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    Noxious Weed Control in Pasture and Range

    Noxious weed control in pastures is becoming more of a challenge. Most ground commercial spray businesses are no longer spraying pastures. If they are, there may be restrictions on the time they will spray, what products they will spray, or they may only spray if they also have all of the rest of your spraying business.

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    Alfalfa Winter Kill: What is next?

    This year lack of snow coverage along with up’s and down’s in temperatures have caused several issues with alfalfa stands in several locations in South Dakota. Where the damage has occurred, it is concentrated in areas of fields where ice sheets formed, water ponded, poor drainage, and not enough snow cover to insulate alfalfa against extreme temperatures. Late harvested stands that are three or more years old are showing more damage than younger ones’ under moderate management.

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    Dairy Trainings: Expectations & Impact

    SDSU Extension has the purpose to foster a learning community environment that empowers citizens to advocate for sustainable change that will strengthen agriculture, natural resources, youth, families, and the communities of South Dakota. For the dairy industry, we ensure that all sources of information has direct knowledge and offer scientific-based information that is concise, easy to understand, and vetted through unbiased sources to our clientele.

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    Are your farm employees ready for low temperatures?

    Winter is here and snow and icy roads will increase the risk for accidents. Getting ready to leave the house and going to work on the snow and ice might be a problem for inexperienced people. The cold and snowy season are challenges for anyone, and especially to the immigrant workers that have to endure them.

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    Caring for Animals When the Power Goes Out

    The power outages experienced in areas of South Dakota might make animal caretakers wonder, “How did we ever raise livestock in the days before electricity?”  Electric lights, hot water heaters, and mechanical ventilation are all items that are taken for granted, except when weather events interrupt their supply of “juice.”

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    Upper Midwest Puerto Rico Collaboration: The time is now for dairy employees

    The dairy industry faces a labor shortage and with the uncertainty associated with the U.S. immigration issues, there seems to be only one direction, forward. The time has come to search for solutions and establish new collaborations. To help facilitate bringing farmers with solutions for the lack of skilled and available workers a team from SDSU Extension proposed to build a legal agreement between Puerto Rico and South Dakota.

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    Hammering Out the Details as the VFD Rule Approaches

    As the January 1, 2017 implementation date approaches, livestock producers, veterinarians, and feed distributors are gearing up to start complying with new rules regarding feed-grade antibiotics. Among some producers and veterinarians, a recent sentiment has been that the VFD rules are “changing,” leading to confusion. In reality, the VFD rules have not “changed” at all since becoming final. The rules as published, however, aren’t heavy on details. When different people interpret these details on the basis of a specific farm’s needs, different answers to the same questions can emerge, unfortunately creating more uncertainty.

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    Farm Animal Antibiotic Resistance and Stewardship

    During the February 1st Animal Care Wednesday Webinar, we heard one of the leading experts discuss the challenging social concerns of antibiotic resistance. Michael Apley, Frick Professor of Clinical Sciences with the Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine, challenged listeners to better understand the difference between judicious use and stewardship of antibiotics by reviewing the many factors involved in epidemiology (study of incidence, distribution, and possible control of diseases).

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    VFD Resources for My Show Animal

    January 1st marked the effective start date of the veterinary feed directive (VFD) regulations. During the January 4th Animal Care Wednesday Webinar we heard from two great speakers on resources for show animals regarding these new VFD regulations. Bernie O’Rourke, University of Wisconsin-Madison Extension Youth Livestock Specialist, shared how Wisconsin prepared their youth exhibitor families with information on the VFD regulations.

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    Introducing Youth for the Quality Care of Animals!

    Quality Care of Animals (YQCA) is a quality assurance program for youth livestock producers aged 8 to 21. The YQCA program covers the seven major species of food producing animals: beef cattle, dairy cattle, swine, sheep, goats, poultry, and rabbits. To assist various education levels with meeting the learning objectives, the curriculum content is targeted to four age groups: Junior (8-11), Intermediate (12-14), Senior (15-18), and Young Adult (19-21).

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    Do as I say and not as I do…

    How many times have you heard this? In regards to our communities and agricultural development we all need to remember that we are all under public scrutiny. Our actions whether a small or large producer can have monumental impact as we move forward with agriculture being the forefront of an economic base within communities and the state.

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    Farm Safety: Making it a daily habit

    We know that agriculture ranks as one of the most dangerous occupations causing an estimated 167 lost-work-time injuries on a daily basis, of which 5% result in permanent impairment, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. In addition, approximately 20 farm workers per 100,000 die annually, with the leading cause of these deaths being tractor overturns.

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    Minimizing Hay Storage Loss from Heating or Fires

    Successful hay storage is essential to preserving high quality forage, while ensuring desired performance from livestock and deterring economic losses from unwanted hay storage fires.  The predominant reason that fires occur in hay is because of excessive moisture in the plant residue that results in heating when it is baled or stacked for long term storage.

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    Heat Exhaustion & Stroke: Protecting yourself and your employees

    For those whose livelihood depends upon working outdoors or in less than favorable conditions, the coming weeks look to be quite difficult with higher than normal temperatures and humidity predicted. For example, cows still need to be milked and fed, barns are not air conditioned, even though there is emphasis on cow comfort through ventilation and cooling, we sometimes get lax on also protecting ourselves and employees from the effects of heat.

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    Preventing an Unwanted Baler Fire

    Dry conditions this year have reminded many how quickly fires can ignite causing damage, destroying equipment, future feedstuffs and hopefully NOT injuring you in the process. We need to be cognizant at all times of the potential for fires to start while baling hay or straw and take measures to minimize the potential of a fire occurring.

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    Farm Equipment, Safety on the Road, Everyone’s Role

    Spring brings the onset of an increase in farm activity as planting and the moving of livestock to pasture gets underway. As a result we will see an increase of encounters with farm equipment on the road, whether it is a tractor with a planter attached, a swather, a tractor and baler, someone hauling feed between farms, or the local elevator hauling fertilizer or heading out to spray crops for a producer. The point is we all need to be vigilant as a producer, ag industry person or a motorist encountering agricultural farm equipment on the road.

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    Caring for Animals When the Power Goes Out

    The power outages experienced in areas of South Dakota might make animal caretakers wonder, “How did we ever raise livestock in the days before electricity?”  Electric lights, hot water heaters, and mechanical ventilation are all items that are taken for granted, except when weather events interrupt their supply of “juice.”

    Read More »

    Give the Gift of Conservation This Christmas

    The SDSU Natural Resources Management Department and SDSU Extension would like to wish all our readers a Merry Christmas and remind everyone that if you are shopping for a late holiday gift, consider giving the gift of conservation to yourself or someone else.

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    Hammering Out the Details as the VFD Rule Approaches

    As the January 1, 2017 implementation date approaches, livestock producers, veterinarians, and feed distributors are gearing up to start complying with new rules regarding feed-grade antibiotics. Among some producers and veterinarians, a recent sentiment has been that the VFD rules are “changing,” leading to confusion. In reality, the VFD rules have not “changed” at all since becoming final. The rules as published, however, aren’t heavy on details. When different people interpret these details on the basis of a specific farm’s needs, different answers to the same questions can emerge, unfortunately creating more uncertainty.

    Read More »

    Welded connections and shallow bury pasture pipe offers alternative to above ground systems

    Above ground systems offer a great amount of flexibility in delivering water and options for changing pasture designs over time or space. They have also become increasingly popular with the advances in solar water and fence technology along with an increasing number of producers preferring to rotate livestock more often. Quick compression fittings and a variety of adapters for several thread types allow for excellent flexibility. However, some producers do not desire to maintain as much flexibility in their systems, and for those individuals more permanent options exist without going to a deep-bury system.

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    Recent changes in above-ground pasture pipe requires matching pipe and fittings correctly

    Above ground water systems have become a very popular tool to deliver clean water from reliable sources to pastures across South Dakota. Recently, there have been some changes in manufacturing and suppliers that are worthy of note as producers and suppliers design systems. We wanted to share an example of a recent above ground pasture pipe installation project SDSU Extension assisted with.

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    New SDSU Extension report provides status of native grasslands & woodlands in Eastern S.D.

    SDSU Extension, in partnership with a variety of non-government, state, and federal agencies, has recently released a public report on the status of native plant communities in Eastern South Dakota. The report is based on a comprehensive look at the Eastern South Dakota landscape that incorporated the use of field and tract-level historic Farm Service Agency (FSA) cropland history, coupled with high resolution aerial photographs provided through the USDA National Agriculture Imagery Program (NAIP).

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    Ag Employees First Day on the Job vs. Employee Retention

    Many employers complain, including those in agriculture, that they can’t keep people around. Statements such as “we just get them trained and they leave” are common. If this statement is all too familiar, you may need to take a look at your “onboarding” program. Many have heard that statement that “first impressions are lasting impressions”, this is also true when it comes to retention of employees.

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    Keeping Your Vaccines Viable

    Vaccines are a vital part of keeping all livestock healthy. Vaccines help in the prevention of disease which results in less utilization of antibiotics due to fewer sick animals. Vaccines provide protective immunity approximately 21 days following the initial vaccination in the majority of livestock. Some vaccines may require a booster vaccination(s) to ensure immunity for the period designated by the manufacturer.

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    Learning from PEDv: Managing disease in manure and mortalities

    The economic impact of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDv 9078) on the U.S. swine industry is estimated at around $900 billion annually since it first began infecting herds in the spring of 2013. Research on persistence of the PED virus in manure and mortality compost piles conducted by Dr. Amy Schmidt and her colleagues in the USDA-ARS and the UNL School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences was presented during the November 4th Animal Care Wednesday Webinar by Nicole Schuster, a graduate research assistant in Dr. Schmidt’s lab at UNL.

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    An Aid for Preparing Livestock Judging Oral Reasons

    Giving reasons is one of the most useful things you will have the opportunity to do while judging livestock. Preparing and giving reasons helps develop memory and public speaking skills, all while participating in an industry based activity. However, regardless of if you are just starting or at the college level, they can be a tough task to complete and be successful at. This article will give you a better understanding of how to accomplish the experience and score you wish to achieve. 

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    Livestock Risk Protection (LRP) for Lambs

    Livestock Risk Protection-Lamb (LRP-Lamb) much like LRP for cattle is a management tool to insure against unforeseen declines in prices. Sheep producers can choose from several different coverage prices and insurance periods corresponding to general feeding, production, and marketing practices. LRP-Lamb is available weekly throughout the year, with the exception of government holidays.

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    Newborn Lamb Care Management

    Proper newborn lamb care is a critical component of flock profitability. In the U.S. lamb mortality from all causes is approximately 20% with more than 80% of those losses occurring in the first two-weeks following lambing. Yet a solid lamb care management plan coupled with a few key tools in the lambing barn can sharply improve the number of lambs reared per-ewe. Generally, the top causes for newborn lamb losses are starvation, hypothermia (cold stress), respiratory disease, and scours followed by injury.

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    VFD Resources for My Show Animal

    January 1st marked the effective start date of the veterinary feed directive (VFD) regulations. During the January 4th Animal Care Wednesday Webinar we heard from two great speakers on resources for show animals regarding these new VFD regulations. Bernie O’Rourke, University of Wisconsin-Madison Extension Youth Livestock Specialist, shared how Wisconsin prepared their youth exhibitor families with information on the VFD regulations.

    Read More »

    Introducing Youth for the Quality Care of Animals!

    Quality Care of Animals (YQCA) is a quality assurance program for youth livestock producers aged 8 to 21. The YQCA program covers the seven major species of food producing animals: beef cattle, dairy cattle, swine, sheep, goats, poultry, and rabbits. To assist various education levels with meeting the learning objectives, the curriculum content is targeted to four age groups: Junior (8-11), Intermediate (12-14), Senior (15-18), and Young Adult (19-21).

    Read More »

    Stay Healthy at Your Local and State Fair

    As the local county and state fairs start popping up around the Midwest it is time to get out and enjoy the sights, sounds, smells and taste of the fairs. There is nothing more fun than taking the kids to see all of the exhibits and vendors. Particular favorites for most families and young kids is the animal petting zoo or walking through the livestock exhibits. Even though the animals are healthy you still need to help teach your child proper preventative health care around the animals.

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    Preventing Animal-to-Human Diseases at Fairs and Petting Zoos: Ideas from SDSU Students

    Students in the SDSU course that I teach, Animal Diseases and Their Control, were recently asked to think critically about an uncommon but potentially serious public health problem: the movement of germs from animals to people at petting zoos and fairs. Each year, illnesses such as E. coli O157:H7 and cryptosporidiosis are associated with contact between people (often children) and animals on exhibit.

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    An Aid for Preparing Livestock Judging Oral Reasons

    Giving reasons is one of the most useful things you will have the opportunity to do while judging livestock. Preparing and giving reasons helps develop memory and public speaking skills, all while participating in an industry based activity. However, regardless of if you are just starting or at the college level, they can be a tough task to complete and be successful at. This article will give you a better understanding of how to accomplish the experience and score you wish to achieve. 

    Read More »

    Why Change the State 4-H Livestock Judging Contest

    In my role as Livestock Judging Team Coach as SDSU, I brought forth a proposed restructuring of the State 4-H Livestock Judging Contest which I firmly believe will translate to an experience our youth desperately need. On what do I base this belief? This fall will conclude a three-year stretch of livestock judging teams I have had the pleasure of coaching at South Dakota State University. During these years of rebuilding a program we have seen an increase in student GPAs and collegiate involvement and leadership.  Furthermore, we have had two, top 10 finishes at the North American Livestock Exposition – the national championship contest.

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    An Introduction To Livestock Stewardship

    Over time, the image of raising livestock has changed as new production technologies and management systems have been introduced. However, the foundation of livestock husbandry remains the same. Livestock producers seek to provide for the needs of the animal and in return, animals provide healthy food products for our growing population.

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