It looks like dark clouds over the farm economy, but could there be some breaks in those clouds or a silver lining somewhere?
Volatility is a word often used in describing markets and in market projections. What does that mean for 2017? The 2017 Ag Outlook and Policy meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 2 at Fisher Auditorium on the OARDC campus in Wooster. Learn about the opportunities and challenges for the agricultural sector in 2017 and pick up some tips on strategies and practices that may help you and your business. The program begins with sign-in at 9:30 a.m. and concludes at 3:15 p.m. Registration cost is $15/person. Registration includes morning refreshments, noon lunch and handout materials. Facility rental and speaker expenses are covered with thanks to sponsorship by Farmers National Bank and Farm Credit Mid-America.
Topics to be covered and presenters include:
■ Speculation on President Trump's Policy Agenda and what are Grain Markets Telling Us? by Carl Zulauf, ag policy specialist, professor emeritus, The Ohio State University
■ Dairy Economic Update by Dianne Shoemaker, OSU Extension dairy production economics field specialist
■ Beef Cattle Outlook by John Grimes, Extension beef program specialist (recorded presentation)
■ Ag Lenders Update: Farmers National Bank and Farm Credit Mid-America
■ Ten Legal Trends that Could Change Agriculture by Peggy Hall, OSU Extension ag law and resources program
■ Crop Budget and Cropland rental update by Rory Lewandowski, Extension educator Wayne County
■ Farm & Estate Tax Laws Planning for an Uncertain Future by David Marrison, Extension educator, Ashtabula County
Pre-registration is requested to the Wayne County Extension office (330-264-8722) by Jan. 26 to help with planning the noon meal and handout numbers. An informational flier and registration form is available on the Wayne County Extension website at: http://go.osu.edu/agwayne.
OSU Extension will be offering two Good Agricultural Practices training workshops on practices that reduce microbial contamination of fresh fruits and vegetables. The workshops will be held on Monday, Feb. 6, from 1-4 p.m. at the Mount Hope Livestock Auction Building, state Route 241 and on Wednesday, Feb. 8 from 9 a.m.-noon at the hardware store located just north of the County Line Produce Auction on state Route 301 in the West Salem/Homerville area.
All fruit and vegetable growers are responsible for providing safe produce to their consumers. The GAPs workshop focuses on increasing grower awareness and implementation of practices that reduce microbial contamination of fresh produce from known routes of contamination such as workers, animals and manure. The interactive three-hour program also provides an overview of the FDA's newly enacted Food Safety Modernization Act, including discussion on exemptions, training requirements and more. Specific topics include: an introduction to foodborne illness, agricultural water quality, biological soil amendments, livestock and wildlife, worker health and hygiene, equipment and traceability. Participants will receive all training materials, including recordkeeping templates and a certificate of workshop participation.
Registration is $20 per person, payable by cash or check. Pre-registration is requested to the Wayne County Extension office at 330-264-8722 by Jan. 30.
Winter teat care for dairy cows
Winter, with its accompanying cold temperatures can present a challenge for mastitis control. Cold weather can cause chapped and/or cracked teats, providing an opportunity for bacteria to colonize those cracks and gain entry into the teat during milking, leading to mastitis. Teat dipping post milking is a recommended practice to protect teats from bacteria and control incidence of mastitis. However in very cold weather, post-dipped wet teats run the risk of becoming frozen creating more problems. University of Minnesota Extension (should know something about cold winter temperatures!), recommends continuing the normal dipping routine but take extra steps for protection including:
■ Use a clean cloth towel to blot teat dry after dip contact time of at least 30 seconds.
■ Make sure the dip product has been protected from freezing and that the dip has not separated out. Stir or mix bulk dips before filling dip cups.
■ Be careful with dips containing emollients that condition the teat skin. Teats covered with an emollient actually take longer to dry, increasing exposure of wet teats to cold temperatures.
■ Dry powder dips promoted for cold weather use are difficult to apply to get the good coverage necessary for antibacterial protection.
■ Provide a wind-free area for the cows as they leave the parlor. Wind chill is a factor and wind protection can greatly help in reducing the freezing potential of teats.
Overall, drying teats and providing wind protection are the two simplest protective measures to prevent freezing teats on dairy cows during periods of very cold weather. Yes, drying the teats after dipping requires some extra time, but keeping teats healthy is more preferable than milking cows with cracked or freeze damaged teats.
Rory Lewandowski is an OSU Extension Agriculture & Natural Resources educator.