There is something distinctly pathos-inducing about a corn plant dying of thirst. Maybe that’s why coverage of the 2012 drought has focused on commodity crops, especially corn. Reading the reports, you almost expect Tom Joad to step out from between the brown-baked stalks, as if Steinbeck were writing the copy.
Instead of fleeing randomly when faced with a predator, sheep attempt to bury themselves within their flock, new UK research has shown.
The theory that animals moving in groups retreat towards the centre of their flocks if a predator appears has been tested before.
But the researchers are the first to show that sheep behave this way using GPS technology.
Small farms are becoming more popular as residents migrate to the suburbs or close-by farms. This movement is further accelerated by the aging population, many of whom had a rural up-bringing and desire to supplement their income with small farming operations involving sheep and goats or simply have hobby farms to occupy the time.
Drought conditions in Missouri present some unique challenges for sheep and goat producers according to Jodie Pennington, small ruminant educator with Lincoln University Extension.
The main concern is making sure sheep and goats have feed and water. If a producer’s financial situation is challenging already, adding the cost of feed can put the operation in the red.
About six years ago a joint project between Montana State University (MSU) and the Montana Wool Growers Association began. The research looked at ribeye information on Targhee, Rambouillet and Columbia sheep, and project participation from producers in Montana has only grown since then.
With drought emergencies declared in 42 Wisconsin counties last week, it is no surprise that pastures are thin. While it is tempting to let livestock graze on the remaining stubble and sparse regrowth, producers beware that dry conditions can increase the risk of poisoning from nitrate and prussic acid.