302)831-8860 or severson@udel.edu  If you have any special needs in accessing this program, please let us know two weeks in advance.

Cooperative Extension Education in Agriculture and Home Economics, University of Delaware, Delaware State University, and the United States Department of Agriculture cooperating. Distributed in furtherance of Acts of Congress of May 8 and June 30, 1914. It is the policy of the Delaware Cooperative Extension System that no person shall be subjected to discrimination on the grounds of race, color, sex, disability, age, or national origin.

This material is based upon work supported by USDA/NIFA under Award Number 2012-49200-20031

NEW-FINAL-Northeast-ERME-1CWeb_usda_nifa_horizontal_rgb_72

 

 

Click here for the full brochure for the Small Ruminant Health Workshop

 

 

 

 

Fall Pasture Walk 2015

WHEN: Wednesday, September 16, 2015

LOCATION: University of Delaware Webb Farm

508 Chapel Street, Newark, DE 19713

TIME: 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

CREDITS: 1.25 DE Nutrient Management

Come and learn about pasture management and how the University of Delaware’s Webb farm is trying to extend grazing season. We will discuss incorporating brassicas, fodder beets, and other short term, high DM yielding crops (NZ style) for smoothing out the bottoms in the grass growth curves. Experts will be on hand to answer specific questions. The meeting is free and open to anyone interested in attending.

To register or request more information, please call our office at (302)-831-2506

Please register by Friday, September 11!

Hosted by: Extension Agents Dan Severson and Susan Garey and Extension Specialist Dr. Richard Taylor

*If you have special needs in accessing this program, please call the office two weeks in advance

Courtesy of Callidora Farms
Photo courtesy of Callidora Farms