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

Posted July 10, 2014 at 10:43 am

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 growth, determines maturity.

First-cutting fescue grew more stems than forage.

“The good news is cool weather and rains continue well into June,” Roberts said. Normally, rains taper off and temperatures rise in June. Growth almost stops on cool-season grasses.

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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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    MU Pest Day on July 16 adds waterhemp plot tours

    University of Missouri Pest Day, July 16, just got bigger. Plot tours showing control for resistant waterhemp are added.

    “Waterhemp is Missouri’s worst weed,” says Kevin Bradley, MU Extension weed specialist and head of weed research.

    The after-lunch program moves off-site from MU Bradford Research Center, east of Columbia. The new plots are nine miles south of Moberly.

    “The new plots show effective herbicide treatments, cultural practices and crop systems,” Bradley says.

    The off-campus plots are on a farm field

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    MU offers risk management program for livestock producers

    The University of Missouri Extension and Risk Management Agency (RMA) will offer a free meal and Livestock Risk Management program July 22 but you must register by July 18.

    The training prepares livestock producers to manage price and weather risk with federally subsidized insurance programs, said Ray Massey, MU Extension agriculture economist.

    Massey said topics vary slightly by location to address specific concerns in those locations. General topics include market booms and busts, weather spurts and sputters, and livestock leases. Recent Farm Bill program subjects include the Livestock

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    USDA announces support for beginning farmers, ranchers

    USDA has announced the implementation of new Farm Bill measures and other policy changes to improve the financial security of new and beginning farmers and ranchers. USDA also unveiled The www.USDA.gov/newfarmers, a new website that will provide a centralized, one-stop resource where beginning farmers and ranchers can explore the variety of USDA initiatives designed to help them succeed.

    USDA’s www.usda.gov/newfarmers has in depth information for new farmers and ranchers, including: how to increase access to land and capital; build new market opportunities; participate in conservation opportunities; select and use the right risk

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    El Nino/La Nina can help forecast crop yields

    Water temperatures in the tropical Pacific can end up having a lot to do with the price of corn in Missouri, thanks to El Nino and La Nina, says a University of Missouri atmospheric scientist.

    El Nino is what atmospheric scientists call the recurring period of warmer than normal waters in the equatorial Pacific. This period can persist for two to seven years, and it affects weather in different ways in different parts of the world.

    In the American Midwest, the transition to El Nino tends to bring

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    MU tool helps farmers decide on pasture insurance

    Is pasture insurance right for your farm? The answer could be yes, no or maybe.

    University of Missouri Extension recently launched an online tool that can help farmers decide if purchasing pasture, range and forage (PRF) insurance makes sense for their operation.

    MU Extension agricultural economist Ray Massey says that unlike most crop insurance, PRF is based on rainfall rather than yield.

    “It is hard to understand what the yield is on pasture,” Massey says. “You put cows out there and you take cows

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    Lodged corn may increase disease risk

    Jill Scheidt, agronomy specialist with University of Missouri Extension in Barton County scouted field south of Jasper for the crop scouting program on June 11.

    Scheidt found that wheat is in the soft dough stage.

    “It usually takes four weeks after flowering for wheat to be ready to harvest,” said Scheidt. Harvest wheat at 13.5% moisture in order to prevent fungus development in the storage bin.

    While scouting the corn fields Scheidt found corn is in the 10-12 leaf stage.

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    EarthTalkOrganicUnsustainable 2cc.jpg

    EarthTalk®

    E – The Environmental Magazine

    Dear EarthTalk: Do you agree with the recent claim in the Wall Street Journal that organic agriculture isn’t actually sustainable?– Chuck Romaniello, Pittsburgh, PA

    Dr. Henry I. Miller’s May 15, 2014, opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal has indeed made waves in the organic farming community. Miller, former director of the Office of Biotechnology at the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, argues that conventional farming—which uses synthetic pesticides, herbicides and

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    Cover crops improve long-term soil health

    Decades of cover crop research is beginning to pay off.

    University of Missouri Extension and the USDA Agricultural Research Service have used cover crops in a corn-soybean-wheat rotation at a farm near Centralia, since 1991. Newell Kitchen, an ARS soil scientist and MU Extension associate professor, says they have accumulated enough data to fully explore the benefits and possibilities of cover crops.

    “In 2012, it was a really hot year, a dry year, and cover crops helped keep soil temperatures down,” Kitchen says. “We were able to preserve

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