Harvey County

Category: Agriculture

What Beef Producers Should Be Thinking About This Month

Historically, cull cow prices are beginning to rise. Finish culling cows in order of priority:

  1. Those that fall within the “Four-O Rule” (Open, Old, Onry, Oddball).
  2. Those with physical/structure problems (feet and legs, eyes, teeth, etc.).
  3. Poor producers.
  • Continue feeding or grazing programs started in early winter. Fully utilize grain sorghum and cornstalk fields, severe winter weather may begin to limit crop residue utilization, be prepared to move to other grazing and feeding systems.
  •  Supplement to achieve ideal body condition scores (BCS) at calving.
  •  Control lice, external parasites will increase feed costs.
  •  Provide an adequate water supply. Depending on body size and stage of production, cattle need 5-11 gallons of water per head per day, even in the coldest weather.
  • Sort cows into management groups. Body condition score and age can be used as sorting criteria. If you must mix age groups, put thin and young cows together, and feed separately from the mature, properly conditions cows.
  •  Use information from forage testing to divide forage supplies into quality lots. Higher-quality feedstuffs should be utilized for replacement females, younger cows, and thin cows that may lack condition and that may be more nutritionally stressed.
  • Consult your veterinarian regarding pre- and postpartum vaccination schedules.
  •  Continue mineral supplementation. Vitamin A should be supplemented if cows are not grazing green forage.
  •  Plan to attend local, state and regional educational and industry meetings.
  •  Develop replacement heifers properly. Weigh them now to calculate necessary average daily gain (ADG) to achieve target breeding weights. Target the heifers to weigh about 60 to 65% of their mature weight by the start of the breeding season. Thin, light weight heifers may need extra feed for 60 to 80 days to “flush” before breeding.
  •  Bull calves to be fed out and sold in the spring as yearlings should be well onto feed. Ultrasound measurements should be taken around one year of age and provided to the association.
  •  Provide some protection, such as a windbreak, during severe winter weather to reduce energy requirements. The lower critical temperature (LCT) is the temperature at which a cow requires additional energy to simply maintain her current body weight and condition. The LCT for cattle varies with hair coat and body condition (Dry, heavy winter coat = 18 degrees, wet coat = 59 degrees). Increase the amount of dietary energy provided 1% for each degree (including wind chill) below the LCT.

 

Benefits of Timber Stand Improvements on Kansas Farmsteads

Many producers and landowners in Kansas have wooded areas on their property that can provide beneficial habitat for wildlife. These forests offer protection from wind and snow, refuge from predators, and a variety of foods not found in other landscapes. While these areas might be taken for granted, they can often be enhanced with little or no loss to timber production.

Properly managed forests provide habitat for wildlife such as squirrels, deer, turkey, and songbirds. Other wildlife species such as rabbits, quail and raptors use the forest edge (the border where two different cover types come together) and benefit from the management of these areas. For the landowner, wooded areas offer aesthetic beauty, improve water and air quality, provide valuable wildlife habitat, and offer income opportunities.

Timber stand improvement (TSI) is one option for enhancing the wildlife value of a wooded area. TSI removes inferior trees to improve the growth rate and/or quality of the best, high-valued (crop) trees. Use this practice to thin a forest by removing trees that are restricting the growth of the more valuable trees. Continue reading “Benefits of Timber Stand Improvements on Kansas Farmsteads”

Winter Cattle Water

With winter weather approaching you should not forget to make sure all of your cattle have access to fresh drinking water. Even though with these cold temperatures it might not seem like they need to drink as much water as normal, it is vitally important that they can get to water.

The water needs of cattle are influenced by a number of factors such as: rate and composition of gain, pregnancy, lactation, physical activity, type of ration, diet salt content, dry matter intake and environmental temperature. This time of year cattle are trying to stay warm so they won’t be doing a lot of physical activity.

A study done by Kansas State University showed that in January, on the average, water intake with calves weighing 600 lbs. was 5.0 gallons per day and 1000 lbs. it was 8.5 gallons per day. If you fall calved and have cows milking right now they will need to have access to around 11 gallons of water per day.

A good way to keep the water thawed is by putting a water tank heater in the water tank. If you do that you need to check it often to make sure it is not shorting out in the water. A good thing to look to tell if a short does happen is the cows will congregate around the water tank but will not be drinking. Keeping a close watch on your cattle should tip you off fairly quickly to a problem.

Deep Tillage

Now that row crop harvest is over in Kansas, producers might be considering deep tillage for the purpose of alleviating compaction. Here are a few things to consider:

How deep should the tillage operation occur?

That is best answered by taking a spade or soil probe out in your field and digging a few holes. Ideally, you should dig down to about 18 inches. You are looking for dense layers that are restricting plant roots. If you see “platy” soil structure, which looks like many horizontal layers of soil about ¼ to ½ thick in diameter, look to see if the roots have penetrated through this zone in the soil. If the roots have predominantly penetrated this zone, the layer probably isn’t really root-limiting. If you see a lot of roots that are growing horizontally, or if they appear stubby and gnarled, lacking many root hairs, that can also be a sign that the roots are having trouble making it through this layer.

If you see a dense zone that ends, at say, 8 inches, you’d only want to go about 9 inches deep with the tillage operation. As you double the depth of the tillage operation, you quadruple the power requirement, so going too deep is a waste of time and energy. Also, there is no point in going deeper and potentially damaging the soil profile even further (risks are explained below). Continue reading “Deep Tillage”

2018 K-State Corn Schools Slated for January

K-State Research and Extension is partnering with Kansas Corn to host three regional K-State Corn Production Management Schools to be held in January in western, central and eastern Kansas. These will provide in-depth training targeted for corn producers.  These sessions are free for producers to attend and we will work to ensure CCA credits are available. Schools will be followed by a tour.

The one-day schools will cover up-to-date and specific corn topics: corn management, high-yielding corn factors, weed control, soil fertility, price and market perspectives. After lunch, participants will have the opportunity to participate in discussions and information specific to their region. Continue reading “2018 K-State Corn Schools Slated for January”

Cold Temperatures with Late Developed Wheat

When you get a combination of low temperatures, dry soils and poorly developed wheat crops it creates a concern among farmers about the wheats chances of surviving the winter. Will the wheat survive the combination of those conditions?

“Where wheat plants have a good crown root system and two or more tillers, they will tolerate the cold better. If plants are poorly developed going into winter, with very few secondary roots and no tillers, they will be more susceptible to winterkill or desiccation, especially when soils remain dry,” Jim Shroyer, K-State Research and Extension crop production specialist said. “Poor development of secondary roots may not be readily apparent unless the plants are pulled up and examined” he added.

If the seed is not planted at the correct depth, about one and a half to two inches, the crown will not be protected good enough from the weather conditions. The crown needs to be reasonably well protected in the soil so it can be protected from cold temperatures. If the wheat seed was planted to shallowly then the crown will not be buffered from the winter weather and will be more susceptible to winterkill.

Temperature ranges in the fall also have an effect on winterkill. If the temperatures suddenly drop into the low teens the wheat plants will not have had enough time to winter harden. If the fall temperatures gradually drop then the wheat will be adequately cold harden and should be able to handle the winter.

In most cases, producers won’t know for sure if the wheat has survived cold temperatures until early next spring.

Fall Application of Anhydrous

Soils in parts of Kansas are now cool enough to allow producers to apply anhydrous ammonia for their 2017 corn crop, and have been for the past couple weeks in northern Kansas. This practice has some appeal. For one thing, fall fertilizer application spreads out the workload so that there’s more time to focus on corn planting in the spring. Secondly, wet spring weather sometimes prevents producers from applying lower-cost anhydrous ammonia in the spring ahead of corn planting, and forces them to apply more expensive sources after planting. Equally important for many producers have been issues with ammonia availability at times in the spring.

Despite those advantages, producers should be aware that there is potential for higher nitrogen (N) loss in the spring following a fall application, as a result of nitrification of the ammonium during late winter and very early spring and subsequent leaching, or denitrification. If anhydrous ammonia has already been applied this fall for the 2017 corn crop, this article will discuss what to expect if soil temperatures have not been cold enough until now. Continue reading “Fall Application of Anhydrous”

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