Free NRCS tool helps farmers determine economics of using crops

Posted April 2, 2015 at 10:38 am

By now most farmers have heard about cover crops and how incorporating them into rotations can increase yields and reduce input costs while providing other valuable benefits. But there still are many farmers who have not tried cover crops because they are unsure about the costs.

To help answer that question, the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, or NRCS, has developed a simple digital tool. The Cover Crop Economic Decision Support Tool is a spreadsheet that helps farmers, landowners and others make informed decisions when considering whether to add cover crops to their systems. It was developed by two NRCS economists, Lauren Cartwright, of Missouri, and Bryon Kirwan, of Illinois.

Missouri State Conservationist J.R. Flores explained that the tool offers a partial budget analysis. It focuses only on operational changes that farmers make, things that affect the actual

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    Seed catalogs inspire gardners, cattlemen

    Shortly after New Year’s Day, seed catalogs started showing up in area mailboxes. Devoted gardeners get excited to see catalogs arrive and most will sit down and start their “wish list” on seeds for the coming season.

    Eldon Cole, a livestock specialist with University of Missouri Extension, says he got that same level of excitement when the first 2015 artificial insemination catalog arrived.

    “There’s a greater connection between those catalogs – the seed catalogs for gardeners and the AI catalogs for livestock producers – than you might first

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    The sky’s the limit for UAVs in ag

    The next generation of farmhands might be able to leap over barbed-wire fences and towering cornstalks in a single bound.

    Rules restrict use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) now, but the future holds promise for many agriculture uses, said University of Missouri Extension specialists Bill Wiebold and Kent Shannon.

    The remote-controlled devices can fly above fields and quickly send information from attached sensors and cameras back to farmers on the ground.

    Farmers can download, evaluate and react to data quickly. Dense rows of crops

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    New Missouri Farm Bill includes new programs for farmers

    The 2014 Farm Bill contains provisions that many southwest Missouri farmers – crop, livestock, and dairy – should consider to help manage their risk.

    The alphabet soup of farm program provisions replaces all of the direct payment crop programs with new risk management tools and offers new risk management tools to livestock and dairy producers.

    “The important thing that all producers need to know is, that in some cases, if they fail to visit their USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) office and sign up before the deadlines, they

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    Show-Me-Select bred heifers average $2889

    Joplin Regional Stockyards was packed to the brim with folks anxious to see and bid on the 521 Show-Me-Select, bred heifers offered for sale on Nov. 21.

    After only 2 hours and 10 minutes, the heifers were sold by auctioneer, Jackie Moore for an average of $2889.

    “When you do the math, the sale total was $1,505,150. This represents quite an added value for the 10 or 12 months during which the heifers were being developed under the SMS requirements,” said Eldon Cole, livestock specialist with University of

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    Prairie seed harvest boosts MDC’s grassland restoration

    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

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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

    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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