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Agricultural News

Volume 1, Issue 1

Robbie Smith Agent for Agriculture/ Natural Resources & Horticulture Dates of Interest call for more details all meetings at Nelson County Extension Office unless noted.

March 26 @ 6:00p Tobacco GAP Training April 6 @ 9:00a Farmers Market Fair April 6 @ 12:30p Marketing For All April 12 @ 5:30p BQA Training April 12 @ 7:00p Beef Cattle Meeting April 25 @ 3:00p Weed Control Strategies for Row Crop Operations

March and April 2018

Rob’s Report by Robbie Smith

newsletter what will work best.

Well, February was record setting for a few reasons. First, we had record rainfall to the tune of around 9.25 inches for the county and secondly it will go down as one of the warmest Februarys on record and that takes in data back to 1895. Fortunately weather is history very quickly in Kentucky and we move on to something new every hour it seems.

Make sure to follow the label and read the label. I had a fellow tell me one time he was using Crossbow and 2-4D in combination on certain weeds. What he didn't realize was that Crossbow is mostly 2-4D with and some triclopyr so the addition of more 24D was not gaining any better control and costing twice as much as it should. Knowing is half the battle and I am glad to help out in any way I can, just give me a holler.

As we begin to dry out and can get back on fields again many practices can resume that should be taking place this time of year. This an optimal time to begin spraying for some of the antagonistic weeds that can influence pasture and hay field quality and efficiency. Buttercup is best controlled this time of year and you can see on a couple of charts within this

Finally, weeds are a topic this time of year and management in row crops are becoming increasingly difficult. See to the left a workshop dedicated to this later in April, call me for the details.


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On-farm Water Crossing By Carmen Agouridis, Ph.D., February has been a wet month with precipitation levels 5-6 inches above normal. Spring rains on the horizon mean that water levels are likely to flow high once again. For agricultural producers, the wet weather brings many challenges related to managing excess water. One challenge is how to best gain animal and vehicular access across streams on your operation. Two options are stream crossings and culverts. These water crossings are commonly used because of their effectiveness, lower costs, and general ease of installation. University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Publication AEN-101 Stream Crossings for Cattle provides details on how to construct and maintain a stream crossing. When planning a stream crossing important items to consider are location, width, entrance and exit approaches, side slopes, time of year, and permits. Locate stream crossings in straight reaches; avoid bends in stream as these areas tend to experience more streambank erosion. For stream crossings used by vehicles and livestock, consider widths of 10 ft or more. The entrance and exit approaches should have a grade no steeper than 5:1 (horizontal to vertical)

with side slopes of 3:1 or less. To construct a stream crossing, prepare the site by removing rocks and debris from the entrance and exit approaches. Grade the area and remove excess material out of the floodplain. After grading, install a layer of non-woven, needle-punched geotextile fabric. Use anchoring pins to ensure the geotextile does not move. Place a 6inch layer of large aggregate, such as No. 2, overtop the geotextile fabric followed by a 4-inch layer of dense grade aggregate. As far as maintenance, inspect the crossing after large storm events to ensure the rock layers have not eroded. Culverts are fully enclosed structures, such as pipes, that run underneath roads, embankments and the like. Culverts are sized for a minimum storm event; for private lands, this is often a 10-year 24-hour storm event. Determining an appropriate culvert size requires consideration of many factors such whether or not the culvert is inlet or outlet controlled; characteristics of the pipe such as roughness (what material is it made of), diameter, (Continued on page 12)


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Be Ready for the Alfalfa Weevil! Alfalfa weevil is the key pest of the first cutting. Populations have been above normal over much of the state during the past 2 years, so it is important to be watchful this spring. High populations may last for 2 to 3 years before natural enemies, diseases, and climatic factors begin to take their toll.

Figure 1. Tip feeding by alfalfa weevil (Photo: Lee Townsend, UK) Temperature drives insect development, so they may appear early or late, depending on how the spring unfolds. Fortunately, an alfalfa weevil degreeday model can indicate when to start checking fields for tip

feeding (Figure 1), the signature damage of this key crop pest. The table below shows the variation in degree day accumulation that can occur in consecutive years, along with the predicted values for 2018.

Scouting for Alfalfa Weevil The accumulation of 190 degreedays (base 48oF) signals the time when early tip damage can appear in fields. Check degreeday accumulations for your area at the UK Ag Weather website. The second critical time to check for damage should occur when 225 degreedays have accumulated. At this time, spring-laid eggs should have begun to hatch. Pay particular attention to fields that had significant weevil damage last spring. Weevil scouting procedure is outlined in Alfalfa Weevil Sampling Program (EntFact 127). By Lee Townsend, Extension Entomologist

Table 1. Historical degreeday accumulations for 2015 and 2016 indicate the potential variation in initial appearance of tip feeding by the alfalfa weevil and predicted dates for 2018.* Predicted appearance based on forecast of temperatures


Page 4 Agricultural News

The Reason Brown Eggs Are More Expensive Than White Eggs adapted from an article by Kristen Aiken, Huffington Post We talked to egg experts who addressed a number of canards about brown and white eggs, including the theory that eggshell color is based on the color of a chicken’s feathers (turns out that’s not entirely true), the nutritional difference between brown and white eggs, and how a chicken’s earlobes can determine the price of your eggs. Seriously.

hens lay brown eggs, there are a number of boutique chicken varieties, such as Araucana chickens, which lay eggs that range in color from green to blue. And of course, their feathers aren’t green or blue. “The hen’s earlobes give us a more accurate assessment of the color egg they’ll lay,” said Jones. Though earlobes aren’t a perfect

“Feather color does not necessarily denote eggshell color, because we have some white-feathered chickens that lay white-shell eggs, but we also have some that absolutely look like they walked through a bottle of bleach that lay brown-shell eggs,” Jones explained. Jacquie Jacob, from University of Kentucky’s department of animal and food sciences, pointed out a big exception to the theory. “[Some] breeds have different varieties with different feather colors, but they all lay the same color egg,” Leghorns, for example, can have white, brown or black feathers, “but they all lay white-shelled eggs.” There are entire charts dedicated to explaining which breeds of hens produce which color eggs. Though many commercial hens have been bred so that white-feathered hens lay white eggs and brown-feathered

indicator of shell color, they’re more accurate than feathers. And yes, chickens do have earlobes. “They have to hear,” Jones explained. “A chicken earlobe looks different from ours ― it’s not a human ear stuck on the side of a chicken ― but it still serves a purpose. Chickens are a tasty treat for some predators, so they need to be able to hear.” Backyard chicken enthusiasts disagree on whether a chicken’s earlobe is an accurate indicator of egg color. There’s even a forum on (Continued on page 5)


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the BackYard Chickens website called “Please Everyone - Earlobe Color Has Nothing To Do With Egg Color.” Experts beg to differ. “The color of the shell is breed dependent,” Jacob said. “It is somewhat related to earlobe color, genetically speaking, in that most breeds with red earlobes lay brownshelled eggs, and most with white earlobes lay white-shelled eggs.” The brown color on an egg is deposited on the shell in the hen’s “shell gland pouch,” also known as the uterus. The shell gland pouch is often referred to as the “paint station,” because that’s where pigment is deposited on the shell. The long answer is way more interesting: According to Michigan State University Extension, a single egg is formed in about 26 hours, start to finish, and a hen can produce about one egg a day during her prime (usually the first two years of her life). The egg’s journey begins as a yolk in the hen’s ovary. Once ovulation occurs, the yolk enters the oviduct tube, where it spends about three hours developing an egg white (albumen) to surround the yolk, and then it spends about 75 minutes developing its shell membranes. Next, the egg moves to the shell

gland, where the shell is formed. “That’s where the egg spends the longest amount of time,” Jones explained. “It puts down layer upon layer of shell as the egg sits in the shell gland, and it’s in there for at least 20 hours on average to form the shell. At the very end of the shell-making process, the pigment gets added, almost like you’re painting a house.” “A white egg goes through the exact same process,” said Jones, but “there’s no pigment added at the end because [a white shell-laying hen] is just not genetically programmed to do that.” Here’s the key to what makes brown eggs more expensive than white: “The brown egg layers need to have more nutrients and energy in their body to produce an egg than the white shell layers,” Jones explained. “It takes more feed for a brown-shell egg layer to accommodate production of the egg.”

Let’s make this clear: There’s no nutritional difference between brown eggs and white eggs. So, if brown eggs are laid by hens that require more feed, that would make the eggs more nutritious, right? Wrong again. There’s no nutritional difference between comparable white eggs and (Continued on page 12)


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Be Ready for Ticks The lone star tick and the American dog tick (Figure 1) are common problem species found in Kentucky and much of the eastern U.S. They are a significant threat to everyone who works, plays, hunts, hikes, or camps in or around overgrown or undisturbed areas. Reactions to bites vary from person to person based on the body’s response to the salivary mix injected by ticks as they feed. The special misery of the lone star tick bite can linger for 7 to 10 days, and there is the potential for secondary infection if the wound is contaminated during scratching. Figure 1. Female lone star tick (left) and female American dog tick (right). Notice the differences in their mouthparts: long mouthparts on the lone star tick and short mouthparts on the. (Photo: Lee Townsend, UK) Lone star and American dog ticks are three-host ticks, which means that during their development, they obtain blood meals from three different hosts. Both ticks can develop on blood meals from several animal species. Consequently, they can pick up a rickettsia, bacteria, or viruses from an infected animal and transfer them to another species during feeding. Erlichiosis and Rocky Mountain spotted fever are the most

common tick-borne diseases in Kentucky; fortunately, the percentage of ticks infected with these diseases is very low. More information on ticks and disease in Kentucky is available in Ticks and Diseases in Kentucky (ENTFact-618). Lone Star Tick & Erlichiosis The lone star tick is the main vector of erlichiosis. The pathogen is a bacterium that infects the white blood cells of various mammals, including mice, cattle, dogs, deer, horses, sheep, goats, and humans. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), symptoms (fever, headache, chills, muscle pain) usually develop 1 to 2 weeks after being bitten by an infected tick. The tick bite is usually painless, and about half of the people who develop ehrlichiosis may not even remember being bitten by a tick. American Dog Tick & Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever The American dog tick is a potential vector of Rocky Mountain spotted fever. According to the CDC, typical symptoms include fever, headache, abdominal pain, vomiting, and muscle pain. A rash may also develop but is often absent in the first few days. It never develops in some patients. American Dog Tick & Red Meat Allergy In addition, red meat allergy may appear as a skin rash or anaphylactic reaction that occurs 3 to 6 hours after


Page 7 Volume 1, Issue 4 eating beef, pork, or lamb. The reaction can occur in people with a history of strong reactions to tick bites (redness and itching at bite sites that last for weeks) or many bites from a single incidence. These people produce antibodies to proteins in the saliva of feeding lone star ticks. The common sugar (alpha-gal) that causes the reaction is not present in chicken, turkey, or fish. This antibody has been found in up to 20% of people tested who live where the lone star tick is common. Avoiding Tick Bites The best strategy to reduce the potential of contracting tick-borne diseases is to avoid tick bites. Here are some tips: Avoid walking through uncut fields, brush, and other areas likely to harbor ticks. Walk in the center of mowed trails to avoid brushing up against vegetation. Use a repellent that contains 20% to 30% DEET on exposed skin. Always follow product instructions. Use products that contain permethrin to treat clothing and gear, such as boots, pants (especially the cuffs), socks, and tents. Tuck long pants into your socks and boots. Wearing light-colored pants makes ticks easier to see. In areas where there are ticks, check yourself, children, and other family members for ticks every 2 to 3 hours,

as well as upon returning home from hikes and outdoor activities. Examine behind ears, hair, neck, legs, and around the waist. If you let pets outdoors, check them often for ticks. Ticks can “hitch a ride” on pets, but fall off in your home before they feed. Tick collars, sprays, shampoos, or monthly “top spot” medications help protect against ticks. Removing an Attached Tick In many cases, infected ticks must be attached and feeding for several hours before a pathogen is passed, so prompt removal is very important. Identification of ticks is available through local Cooperative Extension Service offices. You can store removed ticks in a sealed plastic bag with the date and location noted until they can be taken for identification. Step 1: A feeding tick holds itself in place by barbed mouthparts and a type of glue. Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin surface as possible. The goal is to remove the entire tick, including its head and mouth. Step 2: Pull up with a steady, gentle, even pressure. Do not twist or jerk the tick during removal. Step 3: Afterwards, wash the bite area and your hands thoroughly with rubbing alcohol, an iodine soap, or soap and water. Apply an antiseptic to the bite site.


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Benefits to Grazing Novel Endophyte Tall Fescue Jimmy Henning, Extension forage Specialist Spring is a time of renewal and rejuvenation, and pastures are no exception. If you plan to renovate a field this year, consider replacing your existing stand with a novel endophyte tall fescue variety. Novel endophyte tall fescue varieties have been on the market for about 20 years. Recently, the University of Kentucky released a novel endophyte tall fescue variety, Lacefield MaxQ II. It was available to producers in 2017 and is expected to be more widely available this fall. Novel endophyte tall fescue varieties do not produce the ergot alkaloids that can cause fescue toxicosis, a disease that primarily affects cattle but can also negatively impact pregnant mares and milk producing goats. They also retain some of the positives of KY-31 tall fescue including the ability to survive

drought, cold, overgrazing, insects and diseases. In fact, UK has some Lacefield MaxQ II research plots more than 10 years old that still are in good shape. Cattle producers that replace KY-31 tall fescue pastures with a novel variety consistently have higher conception rates and higher average daily gains. A UK summary of numerous studies found that cattle fed a novel endophyte tall fescue variety gained 0.75 extra pounds per day on stockers during the first half of the grazing season. Conception and weaning weights were also higher. The UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment is hosting a Novel Tall Fescue Workshop March 8 in Lexington that will cover all aspects of establishment and management of novel endophyte tall fescue varieties.

Net wrap vs twine: Is it worth getting wrapped up in? It’s that time of year when it is just about time to start fertilizing, planting, and implementing plans for this year’s hay season. When it comes to hay, we must consider that the capturing of hay quality and yield is the ultimate goal. While most of the quality aspects are related to maturity at harvest, the timeliness of harvesting hay is dependent on various factors. Depending upon the year or season, finding a couple of acceptable days to cut and roll can be as difficult as using a witty but relevant simile. It is easy to


Page 9 Volume 1, Issue 4 blame the weatherman (trust me, I have on more than one occasion), but the final decision to lay down hay rests with the operator of the hay cutting equipment. In relation to the hay equipment (cutter, rake, tedder, and baler), the baler would typically be the most expensive to purchase of these assets. The rate of baling is influenced by biomass crop, density of the windrow, moisture, bale density, field conditions (karst topography, lodging, field shape), hills, width of pickup, tractor horsepower, and baler type (string tie vs net). What are you willing to spend? As with anything else in life, the cost of a net wrap vs twine depends upon how much you are willing to spend. The cost of twine tie is related to the type and quality of twine, number of end wraps, spacing, and bale size (operator controlled variables). Similarly, the cost of net wrap is related to the number of wraps and quality of net. Generally speaking, the cost of twine has tended to increase over the past several years to approxi-

mately $50 per pair of twine (16,000). A low-cost net is about $130-$150 for 7,000 feet. When you apply twine at a spacing of 4� with 23 endwraps, the cost difference between twine and net applied at 2.5x disappears. The wrapping material costs are essentially equivalent. Nonetheless, when compared to a string tie baler under equivalent bale size and field conditions, 9 a net wrap baler would allow for a 30% percent higher baling rate, as shown in Table 1. For the larger baler (5 x 5 or 5 x 6), the net wrap baler would allow for ~20 more bales per 8hour workday. Those additional 20 bales may seem trivial unless your baling window was shortened by heavy morning dews, cloudy skies, impending rains, and high humidity. At this point getting up those additional 20 bales instead of having them rained on and waiting for an extended duration of the hay to dry would be advantageous to most farmers. Most farmers would only cut what they believe they would be able to bale up, and a net wrap baler gives (Continued on page 12)


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The Below chart is from AGR-172 ï‚·


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(Continued from page 2)

brown eggs. If they’re both organic, or cage-free, or whatever other label you want to slap on an egg, a brown and white egg will have no significant nutritional difference.

slope, length, and inlet configuration; characteristics of the watershed (how much runoff does the design storm produce and how large is the peak flow); and depth of water at the entrance and exit of the culvert (headwater and tailwater, respectively). Inlet control refers to a condition when the culvert is partially full and water is turbulent, often this is with steeper slopes. Outlet flow occurs when the culvert is full or partially full and the flow is tranquil.

As explained above, an egg’s content and shell are formed at opposite ends of the reproductive tract. The only difference in the reproduction process occurs at the very end, when the color is deposited. That’s after the egg’s nutritional content has been formed. “I think there is a widespread misperception that somehow brown eggs are healthier or higher in certain nutritional properties than white eggs, and I think in part that’s probably driven by the fact that they’re a little more expensive,” Dresner explained. “A lot of people are under the misimpression that if an egg is brown, it’s organic, which is also not the case.”

Presently, a University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Publication for culverts is under development. The publication will guide operators through the process of sizing, installing, and maintaining a culvert at their operation. Additionally, the BAE Ag Engineering Showcase on March 23 will feature a session devoted to on-farm water crossings. Register in KERS for this

(Continued from page 9)

them the capability to have that increased productivity. To finish those last 20 bales, the string tie baler would require another 1.3 hours of labor and at ~$13.00/hr, this would be direct labor cost of $16.90. Operation of the string tie baler requires additional fuel. According to the Nebraska tractor test summary, a 100-horsepower tractor requires an average of 7 gallons of diesel per hour to operate under load. This adds an additional $25.48. The cost of ownership also comes into play depending upon the amount of hay being baled. The cost of the additional hours may seem trivial but owner(Continued on page 13)


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ship cost (a calculated value) is a fixed cost of just having the equipment. For most balers, the cost of the net wrap option adds 25% or more to the cost of a baler. Table 2 shows how this cost per ton would vary for a new string tie and net balers. On a per ton per year basis, the cost would be higher for the net wrap baler but could be offset if 30%

more hay was baled (due to the increased production efficiency). During the wrapping process, net wrap bales turn fewer revolutions than string tie (~2.5 vs ~50). The reduction in total rotations with net allows for 1% more dry matter (mostly leaves) to be captured per bale than string tie bales. This is especially important for high-value crops such as alfalfa. If bales are being stored outside, most studies show that net wrap is more desirable to maintaining bale quality. Depending upon the rainfall and drainage of storage area, net wrap bales will reduce storage loss by 65% (~7% loss in dry matter

(DM) for net wrap bales vs ~20% loss in DM for string tie bales). The issue with net wrap arises when it is time to feed the hay. The net must be cut off — which can cost about a minute per bale. However, the willingness and ability to cut the net is contingent on age, mobility, sharpness of knife or other object, and/or availability/willingness of spouse to perform this task in addition to watching the gate. At the end of the day it is up to the personal preference of the hay producer to decide how to best utilize their time throughout the year. With net you save time in the summer but will spend additional time in the winter. If the hay is being sold, consider the preference of buyers within your area. Some hay buyers prefer net wrap for its storage and ease of transport (less likely to mushroom out than string tie bales); while other buyers don’t want to deal with the hassle of removing the net. Selecting the right baler can be a major decision and must be given due consideration. Select the type that will work for your operation and roll on‌. Dr. Josh Jackson, Assistant Extension Professor in Livestock Systems.


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FSA & NRCS News Foreign Buyers Notification The Agricultural Foreign Investment Disclosure Act (AFIDA) requires all foreign owners of U.S. agricultural land to report their holdings to the Secretary of Agriculture. Foreign persons who have purchased or sold agricultural land in the county are required to report the transaction to FSA within 90 days of the closing. Failure to submit the AFIDA form could result in civil penalties of up to 25 percent of the fair market value of the property. County government offices, realtors, attorneys and others involved in real estate transactions are reminded to notify foreign investors of these reporting requirements.

Reconstitutions To be effective for the current Fiscal Year (FY), farm combinations and farm divisions must be requested by August 1 of the FY for farms subject to the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) program. A reconstitution is considered to be requested when all

of the required signatures are on form FSA-155

other applicable documentation, such as proof of ownership, is submitted

Total Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and non-ARC/PLC farms may be reconstituted at any time.

Farm Safety Flowing grain in a storage bin or gravity-flow wagon is like quicksand — it can kill quickly. It takes less than

five seconds for a person caught in flowing grain to be trapped. The mechanical operation of grain handling equipment also presents a real danger. Augers, power take offs, and other moving parts can grab people or clothing. These hazards, along with pinch points and missing shields, are dangerous enough for adults; not to mention children. It is always advisable to keep children a safe distance from operating farm equipment. Always use extra caution when backing or maneuvering farm machinery. Ensure everyone is visibly clear and accounted for before machinery is engaged. FSA wants all farmers to have a productive crop year and that begins with putting safety first.

NELSON COUNTY CONSERVATION DISTRICT EQUIPMENT The Nelson County Conservation District is pleased to announce that David Sweazy is our new Equipment Manager. We now have 5 pieces of equipment for rent. They are: Haybuster No-till Drill, John Deere No-till Drill, Hay Bale Wrapper, Aerator and the newly acquired Pasture Sprayer. For any questions concerning the equipment or interest in renting the equipment, you can call David at 502-827-1474 or the Conservation District Office at 502348-3363, extension 3.


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Pasture Weed Control AGR`-172 The following chart is from a really good publication called Weed management is Grass Pastures AGR-172

This chart and the chart from page 11 are helpful but the full publication is well worth your time to read.


Phone: 502-348-9204 Fax: 502-348-9270

317 S 3rd St Bardstown, KY 40004

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2018 march april anr newletter  
2018 march april anr newletter  
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