Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Introducing the Ohio Pasture Measurement Project

There are many good reasons why graziers should estimate the amount of forage in their pastures. Evaluating, measuring and observing pasture growth can give valuable information during a grazing season to help producers make management decisions. Using pasture growth measurements can help graziers decide to slow or speed up the grazing system, change stocking density, consider planting alternative forages or fertilize before they need the forage and when there is adequate soil moisture to still grow more forage.

The Ohio Pasture Measurement Project was started in 2005 an attempt to help producers understand the value of timely measurement of their forages.


  1. Provide a source of current, objective information on the relative performance of forages growing in Ohio accessible to producers across the state.
  2. Demonstrate the use of pasture measurement/monitoring to aid in the management of grazing.
  • Graziers from across Ohio measure at least one pasture field each week during the grazing season.
  • Measurements are taken before and after grazing or clipping of that field.
  • Measurements are taken with a commercially available rising plate meter.

2008 Measurement Locations

Lookout for Alfalfa Weevil in Ohio

Ohio State University Entomologists report that sufficient heat units have accumulated in southern Ohio to warrant growers to begin sampling for alfalfa weevils. Heat units at our weather stations in Piketon and Jackson are both over 300 as of this time. Central and/or northern Ohio has not reached 300 heat units , although it should reach that point by the end of the week in central Ohio, and not until next week for northern Ohio locations.

In Ohio, populations of alfalfa weevil seldom reach economic levels of abundance due to biological control by a complex of parasitic wasps and a fungal pathogen. However, damaging populations can occur and growers need to be alert and checking their fields weevils. This is especially true this year given the low supplies of hay and the high value of alfalfa on the market.

More information on the alfalfa weevil biology and management is available in OSU Factsheet FC-ENT-0032, Alfalfa Weevil, available at

For some excellent images and information on this pest, see the University of Illinois IPM website on Alfalfa Weevil at

Carroll County Pasture Walk - April 4, 2008

On Friday, April 4th, the Carroll Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) along with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) held their first pasture walk of the season on the Cliff Miller Farm near Carrollton, Ohio. Approximately 28 participants attended from Carroll, Columbiana, Harrison, Jefferson, and Tuscarawas counties.
Cliff runs a herd of approximately 25 crossbred cattle. Not only did his cattle survive last summer’s drought, he also stockpiled forage to sustain his herd through the winter. Cliff chose not to make any hay on his farm last year; instead, he stockpiled those fields to use for winter feed. Normally when stockpiling forage, you would make your last cutting of hay or clip the field in August before fertilizing the field and letting it grow until the late fall or early winter. In November Cliff started to rotate the herd twice a day through his stockpiled fields. Those fields provided enough forage to last from November to April 5th, although Cliff did feed some hay when the weather prevented him from being on his stockpiled fields and when he was on vacation. Fortunately, Cliff had hay leftover from the year before, so he did not have to purchase any additional hay.
One limiting factor to Cliff’s operation is the distribution of water. Currently the cattle have to walk a long distance to reach the water source. This leads to poor nutrient distribution and increased erosion along the herd’s travel route to water. Through the NRCS Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), Cliff will be installing pressurized pipeline and frost free hydrants to distribute water over the farm. He will also be installing a heavy use area to feed hay on when the weather is poor (i.e. it is too wet and grazing will tear up the pastures, there is a drought and allowing the animals to graze will hurt the forages further, or there is a crust of ice over the snow keeping the animals from grazing the stockpiled forage). Some of the water system will be installed this summer. Another pasture walk will be held on Cliff’s farm this fall to showcase the new water system and to look at Cliff’s stockpiled fields before he begins grazing them.

Other pasture walks planned for the area include:

May 21, 2008 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.
Larry and Alice Conkle Farm

9861 Stroup Rd. Hanoverton, OH 44423
Located east of Hanoverton in southern Columbiana County, this farm has been transitioning from a row crop system to a pasture system since 2002. Currently, the farm has 44 beef cows that started calving around April 1st. Many conservation practices have been installed including access roads, cross fencing, and pressurized water lines with portable water tanks.
Anyone interested in carpooling from the Carroll SWCD office to the Conkle Farm, please contact the Carroll SWCD at (330) 627-9852.

June 11, 2008 6 p.m.
Bill and Marty Detweiler Farm

2067 Bergholz Rd. NE, Mechanicstown, OH
Bill and Marty run a 40 cow grass-based dairy on a 12-24 hour rotation on their farm, located just south of Mechanicstown in eastern Carroll County. The Detweiler’s became Certified Organic producers about a year ago. They have worked with Carroll SWCD to plan access roads, division fences, and watering systems.

Friday, April 4, 2008

New Website for Equine Services

We would like to alert our readers to a new website that offers a wealth of information for the horse community. is a database-driven website dedicated to providing an easy-to-use portal of equine products and services.

There have been many recent improvements and updates to the website. It was first launched in October 2006. Here are some of the new features of the website:
  • All new graphics and user-friendly layout
  • Manage your own listing on-line anytime
  • Pay for your listing using PayPal or by mailing a check
  • Quick Links to search Hay and Bedding, the two most popular categories
  • Keyword search capabilities
  • Radius search capabilities (great for traveling or relocating)
  • Save your searches
  • A map is generated to show where each provider is located
  • Print your search results and take them with you (great for sharing with friends and colleagues)
  • The most recent listings are automatically listed on the home page
  • RSS technology emables users to receive updates automatically