Volume 12, Number 8
||This Month in Ag Connection|
Nitrate Toxicology Testing
There are a number of private laboratories that can do the testing. Most of them are capable of giving additional nutritional information for a few extra dollars and this information can be valuable in ration formulation. Your extension center has a listing of available labs and information on how to send samples to University labs.
(Author: Rich Hoormann, Agronomy Specialist)
[This Month in Ag Connection] [Ag Connection - Other Issues Online]
Fall Grazing Programs Utilizing Stockpiled Tall Fescue
When determining the amount of area to allocate to a particular group of livestock, you must have accurate estimates of the weight of the animals, what their expected dry matter intake will be and the amount of forage that is available to be harvested. Then it becomes a simple math exercise to calculate the amount of area to provide the livestock. Adjustments to the allocation area are then easily made by watching how quickly the forage disappears to the desired residual level.
Grazing demonstrations using pregnant 3-year-old cows that were weaned of their calves were conducted during 1996, 1997 and 1999. Stocking rates were approximately one cow per acre. The cows weighed between 1050 and 1300 pounds. Cow performance was quite acceptable. These animals gained from 1.3 pounds per day (1999) to 1.9 pounds per day (1996, continuous grazed treatment). Body Condition Scores (BCS) increased by 0.5 to 1.6 condition scores during the grazing periods. The cows were generally at least a BCS 5 at the end of the grazing period. No additional supplements were fed, with the exception of early December 1999 when a 12-inch snowfall forced hay to be fed for a short period of time. When continuous grazing was compared with strip grazing, the strip-grazed treatments were not completely grazed while the continuous grazed treatments ran out of forage. Animal performance was comparable across grazing treatments.
Based on animal performance and energy values of forage samples collected during projects with weaned heifer or steer calves, a safe rule of thumb is to expect that gains of weaned calves grazing stockpiled fescue will average about 1.0 pound per day. In order to increase gains, additional energy needs to be supplied to these animals. Soybean hulls alone or in a mixture with corn or another energy source would be an excellent energy supplement for the animals while they are grazing stockpiled fescue. Additional protein supplementation is most likely not needed when calves are grazing stockpiled fescue.
More recent grazing management research has focused on the levels of ergovaline in stockpiled tall fescue. Research by Dr. Rob Kallenbach and others has shown that ergovaline levels decline throughout the late fall and early winter. A management practice could include feeding hay to dry beef cows in the late fall, followed by grazing the stockpiled tall fescue in the early winter months.
Results from FSRC at Linneus, MO indicate crude protein levels of stockpiled tall fescue exceed the requirements for both late-gestation and early lactation beef cows, even during the winter months of January through March. Energy values in stockpiled tall fescue are very close to meeting the requirement for early lactation beef cows in February and March. The energy values in the hay used in their studies has not been adequate to meet either late-gestation or early-lactation requirements of beef cows. Crude protein content of the hay has not been adequate to meet early-lactation requirements for beef cows.
It is important with this type of feeding system that cows recover body condition in the late fall after weaning and before winter weather stress. Quality and quantity of stockpiled fescue should then be adequate to maintain those animals in proper body condition prior to calving, assuming they have reached the desired body condition during the fall. A very small amount of energy may need to be supplemented to lactating beef cows in February and March.
A possible concern to fall calving cows grazing stockpiled tall fescue is the decline in the minerals phosphorus (P) and magnesium (Mg) in stockpiled forage. Dr. Dale Blevens has shown that late summer P fertilization will increase the plant concentrations of both P and Mg, but levels of these minerals in the forage decline throughout the fall and winter to levels below those required by lactating beef cows. Therefore, producers who are utilizing stockpiled tall fescue for lactating beef cows should provide additional magnesium supplements to ward off the effects of grass tetany.
Summary: Stockpiled tall fescue is an excellent forage resource. As with any resource, proper management will enhance the value obtained from the use of that resource. Grazing management, particularly with regard to forage allocation, is important in obtaining the most valuable use of stockpiled tall fescue. Forage allocations should restrict forage access, but not restrict forage intake. Delaying the grazing of stockpiled tall fescue until the early winter months appears to be an effective way to avoid many of the ergovaline concerns associated with tall fescue. Knowledge of specific nutritional concerns for your animals will allow the supplementation of appropriate nutrients, whether these be minerals or energy. Observation of both the pasture and animal condition will enhance the effective use of stockpiled tall fescue, and may result in a substantial reduction in winter feed costs.
Grazing research in Missouri can be found at the following web sites:
(Author: Gene Schmitz, Livestock Specialist)
Improving Combine Efficiency
It might pay to make some adjustments to your combine and tractors to maximize fuel efficiency. Most of you probably do a good job with this, but here are some things to consider:
When possible operate at
higher gears and lower throttle settings. This is more difficult for a
combine than for a tractor. Operating at or near capacity of the combine
will give the maximum fuel efficiency.
Some work has been done using GPS equipment to analyze field efficiency. Field shape, length of rows, contour vs. straight rows and other things all affect field efficiency. If you are using GPS mapping, you might want to analyze the patterns of harvest and see if you can spot some places where field efficiency can be improved. Future articles will be presented on using GPS data for maximizing field efficiency.
(Author: Don Day, Natural Resource Engineer)
Japanese Beetle On Corn
Economic Infestations of Japanese beetle are occurring in scattered locations throughout the state. This beetle was first found in the United States in 1916, following its accidental introduction from its native country of Japan. Japanese beetles are approximately 1/2–inch in length, metallic green in color with bronze or copper colored wing covers. They can be confused with the beetles of the green June beetle, but are smaller in size. Adult beetles emerge from the soil in May and June to feed for approximately 60 days. During this time the beetles mate and females deposit eggs in the soil. Each female may lay 40 to 60 eggs with larvae emerging in about 2 weeks. Larvae will feed on plant roots and decaying material before overwintering in the soil as 3rd instars. The following spring larvae quickly finish development, pupate, and emerge as adult beetles beginning in May.
Japanese beetle adults often congregate in large numbers to feed on foliage and fruit of 300 to 400 different hosts, including ornamental, tree and small fruit, and corn and soybean plants. Typical feeding damage by the beetles is often seen as a lace-like pattern on host plant foliages as beetles avoid leaf veins when feeding. Beetles often begin feeding on the top of plants and move downward. Tassels and silks of corn can be severely damaged by adult feeding, whereas foliage feeding is common on soybean. Feeding on corn silks can disrupt pollination and result in substantial yield losses. Foliage feeding on soybean is less damaging, although small double-crop soybean may sustain economic damage. The grub stage of this pest will feed on plant roots of both corn and soybean with most feeding occurring in late June, July and August. Damage to plant root hairs may result in poor uptake of water and nutrients or be more severe and cause reduced stands through plant mortality.
In field corn, an insecticidal treatment may be justified if during the
silking period there are an average of 3 or more beetles present per ear,
silks have been clipped to ½ inch or less in length, and pollination is less
than 50 percent complete.
The following insecticides are recommended for
control of Japanese Beetle in field corn in Missouri.
(Author: Wayne Bailey, Assoc. Professor, Entomology, UMC)
A blog is short for weblog. These are online
journals or diaries. They can include text, pictures, links to favorite
websites, etc. The first ones started in 1994. The term weblog was developed
by Jorn Barger in 1997. Recently blogs have become popular with many people.
Some are used to give someone’s political views. You can find them on many
subjects. Some blogs are discussion blogs. They may be operated by an
organization with some particular view on life. In some cases you can post
your views to the blog by registering with them. Some blogs might be used to
brag about all the neat things your grandkids are doing.
Ag Connection - Ag Connection Newsletter, August 2006
http://outreach.missouri.edu/agconnection/newsletters/is-06-08.htm -- Revised: July 21, 2006