Prairie seed harvest boosts MDC’s grassland restoration

Posted December 4, 2014 at 9:56 am

A prairie seed harvest that began in spring and continued through summer swelter, sometimes by hand, ended recently on a cold winter day. Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) staff and volunteers mixed and bagged wildflower and grass seed at the Wah’Kon-Tah Prairie. The seed was harvested from surviving prairie remnants managed by MDC and will be used to restore natural grassland habitat on public lands.

“I’m here because I want to see the prairie grow,” said Octavio Lorenzo, a volunteer from rural Raymore, who is a member of the Osage Trails Missouri Master Naturalist Chapter. Lorenzo helped stir the seed mixes and shovel them into bags.

Missouri was once rich with open tallgrass prairies. Also, on vast areas grew a mix of trees, native grasses and wildflowers. Only small remnants remain. Missouri’s greater prairie chickens are now endangered

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    An experience only agriculture can provide

    by Rebecca French Smith

    Fall is a perfect time to learn about agriculture. Harvest is in full swing and farmers are bringing the last fruits and vegetables of the summer season to farmers’ markets, while some farmers are getting ready to host guests looking for an experience only agriculture can provide.

    Across Missouri, farmers are opening their farms to guests not only during the fall but year-round. This time of year, pumpkin patches and corn mazes are busy making final preparations for guests to come gather their fall

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    September-seeded clover gives early spring growth

    Spring-season frost seeding makes an easy way to add clover to grass pasture. Fall seeding works better, says Rob Kallenbach.

    Fall rains work legume seeds into the soil just as frost does in February, says the University of Missouri Extension specialist.

    Legumes can be overseeded into cool-season pastures just as in spring. The main difference: no snow to show where seed has been spread, Kallenbach says.

    Before seeding, pastures should be grazed short to cut competition for legume seedlings. Short grass allows small red

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    Pest levels low in corn and soybean fields

    Jill Scheidt, agronomy specialist with University of Missouri Extension in Barton County, scouted fields northwest of Liberal on Aug. 6 for the crop scouting program. Scheidt offers this advice from the field.


    Corn is in the dent to black layer stages. “Black layer is when corn has reached physiological maturity, about 20 days after the dent stage. Black layer can be identified by breaking the ear in half and looking for the milk-line, a dark yellow line that gradually forms closer and closer to the cob,” said

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    Great News for Future of Ag

    by Blake Hurst

    The passage of Amendment #1, the Farming Rights Amendment, is great news for the future of Missouri agriculture. Although the vote was close, a majority of Missouri voters understood the issue and voiced their support for farmers. August 5th was a win for everyone who eats, as well. Our food supply is more secure because of the vote; we farmers will be able to continue doing what we do best, producing good food on family farms all across our state.

    The news wasn’t all good.

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    Rains restore crop yield potential just in time

    August rains, after a dry July, came just in time to fill corn ears and set soybean pods, says a University of Missouri agronomist.

    “Timing of these rains could not be better,” says Bill Wiebold with MU Extension plant science. “These rains set the table for excellent possibilities.”

    Rains fell, and continued, in a large midsection of Missouri starting Wednesday night, Aug. 6. Rains of 1 to 3 inches fell on cropland in an area from north of Hwy. 36, from Saint Joseph to Hannibal, and to I-44

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    Several equipment manufacturers demonstrate their manure agitation boats at the Chapman Dairy near Pierce City on July 8. This was showcased at the North American Manure Expo held in Springfield during July of 2014.

    Entries down, quality up in Fair Hay Show

    This year’s hay show at the Ozark Empire Fair had the least number of entries since the beginning of the show in 1985. Weather was to blame according to most of the farmers.

    “Extra cool weather in April and early May followed by abundant rain without a window to allow hay to cure made haying this Spring a serious challenge,” said Eldon Cole, a livestock specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

    In spite of poor weather conditions, some entrants found a way to produce high-quality hay.

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    Second-cutting fescue makes quality hay when stems, seed heads were cut earlier

    Farmers cutting fescue hay don’t get many second chances to make quality hay. This is a one-in-five year opportunity, says Craig Roberts, University of Missouri Extension forage specialist.

    Cool spring temperatures made for bad fescue hay.

    “The growing season was at least two weeks behind schedule,” Roberts said on a weekly teleconference. Lack of sunshine and warmth led to reduced leaf growth.

    Before fescue grew enough leaves to make hay, the grass matured. The plants set seed heads. Day length, not temperature or leaf

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    AgrAbility program from MU helps farmers after injury

    Chris Allen wanted out of the bed. He argued with hospital staff that he needed to go home to harvest crops, feed cattle and cut firewood to heat his farmhouse.

    The lifelong Shelby County farmer had a brain aneurysm that resulted in a life-threatening hemorrhagic stroke on his farm in August of 2010. But the thought of crops in the field nagged at him while he was a patient at Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis and Rusk Rehabilitation in Columbia.

    “I knew I needed to get home

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