Multi-Species Grazing

Multi-species Grazing: the How and Why for Soil & Animal Health
Online, Wednesday, June 24

Grazing multiple species both in terms of animals and plants offer many benefits to both animals and the soil. Learn about these benefits as well as considerations and helpful tips for implementing multi-species grazing on your property.

This virtual webinar is part of the Webinar Wednesday Forage and Pasture Series, brought to you by

Delaware State University

and the

University of Delaware


➡️ Register by June 23:

IPM in Sheep and Goats: FAMACHA© Certification From Home

Internal parasites are a major health problem affecting sheep and goats, particularly the blood sucking abomasal parasite, Haemonchus contortus(barber pole worm). This parasite is a major threat because once in the abomasum of the animal, it consumes large amounts of blood causing sickness and death that can hinder production. In addition, this parasite is very difficult to manage. There is data showing that this parasite has shown resistance to all available dewormers in United States and across the world. Local data has demonstrated that there is a high level of resistance to the benzimidazole classes (white drenches) of dewormers and ivermectin in Delaware and surrounding states. Therefore, a more integrated approach is needed to control this parasite.  Deworming by the calendar and rotating classes of dewormers are no longer recommended for sheep and goats. Furthermore these out of date management practices are ineffective and contribute to internal parasite resistance issues.

Fecal Egg Counting and FAMACHA© workshop | Delaware State UniversityThe Delaware Cooperative Extension Small Ruminant Team is holding a FAMACHA© certification workshop via Zoom on Wednesday, June 10, 2020 from 6:00 pm-8:00 pm.  The cost of the workshop is $15.00 to pay for the FAMACHA© cards and the postage to mail them to producers. Registration is required.

This upcoming workshop is designed to help producers learn the basics of selective internal parasite control and covers topics such as types and kinds of parasites, dewormers, the role of pasture management, the 5 Point Check©, FAMACHA© and FEC. Join us as we provide training to certify producers in the use of FAMACHA© score card and an integrated approach to parasite control in small ruminants.

To register visit: Once registered you will receive an email link to access the Zoom training.  After completing the webinar, producers will be required to pass a short web based quiz and submit a short video clip demonstrating their proficiency in the FAMCHA© push-pull-pop eyelid technique in order to complete their certification requirements.  For questions please contact a member of the Delaware Cooperative Extension Small Ruminant Team- Susan Garey , Dr. Kwame Matthews, PhD or Dan Severson

This institution is an equal opportunity provider. If you have special needs that need to be accommodated, please contact the office two weeks prior to the event.

Reading and Understanding Seed Labels (Tags)

Reading and Understanding Seed Labels (Tags)

Dan Severson, New Castle Co. Ag Agent;

Quality of seed can vary greatly. The key to getting the best quality seed is to read and understand the information on the seed tag. Seed laws require that each lot is labeled to prevent misrepresentation of seeds offered for sale. This applies to a single species or a mixture, certified or non-certified seeds. Understanding the seed label will allow proper decision making when planning and installing a seeding.

The Federal Seed Act ( and the Delaware State Seed law Title 3 Chapter 15 ( specify the information required on the seed tag (see example seed tag on page 3). Seed tags are issued by the official seed certifying agency for each state. The Seed Laboratory of Delaware Department of Agriculture is the official seed certifying agency for the state of Delaware. All state certification agencies comply with the minimum requirements and standards of the Association of Official Seed Certification Agencies (AOSCA) ( to insure uniform testing methods and minimum standards of seed quality. Seed labels may vary from state to state, but all labels will have some semblance uniformity since the Federal Seed Act requires some information for interstate commerce.

Components of the seed label

  • Type and Variety – Cultivar/release name, species, and common name;
  • Lot number – a series of letters or numbers assigned by the grower for tracking purposes;
  • Origin – where the seeds were grown;
  • Net weight – how much material is in the container;
  • Percent pure seed (purity) – how much of the material is actually the desired seed;
  • Percent inert matter – how much of the material in the bag is plant debris or other materials that are not seed;
  • Percent other crop seeds – other non-weed seeds;
  • Percent weed seeds – seeds considered weed species;
  • Percent germination (germ) – how much of the seed will germinate readily;
  • Hard seed – seed which does not germinate readily because of a hard seed coat;
  • Dormant seed – seed which does not germinate readily because it requires a pre-treatment or weathering in the soil (Some suppliers may combine hard and dormant seed on the label.);
  • Germination test date – date should be within 12 months of the planned date for using the seed;

The date for how long the seed can be sold varies from state and type of seed. Delaware’s current time is 14 months, excluding the test date (total of 15). Most small packs of vegetable and flower seeds are marked packed for year 20?? They can only be sold for that year.

  • Name and address of company responsible for analysis (seller or grower).
  • Name of restricted noxious weed seeds (with number per pound of seed);

There are 2 types of noxious weed seeds – restricted and prohibited. Restricted weed seeds are listed as seeds per pound of material in the bag. There should be no prohibited weed seeds.

The restricted weed seeds for Delaware are dodder, bindweed, wild onion, wild garlic, corn cockle, horse nettle, cheat or chess, annual bluegrass and giant foxtail.

The prohibited list of weed seeds for Delaware are Canada thistle, quack grass and johnsongrass.

The prohibited and restricted noxious weed seed for Delaware are not the same as the Noxious Weeds list. Delaware currently has six noxious weeds: johnsongrass, Canada thistle, burcucumber, giant ragweed, Texas panicum and Palmer amaranth.

You may also see the following additional information on the label:

  • Total Viability/Germination – this may or may not be stated. Total viability = Germination + Hard Seed + Dormant Seed. Total Viability may not equal 100%. This just means that some of the seed is not viable and will not germinate.

A typical seed label:

example seed tag

In addition to the seed analysis label, there may be a second label indicating the certification class of seed. The most typical second label would be blue and would indicate it as CERTIFIED SEED. Certified seed is the progeny of seed that has been handled to maintain genetic identity and purity and has been approved by a state certifying agency. Certified seed should be the first choice for any seeding project, especially when cultivars are used.

Using the Seed Label

  • The total of Pure Seed, Other Crop, Inert Matter and Weed Seed should always equal 100%.
  • If the purity or germination is very low, you may not want to use the seed.
  • If there are noxious weed seeds, you should know what they are and whether they will be a problem on your planting site. You may not want to use this seed source because doing so risks introducing a problem.
  • Always purchase and use seed based on Pure Live Seed (PLS). PLS is the amount of seed which will germinate and can be calculated using numbers from the seed label.

First, determine total viability

Viability = germination + hard seed + dormant seed

Viability is the percent of seed which will germinate, though it may not all germinate the first season. In our example, total viability = 93.00%.

Next, calculate the amount of Pure Live Seed (PLS)

PLS = (% Purity x %Viability)/100

In our example: PLS = (93.8 x 93)/100 = 87.23%

PLS can be used for calculating the amount of seed you will need to buy for a planting or when calibrating the output of a drill.

Bulk seed/acre = (lbs. PLS recommended/acre)/Percent PLS

If we want to seed 10 acres at 8 lbs. PLS/acre., then

(8 lbs. PLS/acre)/ 87.23% = 9.17 lbs. bulk/acre x 10 acres = 91.7 lbs. bulk seed needed .8723 PLS

Most native plant seed is sold on a PLS basis because germination and purity can be so variable. Always specify buying seed by the PLS pound to make sure you get the amount of seed you need. For example, percent germination rate of legumes is often lower than percent germination of grass species. Some of the cool-season turf-type grasses (fescues, orchard grass) and agronomic seed (oats, rye) are sold on the basis of bulk pounds only because germination and purity are typically very high and minimums are regulated by the Federal Seed Act.

The cheapest bag of seed is not always the best purchase. By understanding the information on the seed tag you can determine the quality of seed you are purchasing. By comparing the purity and percent germination you will be able to decide which bag of seed will produce a more successful, uniform and weed free stand.

Restricted and prohibited weeds vary by state and no seed can be sold if it contains prohibited weeds. Seed that is moved across state lines must meet the most restrictive state’s requirements. By monitoring the weed species in the lot, you can control what weeds are seeded in a planting.

Always order your seed as PLS seeding rate. Purity and germination percentages found on the seed tag determine Pure Live Seed (all seeding recommendations are given in Pure Live Seed rates) from which the bulk-seeding rate is calculated.

Englert, J.M. 2007. A Simplified Guide to Understanding Seed Labels. Maryland Plant Materials Technical Note No. 2. USDA-NRCS National Plant Materials Center, Beltsville, MD. 3p.

Kaiser, J. 2010. Reading Seed Packaging Labels (Seed Tags). Agronomy Technical Note – MO-38. Elsberry, MO.







Brought to you by UD Cooperative Extension, this webinar will prepare you for the coming baleage making season.  Learn about the practical aspects of making quality baleage for feeding ruminants.  The webinar will cover a bit on general silage fermentation and address what is baleage, the pros of baleage, challenges with baleage and tips for making good baleage.


This webinar is being conducted by Dr. Limin Kung, Jr., S. Hallock du Pont Professor of Animal Science, Dairy Nutrition and Silage Fermentation Laboratory, Department of Animal and Food Science at the University of Delaware.


This program is brought to you by the University of Delaware Cooperative Extension, a service of the UD College of Agriculture and Natural Resources – a land-grant institution.

This institution is an equal opportunity provider. If you have special needs that need to be accommodated, please contact the host two weeks prior to event.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020 at 2:00pm to 3:00pm

Virtual Event register at our website:

4 Bright Spots for Agriculture in the Post-Pandemic World

The future will definitely look different from the past. In the long run, what opportunities could farmers harvest? ( AgWeb )

The coronavirus (COVID-19) has disrupted and impacted every type of agriculture in every corner of the globe. Supply chains have snapped, consumer demand has surged and waned, and the food sector has had to shutter or dramatically transform its business model.

The future will definitely look different from the past. In the long run, what opportunities could farmers harvest? That was the topic of an April 28 Farm Foundation virtual forum.

“We are navigating without a road map,” says A.G. Kawamura, owner and partner of Orange County Produce in Irvine, Calif. “Thank goodness this pandemic showed up in 2020, not 2010, 2000 or 1990.”

With today’s technology, logistics and connectiveness, he says, the agricultural industry across the globe can quickly pivot and solve problems in ways never done before.

Here are a few of the silver linings for farmers amid COVID-19.

1. Livestock prices should significantly improve later in 2020.

Net farm income could drop $20 billion this year alone, according to research by the Food and Agriculture Policy Research Institute (FAPRI) at the University of Missouri. That’s roughly 19% less than FAPRI’s estimates prior to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Livestock prices are expected to drop 8% to 12%, FAPRI projects.

As packing plants reduce their daily slaughter number due to COVID-19 outbreaks and social distancing protocols, a domino effect is taking place.

With less slaughter capacity, livestock producers will cut back on their placement numbers, says Dan Basse, president of AgResource. As a result, there could be a potential shortfall of meat available to consumers later this year.

“There is optimism for the U.S. livestock industry and prices in Q4 and beyond on supply shortfalls,” Basse says.

2. The return to cooking at home will create demand for ag products.

2019 was the first year Americans spent more money on food away from home versus money spent on food consumed in the home, but that’s shifting due to #COVID-19, Basse says.

“We will consume more meals in the home than pre-COVID-19 days,” he says. “The food consumption skew favors an ‘American renaissance’ with home meal preparation.”

This trend of cooking at home will likely be necessary due to some of the supply chain disruptions.

“I expect you’ll see bigger poundage of meat at stores – brisket, ribs, etc. – because of the way that processing is going on,” Basse says. “Consumers may have to do more processing at home.”

3. You can pivot your operation to a more resilient business model.

The food system’s just-in-time inventory and processing model is highly efficient. But, when there are disruptions, Basse says, the impact to producers and consumers are dramatic.

“Look for expanding producer investment in processing as the farm-to-table trend accelerates and more products are created on-farm instead of in plants,” he says.

This could include more on-farm creameries or on-farm meat processing.

“Both larger and smaller farmers can pivot how they’re working,” Kawamura says. “If they can make some changes, they’ll have opportunities on both a large and small scale.”

In the produce industry, for instance, Kawamura is seeing growers capture profit through drive-thru farmers markets, ready-to-go packages of produce and roadside stands.

This long-term and resilient view will be critical to survive the current pandemic as well as future ones, adds Luke Chandler, chief economist for John Deere.

“We need to think about global competitiveness related to U.S. agriculture,” he says. “We will be facing this headwind in global export markets for some time.”

4. U.S. agriculture will receive more support and respect.

A great upside to COVID-19 is consumers are starting to understand how agricultural supply chains work, Basse says.

Chandler agrees. “Consumers have not had a relationship back to the farmgate,” he says. “This crisis gives us an opportunity to tackle that challenge and look for the opportunities to connect with consumers so they can value the entire supply chain.”

SBA Programs Could Become Critical for Dairy Farmers

By: Anna-Lisa Laca

President Trump signed Congress’ latest coronavirus aid package which replenishes new small business loan programs that were overwhelmed by demand when they were first offered earlier this month as part of the CARES Act.

The new package includes $250 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which allows qualified banks to offer low interest loans that later can be forgiven and $60 billion for economic injury disaster loans (EIDL). Importantly, this bills makes farmers eligible for the EIDL program.

“It’s projected that these funds are going to run out within 36 hours of them being released by the SBA which should happen relatively soon after this bill becomes law,” said Claudia Larson, government relations director at the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF). “The second part of why this bill is important to dairy is because this bill makes technical changes to both programs, which will hopefully help our dairy farmers overcome some of the obstacles that have been preventing them from accessing this important funding, up until this point.”

The bill passed this week includes special reserved funds for lending institutions that tend to be more prominent in rural areas like community banks and credit unions, she said in a podcast produced by NMPF.

How to apply for SBA programs:

  1. Talk to an existing lender to see if they have access to PPP funds, Larson says.
  2. If they don’t, Larson says you should identify a lender who has access to those funds.
  3. The next step is preparing your application which the lending institution can help with. Most of the documentation necessary revolves around showing payroll expenses. 2019 tax filings are ideal, Larson says.
  4. For the EIDL program you apply directly through SBA on their website. It’s expected to take less than two hours to complete the application.