Educational Webinars

Presenter:
Dr. David L. Thomas
Professor of Sheep Management and Genetics
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Date: Tuesday, March 14, 2017
Time: 7:00 p.m. CDT
Host: Dr. Jay Parsons, University of Nebraska

Description:

The U.S. is the leading importing of sheep milk cheeses in the world with over half of all world trade in sheep milk cheeses coming to the U.S. Some common imported 100% sheep milk cheeses are Manchego from Spain, Pecorino-Romano from Italy, and Roquefort from France. Therefore, it would seem that there is ample opportunity for the development of a dairy sheep industry in the U.S. for the production of domestic cheeses to compete with this large influx of imported sheep milk cheeses. However, nothing is ever as simple as it looks. This webinar will discuss the things that are necessary to produce sheep milk efficiently (e.g., breeds, selection, nutrition, management) and some of the major constraints to a successful dairy sheep industry (e.g., unstable sheep milk market, small size of the industry and producer isolation, lack of a national genetic improvement program). Some examples of producer successes in the industry will also be presented.

View Now! -- https://youtu.be/wivu1gyKhP4

PowerPoint slides -- http://www.optimalag.com/webinars/2017-03-14_DairySheep.pdf

Presenter:
Dr. Paul Kenyon
Head of Institute of Veterinary and Professor of Sheep Husbandry with the Department of Animal and Biomedical Sciences
Massey University in New Zealand

Date: Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2016
Time: 1 hour 21 minutes
Host: Dr. Jay Parsons, University of Nebraska at Lincoln

Description:

A multiple year scientific program was undertaken to identify:

  1. optimal nutritional management prior to breeding and in pregnancy and lactation,
  2. optimal management of the ram to maximize reproductive results,
  3. management of the young dam in late pregnancy and in lactation to maximize the survival of the lamb(s),
  4. live weight and body condition score targets,
  5. management strategies to maximize the chance that lifetime productivity is increased by breeding her at a young age, and
  6. examine the productivity of offspring born to ewe lambs.

A management package with clear guidelines, which identifies how to manage these young dams effectively, has been compiled. Kenyon will discuss the package and will briefly outline the current state of the New Zealand sheep industry and where it is heading.

View Now! -- https://youtu.be/-1JuGWQ1QM8

PowerPoint Slides -- http://www.optimalag.com/webinars/2016-10-11_ImprovingReproductivePerformanceOfEweLambs.pdf

Presenter:
Reid Redden, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Animal Science and Sheep and Goat Specialist
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension

Date: Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016
Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Host: Dr. Jay Parsons, University of Nebraska at Lincoln

Description:

The American sheep industry produces about a 120 percent lamb crop annually. This level of production provides less than half of the American demand for lamb. Because the majority of revenue from sheep operations is based on the sale of lamb, an increase in the lamb crop should improve the profitability of individual sheep producers and the industry as a whole. However, improvements in a lamb crop is a challenging goal to accomplish and producers must implement numerous best management practices to attain higher lamb crops. To assist the industry in making improvements in the national lamb crop, a reproductive efficiency task force developed a factsheet that outlines 12 Best Management Practices to increase flock lamb crop. American sheep farmers and ranchers are all unique and require different types of management based on resources, environment, labor and other factors. However, most sheep operations in the United States should be able to implement at least a few of the 12 recommended best management practices and attain a higher lamb crop in the future.

View Now! -- https://youtu.be/sTOY1pvFe-k

PowerPoint Slides -- http://www.optimalag.com/webinars/2016-08-30_BestPractices.pdf

Presenter:
Dan Morrical, Ph.D.
Professor of Animal Science
Iowa State Univesity

Date: Tuesday, July 19, 2016
Time: 1 hour 21 minutes
Host: Dr. Jay Parsons, University of Nebraska at Lincoln

Description:

Minerals and Vitamins are not required in very large amounts but inadequate or imbalances of these nutrients can create quite a problem in our flocks. Excess copper is probably the primary toxicity we see in sheep flocks. Increased molybdenum and sulfur can both reduce copper absorption and is an example how minerals interact to impact our sheep. This program is aimed at helping producers understand the current problems that happen when sheep are not appropriately supplemented. Additionally, we will focus on reviewing mineral tags and understanding what it says and how it needs to be fed. The last portion of the presentation will focus on how to make modifications to existing diets to improve the production in our flocks. This webinar is being presented as a follow up to the excellent program given in 2015 by Dr. Robert Van Saun, Dietary Supplements: A Necessity or Folly. That webinar is still available on the Lets Grow webpage.

View Now! -- https://youtu.be/poOWXRBq4Mg

PowerPoint Slides -- http://www.optimalag.com/webinars/2016-07-19_RefiningOurNutritionProgram.pdf

Presenter:
Ron Lewis, Ph.D.
Department of Animal Science
University of Nebraska at Lincoln

Date: Tuesday, May 24, 2016
Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Host: Dr. Jay Parsons, University of Nebraska at Lincoln

Description:

The efficiency of lamb and wool production has increased substantially worldwide by applying traditional quantitative genetic principles in sheep breeding programs. Accelerating those gains depends on melding state-of-the-art technologies in animal genomics with quantitative genetics approaches to more accurately identify high merit animals. The aim of this webinar will be to demystify these technologies. This will entail a journey - a genomics road trip - beginning with the key terminology and principles of modern biology. Next on the journey will be reflection, considering ways genomics may enhance, yet certainly not replace, the fundamentals of successful sheep breeding programs. The inevitable bumps along the road will then be identified, which include the resource and financial challenges that using genomic tools entail. The sign of a successful journey is to plan the next one. Therefore, the webinar will conclude with an overview of a new project, funded by the Let's Grow Program of the American Sheep Industry Association, which begins the melding of genomics into U.S. sheep breeding programs.

View Now! -- https://youtu.be/ZGUCcq5HmnI

PowerPoint Slides -- http://www.optimalag.com/webinars/2016-05-24_Genomics.pdf


Jugular Bleeding Technique for Sheep

Dr. Kelly Heath, Attending Veterinarian at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, demonstrates a jugular bleeding technique that will be used as part of a study funded by the American Sheep Industry Association's Let's Grow Program. The goal of the project is to collect blood samples for genomic testing to establish background information in sheep.

Presenters:
Woody Lane, Ph.D.
Livestock Nutritionist and Forage Consultant
Lane Livestock Services

Dave Ollila
Extension Sheep Field Specialist
South Dakota University in Rapid City, SD

Date: Tuesday, March 29, 2016
Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Host: Dr. Jay Parsons, University of Nebraska

Description:

There is nothing else like them - producer groups. New Zealand, Australia, England, South America - shepherds in these areas regularly join and attend producer groups, often for many years. Why? Because producer groups work. Sheep producers and other farmers and ranchers meet on a regular basis, share knowledge and experience, gain up-to-date information from guest speakers and other resources, evaluate their own operations, try new techniques, improve productivity and gain immeasurable knowledge to help their operations expand and be profitable. How do these groups work and what are the results? This session will focus on the nuts and bolts of producer groups, discussing how groups are organized, what they do, how shepherds benefit from being members, how groups can be financed and the critical role of the facilitator.

View Now! -- https://youtu.be/ztZdHWpwTSU

PowerPoint Slides -- http://www.optimalag.com/webinars/2016-03-29_ProducerGroups.pdf

Presenter:
Robert Van Saun, Ph.D.
Extension Veterinarian and Professor of Veterinary Science
Penn State University

Date: Tuesday, September 22, 2015
Time: 1 hour 18 minutes
Host: Dr. Jay Parsons, University of Nebraska

Description:

This webinar will look more closely at forages in determining if they can meet essential nutrient requirements of sheep at different productive stages. Fiber content of a forage is a function of plant maturity and can potentially limit intake resulting in inadequate energy or protein intake. Forage mineral content is a complex interaction between plant, soil conditions and fertilization practices and that may result in inappropriate mineral content predisposing to disease conditions. The true wild card of forages is trace mineral status. Trace minerals are essential nutrients influencing productivity and immune response. Most forages are deficient in a number of critical trace minerals as well as having high concentrations of interfering minerals resulting in deficiency or toxicity conditions. The goal of the webinar is to provide participants with a better perspective on how their forage may limit or promote their feeding program and the potential role for dietary supplements.

View Now! -- https://youtu.be/H4zNYAjKE50

PowerPoint Slides -- http://www.optimalag.com/webinars/2015-09-22_DietarySupplements.pdf

Presenter:
Dave Notter, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus, Department of Animal and Poultry Sciences
Virginia Tech University

Date: Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2015
Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Host: Dr. Jay Parsons, University of Nebraska

Description:

To address strategies to use EBVs to achieve breeding goals and manage genetic change in your flock. Topics to be covered include:

  • using direct and maternal EBVs to manage changes in body weights from birth through adulthood;
  • optimizing litter size to maximize ewe productivity;
  • using EBVs to optimize fleece value and the rate of improvement in fleece traits;
  • using scanning information to enhance carcass value;
  • using worm egg counts to enhance parasite resistance; and
  • using EBVs to improve reproductive performance.

Selection indexes provides a convenient mechanism to combine EBVs for different traits into a single measure and are currently available for each of the main NSIP breed types. The presentation will discuss the value of indexes as tools for genetic improvement and consider how to address limitations of available indexes in specific production situations.

View Now! -- https://youtu.be/dqajdKBeKKI

PowerPoint Slides -- http://www.optimalag.com/webinars/2015-08-25_UsingEBVs.pdf

Presenter:
Richard Ehrhardt, Ph.D.
Sheep and Goat Extension Specialist
Michigan State University

Date: Tuesday, June 23, 2015
Time: 1 hour 21 minutes
Host: Dr. Jay Parsons, University of Nebraska

Description:

The number of lambs produced per ewe per year is a fundamental productivity and profitability benchmark in sheep production regardless of the production system. Nutritional management has a huge impact on reproductive efficiency at many levels including the onset of puberty in ewe lambs, ovulation rate and out-of-season breeding success. This seminar will discuss feeding programs and better define nutritional targets to improve these reproductive outcomes. Consideration will also be given to practical and feasible ways of improving these outcomes in different production systems.

View Now! -- https://youtu.be/WK8CPgHtrxs

PowerPoint Slides -- http://www.optimalag.com/webinars/2015-06-23_OptimizingReproductiveEfficiency.pdf

Presenter:
Kay Johnson Smith
President and CEO
Animal Agriculture Alliance

Date: Monday, April 13, 2015
Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Host: Dr. Jay Parsons, University of Nebraska

Description:

Undercover videos by activist groups targeting modern farming and ranching have increased in the past decade, and have been driving factors for many companies to set or change policies for their suppliers about farm animal care; some have even terminated contracts with farmers over concern for their brand. These campaigns have also driven a great deal of legislation, negatively impacting the farm community. Learn more about what you can do to protect your farm, your animals and your business, and how to proactively plan for a potential crisis.

View Now! -- https://youtu.be/g40GlrVm08U

PowerPoint Slides -- http://www.optimalag.com/webinars/2015-04-13_FarmSecurity.pdf

Presenter:
Richard Ehrhardt, Ph.D.
Small Ruminant Extension Specialist
Michigan State University

Date: Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Time: 1 hour 24 minutes
Host: Dr. Jay Parsons, University of Nebraska

Description:

Accelerated lamb production is a system of management that allows a ewe to give birth more than once per year and in doing so, creates a year round supply of market ready lambs. Creation of a steady, year round supply of lambs is key to building new lamb markets and strengthening existing ones. By increasing reproductive efficiency (number of lambs produced per ewe per year), accelerated production also has the potential to decrease the cost of lamb production. This seminar will cover the basics of accelerated production, indicate resources required for success, identify constraints to successful adoption and provide management strategies to overcome these constraints.

View Now! -- https://youtu.be/4uO03gAo8eE

PowerPoint slides -- http://www.optimalag.com/webinars/2014-09-23_AcceleratedLambProduction.pdf

Presenter:
Dan Morrical, PhD
Sheep Extension Specialist
Iowa State University

Date: Tuesday, August 26, 2014
Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Host: Dr. Jay Parsons, University of Nebraska & Optimal Ag

Description:

This webinar will focus on key nutrients that sheep need in their rations. I will cover protein, energy, minerals and vitamins, sampling feeds and software available to do the calculations. Some of it will include reading feed tags to know what is in the ration. I will also spend time explaining terminology like dry matter basis and as fed basis, parts per million and milligrams per kilogram. Feed costs are the single largest cost of production and understanding nutrient requirements and meeting them economical is critical to profitable sheep production.

View Now! -- https://youtu.be/p0Gw6Rnhu-E

PowerPoint Slides -- http://www.optimalag.com/webinars/2014-08-26_UnderstandingSheepNutrition.pdf

Presenter:
Dr. Woody Lane
Livestock Nutritionist & Forage Specialist
Lane Livestock Services
Roseburg, Oregon

Date: Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Host: Dr. Jay Parsons, Colorado State University & Optimal Ag Consulting

Description:

Sheep are magnificent animals that evolved to eat grass. A sheep’s rumen allows it to thrive on high-fiber forage and effectively convert sunlight and atmospheric nitrogen (nitrogen “fixed” into forage protein by legumes like clovers and alfalfa) into valuable human products like meat and wool and milk. But how can shepherds use sheep to harvest this forage in a profitable and sustainable way?

By grazing. But good grazing is not just opening the gate and putting sheep into a pasture. Good grazing requires knowledge and good technique. In this Webinar we will discuss how to do this. We will review how forages grow and how to use sheep to manage your forage in a sustainable and efficient way. We will cover the principles of Management Intensive Grazing (MIG). This is not just rotating sheep through small paddocks. MIG is a way of understanding forage growth, relating the amount of pasture to animal requirements, allocating feed, and using sheep to manage forage efficiently and effectively. By properly managing our forages, we can reduce our feed costs, improve pastures, reduce weeds, reduce our break-even price, and increase the chances of turning a profit.

View Now! -- https://youtu.be/zX0oQByPsQs

PowerPoint Slides -- www.optimalag.com/webinars/2014-04-22_MIG101.pdf

Presenter:
Dr. Reid Redden
Extension Sheep Specialist and NSIP Chairman
North Dakota State University

Date: Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Host: Dr. Jay Parsons, Colorado State University & Optimal Ag

Description:

The National Sheep Improvement Program (NSIP) is a nonprofit organization created to develop genetic predictors for production traits relevant to the US sheep and goat industries. This technology generates estimate breeding values (EBVs) based on performance data that is submitted by participating flocks. This program develops EBVs for: 1) Growth Traits: birth, weaning (60 d), postweaning (120 d), and yearling (365 d) weights; 2) Reproductive Traits: number of lambs born and weaned; 3) Carcass Traits: loin muscle and backfat depth; 4) Wool Traits: fleece weight, fiber diameter, and staple length; 5) Parasite Resistance: weaning fecal egg count. In addition, indexes are created that rank the most important traits for the respective breed. EBVs are calculated by making comparisons of lambs among their flock mates; therefore, lambs that outperform their flock mates get positive values for the particular trait and genetically related traits.

Additionally, sire and dam EBVs increase for production of a lamb that is above or below flock average (progeny test). To better serve the entire industry, NSIP needs more seedstock producers to enroll, use the program to its full capacity, and work with other NSIP breeders to develop genetic connections within the breed. Additionally, it requires that commercial producers request that their seedstock providers provide this data and purchase sheep with EBVs that are consistent with the needs of the flock. In summary, NSIP can help the industry make more informed and reliable breeding decisions and lead to more productive and profitable sheep and goat industries.

View Now! -- https://youtu.be/ne05ZkKGsw0

PowerPoint Slides -- http://www.optimalag.com/webinars/2013-12-17_ProfitableGeneticSelection.pdf

Webinar on Oct 8, 2013 at 7:00 PM EDT.

Presenters:
Philip Berg, Pipestone Lamb and Wool Program Instructor
Mike Caskey, Pipestone Lamb and Wool Program Instructor
Minnesota West Community and Technical College, Pipestone

Date: Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Time: 7:00 pm Eastern DST, 6:00 Central, 5:00 Mountain, 4:00 Pacific
Host: Dr. Jay Parsons, Colorado State University & Optimal Ag

Description:

Our discussion will identify keys to reducing labor at lambing. This will include labor saving watering, feeding and bedding systems ideas. Examples of warm lambing barn layouts and sheep flow will be presented.

View Now! -- https://youtu.be/J2GiDl9Y5i0

PowerPoint Slides -- www.optimalag.com/webinars/2013-10-08_ReducingLaborAtLambingTime.pdf (Be patient. It may take several seconds to load.)

Webinar on Sep 10, 2013 at 7:00 PM EDT.

Presenter:
Nancy A Irlbeck, PhD
Associate Dean of Academic Affairs
College of Agricultural Sciences
Colorado State University

Date: Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Time: 7:00 pm Eastern DST, 6:00 Central, 5:00 Mountain, 4:00 Pacific
Host: Dr. Jay Parsons, Colorado State University & Optimal Ag

Description:

Grazing sheep on green pastures amid the daisies in the sunshine. Immaculate, shining white fleeces of cloud-like personas sliding off the sheep’s backs into waiting bags.True or False? FALSE! Anyone raising sheep for wool – range or farm flock – are very aware that this is not reality. It takes a lot of work and management to acquire a prime fleece, and it sure does not slide off of the sheep’s back. Amazingly, potential fiber production actually begins in utero and continues through the animal’s life. What you feed the animal, when you feed the animal and how much you feed and don’t feed the animal has a large impact on fiber production of an individual animal. This seminar includes a brief primer on genetics, feeding management and husbandry systems to feed animals for wool – and a discussion of what is realistic and what is not.

View Now! -- https://youtu.be/oFYzo5M7dpQ

PowerPoint Slides -- http://www.optimalag.com/webinars/2013-09-10_FeedingSheepForFiberProduction.pdf (Be patient. It may take several seconds to load.)

Webinar on Aug 27, 2013 at 7:00 PM EDT.

Presenters:
Dr. Will Getz, Professor of Animal Science, Extension Specialist
Dr. Thomas H. Terrill, Assistant Professor of Animal Science
Fort Valley State University

Date: Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Time: 7:00 pm Eastern DST, 6:00 Central, 5:00 Mountain, 4:00 Pacific
Host: Dr. Jay Parsons, Colorado State University & Optimal Ag

Description:

We will discuss the current state of thinking on best management practices for control of internal parasites in sheep. This will include reducing dependence upon anthelmintic de-wormers through the use of diagnostic tools that allow targeted selective treatment of only the animals in the flock that actually need it, as well as use of alternative (non-chemical) control technologies in an integrated parasite management (IPM) system.

View Now! -- https://youtu.be/mO7LxlcWB9w

PowerPoint Slides -- www.SheepAgriculture.com/?cat=9 (Be patient. It may take a several seconds to load.)

Webinar presented on Dec 11, 2012 at 7:00 PM EST.

Presenter: Dr. Scott Bowdridge, West Virginia University

Date: Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Time: 7:00 pm Eastern, 6:00 Central, 5:00 Mountain, 4:00 Pacific
Host: Dr. Jay Parsons, Colorado State University & Optimal Ag

Description:

Many producers have experienced loss in the form of reduced growth and often death as a result of parasitism within their flock. Development of multi-drug resistance in these worms, especially the southeastern US, has left many producers feeling helpless in the face of gastrointestinal nematode parasitism. As a result some have left the sheep business, others have switched to a dry-lot system for lambs and the rest have tried everything else to keep these lambs growing on pasture. The utilization of selective deworming has resulted in at least maintenance of dewormer efficacy, yet with limited drug choices this option remains one of our best tools. Through the incorporation of parasite-resistant breeds many have observed a less frequent need for treatment. However, concerns about the effect on growth and carcass quality, not to mention the effect on wool quality, have limited the use of parasite-resistant hair breeds of sheep. Parasite-resistant sheep have, however, provided much of our understanding of functional host protective immunity, as these sheep generate a very rapid and robust immune response to worms. It is curious why the same response is not seen when commercial-crossbred sheep become infected. Perhaps parasite management should be equally focused on the host as it is on the pathogen.

View Now! -- https://youtu.be/YGi1hKZulBc

PowerPoint Slides -- http://www.optimalag.com/webinars/2012-12-11_ParasiteManagement.pdf

Selection for Parasite Resistance

Presenter:
Dr. Joan Burke, Research Animal Scientist
USDA, Agricultural Rsearch Service
Dale Bumpers Small Farms Research Center

Date: Tuesday, August 22, 2017
Time: 7:00 pm CST
Host: Dr. Jay Parsons, University of Nebraska

Description:

Gastrointestinal parasite infection of sheep and goats is a major health issue that can cause anemia, reduced weight gains, poor performance, mortality and discouragement to farmers. Dewormer resistance limits the ability to control these parasites using available dewormers. Because of moderate heritability, opportunities exist to improve parasite resistance through genetic selection programs. This will be discussed along with scientific background, what to expect, and limitations. Climate, rainfall, management, sex of animal, rear type and age will influence parasite infection. Genetic resistance to parasite infection is arguably the best means of gastrointestinal parasite control. It can be achieved through selection of sires with favorable estimated breeding values in programs such as the National Sheep Improvement Program (NSIP), which will be reflected by lower parasite infection measures in offspring.

View Now! -- https://youtu.be/QWtZZoiJaTY

PowerPoint Slides -- http://www.optimalag.net/sheepagriculture/webinars/selection-for-parasite-resistance/

Webinar presented on Nov 13, 2012 at 6:00 PM MST.

Presenter: Dr. Jay Parsons
Colorado State University & Optimal Ag Consulting

With Special Guests:
Skye Krebs (Oregon), Eric Harlow (Oregon), Jennifer Tucker (Colorado), and Cody Halligan (Nebraska)

Description:

Mentoring is a partnership in two-way learning. Having a quality relationship with a good mentor can be the key to success for a new producer but it can also be a very rewarding experience for the mentor. In this presentation, I will discuss guidelines for forming, maintaining, and completing a good mentoring relationship. Sheep producers will join me as special guests to share their mentoring relationship experiences and to help entertain questions from the audience.

View Now! -- https://youtu.be/XIj9vDYMHT4

PowerPoint Slides -- www.optimalag.com/webinars/Mentoring%20Relationship.pdf

Presented on Aug 28, 2012 at 7:00 PM MDT.

Presenters: Dr. Rodney Kott and Dr. Lisa Surber
Montana State University

Description:

Proper feeding of ewes has a direct effect on production and represents one of the largest input costs of a producer. This program will focus on ewe nutrition during breeding and pregnancy. Topics covered will include feeding strategies for flushing ewes, feeding during early pregnancy and winter supplementation of range ewes. Differing feeding objectives for ewes in different body compositions will be covered. The webinar will end with a question/answer period regarding sheep nutritional issues around breeding and pregnancy.

https://youtu.be/rpPU5Zurifg

 
Meat Quality
Presenter:
Dr. Travis Hoffman
Extension Sheep Specialist
Department of Animal Science
North Dakota State/University of Minnesota
Date: Tuesday, April 25, 2017
Time: 7:00 p.m. CDT
Host: Dr. Jay Parsons, University of Nebraska

Description:

As consumers continually want to know more about where their food comes from, it is the responsibility of American sheep producers to meet production goals and capitalize on the American Lamb brand. Dr. Hoffman authored the Lamb Quality chapter of the 8th Edition Sheep Production Handbook and focused his Ph.D. research on the 2015 National Lamb Quality Audit. His passion for understanding the production decisions that impact lamb quality, and inevitably striving for production of the highest quality lamb and superior consumer satisfaction will be highlighted in the webinar.

View Now! -- https://youtu.be/wivu1gyKhP4

PowerPoint slides -- http://www.sheepagriculture.net/webinars/is-sheep-milk-production-in-your-future/