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Agriculture

  • Pregnancy checking pays the bills

    This is an article recently sent from a newsletter Off the Hoof and I wanted to share it with you all.

    From a benchmarking perspective, in a “normal” summer breeding season, it should be expected that 90 percent of your mature cowherd will become pregnant within a 63-day breeding season.

  • 4-H’ers will be able to cure country hams locally

    One of the fastest growing projects in Kentucky 4-H is the country ham project. 

    Last year, over 700 youth statewide participated in the program where they learned the traditional way of either salt curing or smoke curing hams. In central and eastern Kentucky, hams are salt cured and then smoke cured in western Kentucky.

  • Hay bale fires still a threat - check stacks, barns for heated bales

    Recent reports of hay bale fires should remind growers to continue to monitor stacks and storage barns.

    Generally, hay fires occur within six weeks after baling, but have been known to occur even after a year. They begin through a process called “spontaneous combustion, which depends on the initial moisture content of the hay, the ease with which moisture can dissipate from the bales and environmental conditions.”

    Hay fires have increased as more growers have switched to large square bales.

  • Composting diseased plant material

    Now that we have had a killing frost and it is time to put the garden to bed, I have had several questions about composting plant debris with disease infections. 

    Several people have asked me if diseased plant material such as leaves with powdery mildew, black spot, anthracnose or fire blight should or could be placed into a compost pile and decomposed enough that the disease won’t re-infect next year.  And, of course, the answer is that it depends.

  • Lawnmower maintenance tips for fall

    The last lawn mowing of the season is probably upon you (if you haven’t stopped already). 

    This means you should do some winterizing maintenance to your mowers, weed eaters, tillers, and blowers.

    Following a few maintenance rules now will save you time and frustration next spring when you try to start your lawnmower.  There is no bigger frustration in the spring than having an overgrown lawn, time to cut it, and a mower that doesn’t work.  Maintenance now will help your mower run smoother and increase the overall life of the motor.

  • Animal management tip: Warning for prussic acid or cyanide poisoning

    Prussic acid poisoning occurs when livestock graze certain plants that contain cyanide-producing compounds.

    Such species include, but are not limited to, sorghum, Sudan grass, sorghum-sudan hybrids, Johnsongrass and wild cherry. Cyanide can interfere with oxygen utilization in livestock, especially if consumed in large amounts.

    Symptoms appear quickly after consumption and may include cherry red colored blood, staggering, labored breathing, spasms, foaming at the mouth, falling, thrashing, severe convulsions and death.

  • 4-H clubs recognized for oustanding achievement

    Congratulating someone for a job well done usually puts a smile on their face and makes the compliment giver feel good too.  Last week, two 4-H clubs held their awards night and were congratulated for their outstanding achievements during the past year. 

    There were many smiles and proud family members in the crowd at both events.

  • Remember the upcoming 4-H events

    With the fast pace we all seem to run our lives at these days, it’s easy to forget a few things along the way.  It may be a deadline, a birthday or a special event.  Whatever it is, we all have forgotten something at some point in time.  

    I often list 4-H events or activities a couple of times either in a news article, newsletter or a one call to try and reach everyone and to help people not forget deadlines or an actual event. 

  • Fertilizing your lawn maintains healty turf

    Fertilizing your lawn is a good way to maintain a healthy turf. 

    You should fertilize every year. 

    Fertilizing your lawn helps maintain a uniform, dense, green turf and reduces weed problems.  The good effects of fertilizing can be lost if you fertilize at the wrong time. 

    Low-maintenance turf requires one application of fertilization in late October or anytime in November for most grass types.

    Don’t guess what your lawn needs. 

    Get a soil test done. 

  • Calving ease and disposition important aspects in bull selection

    When deciding on a new bull for your cattle operation, remember that there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Buying a bull that fits your needs and operation is very important and decisions will be different for every farm.

    Looking at all the traits for each bull you are considering and determining which one best fits your needs is the right approach. Using tools such as Expected Progeny Differences (EPDs) will help in the decision-making process. Two traits often mentioned by Kentucky producers among the most important are calving ease and temperament.