UK Cooperative Extension Service KSU Cooperative Extension Programs
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The Cooperative Extension Service of Henry County, Kentucky
AGRICULTURE

COOPERATIVE EXTENSION SERVICE


June 13, 2018

Dear Friends: Hope you find this interesting, stay well.

Are Garden Weeds Driving You Crazy?

Like many around the county, weeds are trying to take over my garden, and it feels almost like a full time job trying to control the weeds. This is why I want to talk about garden weeds because everyone wants that beautiful, high producing garden.

First off, why are weeds in your garden bad? Weeds cause many problems, but probably the biggest problem is weeds compete with your crops for nutrients, water, and sunlight. Also, some weeds, like quackgrass, can chemically inhibit vegetable plant growth, and others are host for numerous insect pests and disease pathogens. All of these reasons is why you need to control weeds in your garden.

Here are few tips to control weeds in your garden:

Ag Agent
Levi Berg

Barn Quilts Tour

The AgrAbility Channel

-Frequent hoeing or rototilling garden rows while weeds are small.
-Plant crop rows closer so the garden floor is shaded, and reduces light the weed needs to grow
-Plant a new crop after you harvest your primary crop, so land isn’t barren for the weeds.
-Mulch around crops and rows.
-Use black plastic or landscape fabric around your crops. The plastic and fabric conserves water and also inhibits sunlight from reaching the weeds.

These are just a few tips to reduce weeds in your garden. One of the most important things to remember is some weeds like redroot pigweed can produce up to 100,000 seeds, so preventing weeds from forming a seed head is a must. Information was obtained from Dr. John Strang, UK Extension Horticulture Specialist. If you have questions, please contact the Henry County Extension Office at 502-845-2811.

Tobacco Cost-Share Options

Applications for CAIP, Youth CAIP, and Next Generation will be available until June 29th at the Henry County Extension Office, and applications must be returned to the Henry County Extension Office by June 31st, 2018. If you have questions about eligibility and program specific requirement, please contact Laraine Staples on Tuesday at the Henry County Extension Office at 502-845-2811.

Henry County Cattlemen’s Association Meeting

On June 28th, 2018 at 7pm, the Henry County Cattlemen’s Association will be holding their next meeting. If you will be attending, please RSVP for the meeting by contacting the Henry County Extension Office at 502-845-2811.

Small Ruminant Series

Are you a seasoned or beginner small ruminant producer or just interested in raising sheep and goats? If you have said yes to any of those, you will be excited for the upcoming Small Ruminant Series hosted by the Henry County Extension Office on June 13th, June 19th, and July 10th at 6:30pm at the Henry County Extension Office. The sessions will cover selection, housing, feeding, forages, financials, health, and general management, and guest speakers include Dr. Morgan Hayes, UK Ag Engineer, Dr. Josh Jackson, UK Ag Engineer, Dr. Ken Andres, KySU Small Ruminant Specialist, Dr. Muncey Pryor, HC Animal Clinic Veterinarian, Mr. Alvin Tingle, and representatives from FSA and NRCS. If this interest you, please RSVP by contacting the Henry County Extension Office at 502-845-2811.

Pond Management Workshop for Cattle Producers

Water quality has been a hot topic around KY, especially with regards to cattle producers. The Henry County Extension Office along with Tammy Barnes, UK Extension Associate, Dr. Lee Moser, UK Agricultural Engineer, and the Henry County NRCS is hosting a Pond Management Workshop on June 23rd, 2018. Topics that will be covered are Effects of Poor Water Quality on Beef Performance, Best Management Practices for Water Quality, Water Systems for Livestock, and Financial Assistance through State and Local Programs. Registration will begin at 8:30am and the program will go from 9am to noon at 1429 Hillspring Rd. Eminence, KY. Lunch will be provided, but you MUST RSVP by June 20th, 2018 at the Henry County Extension Office (502-845-2811).

Henry County Farmers’ Market

Are you looking for fresh, local fruits, vegetables, and meats? Come to the Henry County Farmers’ Market. Local vendors only sell produce and meats raised in Henry County. The Henry County Farmers’ Market is open Saturdays from 8am-noon in the front lawn of the Henry County Courthouse and Wednesdays from 10am-2pm during peak season. In addition, most vendors accept Senior and WIC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program coupons. Do not hesitate and make your way to the Henry County Farmers’ Market!

Levi Berg
Henry County Extension Agent for Agriculture

 

COMING UP...........................

Henry County Farmers' Market

Are you looking for fresh, local fruits, vegetables, and meats? Come to the Henry County Farmers’ Market. Local vendors only sell produce and meats raised in Henry County. The Henry County Farmers’ Market is open Saturdays from 8am-noon in the front lawn of the Henry County Courthouse and Wednesdays from 10am-2pm during peak season. In addition, most vendors accept Senior and WIC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program coupons. Do not hesitate and make your way to the Henry County Farmers’ Market!

Applications for Tobacco Cost-Share Options

Applications for CAIP, Youth CAIP, and Next Generation will be available until June 29th at the Henry County Extension Office, and applications must be returned to the Henry County Extension Office by July 31st, 2018. If you have questions about eligibility and program specific requirement, please contact Laraine Staples on Tuesday at the Henry County Extension Office at 502-845-2811.

June 13, 19 & July 10th--Small Ruminant Series

Are you a seasoned or beginner small ruminant producer or just interested in raising sheep and goats? If you have said yes to any of those, you will be excited for the upcoming Small Ruminant Series hosted by the Henry County Extension Office on June 13th, June 19th, and July 10th at 6:30pm at the Henry County Extension Office. The sessions will cover selection, housing, feeding, forages, financials, health, and general management, and guest speakers include Dr. Morgan Hayes, UK Ag Engineer, Dr. Josh Jackson, UK Ag Engineer, Dr. Ken Andres, KySU Small Ruminant Specialist, Dr. Muncey Pryor, HC Animal Clinic Veterinarian, Mr. Alvin Tingle, and representatives from FSA and NRCS. If this interest you, please RSVP by contacting the Henry County Extension Office at 502-845-2811.

June 23rd, Pond Management Workshop for Cattle Producers

Water quality has been a hot topic around KY, especially with regards to cattle producers. The Henry County Extension Office along with Tammy Barnes, UK Extension Associate, Dr. Lee Moser, UK Agricultural Engineer, and the Henry County NRCS is hosting a Pond Management Workshop on June 23rd, 2018. Topics that will be covered are Effects of Poor Water Quality on Beef Performance, Best Management Practices for Water Quality, Water Systems for Livestock, and Financial Assistance through State and Local Programs. Registration will begin at 8:30am and the program will go from 9am to noon at 1429 Hillspring Rd. Eminence, KY. Lunch will be provided, but you MUST RSVP by June 20th, 2018 at the Henry County Extension Office (502-845-2811).

June 28th, Henry County Cattlemen’s Association Meeting

On June 28th, 2018 at 7pm, the Henry County Cattlemen’s Association will be holding their next meeting. If you will be attending, please RSVP for the meeting by contacting the Henry County Extension Office at 502-845-2811.

 


Tobacco Cost-Share Options

It is that time of the year again that applications for some tobacco cost-share programs will be available. These year, the Henry County Agricultural Development Council has allotted funds for the County Agricultural Investment Program (CAIP), Next Generation, and Youth County Agricultural Investment Program, and these three programs will be administered by the Henry County Cattlemen’s Association. All three of these programs are cost-share programs that are funded by cigarette taxes collected in the state of Kentucky, and distributed through the Governor’s Office of Ag Policy and the Kentucky Agricultural Development Board. These programs are focused towards agriculture, and are available for agricultural producers in Henry County. CAIP is for any agricultural producer that does an agricultural project, and can be funded $2,500 if the total project total is $5,000 or above. The Next Generation Program is for beginning agricultural producers who have had filed a Schedule F tax form for 3-7 years, and this program will fund up to $5,000 if the total project cost is $10,000 or above. The final program is the Youth County Agricultural Investment Program. This program is for youth at least 9 years of age and enrolled in elementary, middle, or high school; this includes home schooled students. Like CAIP, this youth program will assist in funding an agricultural project, and is a cost-share type program with a potential maximum of $1,500. All three of these programs can be used a large variety of agricultural projects such as fencing, purchasing livestock, building or upgrading handling facilities, and much more. Applications for CAIP, Youth CAIP, and Next Generation will be available from June 1st, 2018 to June 29th at the Henry County Extension Office, and applications must be returned to the Henry County Extension Office by June 31st, 2018. If you have questions about eligibility and program specific requirement, please contact Laraine Staples on Tuesday at the Henry County Extension Office at 502-845-2811.

Small Ruminant Series

Are you a seasoned or beginner small ruminant producer or just interested in raising sheep and goats? If you have said yes to any of those, you will be excited for the upcoming Small Ruminant Series hosted by the Henry County Extension Office on June 13th, June 19th, and July 10th at 6:30pm at the Henry County Extension Office. The sessions will cover selection, housing, feeding, forages, financials, health, and general management, and guest speakers include Dr. Morgan Hayes, UK Ag Engineer, Dr. Josh Jackson, UK Ag Engineer, Dr. Ken Andres, KySU Small Ruminant Specialist, Dr. Muncey Pryor, HC Animal Clinic Veterinarian, Mr. Alvin Tingle, and representatives from FSA and NRCS. If this interest you, please RSVP by contacting the Henry County Extension Office at 502-845-2811.

5/30/2018


Welcome Jaycie Heath

The Henry County Extension Office would like to welcome, Ms. Jaycie Heath. Jaycie has agreed to be an agricultural summer intern with the Henry County Extension for the summer and help push educational programs further for the residents of Henry County. Jaycie grew up in Henry County working with beef, sheep, goats, and swine, and is currently an undergraduate student at the University of Kentucky focusing in Agricultural Education. As for the summer, she has already started becoming busy with two forage research projects with me and Dr. Henning, UK Forage Specialist, planning meetings educational meeting, and assisting the Henry County Extension Office with ongoing projects, and she is already doing a fantastic job. Again, I am excited to welcome Ms. Jaycie Heath to the Henry County Extension Family.

Importance of Forage Moisture for Hay and Haylage

Hay season is here, and due to our cold, prolonged spring weather, we could be having some troubles. The cold spring definitely pushed back the harvesting timelines for most hay and haylage producers, and it has only been in the last few weeks, that producers are starting to think about being in the fields. Like many famers, in Henry County, preserved forages is almost a way of life, and essentially to profits on most farmers, and without a high quality hay, many farms will be struggling this fall and winter.

With my job, I have received many questions about how to make a high quality preserved foraged, and the first steps to a high quality stored forage, is to determine the moisture content and cut that forage at the right time period. Forages especially grasses should be cut and baled before seed head productions at the preboot stage. This is the time where grass mass production and quality are both high. However, the quality of grasses and legumes greatly decreases as the plant furthers to mature, and becomes higher in non-digestible fibers.

When you do decide to cut, you must determine the moisture content before baling. Here is where you have options of haylages or dried-cure hays. High moisture hays, such as haylage, is great when you don’t have the time to allow the forage to cure. These high moisture hays must be cut around and baled when the optimal moisture levels is between 40-60% then wrapped to ferment. When moisture levels are too high, you have a risk of spoilage and colstridia fermentation, which is deadly to cattle. If the haylage is baled at a too low of moisture, the bales will not ferment correctly, and can be very harmful to ruminants. However, if a bale is baled and wrapped at the right moisture, you have an extremely high quality feed for your animals after the bale ferments after a minimum of 30 days.

As for dried hays, you still have to focus on moisture content also. Bales should be made when forage moisture is 22% or below. If the hay has too much moisture, you risk the potential of the bales heating and combusting. This has happened and stories still float around the county of hay barns being burned to the ground. This happens because the high moisture in the middle of the bale creates heat, and as the bale heats from the inside out, the heat reaches the air outside and combusts. To prevent combustion, do not bale hays above 22% and even better is the hay is around 18% moisture.

If you are worried about forage moisture, please contact the Henry County Extension office for assistance. The Henry County Extension Office has purchased equipment that can accurately determine forage moisture within about an hour, and will gladly run forage samples to determine moisture content for you before you think about baling. If you are interested, please contact me at the Henry County Extension Office at 502-845-2811. Information for this article was obtained from the University of Minnesota Extension article “Wrapping Hay” and Michigan State University Extension publication “Harvesting and Handling High Quality Baleage”.

5/23/2018


The Spring/Summer of Plant Diseases

Is your garden and fruit trees struggling? If they aren’t, you might be one of the lucky few in the state of Kentucky. Like many years, vegetable and fruit crops are fighting off viral, bacterial, and fungal diseases. The wet, cool spring has created the perfect conditions for plant diseases. The Kentucky Plant Disease Diagnostic lab has been processing numerous samples, and released a report of the most viewed disease this year. Some of those diseases include anthracnose, common leaf spot, fire blight, leaf blight, cedar-apple rust, pythium root/crown rot, and fusarium. Most of these diseases are caused by bacteria or fungi, and unfortunately, prevention is about the only measure for controlling these diseases. The weather has created perfect growing conditions for these bacteria and fungi, and they have damaged many crops. The Henry County Extension office can assist you with disease control or identification of plant diseases. Overall, don’t be discouraged if your garden doesn’t look the best because just about everyone in Kentucky is struggling this year.

5/16/2018


Importance of Forage Testing

Hay season is almost here, and this sunlight is finally giving the grass a little push to grow. Hopefully soon we can actually start baling hay and harvesting hay. One aspect usually overlooked by forage producers is forage testing. Forage testing is having samples tested for nutritional values such as energy, protein, fiber content, certain minerals, and such. A forage test is the only way to prove you have a high quality forage whether for sell or for personal use. Yes, you can use your own judgement for certain quality factors such as mold and weeds, but only a forage test can tell you the ultimate quality of your forage. A forage test can be done on anything from dry-cured hay, haylages, silages, or pasture.

For those feeding their own forages, a forage test could be your best friend. Some hay or harvested forages can be deceiving because the forage may look great, but could be lacking in energy or another nutrient. Frankly, if you are feeding a forage with lacking nutritional value, you are losing money because your animals will not perform nearly as well.

For those selling hay, a forage sample could be the difference between selling your hay for a premium or selling it for the same price as a low quality hay. Forage samples prove how good your forage is to buyers, and if it is high quality, you will able to prove to buyers that your forage is worth the cost.

There are many labs across the country that will test samples, but make sure that lab is National Forage Testing Association certified. The most common lab used here in Kentucky is the Kentucky Department of Agriculture Forage Lab. The KDA lab charges $10 per sample, and will have samples results returned within a month. If you need samples tested quickly, you might have to send to a private lab such as DairyOne, but will pay more to have the testing done.

I know this was an extremely quick explanation why forage testing is necessary and beneficial, but if you have further questions about forage sample procedures, please contact the Henry County Extension Office at 502-845-2811. Also, the Henry County Extension Office has a hay probe for loan for those wanting to take forage samples. Information for this article was obtained from the University of Kentucky Master Grazer Educational Program.

5/9/2018


Scouting Can Be Your Best Friend During Crop Season

Even though almost none of our crops are in the ground yet because of the cold spring, but every year, I receive numerous questions about plant disease and insect damage. These calls can be anything from brown rot on grapes to alfalfa weevil control and everything in between. Probably 8 out of 10 calls, my first question will be, “When did you start noticing this problem”, and usually the answer will be, “Today!” By looking at the plant sample, it is clear that the problem has been happening for weeks. In many cases, at this stage, control can be extremely difficult, and this is why I want to bring up scouting of gardens, row crops, and forages. Scouting means walking through your crops viewing development and health of crops, and viewing pest within your crops.

This time of the year, it is easy to overlooking scouting fields because of everything that needs to be done, but you can’t control a pest if you don’t know it is there. Scouting does not need to be difficult, and doesn’t mean you look at every plant in the field. You also need to be on the ground looking at your crops. Most pest are extremely small, so you need to be close to the crops. Frankly, just driving by your crops in a truck or on an ATV does not cut it, because you do not see enough of your crops to make a good decision.
In large crop fields, make a “W” path through the field, and at points of “W” take note of pest such as weeds, insects, and disease. This is very easy and will give you a great representation of what is happening with you crops. With potted plants and gardens, take a quick 10 minutes stroll looking for pests like weeds, insects, and disease. After you know what pests are present, then it is time to control. If you don’t know the pest, I will gladly help you identify it. Also, keep a journal of what you are seeing, because in future years, you can use your journal as a guide of what you might be viewing in your crops.

Pests can cause significant damage to crops, but taking that quick scouting trip could be the difference between being able to control the pest and losing money. Again, scouting isn’t just for large crop fields, it is for gardens, flowers, or anywhere you have crops. If you have further scouting questions, please contact me at the Henry County Extension Office at 502-845-2811. Information for this article came from the University of Missouri Extension Publication IPM1006.

5/2/2018


Tick Season Is Here

Unfortunately, this cold weather hasn’t slowed down the ticks. They are out, and this year’s mild winter could have increased the amounts of ticks. Just remember, tick season is here, and you need to prepare yourself when in the outdoors.

Ticks can be found anywhere from tall grass fields, woodland areas, and your backyards. There are three common types of ticks in Kentucky; the Lone Star Tick, American Dog Tick, and Blacklegged Tick. These ticks will feed on humans, many mammals, and multiple birds, and can carry certain diseases. The lone star tick can transmit erlichiosis with signs of fever, headache, chills, muscle pain, and in some cases a rash. Symptoms appear 1 to 2 weeks after the bite from an infected tick. The American dog tick is a vector for Rocky Mountain spotted fever. In humans, infections usually begin as a sudden onset of fever and headache that appear from 2 to 14 days after feeding by an infected tick. The blacklegged tick is a vector for Lyme disease. Like the other disease, the tick must be attached and feed for at least 24 hours to transfer the pathogen.

Ticks can be nasty little creators, carrying many diseases, but you can protect yourself and pets from ticks potentially carrying diseases. Below is a list of tips that can you help you prevent tick bites.

• Wear light-colored clothing so ticks can be seen easily
• Tuck pants into socks and shirt into pants to keep ticks from reaching your skin.
• Avoid or minimize time in tick habitats
• Use personal protection – repellents (DEET or picaridin) or permethrin-based clothing sprays (Don’t spray permethrin on bare skin)
• Inspect your clothing and body regularly and remove ticks
• Take a warm soapy shower after potential tick exposure
• Wash clothing in hot water and detergent; store clothing in a sealed bag until it can be washed.
• Check dogs and other companion animals frequently and remove ticks as they are found. There are insecticides/repellents that can be used to prevent tick bites.

Even with the best prevention methods, ticks may still become attached to you. If so, be sure to correctly remove the ticks after it has attached. Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin surface as possible. Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Try not to use a twisting or unscrewing method, because the mouthparts of the tick might break off. Also, try not to use irritants such as gasoline or a hot match tip because that could cause the tick to salivate excessively and increase the chances for skin irritation and potential disease transmission.

Luckily in Kentucky, tick-borne disease incidences are very low, but you still need to take preventative measures to decrease the possible of being infected. See your physician if you are feeling symptoms of above disease, irritating rashes from a tick bites, or prolonged exposure to an attached tick. Information was obtained from Dr. Lee Townsend, UK Extension Entomologist, from the Kentucky Pest News.

These warm season annuals do provide excellent forages for livestock, but caution needs to applied for certain times of the year. Certain warm season annuals such as sorghum, sudangrass and sorghum X sudangrass can contain prussic acid and potentially cause nitrate poisoning in livestock. To prevent prussic acid and nitrate poisoning, do not graze these plants during and shortly after a draught or when plants are wilted. Also, do not graze these forages until they are 18 inches or taller.
Even with the potential of prussic acid or nitrate poisoning, proper management these warm season annuals provide excellent forages during the summer slump. Please contact the Henry County Extension office at 502-845-2811 if you would like further information about warm season annuals. Information was obtained from UKAg Master Grazer.

4/25/2018


Warm Season Annuals

Right now, hay fields and pastures are finally starting to green up, but what happens during June, July, and August? The summer slump starts for our cool season grasses. Right now our fescues, orchard grasses, and others are doing great, but when the summer heat starts, the cool season grasses just don’t produce. One potential way to overcome the summer slump is to incorporate warm season annuals into your forage system, and now is the time to start thinking about your summer forage systems.

Warm season annuals such as sorghum, sudan-grass, sorghum X sudangrass hybrids, and millets grow extremely well during the summer months and provide a high quality forage for livestock. These warm season annuals thrive in the heat over 75 degrees F when other grasses are struggling. This is important because with warm season annuals, you will not have a break in growing forages, and most of the time you can obtain yields from 3 to 8 tons of forage per acre. Typical planting of warm season annuals takes place around the middle of May to early June.

These warm season annuals do provide excellent forages for livestock, but caution needs to applied for certain times of the year. Certain warm season annuals such as sorghum, sudangrass and sorghum X sudangrass can contain prussic acid and potentially cause nitrate poisoning in livestock. To prevent prussic acid and nitrate poisoning, do not graze these plants during and shortly after a draught or when plants are wilted. Also, do not graze these forages until they are 18 inches or taller.
Even with the potential of prussic acid or nitrate poisoning, proper management these warm season annuals provide excellent forages during the summer slump. Please contact the Henry County Extension office at 502-845-2811 if you would like further information about warm season annuals. Information was obtained from UKAg Master Grazer.

4/18/2018


Tetanus Prevention When Banding Bulls

In the United States, more than 17 million bulls that range in age from 1 day to 1 year are castrated yearly. Tetanus is a potentially life-threatening neurologic disease affecting all species of domestic livestock, including cattle, so it’s important for producers to take steps to prevent it.

It’s easy to miss the subtle clinical signs of tetanus until the disease is advanced. At that point, treatment and management of the affected animal is very difficult, and the chance for recovery is poor. Recognition of the initial signs of stiff legs, an anxious expression with ears held back toward the poll, moderate bloat, erect tail and the unusual “flick” of the third eyelid across the eye leads to an accurate early diagnosis and allows you to begin treatment when it is most effective.

You should give any calf castrated with an elastrator band tetanus prevention in the form of either tetanus toxoid (two doses required with the second given two weeks prior to castration), tetanus antitoxin (given the day of banding) or both, in some cases. Early in life, testicles are smaller and the scrotal sac falls off much more quickly, so banding calves at this stage means they are less likely to develop tetanus, because the tetanus organism does not have time to grow. Earlier castration is relatively quick and easy, and it also lowers the infection risk, as well as the risk of injury to the person performing the castration.

Castration is a necessary management practice for cattle. Work with a local veterinarian to establish the optimal herd health program for your farm and institute an early castration program to minimize the pain, stress and complications that go along with this procedure. If you delay castration until the calves get older and heavier, these calves are at much higher risk for developing tetanus and are twice as likely to get respiratory disease when they arrive in a feedlot or backgrounding operation.

For more information on about preventing tetanus in cattle, contact the Henry County Cooperative Extension Service. Information from this article was obtained from Dr. Michelle Arnold. UK Extension Ruminant Veterinarian.

4/11/2018


Sprayer Maintenance

A few weeks ago, I mentioned weed pressures, and thoughts in weed management. This week, I wanted to touch on sprayer maintenance, and every sprayer needs to be checked before spraying. It will ensure that your spray equipment is ready for the planting season, and save you time and money down the road. Taking care of sprayer maintenance prior to the hectic growing season can prevent time-consuming equipment breakdowns, higher chemical costs, reduced pesticide effectiveness and potential crop damage.

Poorly maintained sprayers can cause variations in pesticide application rates. These variations can lead to ineffective pest control and potential crop injury, resulting in higher chemical costs and reduced profits. Precise pesticide application is even more important with the highly active agricultural chemicals we have on the market today.

Make the following a part of your spray equipment cleaning chore:

• Rinse out the sprayer to remove any dirt that accumulated over the winter.
• Check the pump for excessive wear and to be sure it is operating at full capacity.
• Inspect sprayer lines for leaks.
• Visually inspect nozzles for excessive wear, corrosion or damage.
• Measure the output from each nozzle to ensure uniform application.
• Visually inspect spray from each nozzle to find any inconsistent patterns resulting from wear or damage.
• Clean filter screens and replace worn ones.
• Check the agitator for proper turbulence to ensure specific formulations are well mixed.
• On a driveway or other appropriate site, use water to check spray patterns for proper overlap.
• Inspect electrical connections on sprayer controllers for corroded or loose wires.

For more information on farm maintenance practices, contact the Henry County Cooperative Extension Service at 502-845-2811. Information for this article was obtained from Tim Stombaugh, UK Agricultural Engineer.

3/28/2018


Is Your Lawn Mowing Up to Par?

This year, it seems like spring really snuck up on us, and I couldn’t believe I was mowing my lawn in March. It seems like I put more work into just mowing my yard then enjoying it sometimes. However, mowing and maintaining a lawn takes practice, patience, and time.

Every year, I receive numerous questions about mowing yards from “how high” and “what is the best mower”, and my answer is usually, “It just depends”. Every yard and mower is extremely different and each situation may be different. Frankly, most lawn mowers will get the job done as long as blades are sharp. Dull blades cause leaf bruising and tearing called leaf shredding. After mowing, the leaf tips will have a brown, shredded appearance, and is extremely common with perennial ryegrass and tall fescue. The remedy to shredding is sharp blades, and most mower repair shops can sharpen blades for you.

As the question of “how high should I cut my grass?” The species of your grass and the height of your grass will play apart in your mower cutting height. Here in Kentucky we can have multiple different species of grass from bermudagrass to tall fescue. Here is a list of grasses and optimum height (inches): Bermudagrass (1-2”), Kentucky Bluegrass (2-3.5”), Perennial Ryegrass (1.5-2.5”), Tall Fescue (2-3.5”), and Zoysiagrass (1-3”). A rule of thumb for mowing is to only remove one third of the leaf at one time. This means that if you want to keep a lawn at 2 inches, you should cut your grass when it is 3 inches tall. Removal greater than one third at one time can lead to clumps of dead clippings that can block light, and also cutting too much can affect the roots called “scalping”. Scalping reduces the amount of light that the plant can take up, and makes the grasses more susceptible to environmental stresses and increased weed pressure.

Grass clipping also seems to be a topic of great debate, but if you cut when needed, excessive clippings should not be a problem. The grass clippings are primarily made of water and break down very quickly following mowing. Frankly, clippings should not be removed unless disease pressure or clipping are wet, because the clippings prove as much as 25 percent of a lawn’s yearly fertilizer needs.

In general, keep up with your mower and only remove the clippings if diseases are present or the clippings are clumping and wet. Information was obtained from Gregg Munshaw in University of Kentucky Publication AGR-209.

3/21/2018


Are You Prepared for Weeds This Spring?

The grasses are starting to green up which means spring is here. However, along with the grasses, weeds are will be starting to show up in fields, gardens, and lawns. Weeds can play havoc from causing issues with livestock, medical issues for people, and can take over crop fields. From dandelions to poison hemlock, weeds can come in many shapes and colors, and many times we don’t realize what we have, and in many cases, certain weeds mimic harmless flowers. Now, you might be asking, “how do I remove weeds from my land?”, and I will answer, “What weed to you have?”

The first step, to removing harmful weeds from your property, is to properly identify the weeds you have. Just the number of different types of weeds is amazing, and can be extremely difficult to identify. Frankly, until you know what weeds you have, you won’t know how to remove them. UK Extension can help when weed identification because difficult.

The second step is to devise a plan to eradicate the weed. Several methods can be used to control weeds such as mechanical, cultural, and pesticides. Many times in lawns, pastures, and hay fields, mowing or mechanical practices can help because the weeds do not have a change to form a seed head. Occasionally, in some heavily infested crop fields, the field might need to be tilled. Some cultural methods of control includes rotating crops from year to year, avoiding overgrazing of pastures, and maintaining good soil fertility. Mechanical and cultural practice can be help remove weeds, but in some cases, herbicides may be needed.

Herbicides can be beneficial, but herbicides should only be used to help supplement good agricultural practices. Herbicides should not be the first and last step to weed control. There are numerous herbicides out there today, but remember no single herbicide is perfect in removing weeds. When using herbicides, read and follow label directions. The label is the law, and will state which weeds it will control, how much to use, and how to use it. Follow the label exactly, and be advised of potential harmful effects to the environment and yourself.

Weeds can be a problem for anyone, but can be removed. Just remember that you must properly identify the weed in order to properly remove it. The Henry County Extension office at 502-845-2811 will be able to help you identify the weed and help devise a plan to remove the weed. Information was obtained from J.R. Martin and J.D. Green at the University of Kentucky.

3/14/2018


Introducing Horses to Lush Spring Pastures

Spring is almost here, and guess what? That means cool season grasses are starting to explode with growth. The spring growth provides excellent forages for horses, but the quick change in diet can cause issues in your horses. Horses that have been fed hay all winter have adapted their gut microbes to break down more fibrous material, and the lush pastures are low in fiber compared with cured hay. This means that the spring lush pastures can easily upset your horses’ stomachs because the horse was not accustomed to eating fresh pastures for months. Below are a few tips to help transition your horse from a mainly hay diet to a more pasture diet.

These tips will help your horses adjust to the new pastures, and hopefully prevent your horse having a stomach ache. Information was obtained from Christine Skelly, Michigan State University.

3/7/2018


Breeding Soundness Exam

I hope everyone is have an excellent calving season, and I’m sure you are wore out from checking your mothers-to-be. I know many of you are focused on your calves, but remember what comes after calving season; spring breeding season. Every year, I will hear stories about how a majority of someone’s cows will come up open during pregnancy checks, and I will hear excuses such as “I think this poor quality hay caused my cows to be open”, or “this mineral was the problem”. However, in most cases, the trusty old bull is not performing as he should, and cows are coming up open. The easiest way to combat a bunch of open cows is to have a breeding soundness exam done on your bulls.

A breeding soundness exam (BSE) is a fertility exam performed on bulls by a veterinarian. The exam looks at three components; scrotal circumference, a physical exam, and a semen evaluation. The vet will check this three areas and determine if your bull is ready for job. Also, a BSE should be done yearly at least a few months before breeding season is done, and only takes a few minutes to perform.

Most bulls have had a BSE done when you bought the bull, but many things can affect a bull’s fertility. Two main causes of decreased performance is poor health and cold temperatures. Probably the number one cause of bull infertility is cold weather. Yes, I know that we have had a mild winter, but any cold spell could impact a bull’s fertility. Poor health can be anything from injury to infection to poor body condition score. Poor health will inhibit the bull’s libido to where he just will not breed.

A breeding soundness exam is the easiest and cheapest way to determine if your bull is ready for breeding season. If you think about it, paying a vet to check your bull is going to be a lot cheaper than potentially having a large portion of your cows coming up open. Information was obtain from Dr. Les Anderson, UK Cattle Reproductive specialist. If you have further questions about BSE’s, please contact the Henry County Extension office at 502-845-2811.

2/28/2018


Buttercups in Grazed Pastures

Kentucky’s weather has always astonished me around this time of the year. One day will be 65 degrees and sunny, and the next day could be 25 degrees with snow of the ground. Anyways, however you look at it, spring is not far off. Another weed that will start showing itself in pastures is buttercup.

Buttercups are sometimes classified as short-lived perennials, but often grow as winter annuals. The plant typically produce five, shiny yellow petals in the early, and four different species may be found: bulbous buttercup, creeping buttercup, tall buttercup, and small flower buttercup. Each plant is slightly different, but all can be poisonous to livestock if too much is eaten.

Control can be difficult because it usually grows in pastures that are overgrazed, so the desirable plant species will not out compete this weed. Also, spraying for buttercup when yellow blooms are on will not help because buttercup will still be producing seeds for the next year. However, there are a few different control practices that can be used. Herbicides such as products with 2,4D, dicamba, triclopyr, and metsulfuron, are useful in the early spring around late February and early March. Please consult the herbicide label before use. The downfall of herbicides such as 2,4D is that the legumes already in the stand will be killed also. However, the best management for control of buttercup is pasture management. Do not allow livestock to over graze pastures in the fall and winter. Also, plant a heavier stand of beneficial forage species, and those forage species will out compete the buttercup.

Buttercup can be a pain, but using pasture management techniques and herbicides, you can control buttercup in your pastures. Information for this article was obtained from Dr. JD Green in the University of Kentucky Master Grazer Handbook. If you have further questions, please contact the Henry County Extension Office at 502-845-2811.

2/21/2018


Does Calf Scours Have Your Operation Down?

Calving season is here, and so are calf scours. Like most years, I hear producers discuss calf scours in their herds, and every year, those same producers will complain about growth rates of their calves and calf death. Scours is defined by neonatal calf diarrhea occurring within the first 3 weeks of a calf’s life. Rotavirus, coronavirus, bacteria (E. coli K99; Clostridium perfringens Type C, Salmonella spp.) and the parasite Cryptosporidia are the most common causes of neonatal calf diarrhea. All of these factors affect the calf’s stomach lining, and can prevent the absorption of essential nutrients from the milk which leads to weakness and weight loss. Calves surviving scours may perform poorly for the remainder of their lives when compared to healthy calves.

The thing with scours is that it can be avoided with vaccines, proper cow nutrition, and keeping cows out of a filthy environment. Scours vaccines can be expensive, but what is the price of losing calves due to scours. Common vaccines include Scour Bos 9, Guardian, and ScourGuard. One factor that you need to focus on is the timing of the vaccines whether for heifer or cows. The label of these products will state the proper timing.

However, preventing scours takes more than just vaccines. Proper nutrition and clean environment is necessary. Generally, calf scour pathogens build up in the environment as the calving season progresses. Calving in the same area that older calves are in greatly increases the risk to the newborn calf, especially in wet or muddy conditions as we often see in the spring in KY. If possible, pregnant cows close to calving should be rotated onto clean pastures while cow-calf pairs remain on the old pasture. If calving in a barn or shed, the calving area should be kept as clean and dry as possible with frequent changes of bedding to remove the build-up of organisms. Make every effort to get the cow and newborn calf out of the barn quickly to lessen the chances of infection.

Scours can be devastating on a herd from calf loss, poor production, and more. However, remember that calf scours can be prevent by vaccines, clean environment, and proper nutrition. Information was obtained from Dr. Arnold, University of Kentucky Ruminant Extension Veterinarian.

2/7/2018


Frost Seeding for Pastures and Hay Fields

Yes, I know. I have written about frost seeding once this year, but I wanted to share this information again. Grasses and legumes start to thin throughout the years, and causes decrease in forage production. A technique called “frost seeding” is a great way to increase your pasture/hay field production without completely renovating your pastures and hay fields.

Frost seeding is when seed is broadcast onto the ground between February 10th and March 1st, and as the ground freezes and thaws, the seeds are worked into the ground and germinate in the spring. However, the seed most be in contact with the soil for frost seeding to work, so pastures/hay fields must be grazed or clipped short prior to frost seeding.

Seeding nitrogen-fixing legumes into existing grass stands will increase nutritional value of the field, and frost seeding legumes can be very successful when performed correctly using the best suited species. Red and white clover are most commonly used frost seeding legumes, but other legumes like birdsfoot trefoil and annual lespedeza establish well with frost seeding. It is not recommended frost seeding alfalfa because of highly inconsistent results, and also, you cannot seed alfalfa into existing alfalfa fields because of auto toxicity issues. As for grasses, perennial ryegrass and annual ryegrass are the only grasses which established well enough to be a reasonable option when using frost seeding.

Frost seeding is a great option for the previously mentioned legumes and grasses. For frost seeding to work, ensure you follow proper seeding rates and use seed from a reputable seed dealer. Also, you will have a poor stand if there is not good soil to seed contact during the winter months. Information was obtained from the UKAg Master Grazer Handbook.

1/31/2018


Are You Receiving the Correct Information?

In today’s society, with increased internet access and social media presence, it is easy to become lost trying to research a specific topic or solution to a problem. If I check my social media accounts or emails, there is always that post or flyer wanting you to try this new and improved product or do this task a specific way. From the post or email, you might think, “I have to try this!” I’m not only talking about posts about kitchen appliances or recipes, but I’m am referring to agricultural post on social media and online. I know this will sound like me going off on a soup box, but it seems that I deal with the consequences of misinformation or bad information shared on a daily basis. The problem with misinformation or bad information from unreliable sites/posts is that you can seriously damage crops, hurt your animals, and harm the natural environment. Frankly, most sites giving out bad information do not use scientific data to give you the best option or opinion. Probably the two most common calls I receive is “I need to take care of this weed, but this home remedy I tried didn’t work. Now my vegetables are dead“ and “I saw on facebook that I should feed my animals *Blank* and *Blank* by now they are sick. What should I do?” Unfortunately, when I receive these calls, it is hard for me to help because it is too late.

Now that you know what can happen with misinformation and bad information, you might ask “Then where do I find the right information?” The answer is reputable sources using scientific data. If you do internet searches for information, look for websites that have “.edu” or “.gov” at the end of the address. The “.edu” endings mean that the websites are from an educational institute like a university, and “.gov” means the information is from a governmental website. These are the go to sites for me because extension, local government, state government, and federal governmental websites will fall under this “.edu” and “.gov” ending. Also, while on social media, look at post from extension services, state government entities, and federal agencies such as USDA. This is the most reliable information you can find with regards to agricultural issues.

I’m also not saying that all information online is bad if it is not associated with the government or research universities, but do be aware of how the information is stated. If the article does not have scientific citations or stated where the information was obtained, it is likely that the information was skewed to make you have an emotional response. Do beware when researching agricultural topics and remedies online and social websites, because I don’t want you to fall victim to bad information. There is a lot of misinformation or bad information to be had, so don’t fall for it. If you have questions about resources, give me a call at 502-845-2811.

1/24/2018


Are You Getting the Most Out of Your Pastures?

Since I have started working in Henry County and learning the county, one thing is always very prominent with the farmers here. They are very passionate about their pastures and hay, and on many days, I will receive forage questions for 8 straight hours. However, there is one management practice not widely used, but can help increase pasture forage yields. That is rotational grazing. Studies from the University of Kentucky have shown that continually grazed pastures utilize only 30% of potential forage. However, using rotational grazing, pastures can reach as high at 40-60% of potential forage. That can be a huge difference.

You may ask, “What is rotational grazing?” Rotational grazing is defined as use of several pastures, one of which is grazed while the others are rested before being regrazed. This doesn’t mean that you have to have multiple giant pastures, but does mean that you can divide existing pastures into smaller paddocks. The size of the smaller paddocks can be any size you want, but the total area needs to be large enough to support your animals. A very common and extremely effective way to divide existing pastures into smaller paddocks is by using electric polywire and step-in posts. This method allows you to move and change your temporary fencing extremely quickly.

Now you might be asking, “How big do the paddocks need to be?” The answer comes down to the amount of time you have and how many animals. You need to decide how often you want to move your animals, whether a few days, a week, or biweekly. If you have the extra time and want increased management, separate pastures into small 1 acre or less paddocks, and move animals often. Have the livestock graze the pasture until the forage is 4 inches tall, and then move them to a different paddock/pasture. If time is limited, separate pastures into 2 or 3 paddocks, and move animals when the forage is eaten to 4 inches tall. The main key to this is allow paddocks to rest for at least one week before animals are placed back on the paddock, and move animals when the forage is 4 inches tall.

I know I have skimmed through this topic very quickly, but rotational grazing can be the difference between rundown pastures and making a profit. I would love to discuss this topic in more depth if you have questions. For questions, contact the Henry County Extension Office at 502-845-2811. Information was obtained by UK Extension Publication – ID 143.

1/5/2018


Limiting Weaning Stress for Beef Cattle

Over the last few months, I have gotten a few questions from beef producers about weaning calves. Most of the problems such as poor health, poor growth of calves is caused by stress. During weaning, calves experience four types of stress: physical, environmental, nutritional, and social. All of these stresses can be minimized with proper management.

First off, physical stress. Physical stress can be caused from standing long periods in working facilities, being moved, mishandling, castration, and dehorning. You can alleviate most of these of the physical stresses by working calves quickly and calming, castrate and vaccinate at birth, and dehorn earlier in life.

Environment stress can be caused by the climate but also by man. The main environmental stress comes when calves are moved to a dry lot from a clean pasture. In the dry lot, the calves are experiencing a different environment then pastures where they were raised. In many cases, weaning the calves into a separate clean pasture instead of a dry lot could be more beneficial to the calf. The dusty area of a dry lot can cause respiratory problems and decrease weight gain. As for rain, ice, snow, and wind, that is out of your control, but try to plan according with the weather when you are weaning calves.

Social stress is caused by removing the calf from its mother. Even though the separate of calf from mother is essential, there are ways to ease the calves into weaning. Try separating the calves and cows by a good fence. The calves and mother can still touch noses, and this will keep the calves calmer.

Nutritional stress happens when calves are transitioned from a milk and pasture diet to a stored forage and grain diet. You should have high-quality pasture available to calves during weaning time in the spring and the fall. It is recommended to turn calves into the pasture when grasses are 8 to 12 inches tall and letting them graze until grasses are 3 to 4 inches tall.

There are many ways to reduce stress on your calves, so take your time to look at your management techniques. Keep in mind, pasture weaning is extremely effective in reducing calf stress as compared to a dry lot weaning programs. Try it and see how you like it. Just remember, anything new to that calf will add stress, and reducing stress can be the difference between a great pay check and a poor pay check. Information for this article was obtained from Dr. Jeff Lehmkuhler, UK Beef Cattle Specialist.

12/22/2017

Keep Firewood Insects Out of Your Home

It is starting to feel a little more like winter. The temperature is dropping, and we have even had a few hard frost. Back home in West Virginia, the cold temperatures meant one thing, start wheel barrowing firewood to our wood burning furnace in the basement garage. No matter what, we would find a few insects hitchhiking on the firewood and crawling from the firewood. Looking back, every load of firewood was potentially opening wood-infesting insects into our home. Below are a few tips Dr. Lee Townsend, University of Kentucky Extension entomologist, recommends to prevent insects from hitching a ride into your home from firewood.

• When stacking wood outside, avoid stacking it directly on the ground. This will keep it from getting too wet and reduce the chances of infestation by such insects as termites and ants. Individual termites and ants brought into the house will not start an infestation. However, a colony may exist in an old woodpile outdoors.
• Remember not to stack firewood in or against a house or any other buildings for long periods of time. Termite or carpenter ant problems can develop and cause more serious problems later.
• Older wood is most likely to be infested, so use it first. Avoid stacking new wood on top of old wood.
• Cover firewood during the summer and fall to keep it drier and to discourage insects from seeking it out as winter shelter.
• To dislodge insects before bringing firewood indoors, shake, jar or knock logs together sharply. Brush off any obvious webbing or cocoons.
• Bring in small amounts of firewood that you can use in a day or so. Keep it stacked in a cool area, such as a garage or on a porch, until you need it. When wood warms up, the creatures in or on it will become active.
• Don’t treat firewood with insecticides. Not only is it unnecessary, it could be dangerous. When insecticide burns, it can produce noxious fumes.

12/18/2017

Garden Planning: Are Your Eyes Bigger Than Your Garden?

With this cold weather, it is hard to believe that spring will be here in a few months, and now is a good time to start thinking about what to put in your gardens. This means that vegetable catalogs are coming in your mail. They have every vegetable you can think of, and you are thinking about all of the great vegetables to plant. You might also think that you can need two of these, two of those, 10 of those, and so on. I know this because I am the same way. I see all of the different vegetables, and I think I need to have a row of these, a row of that, a few rows of that. However, at the end of the day, I realize that I will have way too many vegetables for my own use. Below is a little list to help in the planning process and guide you to the perfect garden.

• First decide how many vegetables you need to grow. Are you planning to preserve enough vegetables for the year, or are you just looking for garden fresh vegetables for the summer months. Try not to over plant because you can easily grow too many vegetables for your own use.
• Draw out your garden on paper. Determine how many plants you need, and where they will be planted. Determine how large of a garden you can handle.
• Select a great garden site. The garden should have full sun for 8 hours a day, relatively level, well-drained, close to a water source, and not shaded.
• Prepare the soil properly and add fertilizer and lime according to soil test.
• Finally, plant your crops.

12/13/2017

Frost Seeding for Pastures and Hay Fields

Have your pastures and hay fields started to look a little thin? If so, now is the time to potentially remedy that problem. Grasses and legumes start to thin throughout the years, and causes decrease in forage production. A technique called “frost seeding” is a great way to increase your pasture/hay field production without completely renovating your pastures and hay fields.

Frost seeding is when seed is broadcast onto the ground between February 10th and March 1st, and as the ground freezes and thaws, the seeds are worked into the ground and germinate in the spring. However, the seed most be in contact with the soil for frost seeding to work, so pastures/hay fields must be grazed or clipped short prior to frost seeding.

Seeding nitrogen-fixing legumes into existing grass stands will increase nutritional value of the field, and frost seeding legumes can be very successful when performed correctly using the best suited species. Red and white clover are most commonly used frost seeding legumes, but other legumes like birdsfoot trefoil and annual lespedeza establish well with frost seeding. It is not recommended frost seeding alfalfa because of highly inconsistent results, and also, you cannot seed alfalfa into existing alfalfa fields because of auto toxicity issues. As for grasses, perennial ryegrass and annual ryegrass are the only grasses which established well enough to be a reasonable option when using frost seeding.

Frost seeding is a great option for the previously mentioned legumes and grasses. For frost seeding to work, ensure you follow proper seeding rates and use seed from a reputable seed dealer. Also, you will have a poor stand if there is not good soil to seed contact during the winter months. Information was obtained from the UKAg Master Grazer Handbook.

12/6/2017


A Living Christmas Tree Tradition

Over the years, I have noticed more families buying living Christmas trees, and then planting the tree with its root ball attached in their yards. A great aspect about this activity is that the trees will be alive for years to come, so your family can always remember your tree and family togetherness. This is a great tradition but special care of your tree is needed.

Here are some tips for ensuring successful live tree planting:

• First, consider where in the landscape you will plant your tree. The traditional Christmas trees like firs, spruces, and Scotch pine, become very large when mature. Select an open area where there are no overhanging tree branches or wires. If you don't have such a site, select a dwarf conifer or evergreen shrub.
• When you visit a nursery or garden center, you will find a variety of evergreens to choose from. Trees are sold in containers or wrapped with burlap (B&B). Some Christmas tree growers dig trees for sale or allow you to dig your own.
• Before the ground freezes, dig a hole large enough to accommodate the root ball and fill it with leaves or straw to keep it from freezing as the temperature drops. Store the soil you remove where it will not freeze. If you are not sure of the permanent location for the tree, you can plant it in a temporary spot in your vegetable garden or other site until spring and replant it in its final location.
• Keep the tree in a cool place like a garage or porch before bringing it indoors; water as necessary.
• The ideal way of handling a live tree is to keep it indoors for as short a period as possible, 4-7 days at most. If left inside for too long, it may be injured when returned outdoors. Place a plastic bag around the roots to reduce moisture loss and avoid damaging your floor. Keep the tree away from radiators or other heat sources. Room temperatures of 65 degrees or lower are best. Water to keep the roots from drying out.
• After the holidays, take the tree back to the garage or porch for about a week before planting.
• When you are ready to plant, remove the organic material from the hole, position the tree and level. If you have a B&B tree, cut the rope and fold back the burlap from the top of the ball. Fill the area around the root ball with the stored soil, tamping it down as you fill, then water thoroughly and apply a woodchip mulch.
• Wrapping the tree with burlap and watering during warm spells will reduce moisture loss.
• If snow prevents you from planting your tree, keep it in an unheated garage, porch or protected area away from sun and wind. Keep the root ball watered, then plant in spring.

Planting a live Christmas is a great family bonding moment, and with the appropriate care, you can enjoy your tree for years to come. For further information, please contact the Henry County Extension Office at 502-845-2811. Information for this article was obtained from Monika Roth, Cornell Cooperative Extension Service, Tompkins County.

11/29/2017


Invasion of the Stink Bugs

A stinky brown army is marching across Kentucky this fall, accidentally entering your homes and offices and they look for protective overwintering sites. Brown marmorated stink bugs leave a stain and a very unpleasant odor when mashed. Once winter ends, the insects move on and resume their normal life cycle. But they can leave a path of plant damage in their wake. You take charge and reclaim your structures and fields from these invaders.

The best treatment is prevention. First, you need to learn to differentiate between the brown marmorated stink bug and other types of insect look-alikes. The brown marmorated stink bug has the characteristic shield-shaped stink bug body. Winged adults are approximately five-eights-inch long with a mottled brown-gray body. The fourth segment of each antenna has a white band. Edges of the abdominal segments that extend laterally from under the wings are alternatively banded with black and white. The underside of the body is white to light gray with gray or black markings, and the legs are brown with faint white bands.

The best way to manage the insects is to seal up structures so they never make it inside in the first place. Look around your homes and other buildings for cracks around windows, doors, siding, utility pipes, behind chimneys, underneath the wood fascia and other openings. Seal the cracks with a good quality silicone-latex caulk. You should also repair or replace damaged screens on windows and doors.

Exterior insecticides may offer some relief from infestations when sealing a structure is difficult or impossible. Products containing active ingredients deltamethrin, cyfluthrin, lambda-cyhalothrin, cypermethrin or permethrin are some options for you to consider. You need to apply these products in the fall as the bugs begin to congregate. Sunlight will break down these chemicals, so you’ll have to stay vigilant and be ready to reapply every few days or every week to make sure they are effective.

If the bugs make it inside your home or building, try to find where the insects are entering and seal those entrances up with caulk. You can remove live and dead insects with a vacuum cleaner, but understand that your vacuum may acquire a smell of stink bugs for a time. Entomologists at the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment don’t recommend using insecticides after bugs enter a structure. Although insecticidal dust treatments most likely will kill stink bugs, you will have a possible problem with carpet beetles feeding on the dead stink bugs and then moving on to your woolens or stored dry goods.

Aerosol foggers will kill stink bugs that have amassed on ceilings and walls. More insects often appear after the room is aerated. So these are just not good long-term solutions once you already have a problem.

For more information about the brown marmorated stink bug, contact the Henry Extension office. If you find an insect you believe is a brown marmorated stink bug in a county not shaded in this map http://pest.ca.uky.edu/EXT/BMSB/welcome.html, bring it the extension office. Information for this article was obtained from Dr. Lee Townsend, UK Entomology Specialist.

11/22/2017


Are you ready for ice?

Luckily in Kentucky, we don’t have harsh winters, but we still have to deal with ice whether around our homes or in the barn. I have written before about the necessity of water for livestock, and how important it is to have fresh clean water at all times. Also, winter feeds such as hays and grains are low in moisture, so the animals’ water needs can be increased during cold weather. If ice is present, your animals could become severely dehydrated. Below are a few options for keeping fresh water to your animals.

The first is the automatic waters, and provide following water to the animals at all times. These units can be expensive, and require electricity. This means, when the electric is out, your animals are out of water. Heaters can be purchased with this unit to ensure the water doesn’t freeze, and non-heated waters can still freeze if not used frequently by the animals.

The second option is electrical tank heaters/deicers. These units are the least expensive, and are usually floating or submerged units that are placed in your water tanks/troughs. The down fall with these units is that they can be pulled out of the tank by the animals, can have a short working life, and require electricity.

The third option is heated buckets. These are similar to the electrically tank heaters. The heater is built into the tank, and usually only holds around 5 gallons of water each. These units are a little more expensive than the electrical tank heaters, and have the same down falls of the electrical tank heaters/deicers.

The fourth option is a propane stock tank. These are around the same price as an automatic water, and requires a large propane cylinder which will need to be refilled. These will work without electricity, but requires a pilot light to be on at all times.

The final options are water circulators. These devices do as their name states, they circulate water. These small devices are battery powered, and can be found for each tank. Some of their downfalls is that the batteries do not last forever, and they do not warm the tank. These units just move water to help prevent freezing.

There are a ton of options to keep water thawed during the winter, so you don’t have to go bust ice every morning and every evening. Winter is here, so don’t let it play havoc with your livestock waterers. Information was obtained from Mindy Hubert, South Dakota State University Extension.

11/15/2017


Does Calf Scours Have Your Operation Down?

Every year, I hear producers discuss calf scours in their herds, and every year, those same producers will complain about growth rates of their calves and calf death. Scours is defined by neonatal calf diarrhea occurring within the first 3 weeks of a calf’s life. Rotavirus, coronavirus, bacteria (E. coli K99; Clostridium perfringens Type C, Salmonella spp.) and the parasite Cryptosporidia are the most common causes of neonatal calf diarrhea. All of these factors affect the calf’s stomach lining, and can prevent the absorption of essential nutrients from the milk which leads to weakness and weight loss. Calves surviving scours may perform poorly for the remainder of their lives when compared to healthy calves.

The thing with scours is that it can be avoided with vaccines, proper cow nutrition, and keeping cows out of a filthy environment. Scours vaccines can be expensive, but what is the price of losing calves due to scours. Common vaccines include Scour Bos 9, Guardian, and ScourGuard. One factor that you need to focus on is the timing of the vaccines whether for heifer or cows. The label of these products will state the proper timing.

However, preventing scours takes more than just vaccines. Proper nutrition and clean environment is necessary. Generally, calf scour pathogens build up in the environment as the calving season progresses. Calving in the same area that older calves are in greatly increases the risk to the newborn calf, especially in wet or muddy conditions as we often see in the spring in KY. If possible, pregnant cows close to calving should be rotated onto clean pastures while cow-calf pairs remain on the old pasture. If calving in a barn or shed, the calving area should be kept as clean and dry as possible with frequent changes of bedding to remove the build-up of organisms. Make every effort to get the cow and newborn calf out of the barn quickly to lessen the chances of infection.

Scours can be devastating on a herd from calf loss, poor production, and more. However, remember that calf scours can be prevent by vaccines, clean environment, and proper nutrition. Information was obtained from Dr. Arnold, University of Kentucky Ruminant Extension Veterinarian.

Private Applicator Training

The Henry County Extension office will be hosting a Private Applicator Certification Training on November 29th, 2016 at 6:30pm at the Henry County Extension Office. This training is for individuals who wish to purchase and apply restricted use pesticides to their own farms and rented lands. If you are a private applicator or wish to become a private applicator, this is your chance. For more questions, please contact Levi Berg at the Henry County Extension Office at 502-845-2811.

11/8/2017


Controlling Poison Hemlock

I love when fall finally arrives, but I hate the arrival of certain weeds. One of those weeds is poison hemlock, and it is already in the rosette stage. Poison hemlock is originally a native of Europe, and was introduced to North America as a garden/ornamental plant. Poison hemlock is famously known for being the poison that killed Socrates in Athens in 329 B.C. The easiest way to identify young poison hemlock is to look for low-lying rosettes with a purple spotting on the stems, and mature plants will be between 3ft-10ft tall with stout, smooth stems with purple spotting. The leaves have a fern-like appearance with alternating arrangements. Mature poison hemlock can be easily confused with wild carrot (Queen Anne’s Lace) or wild cow parsnip because of the small umbrella-shaped flower clusters, but neither wild carrot nor wild cow parsnip have purple spotting on the stems.

Poison hemlock causes reason for concern because of two reasons; contains highly poisonous alkaloid compounds and is extremely prolific. If ingested, poison hemlock can be deadly to livestock, humans, and other animals. All parts of the plant are extremely poisonous, and the stem and roots are particularly deadly. Grabbing the stem with your bare hand can cause extreme irritation. On many occasions, cattle, horses, and other livestock have been found dead within 30 minutes to two hours after ingesting parts of poison hemlock.

This weed is not only extremely poisonous, but will quickly run wild in pastures, gardens, row crops, property lines, yards, and many more places. This weed is a biennial weed that produces seeds that are easily spread by mowing, road maintenance or agricultural equipment during its second year of life.

Management and prevention of poison hemlock can be tricky because of timing. The key to controlling poison hemlock is to prevent the production of seed. If the plant cannot produce seed, the plant cannot reproduce and spread. So persistent mowing throughout the early spring and summer will keep poison hemlock from producing seeds and spreading. Single plants can be dug with a spade, placed in a trash bag, and disposed, but make sure to always wear gloves and eye protection.

If mowing or digging doesn’t work, you can use certain herbicides to control growth. However, herbicides will only control young, rosettes or very small second-year plants which means herbicides need to be sprayed now in the fall or early in the spring as soon as possible. I personally like using 2,4-D because it will kill the weed without killing grass. However, glyphosate will also work, but glyphosate is a non-selective herbicides that will damage or kill any plant it contacts. Other herbicides that work well are chlorsulfuron, clopyralid, dicamba, and imazapic. For any herbicide, follow the label because THE LABEL IS THE LAW.

Poison hemlock can become a hassle to control, but if you start now you can prevent its spread. Just remember that poison hemlock is extremely poisonous if ingested. Information was obtained from Purdue University Extension publication FNR-437-W and Montana State University Extension publication MT200013AG.

Kentucky Beef Conference

The 2017 Kentucky Beef Conference will be held on Oct. 26th, 2017 from 10am-3pm at the Fayette County Extension Office (1140 Harry Sykes Way, Lexington, KY). Topics include Current Beef Cattle Situation, Distillery By-Products, Insurance Options, Abortion Diagnostics, Year Round Calving, and Marketing Strategies. Registration is $10. If interested, please contact the Fayette County Extension Office at 859-257-5582.

10/20/2017


Does Your Horse Have Enough Hay?

Winter is almost here, and if you’re a horse owner, you should already be preparing your winter hay supplies. One questions, I usually receive is “How much hay will I need?” My answer will never be simple. Every horse will have different nutritional requirements depending on stage of life, but for this article I will focus on a mature horse at light work.

A mature horse at light work to maintenance should be receiving mainly a forage-based diet, and a 1,100-pound horse eats around 2 percent of its body weight. That equals 22 pounds of hay per day. Feeding for 120 days, December through March would equal 1.3 tons of hay per horse. That is a nitty-gritty estimate for finding how much hay is needed.

You can do a few things to make the best of your hay inventory. A feed test is a good idea and can get you started in making the best use of the nutrients supplied by hay and supplements. If you are unsure about how to take a sample for a hay test, you can contact the Henry County Extension Office for help.

Remember to feed the amount your horse needs each day. That essentially means taking some control over the feed intake. Feeding free choice can result in your horses eating more than they need each day to meet their nutritional needs. This can be a difficult task for those who are using hay rolls rather than square-bales.

Use a suitable feeder for your horses to limit waste. Feeding on the ground can result in significant losses of feed. Researchers, using square-bale hay fed in controlled amounts, reported waste in the range of 20 percent, while others, feeding roll-bale hay without a feeder, reported waste in the 35 to 38 percent range. In that case, horse owners would need at least a half ton more hay per horse.

And finally, when you are buying hay, purchase a quality grass/legume hay possible.

As the feeding season progresses, monitor your horses to make sure they are maintaining body condition and adjust feed as needed. If you are short on hay, you may need to feed some concentrate to provide all the nutrients your horses require.

If you estimate correctly, you should have some hay left when spring grass finally arrives. It is better to have some leftover than to run out in March.

For more information on winter hay feeding, contact the Henry County Cooperative Extension Service at 502-845-281

10/13/2017


Tips to Pest Proof Your Home

With the colder temperatures, the inevitable pest invasion is starting to happen. Bugs, insects, and many other crawlers are moving from the cold outside temperatures into your home looking for warmer temperatures. This migration of insects happens every fall and winter, but hopefully, using the tips below, you can alleviate some of those pest from entering your home.

• Install door sweeps and thresholds at the base of all exterior entry doors. Gaps of 1/16 inch or less is still enough space for insects to enter under the doors. A good door sweep or threshold will close that gaps preventing insects from crawling under doors.
• Seal opening around windows, doors, fasica boards, and utility openings. All of these areas are common entry points for insects and can easily be plugged. Plug holes with either cement, caulk, urethane expandable foam, steel wool, copper mesh, or other sealants.
• Install -inch wire mesh over attic, roof and crawl space vents. This mesh will prevent insect from entering these areas, but still allows ample air movement. Also, the mesh will prevent other pest such as birds, rodents, bats, and other wildlife from entering your attics and crawl spaces.
• Fix window and door screens. Any tear in a window or door screen will allow numerous amounts of insects in entering the house when doors and windows are opened.
• Consider applying an exterior (barrier) treat with insecticides. Insecticides should be the final step in pest prevention. A long lasting insecticide with synthetic pyrethroids will have the greatest positive effect for homeowners, and a synthetic pyrethroid insecticide can be found at most hardware or agricultural stores. Just make sure to spray around all exterior doors, windows, garage doors, crawl space entrances, around foundation vents, and up under the siding.

Using these tips, hopefully you can prevent insects from entering your house this winter. It is never a good situation when you are constantly trying to remove pest from your house. Just remember, prevention is key to keeping your house pest free. Information was obtained from Michael F. Potter, Extension Entomologist for the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture (Publication ENTFACT-641

10/6/2017


Do You Have A Sinkhole Problem?

Occasionally, I will have a question about sinkholes, and how to handle them. Before I get started on how to handle a sink hole, remember to NEVER USE SINKHOLES AS A DUMPING SITE! First, what is a sink hole? A sink hole is where surface water and ground water is interconnected. This means that surface water runoff flows into sinkholes and sinking streams recharging the groundwater. In most cases the water movement causes erosion of the soil and bedrock under the soil. Also, it is extremely easy for groundwater to be contaminated by pollutes coming through the sinkholes.

Probably the easiest way to protect a sinkholes is with a vegetation buffer. The vegetation will buffer out contaminants in storm water runoff before it reaches the bottom of the sinkhole. Also the roots help stabilize the rim of the sinkhole and slow erosion. The best vegetation buffers include grasses, bushes, and trees.

In some cases, stabilization may be needed. The surface runoff erodes soil from the sinkhole surface and carries it underground. This means that the sinkhole can weaken and start to collapse. When this happens, it is important to stabilize the sinkhole without sealing it off. A common way to stabilize a sinkhole is to excavate the bottom of the sinkhole down to bedrock. Fill the sinkhole with a layer of rocks large enough to bridge the gap and provide a foundation for backfill. Then fill the rest of the sinkhole completely with shot rock and large gravel, and expect settling to occur. NEVER CAP A SINKHOLE!

For sinkholes in pastures and grainfields, exclusion is key. Exclusion of livestock, equipment, and people by a fence is extremely important. This prevents livestock and equipment from potentially becoming stuck in the sinkhole. Also the fence, will assist in the preventing manure and other pollutants from entering the sinkhole. Fences should be placed 25ft from the opening of the sinkholes. Also, pesticide and fertilizer storage should be at least 100ft from the nearest sinkhole.

Sinkholes can be a hassle to manage and control. However, remember that you should never use a sinkhole as a dumping ground, and a fence can be a lifesaver. If you have further questions, you can contact the Henry County Extension Office at 502-845-2811. Information about this article was obtained from University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service Publication AEN-109.

9/29/2017


Are You Keeping Up with Wild Game Food Safety?

In the past month, I have talked about hunting safety, and this week, I want to discuss a topic most hunters ignore or don’t pay attention to, food safety. You might be thinking, “Why are you talking about food safety and hunting? Doesn’t food safety only pertain to food you buy from the store, and food you cook?” Well, yes food safety is extremely important while buying food or cooking food, but food safety is even more important with wild game because that wild game will be making its way to your table.

Everyone hears news stories talking about food poisoning or out breaks of salmonellae or E. coli, but for some reason, some hunters disregard the safety of their wild game. At the local gas station or restaurant, it is common sight to see that big buck being displayed all day for all to see when in 65 degrees weather, but no one thinks about what is happening to the meat.
The first step to proper handling of your wild game is during field processing and prevent bacteria contamination. The first thing to think about is temperature. Anytime, meat is above 40 degrees F, bacteria grow rapidly, so that carcass needs to be chilled as quickly as possible to prevent bacteria growth. Chilling is usually the easiest directly after field processing, and below are a few other tips to help prevent bacteria growth and potential food poisoning.

• Remove Intestines as soon as possible, but be sure to not cut the intestines because the intestines have naturally bacteria growing in them.
• Wear disposable gloves to prevent potential bacteria contamination from you to the animal or animal to you.
• Wash hands and arms thoroughly with soap and water before and after dressing.
• DO NOT USE STREAM OR POND WATER TO RINSE THE CARCASS OR HANDS!
• Always use a clean knife before field dressing, and be sure to thoroughly clean your knife after field dressing your wild game.
• Prevent and clean all dirt, insects, hair, and other contamination from entering the carcass when dragging or carrying the animal because bacteria is found on about everything in nature.
• Be sure to remove the anus (and vulva if female) during field dressing. In some cases, a plastic bag and rubber bands can be used to tie off the large colon preventing feces from coming in contact with the meat.
• Try to dry the inside of the carcass with paper towels or plenty of air flow during transport
• And again, CHILL THE CARCASS with ice packs or snow placed in resealable bags, so the carcass is chilled below 40 degrees F.
Field dressing is the first extremely important step to keeping your wild game safe while traveling to a butcher shop or to your home for processing. Please do not let food safety slip your mind because it could be the difference between the perfectly, prepared dinner and food poisoning. Information was obtained from Penn State Extension publication “Proper Field Dressing and Handling of Wild Game and Fish”.

September 22, 2017


Winter Cover Crops for Kentucky Gardens

Remember when the older, wiser gardeners always said, “Make sure to fall till your garden for a good crop next year.” Well, they are right, and you should make sure to till your garden before winter. However, there is more you can do to protect your garden, and give it an earlier start for next. That is by planting cover crops.

Many tobaccos producers already know this, but cover crops have been used to reduce soil erosion and add organic matter to improve the soil. Some cover crops even provide some winter and early spring grazing for their livestock. All of these practices can be used on your gardens. However, the best benefit to garden cover crops is that they take up and hold nutrients, especially nitrogen. This is beneficial because these crops can be mowed and tilled back into the soil in early spring, and there breakdown slowly releases nutrient back to your vegetable plants through the late spring and summer growing months.

Now, you might be asking yourself, “What in the world is a cover crop?” A cover crop is a secondary crop grown on cropland during the late fall and winter months. There are really three main types of cover crops; small grains, grasses, and legumes. Each of these has their benefits and down sides.

First, small grains such as wheat, rye barley, triticale, and oats are very effective. They are excellent at maintaining nutrients within your garden, and preventing loss of nutrients by rain. All of these are best planted in early fall such as now to about mid-October. However, a downside is that these plants can really put on the biomass. This means that these crops will produce a lot of material, and that might be more of a problem because you will not be able to till that much material back into the garden. It is best practice to kill this crop with herbicides in early spring to reduce overgrowth of biomass.

Grasses do a great job at holding nutrients, but they are great at putting down roots and adding organic matter. Most gardens are tilled at the exact same depth for years on end. When this happens, a hard pack will form at the layer of soil directly under the deepest tilling depth. Hard packs can really cause a problem with water retention and draining. When this happens, your garden is likely to flood and nutrients will be lost in the water. However, grasses will produce roots that goes through the hard pack, and in some cases, up to around 30 inches deep. This means that the roots will penetrate that hard pack, and increase drainage while adding organic matter. However, grasses such as annual and perennial ryegrass, and fescue can have the same problems at small grains. They can produce too much top growth, and can be difficult to kill. All of these grasses should be planted by the end of September.

Finally, let’s talk about legumes. Legumes such as clovers, peas, and vetches are great because they can fix nitrogen from the air into the soil. In other words, they save you money on your fertilizer bill. They are hardy, and can add a lot of nitrogen to the soil. However, legumes can be difficult to kill in the spring, and some may winter kill. All of these legumes should also be planted by the end of September likes the grasses.

Cover crops can be added work, and can be difficult to control if you don’t take the time to properly care for them. However, the benefits of decreased erosion, nutrients retention, and added organic matter defiantly outweigh the negatives. If you have questions about cover crops, seeding rates, seeding depths, or control, please contact me at the Henry County Extension Office at 502-845-2811. Information for these article was obtained from UK Extension Publication ID-113.

September 15, 2017


Frost and Forages

The nights are starting to be colder which means fall is starting. One precaution to watch for is potential frosts. The National Weather Service for Louisville, KY states that the average first fall frost is around the end of October, but a frost can come at any time.

After a light frost, certain forages and plants can bring the threat of prussic acid (cyanide) poisoning to livestock. Plants such as sorghum, sudangrass, sorghum-sudan hybrids, johnsongrass, wild cherry, and others can contain cyanide-producing compounds. Prussic acid poisoning causes rapid death in livestock, and livestock can show signs of prussic acid poisoning just 15 minutes after starting to graze the plants after a light frost. Other signs of toxicity include fast breathing, anxiety, trembling, downed animals, convulsions, bright red blood, and frothing at the mouth. Prussic acid poisoning is very similar to nitrate poisoning, but animals with prussic acid poisoning have bright red blood, whereas animals poisoned with nitrates have dark, chocolate-colored blood. If you see these signs, call a veterinarian immediately because prussic acid poisoning can kill livestock extremely quickly!

After a light freeze or you suspect prussic acid, do not graze wilted plants, twisted plants or plants with young tillers for around two weeks. However, plants susceptible to producing prussic acid can be chopped, ensiled or baled, but wait at least 6-8 weeks to feed it to your livestock. For reassurance analyze your suspect forages before feeding by using a cyanide field test kit or have samples tested by a certified lab. The University of Kentucky Veterinarian Diagnostic Lab can test forages for prussic acids, and cyantesmo test strips are available to do a quick field test for prussic acid.

If you have these plants in your pastures, just keep a watchful eye and anticipate if a frost is coming. Forages such as sorghum-sudan hybrids and sudangrasses provide excellent forages, but just make sure to keep your livestock away from them after a light frost. Finally, remember to contact your veterinarian immediately if you suspect prussic acid poisoning in your animals. For further questions, please contact the Henry County Extension Office at 502-845-2811. Information for this article was obtained from the University of Kentucky Master Grazer Educational Program October 2011 Article.

September 8, 2017


Grain Bin Safety

Grain crop harvest is just around the corner. I love seeing the combines and grain carts working hard to have all grain out of the field. In many cases, a large sum of grain is stored in large grain bins until shipped for sale. Grain bins are extremely beneficial, but can be extremely dangerous.

Growing up, I thought, “How dangerous could a grain bin be?” Well, the answer is “very dangerous.” If trapped inside the bin, you can be easily pulled under like with quicksand and suffocate in the grain. Also it is extremely easy to be caught in working augers, and loss arms, legs, or your life. Below is a few tips to protect yourself while around grain bins.
• Use a long wooden pole to break up crusted grain from the top instead of getting in the bin.
• Wear a harness attached to a properly secured rope if you have to be in the grain bin.
• If you fall in the bin full of grain, stay near the outer wall of the bin and keep walking if the grain should start to flow.
• Try to have at least one person helping load or unload grain in the case that you are entrapped.
• Wear an appropriate dust filter or filter respirator while working around or in the grain bin. The grain fines and dust could cause difficulty breathing.
• Stay out of grain bins, wagons, and grain trucks when unloading equipment is running.
• Turn off augers if you must work inside of the grain bin, and lock out any unloading equipment to prevent someone from unintentionally starting the equipment while you are in the bin.
• Children should never be allowed to play in or around grain bins, wagons, or grain trucks because children can easily be entrapped in the grain or augers.
• Where possible, install ladders inside grain bins in case of emergencies.
These are just a few tips to protect yourself while working around grain bins. Entrapments can be devastating, but can be avoided. If you have further safety questions, please contact the Henry County Extension Office at 502-845-2811. Information was obtained from the University of Illinois Extension publication “Grain Bin Safety”.

8/30/2017


Share the Road with Farmers

It seems like the summer was hardly here, and passed too fast. It is evenly harder to think that harvest season will soon be here. Grain farmers will be in the fields with combines, and cattle producers will be chopping corn for silage. This activity means that tractors and farm equipment will be on the roads, and drivers and equipment operators need to safely share the road.

Motorist Driving Roads With Agricultural Equipment
• Slow Down: Remember the top speed for tractors in around 20mph, so slow down to give yourself the time and space to access the situation.
• Pay Close Attention: Always give driving your 100% attention, and put down the cell phone. In a battle between a tractor and your car, your car will always lose.
• Don’t Get Too Close: Give the farmer space and do not tailgate. Tailgating causes stress and distraction
• Don’t Pass Until It Is Safe: Only pass when you have plenty of space and time to pass the equipment.
• Be Alert For Turns: Look for turn indicators like hand signals and blinkers from the equipment operators. Tractors make very wide turns especially when hauling equipment, so do not try to pass on either side of the equipment while they are turning.

Farm Equipment Operators on the Roads
• Always use headlights, flashing lights, and reflectors while on the road. This helps the motorist recognize that you are on the road and they need to slow down.
• Use escort vehicles anytime tractors are on the road and especially if your equipment is over 13 ft wide.
• Only have licensed drivers and drivers familiar with the equipment to have it on the roads.
• Wait for traffic to clear before entering a public road. Unlike the tractor, most vehicles will be traveling 55 mph instead of 20 mph, so do not pull in front of oncoming traffic.
• Only drive well maintained and cared for equipment on the roads.

These are just a few tips to keep in mind during the fall when harvest equipment will be on the roads. It is never a good situation when tractors/farm equipment and motorist collide. Like I mentioned above, the car will always lose to a tractor in a head to head battle, so slow down. If you have further questions, please contact the Henry County Extension Office 502-845-2811. Information for this article was obtained from the Vermont Agency of Agriculture Food and Markets article “Share the Road with Farmers: Be Alert. Be Patient. Be Kind” and the University of Kentucky Agricultural Engineering publication AEN-67.

8/23/2017


Woodlands Could Be Your Farm’s Hidden Asset

A common question I have from every landowner and farmer is “How can I make more money off of my land?” The next question, I will ask will be “What assets or resources do you have on your land?”, and more times than not, most will leave out their woodlands. It may even surprise you that timber is one of the largest agricultural and natural resource industries in Kentucky, and total economic impact of Kentucky’s forests and related industries contributes nearly $13 billion each year to the state’s economy.

One thing people do forget is that your forest should be managed just like crops, fields, gardens and any other agricultural endeavors. You can benefit by understanding the industry and learning basic forestry concepts, such as how to control light and density, manage pests and steward a forest to make it healthier and sustainable. You should also learn about the important tax benefits for timber owners and secondary markets that may be available for non-timber products such as hunting leases, ginseng, shiitake mushrooms and fence posts.

Woodlands also are valuable for services beyond timber production including providing habitat to a wealth of wildlife, from deer to bobcats. They serve as a backdrop for much of the recreational and tourist activities in the state. Another important contribution of woodlands, but harder to put a dollar figure on, are the ecosystem services such as water and air filtration, carbon sequestration and flood control they provide.

More than 11 million of Kentucky’s 12 million forested acres are classified as timberland, meaning they are capable of growing commercial timber at a rate of 115 board feet of wood volume per acre per year. (A board foot is 12 inches by 12 inches by 1 inch). Logging in Kentucky is renewable, as tree growth in the state exceeds annual timber removal. The industry also ensures that commercial operations have a Master Logger graduate on-site and follow best management practices for protecting water quality at harvest sites.

Sawmills and other industries produce much less waste than in the past, utilizing all but 5 percent of wood residue, down from 35 percent in the 1970s. Advances in machinery and utilization of sawdust and bark residue have fueled this significant reduction in waste. Mulch, fuel, composite wood products, charcoal and animal bedding are made from leftover wood, reducing the industry’s impact on the environment.

Forests can be a strong resource for any landowner whether looking to log for profit, manage wildlife habitat, or to just enjoy. Don’t take your forest for granted, and if you would like to learn more about timber management, please contact the Henry County Extension Office at 502-845-2811 or http://forestry.ca.uky.edu/extension-home. Information for this article was btained from Billy Thomas, UK Extension Forestry Specialist.

8/11/2017


Tree Stand Safety

Last week while speaking to my father on the phone, I realized that whitetail bow hunting season starts in less than a month. That thought sent me into a panic because I haven’t prepared any of my hunting gear other than my bow, and the biggest worry I had was that my treestands were in proper condition for hunting season. Luckily, they were in great shape. However, this is why I wanted to talk about tree stand safety, because any experienced hunter can fall out of a treestand while hunting and potentially be critically injured.

Before the Hunt:
• Read and understand the manufacturer’s instructions for the treestand and full-body harness (FBH).
• Check stands and straps for tears, cracks, or signs of fatigue. If you find these, replace the equipment, and don’t use that broken equipment.
• Practice using the equipment and FBH at ground level before being in the tree.
• Select a healthy, straight tree that is the right size for your stand.
• Avoid using climbing stands on smooth barked trees, especially during icy or wet conditions.

During the Hunt:
• Wear your full body harness and don’t just leave it in the vehicle or in the box it came in.
• Attach your FBH to the tree at high enough level where the FBH tether has no slack when sitting in your treestand.
• Never climb into the treestand while carrying equipment. Always pull up equipment with a haul line attached to the treestand.
• Make sure all firearms are unloaded and broadheads are covered while pulling them into the treestand with the haul line.
• Wear boots with non-slip soles to avoid slipping while in the treestand.
• Always have emergency equipment such as a knife, cell phone, flashlight, and or whistle in case you fall out of the stand and assistance is needed.
• DON’T TAKE CHANCES!

Treestands can be extremely effective for bow hunting or firearm hunting, but they can be extremely dangerous if used improperly. Also, it is very easy to fall out of the tree, but remember to try and stay calm and call for assistance. Information for this article was obtained from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service publication “Treestand Safety Tips”. If you have further questions, please contact the Henry County Extension Office at 502-845-2811.

8/4/2017


Garden Vegetable Preservation

Yes, I know you are wanting to know why the Ag agent is talking about vegetable preservation, and I will let you know why. Don’t be like many gardens I see, and just throw away produce or let it go to rot. You have worked hard on your garden, so you should be able to reap the rewards of that garden. Like many gardeners, your garden is probably producing vegetables faster than you can eat them. Do not just give them away if you have too many. Think about preserving them by either freezing or canning. In the old days, canning was essential because many family had to preserve enough food for the winter, but due to freezers, many families can now freeze most garden fresh vegetables to use until the next growing season.

Canning has been around for a long time, and unfortunately, has declined over the years. I remember when I was 5 or 6 years old, every family or almost every family had a canner or pressure canner. Now, it seems maybe one family per road may even use a canner. Canning specifics can be found at the Henry County Extension office because each recipe with have different pressures and times, so be aware of each recipe requirement. However, whichever canner, boiling water or pressure, inspect your canner before each use.

Freezing is another great option for your fresh vegetables, but certain vegetables like tomatoes and squash do not freeze well. However, if freezing your vegetables, blanch them first. Blanching means to place the cleaned/sorted vegetable in boiling water for a specific time, and then place that vegetable in ice cold water to cool before freezing. Each vegetable will have a different blanching time, and those are below.

2 Minutes: Asparagus, French Cut Green Beans, Small Lima Beans, Diced Carrots, Greens, Peas

3-4 Minutes: Large Asparagus, Regular Cut Green Beans, Medium to Large Lima Beans, Brussel Sprouts, Cauliflower, Corn, Collard Greens, Okra

7-11 Minutes: Whole Corn on the Cob

25-50 Minutes: Beets

Again, each vegetable will have different requirements for freezing and canning, and certain recipes will change with canning type. If you have questions, please contact the Henry County Extension office at 502-845-2811, and don’t let your fresh garden vegetables go to waste. Preserve them by either freezing or canning. Information for this article was found in the “Home Food Preservation” manual available at the Henry County Extension office, and articles created by the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service Articles FCS3-578 and FCS3-335.

7/28/2017


Seeding Forage Crops

I could bet around March, I can always count of at least 20 to 30 calls asking about seeding forages for livestock. However, the best time to seed cool season grasses and many legumes is actually in the fall. Each grass or legume species has different specifications on planting depth, seeding date, and seeding rate, but the first step to a great stand is a soil test. Remember the Henry County Extension Office offers 10 free samples to residents of Henry County, and test usually take between one to two weeks to return.
After you have your soil test done and you know how much fertilizer or lime you need to add, it is time to start thinking about plantings. There are few different ways to plant, either by preparing a seed bed by tilling or my favorite, a no-till drill. The no-till drill is extremely effective if it is calibrated to the proper seeding depth, and seed is planted with minimal disturbance to the soil. Tilling the ground then cultipacking then broadcast seeding works well, but you may experience high amounts of erosion to your freshly till soil if rain occurs.

After having the soil tested, applying fertilizer, and knowing how you are going to plant, it is now time to start planting. Below is a list of common legumes and cool season grasses with planting dates, planting rates, and seeding depth.

Alfalfa – Aug 1st-Sep 15th, 15-20 lbs seed per acre, and plant - inches deep
Red Clover - Aug 1st-Sep 15th, 8-12 lbs seed per acre, and plant - inches deep
White Clover - Aug 1st-Sep 15th, 1-3 lbs seed per acre, and plant inch deep
Fescue - Aug 20th-Oct 1st, 15-25 lbs seed per acre, and plant - inches deep
Kentucky Bluegrass - Aug 15th-Sep 15th, 10-15 lbs seed per acre, and plant inch deep
Orchardgrass - Aug 20th-Sep 20tg, 15-20 lbs seed per acre, and plant - inches deep

Above is a quick guide for seeding dates, seeding rates, and seeding depths, but also speak with your seed consultant because some varieties of the same forages could have different specifications for planting. If you have further questions please contact the Henry County Extension Office at 502-649-5342, and have a happy planting. Information was obtained from UK Cooperative Extension Service publication AGR-18.

7/21/2017


Are Japanese Beetles Getting You Down?

Sometimes, I have requests about subjects for my articles, and this week I got one, Japanese beetle control. These little critters have gotten into just about everything this year. A Japanese beetle is a 3/8 inch long metallic green beetle with copper-brown wing covers. They also have small white spots around their wing covers and down their abdomen.

The reason these beetles are a problem is because they can feed on over 300 species of plants ranging from roses to poison ivy. They usually feed in groups, starting at the top of the plant and working their ways down. One beetle doesn’t eat much, but in a large group, they can cause significant damage to plants and crops. Adults start laying eggs as soon as they emerge, and can lay 1-4 eggs every 3 to 4 days in the soil for several weeks. This is why they can become a significant problem. After hatching, the grub stays in the soil for around 10 months, and feed on the roots of plants around them. After soils reach around 50 degrees F, the grubs turn into adults and emerge, and the cycle continues.

Now you might be asking, “Ok, now you have taught us about the life cycle, but how do I kill them?” Here you do. The two most common methods in trapping and insecticidal sprays. Trapping has been found to be effective, and can be homemade or commercially bought. There are two different types of traps; traps that mimic the scent of female beetles and a sweet-smelling food type lure. The first only attracts males, while the second trap will attract both males and females. One problem with traps is that if you have a small number of Japanese beetles, you can actually attract more beetles to your plants with these traps. If the whole neighborhood is using traps, they will be effective, but only 1 or 2 will probably cause more harm than good.

A very effective method is insecticidal sprays. Insecticidal sprays should ONLY be used when the pest is there, and follow each label to the dot. Finding sprays can be tricky because the Japanese beetles can feed on so many different types of plants, so look for these active ingredients; malathion, acephate, cyfluthrin, and sevin. However, some plants cannot handle certain active ingredients, so read the label to see if the plant you want to spray is actually listed. If it is not listed, you cannot use that chemical on that plant.

Japanese beetles can play havoc in landscapes, gardens, and pastures, but you can control them. However, only look to control when you start seeing significant Japanese beetle number or damage. If you have further questions, please contact the Henry County Extension Office at 502-845-2811. Information was obtained from Dr. Lee Townsend, University of Kentucky Extension Entomologist and UK publication ENTFACT-409.

7/7/2017


Soil Sampling

I know this might be early, but most farmers are already thinking about next year’s crop. The first step to planning is know what you have, and for tobacco or row crops, a soil sample is could be the difference between a bumper crop and a loss.
Soil sampling is the only way to allow the land owner to know exactly how much of a nutrient is present in their soil. Most soil samples will tell pH, phosphorus levels, potassium levels, and a few micronutrient levels. This is important because there is no guessing game on how much fertilizer or lime is needed to be applied. In many cases, soil sampling could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars because you will only apply what is needed.

A soil sample is comprised of a small soil sample to represent a large field, yawn, and such. Most soil test only need about a pound of soil, but sample amount depends on the laboratory specifications. A soil sample can be taken anytime throughout the year, but the fall and spring is the best times to collect your samples. Just remember to have your sample tested early to ensure you have fertilizer/lime results before the growing season.

Soil samples are extremely easy to take. First, you need to know which fields you need to sample, and only use one soil sample to represent no more than 20 acres. I like to break fields by either slope, soil type, cropping history, or past management techniques. I do this because nutrients will fluctuate from the top of a hill to the bottom and previous crop, and one soil sample may not be accurate for one whole field. To actually take the soil sample, a soil probe or spade can be used. Just take multiple random 4” cores (around 10 and above) around the field/area you want to sample. Collect those cores in a bucket and mix thoroughly. This method allows for the best representation of soil from that field or area, and that is the key.

Just remember, if you have pastures, lawns, or crop fields, test your soil. The Henry County Extension office does submit soil samples to the University of Kentucky Soil Labs and has soil probes take can be borrowed. Samples are usually completed within two weeks, and the Henry County Extension office will provide up to 10 free soil samples that have been taken from the county. If you have more questions about soil samples, feel free to contact the Henry County Extension office at 502-845-2811. Information was obtained from UK Cooperative Extension Service publication AGR-16.

6/30/2017


Are Garden Weeds Driving You Crazy?

Like many around the county, weeds are trying to take over my garden, and it feels almost like a full time job trying to control the weeds. This is why I want to talk about garden weeds because everyone wants that beautiful, high producing garden.

First off, why are weeds in your garden bad? Weeds cause many problems, but probably the biggest problem is weeds compete with your crops for nutrients, water, and sunlight. Also, some weeds, like quackgrass, can chemically inhibit vegetable plant growth, and others are host for numerous insect pests and disease pathogens. All of these reasons is why you need to control weeds in your garden.

Here are few tips to control weeds in your garden:
-Frequent hoeing or rototilling garden rows while weeds are small.
-Plant crop rows closer so the garden floor is shaded, and reduces light the weed needs to grow
-Plant a new crop after you harvest your primary crop, so land isn’t barren for the weeds.
-Mulch around crops and rows.
-Use black plastic or landscape fabric around your crops. The plastic and fabric conserves water and also inhibits sunlight from reaching the weeds.

These are just a few tips to reduce weeds in your garden. One of the most important things to remember is some weeds like redroot pigweed can produce up to 100,000 seeds, so preventing weeds from forming a seed head is a must. Information was obtained from Dr. John Strang, UK Extension Horticulture Specialist. If you have questions, please contact the Henry County Extension Office at 502-845-2811.

6/23/2017


The Spring/Summer of Plant Diseases

Is your garden and fruit trees struggling? If they aren’t, you might be one of the lucky few in the state of Kentucky. Like many years, vegetable and fruit crops are fighting off viral, bacterial, and fungal diseases. The wet, cool spring has created the perfect conditions for plant diseases. The Kentucky Plant Disease Diagnostic lab has been processing numerous samples, and released a report of the most viewed disease this year. Some of those diseases include anthracnose, common leaf spot, fire blight, leaf blight, cedar-apple rust, pythium root/crown rot, and fusarium. Most of these diseases are caused by bacteria or fungi, and unfortunately, prevention is about the only measure for controlling these diseases. The weather has created perfect growing conditions for these bacteria and fungi, and they have damaged many crops. The Henry County Extension office can assist you with disease control or identification of plant diseases. Overall, don’t be discouraged if your garden doesn’t look the best because just about everyone in Kentucky is struggling this year.

6/2/2017


Importance of Forage Testing

Hay making and forage harvesting is here. Now if the rain would stop, maybe we could actually start baling hay and harvesting hay. One aspect usually overlooked by forage producers is forage testing. Forage testing is having samples tested for nutritional values such as energy, protein, fiber content, certain minerals, and such. A forage test is the only way to prove you have a high quality forage whether for sell or for personal use. Yes, you can use your own judgment for certain quality factors such as mold and weeds, but only a forage test can tell you the ultimate quality of your forage. A forage test can be done on anything from dry-cured hay, haylages, silages, or pasture.

For those feeding their own forages, a forage test could be your best friend. Some hay or harvested forages can be deceiving because the forage may look great, but could be lacking in energy or another nutrient. Frankly, if you are feeding a forage with lacking nutritional value, you are losing money because your animals will not perform nearly as well.

For those selling hay, a forage sample could be the difference between selling your hay for a premium or selling it for the same price as a low quality hay. Forage samples prove how good your forage is to buyers, and if it is high quality, you will able to prove to buyers that your forage is worth the cost.

There are many labs across the country that will test samples, but make sure that lab is National Forage Testing Association certified. The most common lab used here in Kentucky is the Kentucky Department of Agriculture Forage Lab. The KDA lab charges $10 per sample, and will have samples results returned within a month. If you need samples tested quickly, you might have to send to a private lab such as DairyOne, but will pay more to have the testing done.

I know this was an extremely quick explanation why forage testing is necessary and beneficial, but if you have further questions about forage sample procedures, please contact the Henry County Extension Office at 502-845-2811. Also, the Henry County Extension Office has a hay probe for loan for those wanting to take forage samples. Information for this article was obtained from the University of Kentucky Master Grazer Educational Program.

5/26/2017


Scouting Can Be Your Best Friend During Crop Season

Every year during late spring and early summer, I receive numerous questions about plant disease and insect damage. These calls can be anything from brown rot on grapes to alfalfa weevil control and everything in between. Probably 8 out of 10 calls, my first question will be, “When did you start noticing this problem”, and usually the answer will be, “Today!” By looking at the plant sample, it is clear that the problem has been happening for weeks. In many cases, at this stage, control can be extremely difficult, and this is why I want to bring up scouting of gardens, row crops, and forages. Scouting means walking through your crops viewing development and health of crops, and viewing pest within your crops.

This time of the year, it is easy to overlooking scouting fields because of everything that needs to be done, but you can’t control a pest if you don’t know it is there. Scouting does not need to be difficult, and doesn’t mean you look at every plant in the field. You also need to be on the ground looking at your crops. Most pest are extremely small, so you need to be close to the crops. Frankly, just driving by your crops in a truck or on an ATV does not cut it, because you do not see enough of your crops to make a good decision.

In large crop fields, make a “W” path through the field, and at points of “W” take note of pest such as weeds, insects, and disease. This is very easy and will give you a great representation of what is happening with you crops. With potted plants and gardens, take a quick 10 minutes stroll looking for pests like weeds, insects, and disease. After you know what pests are present, then it is time to control. If you don’t know the pest, I will gladly help you identify it. Also, keep a journal of what you are seeing, because in future years, you can use your journal as a guide of what you might be viewing in your crops.

Pests can cause significant damage to crops, but taking that quick scouting trip could be the difference between being able to control the pest and losing money. Again, scouting isn’t just for large crop fields, it is for gardens, flowers, or anywhere you have crops. If you have further scouting questions, please contact me at the Henry County Extension Office at 502-845-2811. Information for this article came from the University of Missouri Extension Publication IPM1006.

5/21/2017


Cressleaf Groundsel

Over the last few weeks, I have received numerous number of calls about the yellow flowers growing in many crop fields. In some cases, a few callers have wondered if Henry County farmers were cultivating flowers. I don’t want to the bearer of bad news, but the yellow flower you are viewing is Cressleaf Groundsel. It is a winter annual weed that is very prolific, and can be poisonous to cattle and horses.

Cressleaf groundsel starts as a rosette in late winter, and as it matures, alternately placed leaves will generally have deeply lobed margins. Around late March and early April, yellow disk like flowers will start to appear. Also, cressleaf groundsel can be easily confused with mustard. Mustards have four petal flowers, and cressleaf groundsel will have 7 to 12 petals per flower. These weed can be found anywhere from roadsides, pastures, fields, or other wet, nutrient rich areas. Also, cressleaf groundsel grows best in cool wet conditions and will die out in periods of hot and dry conditions.

As mentioned above, cressleaf groundsel can be poisonous to cattle and horses. These weed produces toxic alkaloids, and poisoning is most often chronic, taking several weeks to show symptoms. Symptoms in cattle can range from scaly noses, rough coats to listlessness, and a decreased appetite with digestive problems. In severe cases, cattle may be jaundiced and/or photosensitive. Horses can become nervous and have the “sleepy staggers” bumping into objects or becoming entangled in fences. Long term exposure can cause liver damage.

Control can be obtained when in the flowering stages. In crop fields, many mixes can control cressleaf groundsel with common chemicals such as 2,4D, paraquat, sencor or atrazine. In pastures, metsulfuron methyl and 2,4D has been shown to control cressleaf groundsel in the fall and early spring. However, these products will kill broadleaf legumes such as clover and alfalfa.
If you have cressleaf groundsel, it can be control and restrict cattle and horse access to field with a high density of these weed. If you have questions about control or identification, please contact the Henry County Extension Office at 502-845-2811. Information for this article was obtained from Purdue Extension Weed Science, Issue 5/06.

5/5/2017


Warm Season Annuals

Right now, hay fields and pastures are lush and green, but what happens during June, July, and August? The summer slump starts for our cool season grasses. Right now our fescues, orchard grasses, and others are doing great, but when the summer heat starts, the cool season grasses just don’t produce. One potential way to overcome the summer slump is to incorporate warm season annuals into your forage system.

Warm season annuals such as sorghum, sudan-grass, sorghum X sudangrass hybrids, and millets grow extremely well during the summer months and provide a high quality forage for livestock. These warm season annuals thrive in the heat over 75 degrees F when other grasses are struggling. This is important because with warm season annuals, you will not have a break in growing forages, and most of the time you can obtain yields from 3 to 8 tons of forage per acre. Typical planting of warm season annuals takes place around the middle of May to early June.

These warm season annuals do provide excellent forages for livestock, but caution needs to applied for certain times of the year. Certain warm season annuals such as sorghum, sudangrass and sorghum X sudangrass can contain prussic acid and potentially cause nitrate poisoning in livestock. To prevent prussic acid and nitrate poisoning, do not graze these plants during and shortly after a draught or when plants are wilted. Also, do not graze these forages until they are 18 inches or taller.

Even with the potential of prussic acid or nitrate poisoning, proper management these warm season annuals provide excellent forages during the summer slump. Please contact the Henry County Extension office at 502-845-2811 if you would like further information about warm season annuals. Information was obtained from UKAg Master Grazer.

4/26/2017


Controlling Poison Hemlock

There are a handful of weeds that I strongly suggest extensive control methods if found, and one of those weeds is poison hemlock. This is not a weed to overlook especially if you own livestock, because all parts of this weed is poisonous to livestock. Poison Hemlock was introduced to the United States as an ornamental in the 1800’s, and has spread throughout most of Kentucky and much of North America.

If ingested, poisoning symptoms appear within 30 minutes to two hours, depending on several factors including the animal species and quantity consumed. Lethal doses for cattle range between 0.2 and 0.5 percent of the animal’s weight. Poisoning symptoms include nervousness, trembling, muscle weakness, loss of coordination, pupil dilation, coma and eventually death from respiratory failure.

Poison Hemlock is often confused with Queen’s Anne Lace, which also is called wild carrot and is a non-toxic weed. Both plants produce leaves and cluster of small, white flowers that look similar. However, the tell-tell sign between the two plants is that poison hemlock has smooth stems with purple spots. As I drive around the county, I has already seen this weed in large rosettes along fence lines, roads, and brushy areas.

Control can for poison hemlock can be difficult after the plant leaves the rosette stage. The herbicide, 2,4D, works well when the plant is still in the rosette stage, but after the plant grows upward, mowing or trimming in the only effective control method. However, when cutting the plant, be sure to wear gloves, long pants, and long shirts because the plant material can cause rashes if it touches bare skin.

Now is time to scout fields, and spray poison hemlock. Do not wait, because this weed can be extremely dangerous to livestock and humans. If you have questions about identification, please contact the Henry County Extension Office at 502-845-2811. Information for this article was obtained from Dr. J.D. Green, University of Kentucky Extension Weed Specialist.

4/19/2017


Hay Storage

Spring is here, and hay fields are starting to pop. This means livestock producers should be preparing for hay season. Our county produces excellent quality forages and great hay, but no matter how great your forage is, if it is stored improperly, your hay will be wasted.

The first step of preventing hay loss is to bale hay at the proper % moisture. Hay should be baled at 15% moisture or less because hay baled at higher than 15% moisture can cause a greater than 5% dry matter loss, significant loss of digestibility, and lower protein digestibility due to heat-damaged protein. Also, hay baled too wet is perfect for mold and fungus growth, and can spontaneously combust. So first step, bale your hay at the correct percent moisture of 15% or less.

Next step to great hay is storage. There are numerous ways of storing hay from inside permanent structures, in temporary structures, and reusable tarps and list keeps going. The above methods reduce the amount of contact weather has with you hay, and the barriers prevent water from leaching out soluble carbohydrates from the outside layer on hay. There will still be some loss of dry matter during storage, but minimal amounts of dry matter is lost as compared to hay stored outside.

Hay stored outside and on the ground might seem to be the cheapest, but due to rain, snow, and sunlight, hay stacked on the ground can have dry matter losses up from 25% to 35%. This means, over a quarter of your hay is wasted just by storing it outside. If possible, keep your hay out of the elements, but if you most store hay outside, store your hay on a well-drained site, and use poles, pallets, tires, crushed rock, and other materials to break the contact between your hay and wet soil. Breaking the contact of hay and soil, can reduce losses of around 35%. Also, if stored outside, bales should be placed with sufficient space between bales to allow air flow, and prevent collection of water.

Conventional sheds, pole barns, reusable tarps, bale sleeves, and plastic wrap might seem expensive, but all of these methods can save from $17.00 to $21.00 per ton of hay as compared to being stored outside on the ground. These savings are obtained simply because you are not losing nutrients and dry matter due to weather and moisture. Weather can cause considerable damage to your hay, so do yourself a favor and get your hay off the ground.

4/12/2017


Are You Ready to Mow?

It is hard to believe how fast spring had sprung, and yawns are really starting to pop. This means that you need to be thinking about lawn care since it’s time to clip the grass for the first time. Your most important annual lawn duties begin with that first mowing.

The first mowing makes the lawn look spring-like and attractive and can improve the aesthetics and value of your property. Subsequent regular mowing hardens the grass for drought and heat stresses that may occur later on. So when the first clump of grass grows above the mowing height, mow -- even if a lot of the yard doesn’t need to be mowed yet.

Not all grasses start growing at the same time. Grass on northern slopes, or in heavy clay soil, will start growing several days later than others. Grass that wasn’t fertilized in the fall or early spring also has a delayed growth.

Following recommendations for mowing height and frequency will make your lawn-care duties easier and result in a more attractive yard.

For more information on lawn care, check out the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment’s Turfgrass Science lawn care information website at http://www.uky.edu/Ag/ukturf/lawns.html or contact the Henry Cooperative Extension Service at 502-845-2811.

April 5, 2017


New Movement Restrictions for Poultry

In the last few weeks, avian influenza was detected twice in Tennessee and once in KY, and because of this the Kentucky State Veterinarian has placed movement restrictions for poultry within the state and coming into the state. Below is the information that was sent to the agriculture extension agents from the Kentucky Department of Agriculture Office of the State Veterinarian.

Effective this date, the following restrictions are imposed on poultry movements:

1 All avian comingling sales and show events are banned. These include, but are not restricted to, stockyards, flea markets, swap meets, and shows.

2 Private sale with direct farm to farm movement within Kentucky is allowed in accordance with 302 KAR 20:065 Section 7.

3 Entry of poultry for private sale or movement must be permitted by the Office of the State Veterinarian and must have negative Avian Influenza testing within the 30 days preceding entry.

4 Entry into Kentucky for sale is restricted to NPIP Avian Influenza H5/H7 clean facilities only.

5 Entry of poultry from certified NPIP facilities within an HPAI infected state must also meet 302 KAR 20:250 requirements.

The University of Kentucky Poultry Specialist, Dr. Tony Pescatore, also clarified that hatching eggs also apply to restrictions 2, 4, and 5 above. Avian influenza could be devastating to KY if more outbreaks occur. As I stated in my article a few weeks ago, practice best biosecurity measures to protect your flocks and flocks around you. If you have further questions, please contact the Henry County Extension Office at 502-845-2811.

3/29/2017


Are You Prepared for Weeds This Spring?

The grasses are starting to green up which means spring is here. However, along with the grasses, many weeds have started to show up in fields, gardens, and lawns. Weeds can play havoc from causing issues with livestock, medical issues for people, and can take over crop fields. From dandelions to poison hemlock, weeds can come in many shapes and colors, and many times we don’t realize what we have. In most cases, certain weeds mimic harmless flowers. Now, you might be asking, “how do I remove weeds from my land?”, and I will answer, “What weed to you have?”

The first step, to removing harmful weeds from your property, is to properly identify the weeds you have. Just the number of different types of weeds is amazing, and can be extremely difficult to identify. Frankly, until you know what weeds you have, you won’t know how to remove them. UK Extension can help when weed identification because difficult.

The second step is to devise a plan to eradicate the weed. Several methods can be used to control weeds such as mechanical, cultural, and pesticides. Many times in lawns, pastures, and hay fields, mowing or mechanical practices can help because the weeds do not have a change to form a seed head. Occasionally, in some heavily infested crop fields, the field might need to be tilled. Some cultural methods of control includes rotating crops from year to year, avoiding overgrazing of pastures, and maintaining good soil fertility. Mechanical and cultural practice can be help remove weeds, but in some cases, herbicides may be needed.

Herbicides can be beneficial, but herbicides should only be used to help supplement good agricultural practices. Herbicides should not be the first and last step to weed control. There are numerous herbicides out there today, but remember no single herbicide is perfect in removing weeds. When using herbicides, read and follow label directions. The label is the law, and will state which weeds it will control, how much to use, and how to use it. Follow the label exactly, and be advised of potential harmful effects to the environment and yourself.

Weeds can be a problem for anyone, but can be removed. Just remember that you must properly identify the weed in order to properly remove it. The Henry County Extension office at 502-845-2811 will be able to help you identify the weed and help devise a plan to remove the weed. Information was obtained from J.R. Martin and J.D. Green at the University of Kentucky.

3/22/2017


Breeding Soundness Exam

I hope everyone is have an excellent calving season, and I’m sure you are wore out from checking your mothers-to-be. I know many of you are focused on your calves, but remember what comes after calving season; spring breeding season. Every year, I will hear stories about how a majority of someone’s cows will come up open during pregnancy checks, and I will hear excuses such as “I think this poor quality hay caused my cows to be open”, or “this mineral was the problem”. However, in most cases, the trusty old bull is not performing as he should, and cows are coming up open. The easiest way to combat a bunch of open cows is to have a breeding soundness exam done on your bulls.

A breeding soundness exam (BSE) is a fertility exam performed on bulls by a veterinarian. The exam looks at three components; scrotal circumference, a physical exam, and a semen evaluation. The vet will check this three areas and determine if your bull is ready for job. Also, a BSE should be done yearly at least a few months before breeding season is done, and only takes a few minutes to perform.

Most bulls have had a BSE done when you bought the bull, but many things can affect a bull’s fertility. Two main causes of decreased performance is poor health and cold temperatures. Probably the number one cause of bull infertility is cold weather. Yes, I know that we have had a mild winter, but any cold spell could impact a bull’s fertility. Poor health can be anything from injury to infection to poor body condition score. Poor health will inhibit the bull’s libido to where he just will not breed.

A breeding soundness exam is the easiest and cheapest way to determine if your bull is ready for breeding season. If you think about it, paying a vet to check your bull is going to be a lot cheaper than potentially having a large portion of your cows coming up open. Information was obtain from Dr. Les Anderson, UK Cattle Reproductive specialist. If you have further questions about BSE’s, please contact the Henry County Extension office at 502-845-2811.

3/15/2017


High Pathogen Avian Influenza Outbreak in TN

These are the types of articles I hate writing because the end point is never pleasant. The H7 strain of high pathogenic avian influenza was found in a flock of 73,500 chickens in Tennessee along the Alabama border. Many might think, “Well that is pretty far from KY, so why should I worry?” You should worry because this is a similar strain that killed around 50 million chickens and turkeys two years ago. This strain is easily transmitted, and wild migrating waterfowl can carry this disease. I truly hope this strain never makes it to KY, because that could cause devastation for anyone raising poultry. However, practicing strict biosecurity measures could save your flocks, and below are tips for biosecurity practices.

Biosecurity Do’s:
• Wear disposable boots or rubber boots that can be disinfected
• Wash clothing and footwear after visiting/leaving a farm
• Isolate and quarantine new livestock for at least two weeks
• Encourage visitors to follow biosecurity measures
• Ask visitors to provide information about farm and animal contacts to determine if they are safe to visit your farm
• Discourage handling of animals by visitors.
• Prevent livestock and wild animal contact especially wild birds.
• Have all family and friends practice biosecurity measures around your animals

Biosecurity Don’ts:
• Travel from farm to farm without disinfecting clothing, boots, equipment, and vehicles
• Wear items, such as jewelry, watches, glasses, or hairpieces, when working around animals, since these items cannot be successfully disinfected.
• Bring back meat or animal products or equipment used around foreign livestock or poultry
• Allow friends or visitors around your animals if they have been in contact with other livestock in the past 72 hours.

Prevention is the greatest tool in disease management, and might be the difference between saving your flock and losing your flock. Unfortunately, there is no cure for this strain of avian influenza, so prevention is your best hope. The above information was received from APHIS Veterinary Services, February 2002 Factsheet, and for further biosecurity measures please contact the Henry County Extension office at (502) 845-2811.

3/8/2017


Introducing Horses to Lush Spring Pastures

Spring is almost here, and guess what? That means cool season grasses are starting to explode with growth. The spring growth provides excellent forages for horses, but the quick change in diet can cause issues in your horses. Horses that have been fed hay all winter have adapted their gut microbes to break down more fibrous material, and the lush pastures are low in fiber compared with cured hay. This means that the spring lush pastures can easily upset your horses’ stomachs because the horse was not accustomed to eating fresh pastures for months. Below are a few tips to help transition your horse from a mainly hay diet to a more pasture diet.

These tips will help your horses adjust to the new pastures, and hopefully prevent your horse having a stomach ache. Information was obtained from Christine Skelly, Michigan State University.

3/1/2017


Home Composting

Are you trying to figure out what to do with those fallen leaves, grass clippings, and other yard wastes? Don’t throw this in the trash. Try home composting. Home composting is an easy way of recycling nutrients back into your soil. The results of home composting is a high quality compost/fertilizer that can easily be applied to your soil.

Before starting home composting, you need to understand what composting is. Composting is a controlled natural biological process where bacteria, fungi (microbes), and other microorganisms decompose organic materials like leaves and grass clippings. The aftermath is a dark nutrient-rich fertilizer. However, proper composting needs proper oxygen levels, optimal moisture (40-60%), proper carbon:nitrogen levels, and proper temperature of 90 to 170 degrees F.

For oxygen levels, be sure to turn your compost often because the compost needs plenty of oxygen throughout at around 5% oxygen. Turning helps include oxygen into your compost and allows for equal decomposition throughout.

For moisture, the pile needs to stay damp throughout. When too dry, the material will not decompose quickly, and too wet, the pile becomes anaerobic. Anaerobic conditions happen because water displaces the oxygen, and the pile will start releasing unpleasant, potentially toxic gases.

Finally carbon:nitrogen ratios. The optimal ratio is 30 parts carbon to 1 part nitrogen. Materials high in carbon include leaves, straw, pine needles, newspaper, and sawdust. Materials high in nitrogen include manure, food scrapes, and grass clipping. Try to find the perfect ratio because carbon serves as a cell building block and an energy source for the microbes breaking down the compost materials.

Many things can be composted, but there are a few materials that should never be composted. Those include human and pet feces which can transmit diseases, meat, bones, whole eggs, or dairy products. Other things include diseased materials from gardens and landscape trees because the compost pile might not reach high enough temperatures to kill the bacteria and fungi that causes diseases.

Composting can be extremely beneficial for removing old leaves, grass clippings, and agricultural manure, but also provides high quality fertilizer for lawns, yards, and plants. Just be sure to reach optimal moisture levels, carbon:nitrogen ratios, and also be sure to turn your compost pile. Information was obtained from University of Kentucky Extension Publication HO-75, and if you have further questions, please contact the Henry County Extension Office at 502-845-2811.

2/22/2017


Warm Winter Could Affect Tall Fescue Toxicosis in Broodmares

This warm winter has been nice because of 50 degree weather and not having to feed as much hay. However, this warm winter has played havoc for many farmers, such as increased mud, and lately, I have heard from Dr. Ray Smith from the University of Kentucky that this mild winter is likely to cause higher than average concentration of ergovaline in tall fescue.

Tall fescue is still widely planted throughout Kentucky because of its yield potential and ruggedness, but tall fescue is naturally infected with an endophytic fungus that produces ergovaline. Ergovaline is a problem because it is a vasoconstrictor that causes the narrowing of blood vessels, and has been blamed for prolonged gestation and low milk production in late term pregnant mares. In some cases, ergovaline has been the cause of abortions in horses. Normally, tall fescue toxicosis, caused by ingesting ergovaline, is rare in the early months of the year due to typically cold winter temperatures, but this year, sampling around Fayette and Bourbon Counties has shown a higher than average ergovaline concentrations.

“These levels would not be alarmingly high in May, because pastures would have other forages such as bluegrass and orchardgrass actively growing, providing sufficient dilution in the total diet. However, other grasses are not active in February, therefore horses are likely to consume more tall fescue, especially in pastures that were overgrazed last fall,” said Krista Lea, UK Horse Pasture Evaluation Program coordinator.

Dr. Ray Smith, UK Forage Extension Specialist, states that dilution is the key to minimizing the effects of ergovaline. He also states that farms should move mares to pastures where more desirable forages are available and tall fescue is less prevalent. Also, good quality hay should always be fed to mares in the pastures, and refrain from feeding pure fescue hays to the mares. If you have suspect hay or pastures that might contain ergovaline, the UK Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory will test ergovaline samples for $52 per sample. Also, the Henry County Extension Office will assist farms in sampling pastures and hay. For further questions about tall fescue toxicosis contact the Henry County Extension Office at 502-845-2811. Information was obtained from UK Extension Specialist, Dr. Ray Smith and Krista Lea.

02/15/17


Are You Receiving the Correct Information?

In today’s society, with increased internet access and social media presence, it is easy to become lost trying to research a specific topic or solution to a problem. If I check my social media accounts or emails, there is always that post or flyer wanting you to try this new and improved product or do this a specific way. From the post or email, you might think, “I have to try this!” I’m not only talking about posts about kitchen appliances or recipes, but I’m am referring to agricultural post on social media and online. I know this will sound like me going off on a soup box, but it seems that I deal with the consequences of misinformation or bad information shared on a daily basis. The problem with misinformation or bad information from unreliable sites/posts is that you can seriously damage crops, hurt your animals, and harm the natural environment. Frankly, most sites giving out bad information do not use scientific data to give you the best option or opinion. Probably the two most common calls I receive is “I need to take care of this weed, but this home remedy I tried didn’t work. Now my vegetables are dead“ and “I saw on facebook that I should feed my animals *Blank* and *Blank* by now they are sick. What should I do?” Unfortunately, when I receive these calls, it is hard for me to help because it is too late.

Now that you know what can happen with misinformation and bad information, you might ask “Then where do I find the right information?” The answer, reputable sources using scientific data. If you do internet searches for information, look for websites that have “.edu” or “.gov” at the end of the address. The “.edu” endings mean that the websites are from an educational institute like a university, and “.gov” means the information is from a governmental website. These are the go to sites for me because extension, local government, state government, and federal governmental websites will fall under this “.edu” and “.gov” ending. Also, while on social media, look at post from extension services, state government entities, and federal agencies. This is the most reliable information you can find with regards to agricultural issues.

I’m also not saying that all information online is bad if it is not associated with the government, but do be aware of how the information is stated. If the article does not have scientific citations or stated where the information was obtained, it is likely that the information was skewed to make you have an emotional response. Do beware when researching agricultural topics and remedies online and social websites, because I don’t want you to fall victim to bad information. There is a lot of misinformation or bad information to be had, so don’t fall for it. If you have questions about resources, give me a call at 502-845-2811.

02/08/17


Are You Prepared for Spring Pastures?

One thing about farming is that you always have to look towards the future, and one thing to look forward to is spring pastures. In early spring, cool season grasses start growing at a rapid rate. When this happens, magnesium may not be as available to your livestock, and when magnesium is low, your livestock can encounter grass tetany.

Grass tetany is a metabolic disorder caused by reduced magnesium (Mg) levels in the animal’s blood. Other names include grass staggers, lactation tetany, or hypomagnesemia, and symptoms include nervousness, lack of coordination, muscular spasm, staggering, convulsions, coma, milk yield decrease, and death. In cattle, generally only older, lactating cows are affected, but grass tetany has been seen in dry cows, young cows, and sometimes calves. Also other livestock species can also be affected by grass tetany.

In general, the preferred prevention practice is to feed a “High-Mag” mineral. These high mag minerals just include a higher rate of magnesium oxide than other complete mineral mixes, and these high mag mineral mixes can be found at most feed stores. In cattle, your free choice mineral should contain 12 to 15% magnesium from magnesium oxide. Now is the time to start feeding your high mag mineral, and continue feeding through high spring. Just make sure your animals have the high mag mineral before and through early spring until temperatures are consistently above 60 degrees F. Other grass tetany preventions options include adding 20-25 grams of magnesium with another feed and supplying a grass tetany block. Grass tetany blocks provide magnesium similar to a mineral supplement, but all animals may not consume adequate amounts of the block.

Grass tetany can be a scare, but it can easily be prevented with a high mag mineral. However, just remember to start feeding a high mag mineral now to prevent grass tetany in the early spring. Information was obtained from UKAg Master Grazer website.

 

1/27/17


Are You Getting the Most Out of Your Pastures?

Since I have started working in Henry County and learning the county, one thing is always very prominent with the farmers here. They are very passionate about their pastures and hay, and on many days, I will receive forage questions for 8 straight hours. However, there is one management practice not widely used, but can help increase pasture forage yields. That is rotational grazing. Studies from the University of Kentucky have shown that continually grazed pastures utilize only 30% of potential forage. However, using rotational grazing, pastures can reach as high at 40-60% of potential forage. That can be a huge difference.

You may ask, “What is rotational grazing?” Rotational grazing is defined as use of several pastures, one of which is grazed while the others are rested before being regrazed. This doesn’t mean that you have to have multiple giant pastures, but does mean that you can divide existing pastures into smaller paddocks. The size of the smaller paddocks can be any size you want, but the total area needs to be large enough to support your animals. A very common and extremely effective way to divide existing pastures into smaller paddocks is by using electric polywire and step-in posts. This method allows you to move and change your temporary fencing extremely quickly.

Now you might be asking, “How big do the paddocks need to be?” The answer comes down to the amount of time you have and how many animals. You need to decide how often you want to move your animals, whether a few days, a week, or biweekly. If you have the extra time and want increased management, separate pastures into small 1 acre or less paddocks, and move animals often. Have the livestock graze the pasture until the forage is 4 inches tall, and then move them to a different paddock/pasture. If time is limited, separate pastures into 2 or 3 paddocks, and move animals when the forage is eaten to 4 inches tall. The main key to this is allow paddocks to rest for at least one week before animals are placed back on the paddock, and move animals when the forage is 4 inches tall.

I know I have skimmed through this topic very quickly, but rotational grazing can be the difference between rundown pastures and making a profit. I would love to discuss this topic in more depth if you have questions. For questions, contact the Henry County Extension Office at 502-845-2811. Information was obtained by UK Extension Publication – ID 143.

Henry County NRCS – Managing Poo

The Henry County Conservation District is participating in a statewide cost-share project entitled Managing Poo. Landowners with livestock who have mud and/or manure issues, may be interested in applying for a winter feeding pad. This best management practice is designed to be incorporated into existing grazing operation to address resource concerns of erosion, water quality degradation and soil compaction. To find out more about managing livestock manure, please contact the Conservation District directly at 1125 Campbellsburg Rd., 502-845-2890, or Mikki.croxton@ky.nacdnet.net.

1/6/2017


What Should Be In Your Calving Toolbox?

It’s hard to believe the holidays are already here and some gone. It’s even harder to believe that spring calving season is only a month or so away. This means you need to be ready to handle those calves through all hours of the night and during any weather condition. Below is list of items to keep in your calving tool box, and hopefully ease a little pressure during the calving season.

• Obstetrical Chains for pulling on the calf’s legs during a difficult birth
• OB handles for the pulling chains
• OB lubricants
• Plastic gloves to keep as sanitary as possible
• Water buckets and plenty of clean water along with cleaning supplies and disinfectants
• Towels and paper towels
• Iodine for disinfecting the calf’s navel
• Scales to monitor weight of calf
• Notebook to record birthday, weight, and other happenings of the day
• Plenty of well working flash lights
Calving season can be difficult, but keeping all of this tools in one container close by will make life much easier. You do not want to be scrambling for equipment while you are trying to help that mother. Information was obtained from Alabama Cooperative Extension System publication ANR-1403.

12/23/2016


Poultry Care During Winter

Winter is here, and the temperature has dropped. This time of the year, I will usually receive a few questions about poultry care during freezing temperatures. During winter months, don’t worry about how cold it is because poultry are designed to with stand the cold. Their feathers offer plenty of heat and insulation to keep them warm, but things you should worry about are; clean thawed water, plenty of feed, good ventilation, lighting, and flock safety.

In my eyes, the largest threat to poultry during the winter is fresh, thawed water. Without water, the birds have zero chance of surviving. Just remember, poultry will generally drink about 2 pounds of water for every pound of feed they eat. Without water, the birds cannot properly digest their feed, regulate temperature, and will decrease egg production, so keep clean, thawed water for your birds at all time.

Also during winter, the energy requirement to stay warm and produce eggs increases with the cold temperatures. The best tactic is to keep plenty of a commercial balanced complete feed in front of the birds. These feeds will provide all of the vitamins, minerals, and protein the birds need. If temperatures drop extremely low, high energy grains such as corn or sunflower seeds can be used as a supplement. However, supplementation could cause a nutrient imbalance, and if an imbalance occurs, only feed a balance complete feed.

Most individuals don’t think about ventilation for poultry, and during winter, birds will be keep in air tight coups. This is the wrong thing to do. Poultry need plenty of air flow because poor air flow increases chances of respiratory diseases. Respiratory diseases are usually caused by high amounts of dust and ammonium buildup. In your building, make sure there is at least a window that can be left open to provide plenty of airflow.

Lighting can be tricky because hens normally only lay eggs when the days are long in the spring and early summer, but through selective breeding, hens will now lay year round. However, during the winter, naturally lighting can be short, and the birds can decrease egg production. The best egg production happens when the birds have around 14 hours of lights. Artificial lights will work fine to keep production high. Without the lights, the birds will naturally slow egg production or completely stop during winter, but the lights will promote winter egg production.

Finally, flock health. During winter, predators will be hungry and looking for food. Poultry that are running free or kept up in a coup are at risk of becoming dinner. Make sure, windows and opening are secured with chicken wire to prevent predators from coming in the coups. If your chickens run free, keep a close eye on your birds during the day, and make sure to put them up in a lockable coup at night.
Winter can be difficult for your poultry, but remember fresh water, plenty of feed, plenty of ventilation, and plenty of care will be your birds’ best friends. Information was obtained from Wisconsin Poultry Cooperative Extension publication “Preparing for Winter”.

12/16/2016


Frost Seeding for Pastures and Hay Fields

Have your pastures and hay fields started to look a little thin? If so, now is the time to potentially remedy that problem. Grasses and legumes start to thin throughout the years, and causes decrease in forage production. A technique called “frost seeding” is a great way to increase your pasture/hay field production without completely renovating your pastures and hay fields.

Frost seeding is when seed is broadcast onto the ground between February 10th and March 1st, and as the ground freezes and thaws, the seeds are worked into the ground and germinate in the spring. However, the seed most be in contact with the soil for frost seeding to work, so pastures/hay fields must be grazed or clipped short prior to frost seeding.

Seeding nitrogen-fixing legumes into existing grass stands will increase nutritional value of the field, and frost seeding legumes can be very successful when performed correctly using the best suited species. Red and white clover are most commonly used frost seeding legumes, but other legumes like birdsfoot trefoil and annual lespedeza establish well with frost seeding. It is not recommended frost seeding alfalfa because of highly inconsistent results, and also, you cannot seed alfalfa into existing alfalfa fields because of auto toxicity issues. As for grasses, perennial ryegrass and annual ryegrass are the only grasses which established well enough to be a reasonable option when using frost seeding.

Frost seeding is a great option for the previously mentioned legumes and grasses. For frost seeding to work, ensure you follow proper seeding rates and use seed from a reputable seed dealer. Also, you will have a poor stand if there is not good soil to seed contact during the winter months. Information was obtained from the UKAg Master Grazer Handbook.

12/12/2016


Keep Firewood Insects Out of Your Home

It is starting to feel a little more like winter. The temperature is dropping, and we have even had a few hard frost. Back home in West Virginia, the cold temperatures meant one thing, start wheel barrowing firewood to our wood burning furnace in the basement garage. No matter what, we would find a few insects hitchhiking on the firewood and crawling from the firewood. Looking back, every load of firewood was potentially opening wood-infesting insects into our home. Below are a few tips Dr. Lee Townsend, University of Kentucky Extension entomologist, recommends to prevent insects from hitching a ride into your home from firewood.

• When stacking wood outside, avoid stacking it directly on the ground. This will keep it from getting too wet and reduce the chances of infestation by such insects as termites and ants. Individual termites and ants brought into the house will not start an infestation. However, a colony may exist in an old woodpile outdoors.
• Remember not to stack firewood in or against a house or any other buildings for long periods of time. Termite or carpenter ant problems can develop and cause more serious problems later.
• Older wood is most likely to be infested, so use it first. Avoid stacking new wood on top of old wood.
• Cover firewood during the summer and fall to keep it drier and to discourage insects from seeking it out as winter shelter.
• To dislodge insects before bringing firewood indoors, shake, jar or knock logs together sharply. Brush off any obvious webbing or cocoons.
• Bring in small amounts of firewood that you can use in a day or so. Keep it stacked in a cool area, such as a garage or on a porch, until you need it. When wood warms up, the creatures in or on it will become active.
• Don’t treat firewood with insecticides. Not only is it unnecessary, it could be dangerous. When insecticide burns, it can produce noxious fumes.

12/2/2016


Is Ice Already Causing You Problems?

Luckily in Kentucky, we don’t have harsh winters, but we still have to deal with ice whether around our homes or in the barn. I have written before about the necessity of water for livestock, and how important it is to have fresh clean water at all times. Also, winter feeds such as hays and grains are low in moisture, so the animals’ water needs can be increased during cold weather. If ice is present, your animals could become severely dehydrated. Below are a few options for keeping fresh water to your animals.

The first is the automatic waters, and provide following water to the animals at all times. These units can be expensive, and require electricity. This means, when the electric is out, your animals are out of water. Heaters can be purchased with this unit to ensure the water doesn’t freeze, and non-heated waters can still freeze if not used frequently by the animals.

The second option is electrical tank heaters/deicers. These units are the least expensive, and are usually floating or submerged units that are placed in your water tanks/troughs. The down fall with these units is that they can be pulled out of the tank by the animals, can have a short working life, and require electricity.

The third option is heated buckets. These are similar to the electrically tank heaters. The heater is built into the tank, and usually only holds around 5 gallons of water each. These units are a little more expensive than the electrical tank heaters, and have the same down falls of the electrical tank heaters/deicers.

The fourth option is a propane stock tank. These are around the same price as an automatic water, and requires a large propane cylinder which will need to be refilled. These will work without electricity, but requires a pilot light to be on at all times.

The final options are water circulators. These devices do as their name states, they circulate water. These small devices are battery powered, and can be found for each tank. Some of their downfalls is that the batteries do not last forever, and they do not warm the tank. These units just move water to help prevent freezing.

There are a ton of options to keep water thawed during the winter, so you don’t have to go bust ice every morning and every evening. Winter is here, so don’t let it play havoc with your livestock waterers. Information was obtained from Mindy Hubert, South Dakota State University Extension.

11/30/2016


Does Calf Scours Have Your Operation Down?

Every year, I hear producers discuss calf scours in their herds, and every year, those same producers will complain about growth rates of their calves and calf death. Scours is defined by neonatal calf diarrhea occurring within the first 3 weeks of a calf’s life. Rotavirus, coronavirus, bacteria (E. coli K99; Clostridium perfringens Type C, Salmonella spp.) and the parasite Cryptosporidia are the most common causes of neonatal calf diarrhea. All of these factors affect the calf’s stomach lining, and can prevent the absorption of essential nutrients from the milk which leads to weakness and weight loss. Calves surviving scours may perform poorly for the remainder of their lives when compared to healthy calves.

The thing with scours is that it can be avoided with vaccines, proper cow nutrition, and keeping cows out of a filthy environment. Scours vaccines can be expensive, but what is the price of losing calves due to scours. Common vaccines include Scour Bos 9, Guardian, and ScourGuard. One factor that you need to focus on is the timing of the vaccines whether for heifer or cows. The label of these products will state the proper timing.

However, preventing scours takes more than just vaccines. Proper nutrition and clean environment is necessary. Generally, calf scour pathogens build up in the environment as the calving season progresses. Calving in the same area that older calves are in greatly increases the risk to the newborn calf, especially in wet or muddy conditions as we often see in the spring in KY. If possible, pregnant cows close to calving should be rotated onto clean pastures while cow-calf pairs remain on the old pasture. If calving in a barn or shed, the calving area should be kept as clean and dry as possible with frequent changes of bedding to remove the build-up of organisms. Make every effort to get the cow and newborn calf out of the barn quickly to lessen the chances of infection.

Scours can be devastating on a herd from calf loss, poor production, and more. However, remember that calf scours can be prevent by vaccines, clean environment, and proper nutrition. Information was obtained from Dr. Arnold, University of Kentucky Ruminant Extension Veterinarian.

11/16/2016


Does Your Horse Have Enough Hay?

Winter is almost here, and if you’re a horse owner, you should already be preparing your winter hay supplies. One questions, I usually receive is “How hay will I need?” My answer will never be simple. Every horse will have different nutritional requirements depending on use stage of life, but for this article I will focus on a mature horse at light work.

A mature horse at light work to maintenance should be receiving mainly a forage-based diet, and a 1,100-pound horse eats around 2 percent of its body weight. That equals 22 pounds of hay per day. Feeding for 120 days, December through March would equal 1.3 tons of hay per horse. That is a nitty-gritty estimate for finding how much hay is needed.

You can do a few things to make the best of your hay inventory. A feed test is a good idea and can get you started in making the best use of the nutrients supplied by hay and supplements. If you are unsure about how to take a sample for a hay test, you can contact the Henry County Extension Office for help.

Remember to feed the amount your horse needs each day. That essentially means taking some control over the feed intake. Feeding free choice can result in your horses eating more than they need each day to meet their nutritional needs. This can be a difficult task for those who are using hay rolls rather than square-bales.

Use a suitable feeder for your horses to limit waste. Feeding on the ground can result in significant losses of feed. Researchers, using square-bale hay fed in controlled amounts, reported waste in the range of 20 percent, while others, feeding roll-bale hay without a feeder, reported waste in the 35 to 38 percent range. In that case, horse owners would need at least a half ton more hay per horse.
And finally, when you are buying hay, purchase the best quality hay possible.

As the feeding season progresses, monitor your horses to make sure they are maintaining body condition and adjust feed as needed. If you are short on hay, you may need to feed some concentrate to provide all the nutrients your horses require.

If you estimate correctly, you should have some hay left when spring grass finally arrives. It is better to have some leftover than to run out in March.

For more information on winter hay feeding, contact the Henry County Cooperative Extension Service at 502-845-2811.

11/9/2016


Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD)

The Food and Drug Administration is amending its animal drug regulations regarding veterinary feed directive drugs. This new rule limits “medically important antimicrobial drugs” to the treatment, control, and prevention of disease, but does not allow weight gain or feed efficiency claims. This rule also states that the use of medically important antimicrobials will have veterinary oversight. This means that you will not be able to purchase over-the-counter medicated feeds for livestock without having a Veterinary Feed Directive. These regulations officially take effect on January 1st, 2017. Some of the drugs transitioning from over-the-counter to VFD status include; chlortetracycline, hygromycin, lincomycin, oxytetracycline, penicillin, sulfadimethoxine, tylosin, and virginiamycin.

You might be asking “What is a VFD and how to do I get one?” A VFD is a written (nonverbal) statement issued by a licensed veterinarian in the course of the veterinarian’s professional practice that authorizes the use of a VFD drug or combination VFD drug in or on an animal feed. This statement authorizes the client (the owner of the animals) to obtain and use animal feed bearing or containing a VFD drug or combination VFD. The FVD is basically a prescription that can only be used on livestock stated on the VFD, and must be updated after the expiration of the VFD.

These new guidelines seem daunting especially if you have used medicated feed in the past, but now is the time to be speaking with your veterinarian if you use products such as Aureomycin or medicated mineral. Information was obtained from Dr. Michelle Arnold, DVM (UK Ruminant Veterinarian). For the exact wording of the VFD, please the FDA’s Website at: http://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/DevelopmentApprovalProcess/ucm071807.htm

11/02/2016


Tips to Pest Proof Your Home

With the colder temperatures, the inevitable pest invasion is starting to happen. Bugs, insects, and many other crawlers are moving from the cold outside temperatures into your home looking for warmer temperatures. This migration of insects happens every fall and winter, but hopefully, using the tips below, you can alleviate some of those pest from entering your home.

• Install door sweeps and thresholds at the base of all exterior entry doors. Gaps of 1/16 inch or less is still enough space for insects to enter under the doors. A good door sweep or threshold will close that gaps preventing insects from crawling under doors.
• Seal opening around windows, doors, fasica boards, and utility openings. All of these areas are common entry points for insects and can easily be plugged. Plug holes with either cement, caulk, urethane expandable foam, steel wool, copper mesh, or other sealants.
• Install -inch wire mesh over attic, roof and crawl space vents. This mesh will prevent insect from entering these areas, but still allows ample air movement. Also, the mesh will prevent other pest such as birds, rodents, bats, and other wildlife from entering your attics and crawl spaces.
• Fix window and door screens. Any tear in a window or door screen will allow numerous amounts of insects in entering the house when doors and windows are opened.
• Consider applying an exterior (barrier) treat with insecticides. Insecticides should be the final step in pest prevention. A long lasting insecticide with synthetic pyrethroids will have the greatest positive effect for homeowners, and a synthetic pyrethroid insecticide can be found at most hardware or agricultural stores. Just make sure to spray around all exterior doors, windows, garage doors, crawl space entrances, around foundation vents, and up under the siding.

Using these tips, hopefully you can prevent insects from entering your house this winter. It is never a good situation when you are constantly trying to remove pest from your house. Just remember, prevention is key to keeping your house pest free. Information was obtained from Michael F. Potter, Extension Entomologist for the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture (Publication ENTFACT-641

10/26/2016


Do You Have A Sinkhole Problem?

Occasionally, I will have a question about sinkholes, and how to handle them. Before I get started on how to handle a sink hole, remember to NEVER USE SINKHOLES AS A DUMPING SITE! First, what is a sink hole? A sink hole is where surface water and ground water is interconnected. This means that surface water runoff flows into sinkholes and sinking streams recharging the groundwater. In most cases the water movement causes erosion of the soil and bedrock under the soil. Also, it is extremely easy for groundwater to be contaminated by pollutes coming through the sinkholes.

Probably the easiest way to protect a sinkholes is with a vegetation buffer. The vegetation will buffer out contaminants in storm water runoff before it reaches the bottom of the sinkhole. Also the roots help stabilize the rim of the sinkhole and slow erosion. The best vegetation buffers include grasses, bushes, and trees.

In some cases, stabilization may be needed. The surface runoff erodes soil from the sinkhole surface and carries it underground. This means that the sinkhole can weaken and start to collapse. When this happens, it is important to stabilize the sinkhole without sealing it off. A common way to stabilize a sinkhole is to excavate the bottom of the sinkhole down to bedrock. Fill the sinkhole with a layer of rocks large enough to bridge the gap and provide a foundation for backfill. Then fill the rest of the sinkhole completely with shot rock and large gravel, and expect settling to occur. NEVER CAP A SINKHOLE!

For sinkholes in pastures and grain fields, exclusion is key. Exclusion of livestock, equipment, and people by a fence is extremely important. This prevents livestock and equipment from potentially becoming stuck in the sinkhole. Also the fence, will assist in the preventing manure and other pollutants from entering the sinkhole. Fences should be places 25ft from the opening of the sinkholes. Also, pesticide and fertilizer storage should be at least 100ft from the nearest sinkhole.

Sinkholes can be a hassle to manage and control. However, remember that you should never use a sinkhole as a dumping ground, and a fence can be a lifesaver. If you have further questions, you can contact the Henry County Extension Office at 502-845-2811. Information about this article was obtained from University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service Publication AEN-109.

10/19/2016


Are You Keeping Up with Wild Game Food Safety?

In the past month, I have talked about hunting safety, and this week, I want to discuss a topic most hunters ignore or don’t pay attention to, food safety. You might be thinking, “Why are you talking about food safety and hunting? Doesn’t food safety only pertain to food you buy from the store, and food you cook?” Well, yes food safety is extremely important while buying food or cooking food, but food safety is even more important with wild game because that wild game will be making its way to your table.

Everyone hears news stories talking about food poisoning or out breaks of salmonellae or E. coli, but for some reason, some hunters disregard the safety of their wild game. At the local gas station or restaurant, it is common sight to see that big buck being displayed all day for all to see when in 65 degrees weather, but no one thinks about what is happening to the meat.

The first step to proper handling of your wild game is during field processing and prevent bacteria contamination. The first thing to think about is temperature. Anytime, meat is above 40 degrees F, bacteria grow rapidly, so that carcass needs to be chilled as quickly as possible to prevent bacteria growth. Chilling is usually the easiest directly after field processing, and below are a few other tips to help prevent bacteria growth and potential food poisoning.

• Remove Intestines as soon as possible, but be sure to not cut the intestines because the intestines have naturally bacteria growing in them.
• Wear disposable gloves to prevent potential bacteria contamination from you to the animal or animal to you.
• Wash hands and arms thoroughly with soap and water before and after dressing.
• DO NOT USE STREAM OR POND WATER TO RINSE THE CARCASS OR HANDS!
• Always use a clean knife before field dressing, and be sure to thoroughly clean your knife after field dressing your wild game.
• Prevent and clean all dirt, insects, hair, and other contamination from entering the carcass when dragging or carrying the animal because bacteria is found on about everything in nature.
• Be sure to remove the anus (and vulva if female) during field dressing. In some cases, a plastic bag and rubber bands can be used to tie off the large colon preventing feces from coming in contact with the meat.
• Try to dry the inside of the carcass with paper towels or plenty of air flow during transport
• And again, CHILL THE CARCASS with ice packs or snow placed in resealable bags, so the carcass is chilled below 40 degrees F.
Field dressing is the first extremely important step to keeping your wild game safe while traveling to a butcher shop or to your home for processing. Please do not let food safety slip your mind because it could be the difference between the perfectly, prepared dinner and food poisoning. Information was obtained from Penn State Extension publication “Proper Field Dressing and Handling of Wild Game and Fish”.

10/03/2016


Frost and Forages

Harvest is well under way for many crops, and winter prep is starting. One precaution to watch is potential frosts. The National Weather Service for Louisville, KY states that the average first fall frost is around the end of October, but a frost can come at any time.

After a light frost, certain forages and plants can bring the threat of prussic acid (cyanide) poisoning to livestock. Plants such as sorghum, sudangrass, sorghum-sudan hybrids, johnsongrass, wild cherry, and others can contain cyanide-producing compounds. Prussic acid poisoning causes rapid death in livestock, and livestock can show signs of prussic acid poisoning just 15 minutes after starting to graze the plants after a light frost. Other signs of toxicity include fast breathing, anxiety, trembling, downed animals, convulsions, bright red blood, and frothing at the mouth. Prussic acid poisoning is very similar to nitrate poisoning, but animals with prussic acid poisoning have bright red blood, whereas animals poisoned with nitrates have dark, chocolate-colored blood. If you see these signs, call a veterinarian immediately because prussic acid poisoning can kill livestock extremely quickly.

After a light freeze or you suspect prussic acid, do not graze wilted plants, twisted plants or plants with young tillers for around two weeks. However, plants susceptible to producing prussic acid can be chopped, ensiled or baled, but wait at least 6-8 weeks to feed it to your livestock. For reassurance analyze your suspect forages before feeding by using a cyanide field test kit or have samples tested by a certified lab. The University of Kentucky Veterinarian Diagnostic Lab can test forages for prussic acids, and cyantesmo test strips are available to do a quick field test for prussic acid.

If you have these plants in your pastures, just keep a watchful eye and anticipate if a frost is coming. Forages such as sorghum-sudan hybrids and sudangrasses provide excellent forages, but just make sure to keep your livestock away from them after a light frost. Finally, remember to contact your veterinarian immediately if you suspect prussic acid poisoning in your animals. For further questions, please contact the Henry County Extension Office at 502-845-2811. Information for this article was obtained from the University of Kentucky Master Grazer Educational Program October 2011 Article.

9/26/2016


Grain Bin Safety

Crop harvest is upon us, and we didn’t expect it is be here this early. I love seeing the combines and grain carts working hard to have all grain out of the field. In many cases, a large sum of grain is stored in large grain bins until shipped for sale. Grain bins are extremely beneficial, but can be extremely dangerous.

Growing up, I thought, “How dangerous could a grain bin be?” Well, the answer is very dangerous. If trapped inside the bin, you can be easily pulled under like quicksand and suffocate in the grain. Also it is extremely easy to be caught is working augers, and loss arms, legs, or your life. Below is a few tips to protect yourself while around grain bins.

• Use a long wooden pole to break up crusted grain from the top instead of getting in the bin.
• Wear a harness attached to a properly secured rope if you have to be in the grain bin.
• If you fall in the bin full of grain, stay near the outer wall of the bin and keep walking if the grain should start to flow.
• Try to have at least one person helping load or unload grain in the case that you are entrapped.
• Wear an appropriate dust filter or filter respirator while working around or in the grain bin. The grain fines and dust could cause difficulty breathing.
• Stay out of grain bins, wagons, and grain trucks when unloading equipment is running.
• Turn off augers if you must work inside of the grain bin, and lock out any unloading equipment to prevent someone from unintentionally starting the equipment while you are in the bin.
• Children should never be allowed to play in or around grain bins, wagons, or grain trucks because children can easily be entrapped in the grain or augers.
• Where possible, install ladders inside grain bins in case of emergencies.

These are just a few tips to protect yourself while working around grain bins. Entrapments can be devastating, but can be avoided. If you have further safety questions, please contact the Henry County Extension Office at 502-845-2811. Information was obtained from the University of Illinois Extension publication “Grain Bin Safety”.

9/16/2016


Further Aftermath of the Emerald Ash Borer

I know I’ve written and talked about the emerald ash borer (EAB) throughout the past year, but I just wanted to give a few warnings and updates. The emerald ash borer has caused significant damage to Henry County’s forest, and especially, when our forest can be made up of mostly ash trees, this pest is still a considerable threat.

Through field visits and speaking with the Kentucky Division of Forestry, the emerald ash borer is still here, and can be found destroying ash trees as small as just a few inches in diameter. Unfortunately, most of our ash trees are already dead, and causing problems.

Since the beetle arrival, dead ash trees are starting to break halfway up in the canopy, and crashing to the ground. I just want to warn everyone to be extremely careful while enjoying the great outdoors. The rotting and dead ash trees are falling during each storm and high wind occasion, and I do not want to count the number of ash that are falling on fences, houses, roads, and barns because of brittle, decaying wood. If you have dead ash, be extremely cautious when cutting them, or hire professionals to cut those dead ash. Just remember to have a wary eye while in the forest due to dead ash trees.

If you are lucky to have a living ash tree, there are a few insecticides that will prevent the emerald ash borer from killing the tree. However, certain insecticides only work with certain stages of the trees life. Smaller trees can use soil injections or drenches with either Imidacloprid or dinotefuran. These soil drench insecticides can be purchased at some farm stores, but for larger trees, a truck injectable insecticides is warranted. Azadirachtin, imidacloprid, and emamectin benzoate have been shown to be effective against the emerald ash borer, but may require a commercial pesticide applicator to treat your ash trees. Again, these insecticides only work with healthy ash trees that have not been extensively damaged by the emerald ash borer.

I hate seeing the aftermath of the emerald ash borer, but I want everyone to be safe around dead and dying ash trees. If you are in the woods, please keep a watchful eye on the ash trees around you. It is scary how many ash trees are falling each day, so please be safe. Information was obtained from the “Insecticide Options for Protecting Ash Trees from Emerald Ash Borer”.

9/9/2016


Be Safe While Hunting

This summer seemed to fly by, and I am completely fine with summer’s end. Summer’s end means my favorite season, Fall, is here. Fall brings bountiful harvests, but also brings my favorite hunting seasons. Since a child, Fall is when I started becoming restless with never ending thoughts of being in the woods. The woods has always been where I go to relax and reflect, and know many other individuals like me that crave to be in a treestand or sitting below a big oak tree. However, while thoughts of that big buck or first squirrel keeps our anticipation high, we as hunters sometimes forget the basics of hunting etiquette and safety. Below is a list of quick reminders to think about before you enter the woods.

• Always follow the hunting regulations set by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife
• Do not trespass on private land unless you have hunting permission from the landowner, and confirm hunting permissions on private land
• Be courteous to other hunters in the area.
• Always were blaze orange during rifle and muzzleloader season
• Always keep your firearm or bow pointed in a safe direction
• Make sure not to shoot towards houses, buildings, livestock, and other potential hunters.
• Make sure your firearm or bow is in proper working order before heading to the field
• Always identify your target before you make a shot
• Finally, never were white while deer hunting!
I think this may be the quickest checklist for hunting that has ever been made, but the information is warranted. Just remember to put safety first because everyone deserves to have a safe hunt and enjoy the amazing outdoors. Finally, best of luck to everyone enjoying

9/2/2016


Are You Ready to Feed Hay?

Fall is almost here which means preparations for winter is among us. Around fall, I always receive this question, “I need to know the cheapest feed for my livestock?” My answer will always be, “You already have it on your property.” In case of most livestock, a good quality hay will be the cheapest and best feed for you animals. Frankly, most of the hay produced in the county is of excellent quality. However, the biggest factor is that hay is easily wasted which cost you money. Two factors to keep in mind is feeding methods and types of feeders.

As for feeding methods, there are numerous ways to feed hay, but try to never feed your animals in one location unless you feed on a high traffic geotextile pad. Animals will eventually start degrading the soil around the hay fed in one area, and then the animals will start trampling the hay into the mud. Also, mud drastically reduces the animals feed efficiency. Also reduce hay waste by only feeding enough hay for one day. This will reduce the amount of hay leftover, and the animals will clean up the hay quicker.

I always try to persuade producers to use some type of feeder when feeding hay. Without feeders, animals will start to trample and bed down in the hay. This simply means your animals are literally wasting money. Any barrier that keeps the animals out of the hay is beneficial, but cone feeders have shown to reduce hay waste by 43% as compared to hay rings. Other studies have shown that hay rings with sheet metal prevents waste because fallen hay cannot be trampled by the livestock.

Hay can be one of the cheapest and most beneficial feeds for your animals, but if your animals waste their hay, you are losing money. Just remember to rotate your feeding areas and always use some type of feeder or barrier. Information was obtained from the University of Kentucky Master Grazer Publication “Minimizing Hay Waste while Feeding”. Please call the Henry County Extension Office at 502-845-2811 if you have further questions about reducing hay waste.

8/26/2016


Protecting Our Livestock: Biosecurity Tips

Every livestock producer, from poultry to cattle and everything in between, wants to prevent disease outbreaks on their farms. Disease prevention should be the first focus of keeping a healthy flock or herd, and this is where biosecurity comes into play. Ohio State University defines biosecurity as measures taken to keep disease agents out of populations, herds, or groups of animals where they do not already exist. Biosecurity just doesn’t apply to the large livestock industries but also to the small livestock producers and visitors to a farm. Below are a few tips to prevent diseases from reaching your animals.

Biosecurity Do’s:

• Wear disposable boots or rubber boots that can be disinfected
• Wash clothing and footwear after visiting/leaving a farm
• Isolate and quarantine new livestock for at least two weeks
• Encourage visitors to follow biosecurity measures
• Ask visitors to provide information about farm and animal contacts to determine if they are safe to visit your farm
• Discourage handling of animals by visitors.
• Prevent livestock and wild animal contact especially wild birds.
• Have all family and friends practice biosecurity measures around your animals

Biosecurity Don’ts:

• Travel from farm to farm without disinfecting clothing, boots, equipment, and vehicles
• Wear items, such as jewelry, watches, glasses, or hairpieces, when working around animals, since these items cannot be successfully disinfected.
• Bring back meat or animal products or equipment used around foreign livestock or poultry
• Allow friends or visitors around your animals if they have been in contact with other livestock in the past 72 hours.
Prevention is the greatest tool in disease management. It is much easier to prevent diseases rather than trying to cure or eradicate a disease from your herd. The above information was received from APHIS Veterinary Services, February 2002 Factsheet, and for further biosecurity measures please contact the Henry County Extension office at (502) 845-2811.

8/19/2016


Garden and Fruit Sanitation

I know that I have written about this topic last year, but after this summer, I feel garden and fruit sanitation needs to be discussed again. This year has presented us with increased disease pressure to fruit production and gardens, and the main cause is our wet, humid summer. This climate is perfect for the development of many fungal and bacterial diseases. This summer, fungal infections have greatly outnumbered bacterial infections. Frankly, the first and best step to preventing future diseases is sanitation.

Sanitation is essential to protecting next year’s crop because most fungi and bacteria will winter on plant material, and if that plant material lays around until next year, you are too late. Below is a list of tips to insure proper sanitation.

• Remove all diseased plant tissue and plants. As stated above, many fungi and bacteria produce pathogens and can survive the winter on diseased plants. All diseased tissue should be either burned, buried, or bagged for trash. This insures that all pathogens are removed. Refrain from composting diseased material because most composts do not reach high enough temperatures to kill the pathogen.
• Disinfect tools used to prune. Even the act of moving from area to area can spread diseases, and gardening tools are perfect with assisting in disease spread. Common commercial sanitizers work well, or use a solution of 10% Lysol disinfectant, 10% bleach, or rubbing alcohol between uses.
• Discard fallen leaves, buds, prunings, fruit mummies, and culled plants. Even if the leaves look fine, overwintering pathogens may continue to multiply by producing spores, and those spores can affect next year’s plants.
• Remove weeds. Weeds serve as host for many plant disease, so removing those weed hosts will assist in preventing the pathogen from overwintering.

Just remember, now is the time to start thinking about next year’s crop. This year’s disease pressure has shown what can happen, and proper sanitation can assist in preventing future diseases. Information was obtained from UK Cooperative Extension Publication PPFS-Gen-05. Also if you have further sanitation questions, please contact the Henry County Extension Office at 502-845-2811.

8/12/2016


Soil Sampling

Last week, I wrote about seeding and establishing cool season forages, and I briefly mentioned soil sampling. I should have started out with soil sampling instead of planting because of the shear importance of soil sampling.

Soil samples can be a farmer’s, homeowner’s, or a landowner’s best friend. Soil sampling will allow the land owner to know exactly how much of a nutrient is in their soil. Most soil samples will tell pH, phosphorus levels, potassium levels, and a few micronutrient levels. This is important because there is no guessing game on how much fertilizer or lime is needed to be applied. In many cases, soil sampling could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars because you will only apply what needed.

A soil sample is comprised of a small soil sample to represent a large field, yawn, and such. Most soil test only need about a pound of soil, but sample amount depends on the laboratory specifications. A soil sample can be taken anytime throughout the year, but the fall and spring is the best times to collect your samples. Just remember to have your sample tested early to ensure you have fertilizer/lime results before the growing season.

Soil samples are extremely easy to take. First, you need to know which fields you need to sample, and only use one soil sample to represent no more than 20 acres. I like to break fields by either slope, soil type, cropping history, or past management techniques. I do this because nutrients will fluctuate from the top of a hill to the bottom and previous crop, and one soil sample may not be accurate for one whole field. To actually take the soil sample, a soil probe or spade can be used. Just take multiple random 4” cores (around 10 and above) around the field/area you want to sample. Collect those cores in a bucket and mix thoroughly. This method allows for the best representation of soil from that field or area, and that is the key.

Just remember, if you have pastures, lawns, or crop fields, test your soil. The Henry County Extension office does submit soil samples to the University of Kentucky Soil Labs and has soil probes take can be borrowed. Samples are usually completed within two weeks, and the Henry County Extension office will provide up to 10 free soil samples that have been taken from the county. If you have more questions about soil samples, feel free to contact the Henry County Extension office at 502-845-2811. Information was obtained from UK Cooperative Extension Service publication AGR-16.

8/5/2016


Seeding Forage Crops

In my short time as an extension agent in Kentucky and Indiana, I can always count of at least 20 to 30 calls in March asking about seeding forages for livestock. However, the best time to seed cool season grasses and many legumes is actually in the fall. Each grass or legume species has different specifications on planting depth, seeding date, and seeding rate, but the first step to a great stand is a soil test. Remember the Henry County Extension Office offers 10 free samples to residents of Henry County, and test usually take between one to two weeks to return.

After you have your soil test done and you know how much fertilizer or lime you need to add, it is time to start thinking about plantings. There are few different ways to plant, either by preparing a seed bed by tilling or my favorite, a no-till drill. The no-till drill is extremely effective if it is calibrated to the proper seeding depth, and seed is planted with minimal disturbance to the soil. Tilling the ground then cultipacking then broadcast seeding works well, but you may experience high amounts of erosion to your freshly till soil if rain occurs.

After having the soil tested, applying fertilizer, and knowing how you are going to plant, it is now time to start planting. Below is a list of common legumes and cool season grasses with planting dates, planting rates, and seeding depth.

Alfalfa – Aug 1st-Sep 15th, 15-20 lbs seed per acre, and plant - inches deep
Red Clover - Aug 1st-Sep 15th, 8-12 lbs seed per acre, and plant - inches deep
White Clover - Aug 1st-Sep 15th, 1-3 lbs seed per acre, and plant inch deep
Fescue - Aug 20th-Oct 1st, 15-25 lbs seed per acre, and plant - inches deep
Kentucky Bluegrass - Aug 15th-Sep 15th, 10-15 lbs seed per acre, and plant inch deep
Orchardgrass - Aug 20th-Sep 20tg, 15-20 lbs seed per acre, and plant - inches deep

Above is a quick guide for seeding dates, seeding rates, and seeding depths, but also speak with your seed consultant because some varieties of the same forages could have different specifications for planting. If you have further questions please contact the Henry County Extension Office at 502-649-5342, and have a happy planting. Information was obtained from UK Cooperative Extension Service publication AGR-18.

7/29/2016


Target Spot and Frogeye in Tobacco

The wet, humid weather has not been easy for many tobacco crops. Many crops have been starting to show considerable damage due to target spot and frogeye. Both of these diseases are caused by true fungi unlike water molds such as black shank and blue mold. In many cases, foliar fungicide applications may be necessary for effective management.

Both target spot and frogeye start showing signs in the oldest leaves of the plants. Early signs can look extremely similar between both diseases. However, during rainy conditions, target spots with expand while frogeye stay small. Frogeye will many times have small white centers within the lesions, and target spots will develop rings within the spot.

As stated before, chemical management is effective against both diseases. The most common fungicide used is Quadris, and now is the time to spray (4 to 6 weeks after setting tobacco). Research has also shown that drop nozzles have been most effective, but remember that high rates of quadris can burn your tobacco. Follow the label because it is the law. If you have more information, please contact the Henry County Extension Office at 502-845-2811. Information was obtained from Dr. Emily Pfeufer, University of Kentucky Extension Plant Pathologist.

7/22/2016


Monitoring and Controlling Thrips on Soybean Fields

I will say that at least planting is finished, but now the fun aspect of monitoring your soybean crops for insects and weeds. One insect that has been found in fields so far are thrips. Thrips are tiny, slender insects (less than 1/16 inch long) with characteristic fringed or bristled wings. Thrips can be an extreme problem because thrips scrap the epidermis of the soybean leaf and then suck the plants fluids. This action can significantly stunt plant growth and seed development. Damaged leaves will have a silver coloration and after close inspection, black spots can be found on leaves.

Thrips can cause a lot of damage in soybean fields, but scouting and monitoring should be the first thing to do. In many cases, a 10-times handheld magnification lens or a 10-times headband magnification visor is needed to find the tiny insects and properly identify the insects. Even though thrips have been found, it doesn’t mean insecticides should be the mode of action. Insecticides should only be used when plants are under drought stress, 75% of leaflets examined are damaged, and the average number of thrips per trifoliate leaf is greater than eight.

If your soybeans have all three conditions, insecticides can help. Insecticides with active ingredients such as acephate, lambda cyhalothrin, and cypermethrin have been known to be affective thrip control.

Thrips can be a problem in soybeans, but remember scouting is key. Know exactly how your soybeans are doing before spraying. Information was obtained from Raul Villanueve, University of Kentucky Extension Entomologist.

7/11/2016


Tobacco Blue Mold Moving Up the East Coast

I will say, at least the tobacco is in the ground. For a little while, it seemed like the daunting task of planting tobacco would never come, but luckily, the weather gave us a window. However, now a formidable tobacco enemy has been detected moving up the East Coast. The University of Kentucky Plant Diagnostic Lab messaged a warning that blue mold has been found in North Carolina. The diagnostic lab stated that Eastern Kentucky should be more concerned, but all tobacco growers should scout their field for blue mold.

Blue mold causes yellow to orange spots on the tops of lower leaves, and blue-gray, fuzzy sporulation will be found on the underside of the leaf. Our humid weather has allow for sporulation to be more abundant, and wind can carry spores from plant to plant. Areas in particular to scout are low spots, areas with partial shade, lower leaves, and slowing draining fields.

Luckily, there is some control for blue mold. Fungicides such as Quadris, Revus, Forum, Manzate, Orondis Ultra, Actigard, Aliette, and Presidio are good options for managing the disease. For additional information, contact the Henry County Extension office at 845-2811 or look at the 2016 Fungicide Guide for Burley and Dark Tobacco (PPFS-AG-T-08). Information was obtained from Emily Pfeufer, University of Kentucky Extension Plant Pathologist.

7/1/2016


Managing Ticks in Pastures

This year has been horrible for ticks, and recently I have been receiving quite a few calls about managing ticks in pastures. With this weather, livestock are struggling with ticks. Below are a few tips for trying to keep your livestock safe from ticks:

• Mow and Remove Brush from Pastures: This is important because ticks require high humidity and protection from direct sunlight. Ticks are able to be protected by the high grasses and brush, so trimming pastures removes part of their habitat. Also, removing brush and trimming pastures removes habitats of tick host such as small mammals. Without places to hide, the small mammals are more likely to move out of the pastures.

• Total Field Broadcast Insecticides Sprays May Not Be Justified: Spraying whole fields could be a major hassle and expensive. However, spraying swaths along wooded areas and fence rows after mowing may be useful. For example, some carbaryl products are labeled for tick control in pastures, but be sure to check pesticide labels for tick control and grazing restrictions.

• Insecticide Sprays and Tags May Help: Insecticide sprays and tags have been out for a while, and provide good tick prevention for the animals. These products help prevent new ticks from attaching, but have minimal effect on ticks that are already attached. This being said, insecticide sprays have to be applied often throughout the summer to provide tick protection. The insecticide-impregnated tags will help keep the ticks out of animals’ ears, but unfortunately do not protect other areas of the animals.

As I’ve stated before, ticks have been a problem this year, but like most insect pests, prevention is key. Information was obtained from Dr. Lee Townsend, University of Kentucky Extension Entomologist.

6/27/2016


The Spring/Summer of Plant Diseases

Is your garden and fruit trees struggling? If they aren’t, you might be one of the lucky few in the state of Kentucky. This year’s weather has played havoc on vegetables and fruit crops. The wet, cool spring and wet, hot summer has become the perfect conditions for plant diseases. The Kentucky Plant Disease Diagnostic lab has been processing numerous samples, and released a report of the most viewed disease this year. Some of those diseases include anthracnose, common leaf spot, fire blight, leaf blight, cedar-apple rust, Pythium root rot, and fusarium. Most of these diseased are caused by bacteria or fungi, and unfortunately, prevention is about the only measure for controlling these diseases. The weather has created perfect growing conditions for these bacteria and fungi, and they have damaged most crops. The Henry County Extension office can assist you with disease control or identification of plant diseases. Overall, don’t be discouraged if your garden doesn’t look the best because just about everyone in Kentucky is struggling this year.

6/17/2016


Safe Handling of Poultry and Other Animal

Most times when we hear about safe handling of livestock, we think about the safety of the animals. However, many times we don’t think about our own safety in regards to diseases, bacteria, and such. Livestock such as poultry, horses, ruminants, and others have digestive systems that can convert forages into usable nutrients, and this is possible because of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa living in the intestinal tracts of those animals. These microorganisms breakdown complex plant material such as cellulose into high energy compounds, and use those compounds for growth, lactation, or gestation. However, it is easy for this microorganisms to be passed through the animal’s intestinal tract, and can be found in the animal’s manure.

Manure from livestock and other animals can contain some nasty microorganisms that can cause serious infections in humans, and can cause extreme ailments. The recent outbreaks of salmonella is a harsh reminder of how easy these ailments can happen. The salmonella outbreaks happened because individuals were not using proper personal hygiene, and were snuggling and kissing their backyard poultry friends. Numerous diseases like salmonella are easily transmitted to humans through contact with fecal matter, and fecal matter could be hanging on the animal’s hair, fur, feathers, feet, and many more areas. If handling animals, be sure to use proper personal hygiene after handling your animals, and sanitize your hands to kill bacteria.

The easiest way to protect yourself is to wash your hands, and prevent animal fecal matter from touching your skin, mouth, and eyes. This means that washing your hands is extremely important, and make sure to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soup. While washing your hands, be sure to wash each part of your hands from under finger nails to your wrists. Every inch of your hands need to be washed. If running water isn’t present, use an antibacterial hand sanitizer or wipes. This will at least give you a good chance of killing potential harmful bacteria. Also, children should always be monitored while they are around animals. As many of us know, children love to put anything and everything is their mouths, and that is an extremely easy way for kids to contract certain diseases.

I understand everyone loves their animals and livestock, but be sure to protect yourself. Personal hygiene is easy and can prevent you from obtaining a nasty disease caused by bacteria. Also, be sure to monitor children around animals because most bacterial infection cases are children, so be safe by washing yours and your children’s hands. Information was obtained from Jacqueline Jacob, UK Extension Poultry Project Manager.

6/10/2016


Why Use a Rain Barrel?

I know rain has been a problem this year from mowing lawns, making hay, planting gardens, transplanting tobacco, and planting row crops. However, what if you could put that rain to work? One way individuals are utilizing rain water is by collecting it in rain barrels, and using the collected rain water when rain becomes scarce in the summer months.

Rain barrels offer a number of benefits such as helping reduce storm water runoff and potentially protecting home’s, barn’s and other structure’s foundations. Rain barrels collect the water that runs off of impervious surfaces such as rooftops, parking lots, and roads. After collections, the rainwater can be used to water lawns and gardens, rinse tools, supply water for ornamental ponds, and sometimes even watering livestock.

Rain barrels can be purchased from home and garden stores from $100 to $300, but they can easily be built at home for a fraction of the cost. Materials such as plastic food-grade drums and tubing make up the essential items needed. Barrels can range from 55 gallons to thousands of gallons. If watering livestock, I strongly urge you to use some sort of filtering system, and do not water livestock with storm water that might contain pesticides and manure. The Henry County Extension office has in depth instructions if you are looking are thinking about building a rain barrel, but the ultimate design is up to you.

Rain barrels can be an extremely useful tool to have around your homes and farms, and they are a great way to prevent large amounts of water runoff around structures. Please contact the Henry County Extension office at 502-845-2811 if you have questions about rain barrels. Information was obtained from UK Cooperative Extension Service Publication HENV-201.

Photo obtained from Greg and Kathy Gephart, Smithfield, KY

6/3/16


Farm Safety Tips for Stormy Weather

I feel like I am constantly talking about the weather, whether outside it is wet weather, dry weather, snow, ice, or sunshine. Weather is always a topic of conversation. Today, I want to talk about stormy weather. Stormy weather can bring heavy rains, flash floods, lightning strikes, strong winds, hail and tornados. Since no one can predict future weather patterns, it is difficult to prepare for what might come. However, the largest precaution is just being aware of the weather, and knowing when to find shelter.

Did you know the average lightning strike can provide enough energy to keep a 100-watt light bulb burning for more than three months? Lightning is probably the biggest risk during the stormy weather, and produces a large amount of energy. Seek shelter after seeing the lightning strike or hearing thunder. You can predict the distance of the storm to you by listening to the thunder. Every five seconds from the lightning strike to the sound of thunder is one mile. However, still find shelter when lightning is close. Appropriate shelters could be homes, hard-top vehicles with closed windows, and other completely enclosed structures. Avoid picnic shelters, sports dugouts, covered patios, carports, and small wooden, vinyl, or metal sheds. If you see lightning, use common sense and put down anything made of metal, especially golf clubs.

Different issues may occur if you are on the farm because of un-ground wires, electric fences, ponds, moist soils, pipes, and such. Ungrounded wire fences can put livestock at risk, because lightning can travel almost two miles along an ungrounded fence. According to the National Ag Safety Database, you can ground wooden or steel posts that are set in concrete by driving -inch or inch steel rods or pipes next to fence posts at least 5 feet into the ground, at intervals of no more than 150 feet along the fence. You should securely fasten the grounding rods so that all the fence wires come into contact with them. You can also substitute galvanized steel fence posts for wooden posts at intervals of no more than 150 feet. You should not however, ground electric fences in this manner, because they have a direct path to the ground in their circuitry.

Poor weather can play havoc, but just remember to be safe when lightning is striking around you. If you have further questions, contact the Henry County Extension Office at 502-845-2811. Information was obtained from Tom Priddy, UK Agricultural Meterologist, National Weather Service, National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, National Ag Safety Database.

5/27/2016


Pesticide Container Disposal

The weather this year is just as unpredictable as last year, and that means pesticide applications have been affected. Each pesticide has a container, and it needs to be properly disposed. One of the most popular is recycling.

The most important step for a successful recycling is proper rinsing. Without proper rinsing, pesticides may still remain in the container, and potentially be harmful to others. A method called triple rinsing is a great way to help alleviate the risk of pesticides being left in the container. As it sounds, triple rinsing is swirling water around in the container and pouring the water/pesticide mixture into your spray tanks. Do this three times, and the container should be free of the pesticide.

Kentucky has a great Rinse and Return program that is still going on around areas, and Henry County Extension office will be hosting a Rinse and Return event on July 12th at the Henry County Extension Office. The Rinse and Return program is great because you can get rid of those pesticide containers, and you do not have them just laying around in barns or sheds. If you have questions, please contact the Henry County Extension Office at 502-845-2811.

5/23/2016


Mosquitoes

Controlling mosquitos is challenging to say the least. You may even think you are fighting a never-ending battle. With mosquito-borne diseases like the Zika virus becoming more prevalent, it’s even more important to know how to take control of these pests around your home environment. Learning to do a few simple things could help protect you from more than the itchiness of a mosquito bite.
All mosquitos need standing water to develop through their larval stages and that doesn’t necessarily mean a lake or pond. It also includes bird baths, kiddie pools and even discarded soda pop cans. The key to controlling them around your home is to stop them from breeding in the first place.

Some things you can do include:

• Drain and remove trash, bottles and any debris that holds water.
• Recycle any unused containers that could collect water, especially old tires.
• Change water weekly in bird baths, wading pools, watering troughs and animal bowls.
• Fill in holes, depressions and puddles in your yard.
• Make sure your culverts and ditches are draining properly.
• Check and clean out clogged gutters to ensure drainage.

5/13/2016


Warm Season Annuals

Right now, hay fields and pastures are lush and green, but what happens during June, July, and August? The summer slump starts for our cool season grasses. Right now our fescues, orchard grasses, and others are doing great, but when the summer heat starts, the cool season grasses just don’t produce. One potential way to overcome the summer slump is to incorporate warm season annuals into your forage system.

Warm season annuals such as sorghum, sudan-grass, sorghum X sudangrass hybrids, and millets grow extremely well during the summer months and provide a high quality forage for livestock. These warm season annuals thrive in the heat over 75 degrees F when other grasses are struggling. This is important because with warm season annuals, you will not have a break in growing forages, and most of the time you can obtain yields from 3 to 8 tons of forage per acre. Typical planting of warm season annuals takes place around the middle of May to early June.

These warm season annuals do provide excellent forages for livestock, but caution needs to applied for certain times of the year. Certain warm season annuals such as sorghum, sudangrass and sorghum X sudangrass can contain prussic acid and potentially cause nitrate poisoning in livestock. To prevent prussic acid and nitrate poisoning, do not graze these plants during and shortly after a draught or when plants are wilted. Also, do not graze these forages until they are 18 inches or taller.

Even with the potential of prussic acid or nitrate poisoning, proper management these warm season annuals provide excellent forages during the summer slump. Please contact the Henry County Extension office at 502-845-2811 if you would like further information about warm season annuals. Information was obtained from UKAg Master Grazer.

5/6/2016


Tick Season Is Here

I hope everyone had an excellent first week of turkey season, but I’m sure a few hunters had the same experience as me on opening day. As I was set up waiting for a gobbler to show up, I looked down and saw a tick crawling up my leg. A few minutes later, another tick, and ticks kept finding me as the day grew longer. By the end of the day, I had picked 16 ticks off of me and my hunting gear. Tick season is here, and you need to prepare yourself when in the outdoors.

Ticks can be found anywhere from tall grass fields, woodland areas, and your backyards. There are three common types of ticks in Kentucky; the Lone Star Tick, American Dog Tick, and Blacklegged Tick. These ticks will feed on humans, many mammals, and multiple birds, and can carry certain diseases. The lone star tick can transmit erlichiosis with signs of fever, headache, chills, muscle pain, and in some cases a rash. Symptoms appear 1 to 2 weeks after the bite from an infected tick. The American dog tick is a vector for Rocky Mountain spotted fever. In humans, infections usually begin as a sudden onset of fever and headache that appear from 2 to 14 days after feeding by an infected tick. The blacklegged tick is a vector for Lyme disease. Like the other disease, the tick must be attached and feed for at least 24 hours to transfer the pathogen.

Ticks can be nasty little creators, carrying many diseases, but you can protect yourself and pets from ticks potentially carrying diseases. Below is a list of tips that can you help you prevent tick bites.

• Wear light-colored clothing so ticks can be seen easily
• Tuck pants into socks and shirt into pants to keep ticks from reaching your skin.
• Avoid or minimize time in tick habitats
• Use personal protection – repellents (DEET or picaridin) or permethrin-based clothing sprays (Don’t spray permethrin on bare skin)
• Inspect your clothing and body regularly and remove ticks
• Take a warm soapy shower after potential tick exposure
• Wash clothing in hot water and detergent; store clothing in a sealed bag until it can be washed.
• Check dogs and other companion animals frequently and remove ticks as they are found. There are insecticides/repellents that can be used to prevent tick bites.

Even with the best prevention methods, ticks may still become attached to you. If so, be sure to correctly remove the ticks after it has attached. Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin surface as possible. Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Try not to use a twisting or unscrewing method, because the mouthparts of the tick might break off. Also, try not to use irritants such as gasoline or a hot match tip because that could cause the tick to salivate excessively and increase the chances for skin irritation and potential disease transmission.

Luckily in Kentucky, tick-borne disease incidences are very low, but you still need to take preventative measures to decrease the possiblity of being infected. See your physician if you are feeling symptoms of above disease, irritating rashes from a tick bites, or prolonged exposer to an attached tick. Information was obtained from Dr. Lee Townsend, UK Extension Entomologist, from the Kentucky Pest News.

4/22/2016


Are You Controlling Black Shank Effectively?

All around the county, you can see many smaller fields being tilled and prepared which means one thing; the tobacco season has started. Tobacco is still a large cash crop for many farmers in Henry County, and at times can be difficult to grow. Probably the most prevalent disease in Henry County is black shank.

Black shank is caused by a soil-borne fungus, Phytophthora nicotinanae. The first symptoms of black shank are usually yellowing and wilting of a few scattered plants, and first symptoms of black shank can easily be mistaken for drowning. However, black shank infected plants never recover, and the entire plant will wilt and turn a golden yellow. The lower stalk and root system of infected plants are usually black, hence the name “Black Shank”. The blackened area on the stalk is often sunken and extends severally inches above the soil line to the root system. Larger infected plants will often have a brown pith that is segmented into layers.

The biggest problem with black shank is controlling the pathogen because once the pathogen is in your soil, it can never be completely eradicated. This means, once it is there, it will always be there. For black shank control, prevention and management is key. One of the simplest management method is to rotate crops. Black shank pathogen survives and reproduces mainly on tobacco, so continuous planting of tobacco will lead to increased pathogen population over time. Crop rotations of 3 to 5 years has shown to provide the greatest impact, but even one year of crop rotation will significantly decrease the black shank pathogen.

Other management includes selecting proper field locations and water sources. Fields high in pH have been associated with increased disease, so high pH fields should be avoid if black shank has been found. Also, avoid planting on the downhill slopes of black shank infected fields, and make sure not to use water from ponds in black shank infected fields. The water or runoff from black shank infected fields is probably one of the easiest way of spreading the pathogen.

The final two control methods include using black shank resistant tobacco varieties and chemical control. Both methods can be extremely effective against black shank, but they are even more effective when combined with the above best management practices. There are numerous varieties on the market today that are very black shank resistant, and for exact varieties call the Henry County Extension Office at 502-845-2811. Finally, chemicals can be effective to control black shank, but should not be the only black shank control method. The two most common fungicides include mefenoxam and metalaxyl. These products can be used during pre-plant and post-plant, but only mefenoxam can be used in transplant water. Just make sure that you do follow the fungicide labels exactly because the label is the law.

Black shank can cause large tobacco losses, but it can be controlled. Just follow the best management practices, and be smart with varieties and fungicides. Please contact the Henry County Extension office if you need assistance in identifying black shank or controlling black shank. Information was obtained from UK Extension Publication ID-160 and University of Tennessee Extension Publication SP277-Q.

April 15, 2016


Spotted Wing Drosophila: What is it?

It seems like every week Ag agents around the state receive information about insects that damage fruit crops. In Kentucky, fruits are one of the hardest crops to raise because of diseases, growing conditions, animals, and insects. Frankly, it never gets easier. Today I want to talk about a pest that is plaguing many small fruit crops around the state, and that pest is the spotted wing drosophila (SWD).

The spotted wing drosophila is an invasive pest that lays eggs in many types of soft skinned fruits like small fruits and berries. The SWD is closely related to the common fruit fly that has been found in KY for a long time. However, the main difference between the common fruit fly and spotted wing drosophila is that the common fruit fly only lays eggs in damaged fruit. This means that the common fruit fly will search for fruit with ripped skin or lesions, and that is where it lays its eggs. The female SWD has a saw like ovipositor which rips into fruit, and then she lays her eyes. This is the main reason why fruit producers need to closely monitor SWD because no one wants to find a larva in their blueberries.

Spotted Wing Drosophila can easily be identified and monitored. The fly is pretty small at around 1/10 inch long with red eyes. However, with a magnifying glass, the flies can be identified. The male SWD have a dark wing sport and banding on its front legs. The female SWD can be identified by the saw-like ovipositor and wing cross veins (See attached pictures). Around here, SWD will start to show up around mid-summer, but only trapping can determine if SWD is here.

Many types of traps are effective such as apple cider vinegar and yeast/sugar traps. These traps should be placed in the dense part of the canopy, and monitored daily. Also the traps do not give an indication of how many SWD there are, only that SWD are present. Ric Bessin, of the University of Kentucky, is looking for commercial fruit growers to use his traps, so he can monitor SWD movement statewide. If you are interested, contact Ric at rbessin@uky.edu, and he will send you traps to use.

Control can be a challenge because of a wide range of fruits the SWD will target. Some control methods include; pick fruit often, don’t leave rotten fruit on the plant, remove wild host like pokeweed, mulberries, and honeysuckle, and chill fruit immediately after harvest to a temperature to almost freezing. These methods help, but during heavy infestations, insecticides might be needed.

Insecticidal control is effective, but difficult because the SWD has a life cycle of around 10 days. This means that a new generation of SWD can happen every 10 days, which could be around 12 generations a year. Insecticides need to be sprayed every 7 days and only used after SWD is detected. Contact the Henry County Extension Office at (502) 845-2811 for a complete list of available insecticides.

Spotted Wing Drosophila can be a hassle, but can be controlled. Please contact the Henry County Extension Office if you need help identifying, controlling, or trapping the SWD. Information was obtained from University of Kentucky Extension Service Publication ENTFACT-250.

April 8, 2016


Turkey Hunting Safety Tips

April 16th marks the beginning of one my favorite times of the year, Spring Turkey Season. I love being in the woods, and hearing that earth shattering gobble from a strutting tom. However, it is also during the adrenaline pumping excitement of a gobbling tom that we sometimes forget safety because all we can think about is having that tom within shooting distance. Below are some safety tips from the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife.

• Don’t stalk a turkey. Turkeys have extremely keen eyesight and hearing, so sneaking up on a turkey is extremely difficult. Also, stalking a turkey increases your risks of being in a shooting accident because another hunter might already be in that area.
• Eliminate the colors red, white, and blue from your turkey outfit. The main reason to eliminate these colors is because a turkey’s head has these colors, and other hunters might mistake the red patch on your shirt as a turkey’s head.
• Don’t move, wave, or make turkey sounds to alert another hunter of your presence. If there is another hunter, yell, “Hey, I’m Here” because the quick movements may draw fire.
• Always know your target! This is probably the most important tip because other hunters might be near you.
• Keep decoys around 20 yards away from your seated position. This tip is good for bringing the gobbler into shooting distance, but 20 yards is also plenty of room for you to be safe if a random hunter decides to shoot your decoy. This happens a lot more than you think.
• Keep your shotgun unloaded when not in the field, crossing a fence, or fording a creek.
• Finally, beware of falling ash trees during windy days. The emerald ash borer has played havoc in our forested areas, and many of the dead ash are starting to fall. So while hunting on windy days, be mindful of the potential for a dead ash tree to fall near your position.

I know these tips might seem like common sense, but it is still amazing how many hunting accidents take place because individuals would rather shoot a gobbler instead of thinking of theirs and other’s safety.

April 1, 2016


Breeding Soundness Exams

Pastures around the county have come to life with grasses and playful calves. With calves on the ground, producers need to start thinking about the upcoming breeding season. This means your bulls need to be in prime shape and stamina in order to finish strong during the breeding season. Nutrition and body condition scores play a big factor into your bulls’ effectiveness in regards to conception, but many producers are skipping a crucial step, a breeding soundness exam, while preparing for the breeding season.

A breeding soundness exam (BSE) is a fertility exam performed on bulls by a veterinarian. The BSE is composed of three parts; scrotal circumference, a physical exam, and a semen evaluation. The veterinarian will look at all three factors and determine if your bull will be effective in covering your cows or needs to be replaced by a more fertile bull.

BSE’s are important because many environmental factors affect a bull’s fertility such as extreme cold, wind, or heat. All of these factors can change from year to year, so a BSE should be conducted each year on your bulls. Last year, your bulls might have been top performers, but if they were exposed to extreme cold or extreme heat, he can be sterile. If he is sterile, he is wasting your money, because he will not produce any calves. In other words, a breeding soundness exam can be the best spent money to ensure your cows don’t come up open in a few months.

Breeding soundness exams don’t take much time to do, and can easily be completed by the veterinarian of your choice. If for some reason your vet can’t be at your farm, breeding soundness exams will be taking place on April 30th at the Eden Shale Farm in Owenton, Kentucky. If interested, please schedule a time with Steve Musen at the Owen County Extension office at 502-484-5703. A breeding soundness exam should not be skipped, so don’t miss the chance to have your bulls tested by your vet or at Eden Shale on April 30th.

March 25, 2016


Controlling Poison Hemlock

I love when spring finally arrives, but I hate the arrival of certain weeds. One of those weeds is poison hemlock. Poison hemlock is originally a native of Europe, and was introduced to North America as a garden/ornamental plant. Poison hemlock is famously known for being the poison that killed Socrates in Athens in 329 B.C. The easiest way to identify young poison hemlock is to look for low-lying rosettes with a purple spotting on the stems, and mature plants will be between 3ft-10ft tall with stout, smooth stems with purple spotting. The leaves have a fern-like appearance with alternating arrangements. Mature poison hemlock can be easily confused with wild carrot (Queen Anne’s Lace) or wild cow parsnip because of the small umbrella-shaped flower clusters, but neither wild carrot nor wild cow parsnip have purple spotting on the stems.

Poison hemlock causes reason for concern because of two reasons; contains highly poisonous alkaloid compounds and is extremely prolific. If ingested, poison hemlock can be deadly to livestock, humans, and other animals. All parts of the plant are extremely poisonous, and the stem and roots are particularly deadly. Grabbing the stem with your bare hand can cause extreme irritation. On many occasions, cattle, horses, and other livestock have been found dead within 30 minutes to two hours after ingesting parts of poison hemlock.

This weed is not only extremely poisonous, but will quickly run wild in pastures, gardens, row crops, property lines, yards, and many more places. This weed is a biennial weed that produces seeds that are easily spread by mowing, road maintenance or agricultural equipment during its second year of life.

Management and prevention of poison hemlock can be tricky because of timing. The key to controlling poison hemlock is to prevent the production of seed. If the plant cannot produce seed, the plant cannot reproduce and spread. So persistent mowing throughout the early spring and summer will keep poison hemlock from producing seeds and spreading. Single plants can be dug with a spade, placed in a trash bag, and disposed, but make sure to always wear gloves and eye protection.

If mowing or digging doesn’t work, you can use certain herbicides to control growth. However, herbicides will only control young, rosettes or very small second-year plants which means herbicides need to be sprayed early in the spring as soon as possible. I personally like using 2,4-D because it will kill the weed without killing grass. However, glyphosate will also work, but glyphosate is a non-selective herbicides that will damage or kill any plant it contacts. Other herbicides that work well are chlorsulfuron, clopyralid, dicamba, and imazapic.  For any herbicide, follow the label because THE LABEL IS THE LAW.

Poison hemlock can become a hassle to control, but if you start now you can prevent its spread. Just remember that poison hemlock is extremely poisonous if ingested. Information was obtained from Purdue University Extension publication FNR-437-W and Montana State University Extension publication MT200013AG

March 18, 2016


Are You Prepared for Weeds This Spring?

The grasses are starting to green up which means spring is here. However, along with the grasses, weeds are will be starting to show up in fields, gardens, and lawns. Weeds can play havoc from causing issues with livestock, medical issues for people, and can take over crop fields. From dandelions to poison hemlock, weeds can come in many shapes and colors, and many times we don’t realize what we have, and in many cases, certain weeds mimic harmless flowers. Now, you might be asking, “how do I remove weeds from my land?”, and I will answer, “What weed to you have?”

The first step, to removing harmful weeds from your property, is to properly identify the weeds you have. Just the number of different types of weeds is amazing, and can be extremely difficult to identify. Frankly, until you know what weeds you have, you won’t know how to remove them. UK Extension can help when weed identification because difficult.

The second step is to devise a plan to eradicate the weed. Several methods can be used to control weeds such as mechanical, cultural, and pesticides. Many times in lawns, pastures, and hay fields, mowing or mechanical practices can help because the weeds do not have a change to form a seed head. Occasionally, in some heavily infested crop fields, the field might need to be tilled. Some cultural methods of control includes rotating crops from year to year, avoiding overgrazing of pastures, and maintaining good soil fertility. Mechanical and cultural practice can be help remove weeds, but in some cases, herbicides may be needed.

Herbicides can be beneficial, but herbicides should only be used to help supplement good agricultural practices. Herbicides should not be the first and last step to weed control. There are numerous herbicides out there today, but remember no single herbicide is perfect in removing weeds. When using herbicides, read and follow label directions. The label is the law, and will state which weeds it will control, how much to use, and how to use it. Follow the label exactly, and be advised of potential harmful effects to the environment and yourself.

Weeds can be a problem for anyone, but can be removed. Just remember that you must properly identify the weed in order to properly remove it. The Henry County Extension office at 502-845-2811 will be able to help you identify the weed and help devise a plan to remove the weed. Information was obtained from J.R. Martin and J.D. Green at the University of Kentucky.

March 11, 2016


Introducing Horses to Lush Spring Pastures

Spring is almost here, and guess what? That means cool season grasses will be exploding with growth. The spring growth provides excellent forages for horses, but the quick change in diet can cause issues in your horses. Horses that have been fed hay all winter have adapted their gut microbes to break down more fibrous material, and the lush pastures is low in fiber compared with cured hay. This means that the spring lush pastures can easily upset your horses’ stomachs because the horse was not accustomed to eating fresh pastures for months. Below are a few tips to help transition your horse from a mainly hay diet to a more pasture diet.

o Restrict the grazing time. Allow horse on the new pasture for 20 minutes the first day and increase the grazing time by 5 minutes per day over the a few weeks.

o Feed Hay Immediately before horses are turned out on pasture. This will fill their stomachs, so they do not gorge themselves on the lush pastures.

o Supplement Grazing with Hay. During early grass growth, the amount of fresh forage might be thin, so the horses might exhaust the grass for a short time. During this short time, they might start ingesting weeds to meet their energy needs, so feeding hay can help alleviate the potential for weed consumption.

o Avoid Grazing Early Spring Pasture. The quick change from hay to forage can upset the stomach and cause significant issues. Lush pastures are high in sugars, and too much sugar can cause a horse to founder or go lame.
o Use a Grazing Muzzle. The grazing muzzle will slow down the horse’s consumption of lush pasture, and will help prevent spring weight gain.

This tips will help your horses adjust to the new pastures, and hopefully prevent your horse having a stomach ache. Information was obtained from Christine Skelly, Michigan State University.

March 4, 2016


Kentucky Easing Poultry Restrictions After Bird Flu Concerns Decrease

A month ago, I wrote how the Kentucky Department of Agriculture reinstated strict poultry restrictions with regards to swap meets, shows, and co-mingling birds. The reinstated restrictions came shortly after avian influenza was detected in Dubois County, IN in January. Luckily, the disease was contained and did not spread outside of the infected zone. As of this week, the Kentucky Department of Ag has lifted restrictions of poultry sales. This means that poultry can be sold at swap meets, flea markets, and show sales. However, a permit will need to be obtained from the Kentucky Office of State Veterinarian, and the person holding the permit must keep records of all sales including names and addresses of sellers, exchangers and buyers. Along with participate records, all sale records have to be turned into the state veterinarian’s office within seven days of the sale. These permits might seem daunting, but these records will assist the state with animal traceability encase there is another disease outbreak. Other changes include that direct farm-to-farm poultry sales are allowed, and a permit is no longer required to bring poultry into the state except for game birds. However, all poultry coming into the state must be from an avian influenza H5/H7-clean facilities. Kentucky was lucky that the last avian influenza outbreak did not spread, and we can resume poultry sales. Just remember that swap meets, flea markets, and show sales must have a permit from the Kentucky Office of State Veterinarian.

February 26, 2016


Hay Storage

Winter is almost at its end, and spring is only a month or so away. This means livestock producers should be preparing for hay season. Our county produces excellent quality forages and great hay, but no matter how great your forage is, if it is stored improperly, your hay will be wasted.

The first step of preventing hay loss is to bale hay at the proper % moisture. Hay should be baled at 15% moisture or less because hay baled at higher than 15% moisture can cause a greater than 5% dry matter loss, significant loss of digestibility, and lower protein digestibility due to heat-damaged protein. Also, hay baled too wet is perfect for mold and fungus growth, and can spontaneously combust. So first step, bale your hay at the correct percent moisture of 15% or less.

Next step to great hay is storage. There are numerous ways of storing hay from inside permanent structures, in temporary structures, and reusable tarps and list keeps going. The above methods reduce the amount of contact weather has with you hay, and the barriers prevent water from leaching out soluble carbohydrates from the outside layer on hay. There will still be some loss of dry matter during storage, but minimal amounts of dry matter is lost as compared to hay stored outside.

Hay stored outside and on the ground might seem to be the cheapest, but due to rain, snow, and sunlight, hay stacked on the ground can have dry matter losses up from 25% to 35%. This means, over a quarter of your hay is wasted just by storing it outside. If possible, keep your hay out of the elements, but if you most store hay outside, store your hay on a well-drained site, and use poles, pallets, tires, crushed rock, and other materials to break the contact between your hay and wet soil. Breaking the contact of hay and soil, can reduce losses of around 35%. Also, if stored outside, bales should be placed with sufficient space between bales to allow air flow, and prevent collection of water.

Conventional sheds, pole barns, reusable tarps, bale sleeves, and plastic wrap might seem expensive, but all of these methods can save from $17.00 to $21.00 per ton of hay as compared to being stored outside on the ground. These savings are obtained simply because you are not losing nutrients and dry matter due to weather and moisture. Weather can cause considerable damage to your hay, so do yourself a favor and get your hay off the ground.

February 19, 2016


Weeds To Look Out For In The Field

As some may know, a few weeds have started playing havoc across the southern United States. Palmer amaranth and waterhemp have been identified moving throughout Kentucky. Both palmer and waterhemp are part of the same family, and can be extremely difficult to identify.

As of now, around 50 counties throughout Kentucky have identified these weeds, and many surrounding counties of Henry County have identified these weeds. Right now, positive identification has not been determined in Henry County, but I would not be surprised that they are here. Most positive identifications occur late in the summer, but unfortunately, you have to kill these weeds when only a few inches tall in the spring. These weeds aren’t dangerous to humans, but can be extremely difficulty and expensive to remove from grain crops. The biggest problem with these two weeds is that there is a high chance they are glyphosate (Round-Up) resistant and these weeds produce hundreds of thousands of seeds per plant. So it is not hard to see how these weeds can take over grain crops in only a year or two. Below are pictures of both palmer amaranth and water hemp. Please contact the Henry County Extension Office at (502) 845-2811 if you believe you have found these weeds or want more information about identifying these weeds.  (Photos obtained from the University of Illinois.)

Palmer Amaranth (Seedling and Mature)

Palmer Amaranth (Seedling and Mature)

Waterhemp (Seedling and Mature)

Waterhemp (Seedling and Mature)

Another Livestock Marketing Option

Last week, I wrote about how the Bluegrass Stockyards in Lexington, KY brunt down, and how other stockyards were available. I did miss one stockyard and option for selling livestock. The Tri-County Livestock Exchange in Smithfield, KY has sells on Mondays nights just outside of Smithfield at 1785 Lake Jericho Rd. Smithfield, KY. If interested about further sell information, please contact the Tri-County Livestock Exchange at (502) 845-5382.

February 12, 2016


Fire at the Bluegrass Stockyards in Lexington, KY

Last weekend, a massive fire broke out at the Bluegrass Stockyards in Lexington, KY. Luckily no one was injured in the fire, but the fire destroyed most of the stockyards which shut down the stockyards. This also means that many Henry County producers have to find a new venue to sell their livestock. However, options are available around our area to sell livestock. All scheduled sales at the Bluegrass Stockyards have been moved to other venues in Richmond, Mt. Sterling and a few other locations. All sell dates and locations have been posted at www.bgstockyards.com. Because of the fire, United Producers, Inc in Owenton, will start having sells on Mondays. United Producers will receive cattle on Sundays from noon through 10pm, and then the sells will start at 7am on Monday. It is such a travesty that a fire broke out at the Bluegrass Stockyards because so many of our producers sold livestock there, but good news is that we still have options to sell livestock. For more sell information, please contact Levi Berg at the Henry County Extension Office at 845-2811.

February 5, 2016


What Does Indiana’s Avian Influenza Outbreak Mean for Kentucky?

A few weeks ago, 10 poultry farms in Southern Indiana were found positive for two different strains of avian influenza, a high pathogenic and a low pathogenic. The farms were located in Dubois County, about 60 miles west of Louisville, and the virus was thought to be brought into the area by migrating waterfowl. Infected birds can show clinical signs such as decrease production, loss of appetite, purplish-blue coloring of wattles and comb, swelling of head, eyelids, comb, wattle and hocks, diarrhea, respiratory distress, and increased death losses in a flock. Please contact the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, Office of the State Veterinarian at 502-782-5901 if you have increase death losses and your birds are showing signs of avian influenza. Unfortunately, when farms detect Avian Influenza in their birds, all poultry must be depopulated from that farm, but luckily, Avian Influenza has not been detected in Kentucky.
Since the outbreak in Southern Indiana, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, Office of the State Veterinarian reinstated restrictions of poultry movement. Below is the following restrictions imposed on poultry movement:

• All poultry comingling sales events are banned. These include, but are not restricted to, stockyards, flea markets, swap meets.
• The sale of poultry shall not be allowed at any fair or show.
• Private sale with direct farm to farm movement within Kentucky is allowed in accordance with 302 KAR 20:065.
• Entry of non-commercial/backyard (NC/BY) poultry into Kentucky for sale is restricted to NPIP “Avian Influenza H5/H7 Clean” or “AI Clean” facilities. Entry of NC/BY from facilities within a HPAI control zone is banned.
• Entry of NC/BY poultry from certified NPIP facilities within an HPAI affected state must also meet 302 KAR 20:250 requirements.
• Entry of NC/BY poultry from an affected state for private sale or movement must be permitted by the Office of the State Veterinarian and will be considered on a case by case basis.
• Game bird permit applications must originate from a NPIP facility that meets the requirements listed in d. and e. of this memo. Additionally, the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources requires that a transportation permit be obtained from them.
• Exhibition events, shows, and fairs are restricted to in-state poultry movement only. No entry from out of state is allowed for exhibition purposes. All poultry presented for exhibition shall be subject to inspection by Kentucky Department of Agriculture personnel.

Avian Influenza is not something to tread lighting about. This disease can cause farmers to loose whole flocks of birds, so please follow stringent biosecurity measures if you own poultry. Biosecurity measures such as; wear clean clothing around your birds, allows clean and disinfect your boots and vehicles after being around poultry, prevent wild waterfowl from comingling with your poultry, and try not to visit other farms with poultry might be the difference in protecting your poultry from avian influenza and other poultry diseases. If you would like more information about avian influenza and biosecurity measures, please contact Levi Berg at the Henry County Extension Office at 502-845-2811.

January 29, 2016


Garden Planning: Are Your Eyes Bigger Than Your Garden?

With snow on the ground, it is hard to believe that spring will be here in a few months, and now is a good time to start thinking about what to put in your gardens. This means that vegetable catalogs are coming your mail. They have every vegetable you can think of, and you are thinking about all of the great vegetables to plant. You might also think that you can need two of these, two of those, 10 of those, and so on. I know this because I am the same way. I see all of the different vegetables, and I think I need to have a row of these, a row of that, a few rows of that. However, at the end of the day, I realize that I will have way too many vegetables for my own use. Below is a little list to help in the planning process and guide you to the perfect garden.

• First decide how many vegetables you need to grow. Are you planning to preserve enough vegetables for the year, or are you just looking for garden fresh vegetables for the summer months. Try not to over plant because you can easily grow too many vegetables for your own use.
• Draw out your garden on paper. Determine how many plants you need, and where they will be planted. Determine how large of a garden you can handle.
• Select a great garden site. The garden should have full sun for 8 hours a day, relatively level, well-drained, close to a water source, and not shaded.
• Prepare the soil properly and add fertilizer and lime according to soil test.
• Finally, plant your crops.

January 20, 2016


Frost Seeding for Pastures and Hay Fields

Have your pastures and hay fields started to look a little thin? If so, now is the time to potentially remedy that problem. Grasses and legumes start to thin throughout the years, and causes decrease in forage production. A technique called “frost seeding” is a great way to increase your pasture/hay field production without completely renovating your pastures and hay fields.

Frost seeding is when seed is broadcast onto the ground between February 10th and March 1st, and as the ground freezes and thaws, the seeds are worked into the ground and germinate in the spring. However, the seed most be in contact with the soil for frost seeding to work, so pastures/hay fields must be grazed or clipped short prior to frost seeding.

Seeding nitrogen-fixing legumes into existing grass stands will increase nutritional value of the field, and frost seeding legumes can be very successful when performed correctly using the best suited species. Red and white clover are most commonly used frost seeding legumes, but other legumes like birdsfoot trefoil and annual lespedeza establish well with frost seeding. It is not recommended frost seeding alfalfa because of highly inconsistent results, and also, you cannot seed alfalfa into existing alfalfa fields because of auto toxicity issues. As for grasses, perennial ryegrass and annual ryegrass are the only grasses which established well enough to be a reasonable option when using frost seeding.

Frost seeding is a great option for the previously mentioned legumes and grasses. For frost seeding to work, ensure you follow proper seeding rates and use seed from a reputable seed dealer. Also, you will have a poor stand if there is not good soil to seed contact during the winter months. Information was obtained from the UKAg Master Grazer Handbook.

January 15, 2016


Keep Firewood Insects Out of Your Home

It is starting to feel a little more like winter. The temperature is dropping, and we have even had a few hard frost. Back home in West Virginia, the cold temperatures meant one thing, start wheel barrowing firewood to our wood burning furnace in the basement garage. No matter what, we would find a few insects hitchhiking on the firewood and crawling from the firewood. Looking back, every load of firewood was potentially opening wood-infesting insects into our home. Below are a few tips Dr. Lee Townsend, University of Kentucky Extension entomologist, recommends to prevent insects from hitching a ride into your home from firewood.

• When stacking wood outside, avoid stacking it directly on the ground. This will keep it from getting too wet and reduce the chances of infestation by such insects as termites and ants. Individual termites and ants brought into the house will not start an infestation. However, a colony may exist in an old woodpile outdoors.
• Remember not to stack firewood in or against a house or any other buildings for long periods of time. Termite or carpenter ant problems can develop and cause more serious problems later.
• Older wood is most likely to be infested, so use it first. Avoid stacking new wood on top of old wood.
• Cover firewood during the summer and fall to keep it drier and to discourage insects from seeking it out as winter shelter.
• To dislodge insects before bringing firewood indoors, shake, jar or knock logs together sharply. Brush off any obvious webbing or cocoons.
• Bring in small amounts of firewood that you can use in a day or so. Keep it stacked in a cool area, such as a garage or on a porch, until you need it. When wood warms up, the creatures in or on it will become active.
• Don’t treat firewood with insecticides. Not only is it unnecessary, it could be dangerous. When insecticide burns, it can produce noxious fumes.

January 8, 2016


Don’t Waste Your Christmas Tree

For most families, the start of the Christmas season is searching for that perfect, natural Christmas tree, and then we bring it home to decorate. The tree gets decorated and pampered for the next month, and then Christmas comes around. However by this time, your tree might be losing needles and losing some luster, but your tree can still provide a warming embrace at the end of its life. Natural (Real) Christmas trees can easily be recycled, and provide excellent fish habitat. Think about recycling instead of just throwing your beloved Christmas tree in a brush pile or trash.

Christmas trees make excellent fish habit especially in ponds and lake because Christmas trees provide refuge and feeding areas for the fish. Also, the decomposing Christmas tree provides valuable food for insects and worms that the fish eat. The first step to recycling your Christmas tree is to remove all lights and ornaments. The second set is to anchor the tree in a large coffee can with concrete. The concrete will weigh down the Christmas tree, so it stands in the water. The third step is picking a spot to drop your Christmas tree. Make sure your drop spot is well away from swimming areas, and is a portion of water a few feet deeper than the tree’s height. Final step, sit back and relax. This is a great way to recycle your Christmas tree, and your fish will thank you.

However, most of us do not have a large private pond or lake, but you can still recycle your tree. The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources is accepting Christmas trees at select locations. These Christmas trees will be used to provide more fish habit in lakes around the Bluegrass. The closest location for Henry County is at Guist Creek Lake Marina in Shelby County, and that address is 11990 Boat Dock Road, Shelbyville, KY 40065. The trees must be natural and free from ornaments and lights, and please contact Jeff Crosby at 502-564-5448 if you have questions about dropping off your Christmas tree.

12/23/2015

Preventing Calf Scours

The first moments in a calf's life is extremely important to the well-being of that calf. Scours is always a topic of high concern for cow-calf operations during the calving season. Neonatal calf diarrhea is defined as scours when it occurs within the first three weeks of a calf's life. Scours is caused when the calf's intestinal lining is being attached by bacteria, viruses, and parasites, and causes diarrhea. Ultimately, this diarrhea causes a decrease in absorption of nutrients from milk, and can cause weight loss, dehydration, or death. Right now, you might be thinking how can I prevent scours from potentially hurting or killing my calves?

The first step to preventing scours is providing excellent cow nutrition during and after gestation. Proper nutrient allows the cow to build a strong immune system. During gestation, the cow's immune system helps protect the calves, and after gestation, the cow passes antibodies to the calf through colostrum. However, stressors to the cows such as difficulty calving, poor sanitation, cold, wet weather, and overcrowding in calving areas can contribute to a higher risk of disease. Colostrum is the first kick start to the calves immune system because colostrum contains antibodies that were created by the cow. Make sure calves receives colostrum within the first six hours after birth. Colostrum can technically be absorbed up to 24 hours after birth, but after 12 hours, the amount of absorbed colostrum decreases dramatically.

Proper cow nutrition can decrease the risk of scours, but nutrition alone may not be enough to prevent scours. A good scours vaccine program in the cow herd is also needed. Controlling rotavirus, coronavirus and E. Coli with vaccines can help to significantly reduce or eliminate sickness and death losses due to calf scours. These vaccines are formulated to be given to pregnant cows and heifers, so those animals can make the correct antibodies to be passed to the calf in colostrum. Common vaccines include Scour Bos, Guardian and ScourGuard. However, please consult your veterinarian when deciding which vaccines or vaccination schedule works best for your cattle operation.

Even with vaccines and proper nutrition, scours can still happen. If there is a scours outbreak, immediately isolate those infected calves and their mothers from other healthy cow/calf pairs, and consult your veterinarian for treatment options. Also disinfect all equipment, boots, and hands after handling those sick calves.

Scours can be a nasty topic when it comes to your calves health and well-being, but prevention is a huge piece of the puzzle to keeping scours from paying havoc in your cow herd. Remember clean facilities and pastures, a well planned vaccination, and proper nutrition can reduce the risk of scours. Information was obtained from Michelle Arnold, UK Ruminant Veterinarian.

12/18/2015

Importance of Managing Cows’ Body Condition to Increase Breeding Efficiency

Cattle prices are still good, but one thing is constant, more efficient operations are going to make more money. Money can be made by increasing nutrient use efficiency, reducing overhead cost, and by increasing breeding efficiency. Frankly, more calves on the ground will produce more money, and a cow’s body condition score (BCS) plays a large role in rebreeding for the next year.

A body condition score is a quantitative body condition scoring system which determines how thin or overweight a cow may be. A BCS can range from 1, an extremely thin cow, to 9 which is an extremely overweight cow. A cow with a BCS of 6 would have approximately 20% body fat compared to a cow with a BCS of 4, which would have approximately 12% body fat. Also, each change in condition score, the cow must gain or lose between 70 to 100 pounds of body weight. A good score for pregnant and prepartum cattle should range around 5 to 6.

We have always heard cattle need proper nutrition during pregnancy and lactation, but how does nutrition affect the period between calving to rebreeding (Also called postpartum interval, or PPI)? A high percentage of reproductive failures can be attributed to improper nutrition and thin body condition, and we want to maintain a cow’s PPI to 80-85 days. This 80-85 day PPI will keep your cow within a yearly calving interval. Cattle, with low BCS of 3 to 4, could have calving intervals ranging from 380 to 414 days, and that means those cattle are no longer within that yearly production cycle.

Research from the University of Kentucky has shown that well-conditioned cows of a BCS greater than 5 tend to come back into estrus by almost 12 days earlier and pregnancy rates are almost 30% to 40% higher than cattle of a body condition score of 3 or below. What I’m trying to get at is when cows are wintered on low quality forages, body condition (fat reserves) suffer and weight drops. Those cattle take longer to rebreed, and pregnancy rates drop dramatically. Increasing calves on the ground is as simple as ensuring your cattle have high quality forages, and forage samples are a great way to determine if your forages are considered low-quality. When temperatures drop, your cows might need extra energy to maintain their fat supplies, and keep a good BCS.

A body condition score is a great way to determine the nutritional status of your cattle, and help you determine if your feeding strategies are keeping your animals at optimum production. It doesn’t take long to score your animals, but needs to be done throughout the winter. If you would like to learn to score your cattle, please call me at the Henry County Extension Office at 502-845-2811. Just remember cattle at BCS of 5 and above can put more calves on the ground for the next year. Information was obtained from the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service publication, ASC-162.

Asian Longhorned Beetle

Another pest is invading and killing trees in the United States. Like the emerald ash borer, the Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB) is an invasive insect that kills deciduous trees. Unfortunately, this insect can invade a large number of trees, but Maple, Horsechestnut, Buckeyes, Willow, Elm, Birch and Sycamore trees are considered to be good to excellent host for the insect. Luckily, this insect has not be identified in Kentucky, but has been identified in Ohio. The ALB is harmless to humans and pets.

The Asian Longhorned Beetle ranges from 1 to 1.5 inches long and is black with multiple white spots on its back. ALB also has exceptionally long antennae that are banded black and white and elongated feet are black with whitish-blue upper surface.

The Asian Longhorned Beetle is an extremely destructive insect because it kills the tree from the inside out. Larvae burrow deep holes with the tree’s trunk. These deep holes cause the tree to slowly die because the holes cut off the tree’s water and energy supply. As the insect ages, it comes to the surface of the tree causing multiple large holes around 3/8ths of an inch in diameter. Once a tree is infected, there is no cure because the insect kills the tree from the inside out.

Right now, you are probably asking, “How can I protect my trees if I do spot the Asian Longhorned Beetle?” The first step and most important is to check your trees for the exit holes from the insects starting in the spring thru the fall. There are a few eradication programs that can help, but most of all, prevention is key. Make sure not to move wood from ALB infected areas, and this includes firewood because the insect will harbor deep in the wood, and can easily be transferred from area to area.

Picture obtained from the Kentucky Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey

Just remember that the Asian Longhorned Beetle has not be spotted in Kentucky and let’s try to keep it that way. Don’t move firewood for infected areas, and try to prevent its spread. If you suspect the ALB, please report the potential sighting by calling 1-866-702-9938 or by logging into asianlonghornedbeetle.com. Information was obtained from the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

12/4/2015

Pruning Ornamental Trees and Shrubs

Correct pruning is an essential maintenance practice for trees and shrubs, and trees and shrubs should be examined yearly to determine if pruning is needed. There are numerous reasons that pruning is needed such as; maintain or reduce plant size, remove undesirable growth, remove dead branches, prevent damage to life and property, shape plants in an artificial form, and many more. The best part is pruning can easily be done during the winter or during the early growing season.

Depending on the tree or shrub, certain tools are needed from hand shears, pole pruners, lopping shears, hedge shears, and pruning saws. The diameter of limbs or shrubs will depend on which tool to use. Just make sure that all tools are free of rust, clean, and sharp. Clean, sharp tools will help you make cleaner cuts and prevent excess damage to your trees and shrubs. When removing branches, cut only 1/2 inch to 2 inches away from the truck at the end of the branch collar, and avoid using a “haircut” pruning method. This is when you just trim the ends of branches or very tips of shrubs. The problem arises because those trimmed limbs will sprout two more limbs in its place. A whole branch is recommended to be taken around the branch collar instead of just pruning the tips of limbs.

One question I routinely get is, “What type of wound dressing is needed for my tree after pruning?” Wound dressing and tree paint is not essential, and recent research has pointed out that tree paint and wound dressing is not as advantageous as previously thought. The reason is because the wound dressing or tree paint can actually harbor disease organisms rather than exclude them. Just remember, wound dressing and tree paint is not essential after a pruning cut has been made.

Pruning can be as easy or as difficult as your make it. If you are not comfortable pruning your trees, contact a professional to do the work, or contact me at the Henry County Extension office at (502) 845-2811 for more specific information on how to prune your trees and shrubs. Information was obtained from Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service publication HO-4-W “Pruning Ornamental Trees and Shrubs”.

2016 Henry County Cattlemen of the Year

On November 16th, the Henry County Cattlemen had their annual meeting at the Henry County Extension office, and over 110 individuals were in attendance. One of the greatest parts of the night was the announcement of the 2016 Henry County Cattlemen of the Year. It was great to the see this award to go to two great cattle producers, Chris and Michelle McBurney. The past cattlemen of the year choose Chris and Michelle because of their excellent cattle operation, management of the land, and cattle management innovation. Congratulations Chris and Michelle McBurney for being chosen as the 2016 Henry County Cattlemen of the Year.

11/27/2015

Ash Trees and Emerald Ash Borer

Hopefully by now, you have heard of the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB). It is an invasive insect that is native to Asia, and has killed millions of ash trees throughout parts of the United States. The emerald ash borer is here, and has done an extensive amount of damage to our forests. You might think that this bug isn’t that bad, but the major concern is that our forests can contain up to 30% to 50% ash trees. The EAB is a serious threat to our forest, and unfortunately, it has hit most of our ash trees.

There are certain insecticides that can be used on healthy ash trees that have not been infected with the emerald ash borer. However, certain insecticides only work with certain stages of the trees life. Smaller trees can use soil injections or drenches with either Imidacloprid or dinotefuran. These soil drench insecticides can be purchased at some farm stores, but for larger trees, a truck injectable insecticides is warranted. Azadirachtin, imidacloprid, and emamectin benzoate have been shown to be effective against the emerald ash borer, but may require a commercial pesticide applicator to treat your ash trees. Again, these insecticides only work with healthy ash trees that have not been extensively damaged by the emerald ash borer.

Insecticides can help prevent EAB from entering and killing your ash trees, but make sure to follow the pesticide label instructions. Most insecticides will need to be administered more than just once. Most injectable insecticides will be effective for two years, but the soil drenches may need to be used multiple times in a year. Ultimately, insecticide treatments can be costly. If you are concerned about using insecticides, please contact a professional pesticide applicator for recommendations.

Ash trees infected with the emerald ash borer are not likely to survive an attack, and precautions need to be taken for the dead/dying trees. Dead ash trees can cause serious damage to houses, vehicles, and people. The wood of ash trees is brittle and after only a year or so large limbs can start falling out of your trees. Remove dead or dying trees to prevent the potential of dead limbs or falling trees from hurting people. Information was obtained from the “Insecticide Options for Protecting Ash Trees from Emerald Ash Borer”.

11/20/15

Tips to Pest Proof Your Home

With the colder temperatures, the inevitable pest invasion is starting to happen. Bugs, insects, and many other crawlers are moving from the cold outside temperatures into your home looking for warmer temperatures. This migration of insects happens every fall and winter, but hopefully, using the tips below, you can alleviate some of those pest from entering your home.

• Install door sweeps and thresholds at the base of all exterior entry doors. Gaps of 1/16 inch or less is still enough space for insects to enter under the doors. A good door sweep or threshold will close that gaps preventing insects from crawling under doors.
• Seal opening around windows, doors, fasica boards, and utility openings. All of these areas are common entry points for insects and can easily be plugged. Plug holes with either cement, caulk, urethane expandable foam, steel wool, copper mesh, or other sealants.
• Install -inch wire mesh over attic, roof and crawl space vents. This mesh will prevent insect from entering these areas, but still allows ample air movement. Also, the mesh will prevent other pest such as birds, rodents, bats, and other wildlife from entering your attics and crawl spaces.
• Fix window and door screens. Any tear in a window or door screen will allow numerous amounts of insects in entering the house when doors and windows are opened.
• Consider applying an exterior (barrier) treat with insecticides. Insecticides should be the final step in pest prevention. A long lasting insecticide with synthetic pyrethroids will have the greatest positive effect for homeowners, and a synthetic pyrethroid insecticide can be found at most hardware or agricultural stores. Just make sure to spray around all exterior doors, windows, garage doors, crawl space entrances, around foundation vents, and up under the siding.

Using these tips, hopefully you can prevent insects from entering your house this winter. It is never a good situation when you are constantly trying to remove pest from your house. Just remember, prevention is key to keeping your house pest free. Information was obtained from Michael F. Potter, Extension Entomologist for the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture (Publication ENTFACT-641).

11/13/15

Winterizing Fruit Shrubs

I feel as if I am becoming a broken record when I talk about preparing livestock and gardens for winter. However, winter can be brutal when it comes to fruit shrubs. Just like every other agricultural commodity, fruit shrubs, such as strawberries, brambles, and others, need to be prepared for winter.

First, inspect your plants, and determine which plants need to be removed. Plants that are already damaged or severely diseased may not be able to survive the winter, and at a later time, you can replace those injured plants with hardier species and cultivars. Next examine the soil around the plants. Depression in the soil beside the plants can trap water by roots, and ice can form causing physical damage to the plants roots. Soils should be sloping away from the base of the plants to prevent heavy ice buildup.

Remove all vegetation within 12 to 14 inches from the trunk of the plants. This is discourage rodents from nesting or feeding on the plants. Treeguards can be purchased to deter rodents from eating on the plants.

Probably the most important factor to consider is direct injury from the cold. One easy method to combat the cold is to mulch your plants. The mulch will help increase the temperature around the base of the plants and decreases fluctuating moisture levels in the soils. There are numerous types of mulch that can be used from compost to straw. One factor to consider is do not put the mulch on too early. A good time is a week or so before freezing temperatures.

Winter can be harsh on fruit plants, and there is no guarantee that your plants will survive through the winter. By mulching, cleaning, and having proper soil structure, your fruit plants stand a higher chance of surviving. Information for this article was obtained from “Growing Fruit at Home in Kentucky” guide #HO-64.

10/30/2015

Sanitation of Your Garden in the Fall

A while ago, I talked about the importance of proper sanitation with fruit trees, and this week, I want to talk about sanitation of gardens in the fall. By now, most gardens are finished, and like most gardens in the fall, they aren’t cleaned until the following spring. Unfortunately, that means we are leaving diseased plant debris for next year, and that diseased plant material can spread that disease to next year’s crop. This year was horrible for numerous amounts of vegetable diseases, and a lot of those diseases will remain in the vegetable debris over the winter.

When cleaning your gardens, try to remove all parts of the vegetable plants. Fungi and bacteria can still over winter on the roots, so make sure to also remove the roots. Try to completely remove the dead plant debris by either burning, trashing, or composting. Composting works well as long as high temperatures are reached to kill fungi and bacteria. Along with removal of dead plants, till your garden to help breakdown and bury plant debris because buried plant debris decomposing quicker.

Garden sanitation is not a cure all or end all for a lot of vegetable diseases, but it will help prevent diseases from carrying over from year to year.

10/23/2015

Why Balance Rations for your Livestock?

Every livestock producer knows that feed is not cheap, and their animals need to eat. Rations must be properly balanced for livestock to use feeds most efficiently, and a properly balance feed ration can be the most beneficial tool for increasing profits.

First step to balancing a ration is to understand your animals’ nutrient requirements, and many factors have to be addressed to meet the needs of your animals. Ultimately, your animals’ physiological state will determine their needs. Young animals growing will need a different ration compare to an animal in peak lactation. Certain nutritional needs you should always meet are water, energy, protein, minerals, and vitamins. There is plenty of information in the world today that will help determine the nutritional needs of your animal at a specific physiological state.

Next, after you know your animals nutritional needs, you need to determine what you are going to feed that animal. The amount of available feedstuffs available for rations is continuing to increase from forages to concentrates. The realm of animal nutrition has changed from 20 to 30 years ago. Today’s rations can use anything from silages, multiple hays, beet pulp, corn, dried distillers grains, corn gluten, and the list just keeps going. However, the primary component of any ration should be forages, and the number of forages available are also increasing. Choose a forage you like, and use it. You need to get a forage sample to determine what nutrients that forage provides, and then use supplements to fill the nutritional holes in your forage.

Today, there are numerous tools available to actually balance a ration. The extension office can help, but there are also numerous computer programs to help you out. I will gladly assist in balancing a ration. A few things to keep in mind, rations are not perfect. You will still need to keep a close eye on your animals to ensure your ration is meeting their nutritional requirements. Just remember, every animal is different and will perform different on the same ration, and be flexible with making changes to your ration.

10/16/2015

Frost and Forages

Fall is by far my favorite time of the year because of hunting season, leaves changing color, and cooler days. However, fall brings one precaution, and that is potential frosts. The National Weather Service for Louisville, KY states that the average first fall frost is around the end of October, but a frost can come at any time in October.

After a light frost, certain forages and plants can bring the threat of prussic acid (cyanide) poisoning to livestock. Plants such as sorghum, sudangrass, sorghum-sudan hybrids, johnsongrass, wild cherry, and others can contain cyanide-producing compounds. Prussic acid poisoning causes rapid death in livestock, and livestock can show signs of prussic acid poisoning just 15 minutes after starting to graze the plants after a light frost. Other signs of toxicity include fast breathing, anxiety, trembling, downed animals, convulsions, bright red blood, and frothing at the mouth. Prussic acid poisoning is very similar to nitrate poisoning, but animals with prussic acid poisoning have bright red blood, whereas animals poisoned with nitrates have dark, chocolate-colored blood. If you see these signs, call a veterinarian immediately because prussic acid poisoning can kill livestock extremely quickly.

After a light freeze or you suspect prussic acid, do not graze wilted plants, twisted plants or plants with young tillers for around two weeks. However, plants susceptible to producing prussic acid can be chopped, ensiled or baled, but wait at least 6-8 weeks to feed it to your livestock. For reassurance analyze your suspect forages before feeding by using a cyanide field test kit or have samples tested by a certified lab. The University of Kentucky Veterinarian Diagnostic Lab can test forages for prussic acids, and cyantesmo test strips are available to do a quick field test for prussic acid.

If you have these plants in your pastures, just keep a watchful eye and anticipate if a frost is coming. Forages such as sorghum-sudan hybrids and sudangrasses provide excellent forages, but just make sure to keep your livestock away from them after a light frost. Finally, remember to contact your veterinarian immediately if you suspect prussic acid poisoning in your animals.

10/9/2015

Importance of Water for Your Livestock in Winter

Unfortunately, water is probably the most overlooked essential nutrient during winter months. For instance, a lactating dairy cow can consume up to 40 gallons of water per day, a beef cow can consume up to 17 gallons, a ewe or nanny can consume up to 3 gallons of water a day, and a horse can consume up to 12 gallons per day. Just multiple individual animal water intake by the number of animals, and it is easy to reach hundreds to thousands of gallons of water needed per day for your herds. Are you providing enough water?

One problem is water sources readily freeze during colder weather, and only breaking ice once or twice a day may not be providing the necessary access for animals to water. Heated water troughs and buckets work extremely well, but do require electric and must be filled often. However, ponds and streams work well, but check those water sources 3 or 4 times a day to ensure they are not frozen.

Frankly, without enough water, your animals are not equipped to deal with the cold. For forage eating animals, body heat is generated by digesting forages, and when water is limited, body heat is reduced due to decrease in digestion. This ultimately leads to decrease body temperatures. Also, when water is limited, feed intake is decreased, and again, leads to decrease digestion and growth of the animal. Just remember, without enough water, your animals will not grow as quickly and may not be warm enough to deal with winter temperatures.

10/2/ 2015


Protecting Our Livestock: Biosecurity Tips

Every livestock producer, from poultry to cattle and everything in between, wants to prevent disease outbreaks on their farms. Disease prevention should be the first focus of keeping a healthy flock or herd, and this is where biosecurity comes into play. Ohio State University defines biosecurity as measures taken to keep disease agents out of populations, herds, or groups of animals where they do not already exist. Biosecurity just doesn’t apply to the large livestock industries but also to the small livestock producers and visitors to a farm. Below are a few tips to prevent diseases from reaching your animals.

Biosecurity Do’s:
• Wear disposable boots or rubber boots that can be disinfected
• Wash clothing and footwear after visiting/leaving a farm
• Isolate and quarantine new livestock for at least two weeks
• Encourage visitors to follow biosecurity measures
• Ask visitors to provide information about farm and animal contacts to determine if they are safe to visit your farm
• Discourage handling of animals by visitors.
• Prevent livestock and wild animal contact especially wild birds.
• Have all family and friends practice biosecurity measures around your animals

Biosecurity Don’ts:
• Travel from farm to farm without disinfecting clothing, boots, equipment, and vehicles
• Wear items, such as jewelry, watches, glasses, or hairpieces, when working around animals, since these items cannot be successfully disinfected.
• Bring back meat or animal products or equipment used around foreign livestock or poultry
• Allow friends or visitors around your animals if they have been in contact with other livestock in the past 72 hours.

Prevention is the greatest tool in disease management. It is much easier to prevent diseases rather than trying to cure or eradicate a disease from your herd. The above information was received from APHIS Veterinary Services, February2002 Factsheet, and for further biosecurity measures please contact the Henry County Extension office at (502) 845-2811.

9/25/2015


Controlling Nuisance Animals and Pest

Every year, I receive questions such as, “How can I stop deer from destroying my crops?” or “Why do raccoons and opossums keep eating my chicken?” Frankly, these are not always easy questions to answer because each situation is different. Nuisance animals will find a way to obtain an easy meal, and those cooped up chickens or green fields are just easy pickings. Below are a few tips for excluding nuisance animals from your crops and animals.

• Inspect and maintain perimeter fields. Nuisance animals will find holes in fences, and cause problems. A good fence will perturb many nuisance animals from destroying crops and your valuable animals.
• Contact your local county Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources personal. Your local KDFWR personal will advise you on how to control nuisance wildlife, help formulate long term strategies for dealing with nuisance animals, and potential issue permits to remove nuisance animals.
• Become buddies with local hunter and trappers. Many hunters and trappers will gladly assist you will eradicating nuisance animals, and hunting shows nuisance animals that your land is not a safe place to eat. Just make sure all hunting and trapping falls within hunting and trapping regulations set by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife.
• Scare Tactics work well. Fireworks, gunfire, and other loud noises will scare the nuisance animals, and make them believe that your land is not a safe place.
• IT IS ILLEGAL TRANSPORT LIVE WILD ANIMALS. Setting free nuisance animals a few miles from your property may be a good thought, but it is illegal to transport and relocate wild animals. Contact your local KDFWR personal if you would like for a live wild animals to be relocated.

Try using a few of the above tips to protect your crops and animals from nuisance animals. It is never a good day when a fox or raccoon kills your chickens. Just make sure to follow of hunting and trapping regulations if you decide that hunting or trapping is necessary, and contact your local KDFSR personal if nuisance animals are becoming worse.

9/11/2015


Fall Fruit Sanitation

This year has been difficult for raising fruit, because of the humid, wet summer. Fungus and bacteria flourish in this hot and humid environment, and can cause decreased fruit production, increased fruit decay, and potential death of the tree. These harmful bacteria and fungi can thrive in soils for years to come, and become a constant hassle. Good sanitation practices can help alleviate future growing pains caused by bacterial and fungal infections. Below is a few sanitation practices that can help alleviate bacterial and fungal diseases in your fruit trees:

• Disinfect tools used to prune diseased/infected branches. A commercial disinfectant will work fine or disinfect tools with a combination of 10% Lysol disinfectant, 10% bleach, or rubbing alcohol. This will help prevent the spreading of the bacteria and fungi from tree to tree.
• Discard heavily diseased trees. If possible, also try to remove as much of the diseased trees root system.
• Prune or remove dead or diseased limbs. Also remove any infective tissue such as flowers, fruit, stems and leaves.
• Never leave diseased plant material around your trees. Diseased plant material will continue producing spores or other propagules that can affect trees in the future.
• Do not compost diseased plant material. Unless your compost reaches 160F, propagules and sores can survive, so try to completely remove diseased plant material from your farm or land.
• Remove weeds and volunteer plants. Weeds and volunteer plants can help create something called a “green bridge” between plants. A green bridge allows some pathogens to infect alternate hosts until a more suitable one becomes available.

Try following these fruit sanitation practices, and hopefully prevent future heart ache due to bacterial and fungus infections. Just remember it is never too early to start thinking about next year’s harvest. Also more information on sanitation practices can be found in the UK Cooperative Extension Service publication PPFS-GEN-05.

9/4/2015


Importance of Applying Lime

Soil pH is one of the most important chemical properties of soils, because improper soil pH could affect the availability of nutrients to plants and the activity of microorganisms in the soil. Soil pH is a measurement of the acidity or alkalinity of the soil, and is based off of a scale of 1 to 14. A pH of 7 is considered neutral. pH’s under 7 is acidic, and above 7 is alkaline. Ultimately, optimal soil pH is dependent of what you are planting. Most plants will tolerate pH ranges between 5.2 and 7.8, but every plant is different.

If pH needs raised, apply lime. Lime is a white caustic alkaline substance most generally obtained from limestone. When applied to soil, the liming material reacts with soil moisture to release particles of calcium or, in the case of dolomitic lime, magnesium. The finer the material, the more rapidly it dissolves. Oxides (burned lime) and hydroxides (hydrated lime) are more soluble in water and react much more quickly than carbonate forms of lime (calcitic aglime or dolomitic aglime). Calcium or magnesium particles are attracted to and are held by clay particles in soils after the liming material dissolves. This neutralizes soil acidity, increasing soil pH readings. It also means that lime does not move very fast downward through soil.

A soil test is one of the easiest ways to test a soil’s pH and nutrient values. Also, soil test can be obtained throughout the year. Fall sampling will often result in a faster return of results and recommendations, and allows the grower plenty of time to have lime applied before planting. However, fall sampling generally results in lower pH value when condition are dry. The Henry County Extension office does have soil probes to borrow, and will send off soil samples for you.

Lime is also easy to apply to your fields, gardens, or lawns. Lime can come as ground limestone, pelletized lime, hydrated lime, ground oyster shells, and many others. An added value is that most hardware stores and agricultural stores will carry lime. Personal preference is the key to applying lime, and ultimately depends of available equipment for applying your lime.

The first thing to a great crop is knowing your soil’s pH, and knowing the optimal pH ranges for those crops. If you need assistance, please contact me at the Henry County Extension Office at (502) 845-2811. Don’t hesitate, check your soil’s pH.

8/28/2015


Benefits of Forage Sampling

One of the greatest tools at your disposal is a forage sample. Forage testing provides the nutritional value of pasture, hay, or silage. It is important to know the quality and nutrient content of feed to calculate an efficient feed ration and mineral supplementation program. Balancing rations based on these test results are necessary to promote animal health and production while keeping feeding costs to a minimum. Knowing the nutritional value of your forage will also ensure that you are getting the right price for your hay when marketed.

When sampling pastures, each paddock should be sampled and tested separately. It is beneficial to take separate samples within a single pasture if there is large variation in forage species or previous fertilizer applications within the pasture. It is suggested that 10-15 small samples be taken at random from a paddock under 40 acres.

Knowing the quality of hay can increase selling price and/or be used to create a more accurate winter feeding ration. When sampling hay, it is important that, individual cuttings, fields, and hay types (a lot) are sampled and tested separately. For most accurate results, test hay as soon as possible before feeding or marketing. A high quality coring device should be used to collect a minimum of 20 cores from each lot. Probe to a depth of 12-24” and take cores from butt ends of random bales or core towards the center of round bales from the edges not the flat end. It is important that samples are representative of the entire lot of hay. Do not choose bales based on whether they seem to be of low or high quality. Up to half of the material from each lot should be tested as soon as possible after the sample is collected. Keep the sample cool and dry after sampling.

Once you have correctly sampled your forages and received the results. The majority of reports will include moisture, dry matter (DM), crude protein (CP), acid detergent fiber (ADF), and neutral detergent fiber (NDF) values. Mathematical equations are used to calculate the relative feed value (RFV), total digestible nutrients (TDN), and net energy (NE) for lactation, maintenance, and gain

The Henry County Extension Office will gladly assist you in further sampling procedures and interpreting results. We also have a few forage probes that can be used by the public. Do not miss out of an opportunity to test your forages.

8/21/2015


Hello Henry County, Thanks for the Warm Welcome!

I am blessed to be working with agriculture, and agriculture has always been a large part of my life. Everything started when my parents allowed me to own horses, and that is when I began to understand a small portion of agriculture. It wasn’t until I was an FFA member that I started to realize the many parts of agriculture, and developed a passion for working with agriculture each and every day. This passion for agriculture pushed me to attend West Virginia University, where I obtained two degrees; Bachelor’s of Science in Animal and Nutritional Science and a Master’s of Science in Animal Physiology with a focus in Nutritional Biochemistry.

Throughout my schooling, I had the pleasure of working on many research projects which included reproductive and nutritional studies with sheep, swine, dairy cattle, commercial chickens, commercial turkeys, and rainbow trout. I, also, interned with the West Virginia Department of Agriculture in the Animal Health Division for a few summers. Through my degrees and internships, I really started understanding the ups and downs of agricultural life, but it wasn’t until I started working with Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service in Orange County, Indiana that I began to understand how agriculture impacted the state, county, and world. I worked as an Extension Educator of Agriculture and Natural Resources and 4-H Youth Development for a little over two years, and I loved working with the community in creating educational programs, solving agricultural problem, and working with 4-H’ers. I intend to use my passion for agriculture, education, and extension experience to keep Henry County an agricultural prominent county.

I would like to thank everyone for welcoming me into the community, and making me and my wife, Lindsay, feel at home. After just one week, it is easy to realize how close knit of a community this is and how passionate Henry County residents are of their county. I am extremely excited to be working in the Henry County Extension Office, and having the opportunity to work with Mary Ellen, Cathy, Kelly, and the rest of the extension family. I have heard one common theme after meeting members of the community, and that is, “You have some big shoes to fill.” I can only hope that my contributions to this county are as memorable as Steve Moore’s work. With ever file I look through or every story I hear, I am amazed by the great work Steve has done, and even more amazed by the support the community gives the extension office. Henry County truly is a special place. Please contact me at the Henry County Extension Office if you ever have agricultural questions or if you want to talk about agricultural issues.

8/7/2015


 

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