EAPK Producer Profile: Richard Manning, Sweet Seasons Farm

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"The Man Born to Farming" is more than a poem by Wendall Berry of quaint sentiments. It speaks of a producer such as Richard Manning who has lived his life as: "The grower of trees, the gardener, the man born to farming, whose hands reach into the ground and sprout, to him the soil is a divine drug… " Richard grew up on a commercial cattle farm in Alabama. So, when he and…

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Pregnancy Diagnosis

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There are various options for diagnosing pregnancy in sheep. The cost/benefit analysis for doing this procedure depends on what you are going to do with the information. Your reasons for doing pregnancy diagnosis will also dictate which method you want to employ. In general, the earlier in pregnancy the diagnosis is made, the larger the risk of false positive results due to early embryonic loss. If avoiding false positive pregnancy diagnosis is essential…

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EAPK Producer Profile – Beckie Hotz, Mariposa Farm

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My introduction to agriculture was through plants. I studied biology in college with a broad view of both animals and plants. Toward the end of college, I focused on the plant side of agriculture, specifically at the soil level. All these years later, I find this helps me stay focused on the value of pasture management.  After college, I taught outdoor experiential education for youth and led group treks in the mountains. Soon after,…

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Selecting for Maternal Traits Drives Profit

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Katahdins are raised in diverse environments using a wide range of management styles and for a variety of reasons. However, there should be a few common goals in any flock. In addition to being a shedding hair breed, Katahdins have always been viewed as an easy keeping maternal breed. In recent years, many breeders have also begun selecting for parasite resistance to make the breed even more easy keeping. We know that the…

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Transporting Sheep Safely

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Summer is often the busiest time for transporting sheep since the buying and purchasing of new animals is at its peak. It is also the season for hauling animals to sales, shows, fairgrounds and livestock markets. Unfortunately, it can also be the most stressful time for animals with long trips, escalating temperatures, and crowded conditions. This article attempts to address some of those concerns and provide a plan for preparing for the trip,…

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Symposium Thank You

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EAPK would like to extend a very warm Thank You to everyone who supported our first annual EAPK Symposium and Sale, especially our wonderful speakers, those who attended the symposium and everyone who consigned, bid on and purchased animals in the sale. Seventy-four attendees representing 11 states kicked off the educational Symposium on Friday July 9. Special thanks go out to our speakers: Dr. Andrew Weaver (NC State); Dr. Scott Greiner (Virginia Tech);…

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Selecting for Parasite Resistant Katahdins

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People frequently ask us for suggestions on improving the parasite resistance of their flocks and how to identify resistant animals, and with good reason. Intestinal worms, or parasites, are one of the most limiting factors to profitable production for shepherds raising sheep on pasture. Lambs and late gestation and lactating ewes are the most susceptible. The main parasite of concern in much of the U.S. is Haemonchus contortus or barber pole worm. The…

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Drug Withdrawal Times for Sheep

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Whenever we sell animals, be it at auction, privately as feeder lambs, breeding stock or even just pets and lawnmowers it is our responsibility to make sure that the animals we are selling will not enter the food chain with illegal drug residues in their tissue. Animals that are sold at auction need to be ready to slaughter as many enter the food chain within hours or days after being sold. Private sale…

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Data collection is the cornerstone of obtaining Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) through the National Sheep Improvement Program (NSIP). But the need for good records and accurate data is not limited to producers submitting data to NSIP. All flocks can benefit from good data collection since selection and culling decisions should be based on measured production criteria. Those considering joining NSIP at some point, will find collecting accurate data from the start will be…



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To best express their genetic potential, sheep must be in optimal body condition. Both overly fat sheep and sheep that are too thin are not as productive as they can potentially be. Body condition scoring (BCS) enables you to identify the animals that fall outside of a preferred range. You can use this information to evaluate feeding strategies and to identify animals that are not doing well in your management system. This article…

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