COLUMBUS, Ohio -- With hay yields lower than expected and pasture damaged from drought, it could be next spring before producers have adequate forage supplies for their livestock.
Ohio State University Extension offers several Web-based information resources to aid producers in making the best forage management decisions this winter. OSU Extension's Beef Cattle Team maintains a newsletter and a drought resource Web site, both of which contain a plethora of research-based information, press releases, and event announcements related to livestock management and forage options. The OSU Extension Beef Team Web site is http://beef.osu.edu, which contains links to the newsletter and the drought page, as well as additional resource information.
"The goal of both the Beef Team drought page and the newsletter is to offer insight into anything which might maintain or improve the feed situation for Ohio's cattlemen until we hopefully return to 'normal' forage production conditions next spring," said Stan Smith, an OSU Extension educator for Fairfield County. "That will only occur with a return of more normal weather, and very careful management of forage stands throughout the fall, winter and early spring."
Producers have been struggling to provide adequate forage supplies for their livestock since April, when a freeze reduced the first cutting of hay by nearly 50 percent. Subsequent dry, hot weather has slowed forage regrowth and damaged pastures.
"Forage production has remained significantly below normal across nearly all areas east of the Mississippi. Thus, purchasing affordable feedstuffs from neighboring states has not been an alternative," said Smith. "At the same time, grain and other alternative feed prices were very high across the Midwest this summer."
The OSU Extension Beef Team drought page was created in response to the forage shortages Ohio producers have been facing, and Extension educators have been posting fact sheets, bulletins, and press releases from the Beef Team newsletter, as well as from other Ohio State University sources, to help producers make more informed management decisions. The Web site can be accessed by logging on to http://beef.osu.edu/Drought07.html. The Web site also contains information from prior droughts in Ohio that remains relevant to this year's drought situation.
The OSU Extension Beef Team newsletter is released weekly. Producers and other interested individuals may subscribe to the newsletter for free by sending a blank e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on the OSU Extension Beef Team, the team's newsletter or the drought page, please contact Steve Boyles at (614) 292-7669, or email@example.com, or Stan Smith at (740) 653-5419, or firstname.lastname@example.org.