Information for the local farmer
December is here and that means fall is ending and the old winter is knocking on the door. This week I was updated on the Winter and Spring 2022 forecast, with the report coming up with good news and bad news (depending on your point of view). Winter and Spring 2022 for the Ohio Valley are going to be controlled by a strong weather pattern from La Nina, historically this calls for warmer winters with episodes of cold weather such as gusts of arctic air coming from of Canada that don’t last long.
If you like warmer temperatures in winter, this is probably a good forecast. Warmer winters with average rainfall tell me that me and a lot of other cattle ranchers will have to grapple with the mud (What’s up?). Now the bad news, La Nina weather conditions typically mean cool, wet springs and dry summers, it’s a bit early to predict next spring and summer, but be prepared in case the forecast holds true. Speaking of next spring, many ranchers may now be considering strong livestock markets and considering expanding their operations. More animals equals more mouths to feed, it also means you need more grass. As the cost of fertilizer increases, landowners with hay fields might be interested in renting from neighboring producers. I want to discuss a few pasture rental agreements as potential options for the 2022 grazing season.
1. Animal unit per month method – This method considers the average annual animal unit multiplied by the average price of hay per tonne multiplied by the pasture quality score. An animal unit is based on 1000 pounds, for example if you have a 1000 pound cow with a 2 month old calf by her side (around 200 pounds) the animal unit = 1.2 or say you have a sheep weighing 150 books. =. 15 animal units. The average price of fair trade grass hay in Ohio ranges from $ 80 / tonne to $ 150 / tonne. The Pasture Rating is a general rating assigned to pastures based on their comparison with hay markets. Fair to good pastures will be rated 0.15 and excellent grass pastures = 0.20. Example = let’s say you have 1000 lb pregnant cows and you want to rent a fair pasture = 1.0 x $ 80 / tonne of hay x 0.15 pasture rating, your rental price would be $ 12 / head per month.
2. Rental per acre method – this is a quick and easy method of renting pasture; this does not mean that it adapts adequately to your operation. According to the USDA NASS 2020, the average pasture rental in Ohio ranged from $ 17 / acre to $ 50.50 / acre. For south-central Ohio, the average price = $ 32 / acre.
3. Pasture rental based on soil yield and capacity – Information gathered from local county soil surveys will be used to establish a rental price. For example, soil studies will give soil scores for forage growth and yield and a score on the number of animal units that can be grazed per day (AUD). Example $ 40 / tonne of grazing equivalent x 2.5 tonnes / acre of average yield x 60 days of potential grazing period / 150 days of animal unit grazing period = $ 40 / acre
In summary, there is no single pasture rental agreement, every operation is different and proper budgeting and research should be done before entering into a pasture rental agreement. Communication is essential in the construction and implementation of the rental agreement. Make sure you and the landowner, the livestock owner, know each other’s responsibilities, this may include grazing fertility, fencing and repairs, mowing, weed control, watering systems and insurance. Finally, be sure to write everything down and get a copy of the rental agreement in writing.
Some other elements:
Private, Commercial and Fertilizer Applicator trial dates will be January 13, 2022 and March 10, 2022, located at the Ohio Valley CTC. To register online by going to pested.osu.edu or call ODA (Pesticides Division) at (614) 728-6987.
On January 11, 2022, Private Pesticide Applicator / Fertilizer Applicator Recertification from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. held at the Ohio Valley CTC, 175Lloyed Rd., West Union. The cost is $ 35 for pesticides and fertilizers and $ 15 for those who only need fertilizer recertification. Please register with our office first by calling (937) 544-2339 and mailing your checks to 215 North Cross St., Room 104, West Union, Ohio, 45693.
· February 15th will be the second private pesticide / fertilizer applicator recertification, the location of this event will be at West Union Frisch’s (back meeting room). Register by calling (937) 544-2339 and sending payments of $ 35 for pesticides and fertilizers or $ 15 for fertilizers only to the office located at 215 North Cross St., Room 104, West Union, OH 45693
· USDA NRCS announces deadlines for the Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP), Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) and Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). The deadline to apply for these cost-shared programs is January 14, 2022, call (937) 544-2033 ext. 3 for more details.