Harvey County

Category: Agriculture

Post-Harvest Dirt Work

After harvest, many producers might head to the field for deep tillage such as ripping, or to make earthwork repairs around the farm. A few days before you want to start these activities, it’s worth a call to 811 for your safety and to prevent expensive damage to underground utilities.  The website http://call811.com  has easy-to-follow instructions for requesting this free service and detailed information concerning why you need to know what’s below.

Sadly, fatal accidents do happen in soil excavations. If you dig any trenches or soil pits, safety should be considered from the very beginning of the project. Soils with sandy textures are more susceptible to a collapse than soils with a higher clay content. If standing water is present in the pit, the walls are more apt to collapse.

There are Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines on excavation safety, such as when it is necessary to shore the walls of a soil pit or trench. One important consideration is soil should be piled a minimum of 2 feet away from the walls of the trenches for two reasons:

  1. Soil clods or excavating tools could roll back into the trench and cause injury to occupants.
  2. Reduces the risk of a trench collapse by keeping the weight of the soil piles away from the trench edges.

Even if a soil pit is 4 feet deep or less, it is a good idea to angle the edges of the soil pit. This does create more disturbance, but if it prevents an accident, it’s worth it.

For more information on trenching and excavation safety, see the following OSHA publication:“Trenching and Excavation Safety”, https://www.osha.gov/Publications/osha2226.pdf

Winter Cattle Water

With winter weather slowly approaching we should not forget to make sure all of your cattle have excess 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 600lbs was 5.0 gallons per day and at 1000lbs it was 8.5 gallons per day. If you fall calved and have cows milking right now they will need to have excess to around 11 gallons of water per day.

A good way to keep the water thawed is putting a water tank heater in the water tank. If you do that you need to make to check it often to make sure it is not shorting out in the water. A good thing to look for 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.

Livestock Wind Blocks

Providing animals with ways to get out of the wind during cold temperatures during the winter will cut down not only your feed cost but will help minimize weight loss and decreasing milk production. Building wind rows is a very good way to do this and it can be used for many years down the road.

Continue reading “Livestock Wind Blocks”

Fall Pasture and Hay Field Soil Test

 Soil testing can be done in either spring or fall on hay fields and pasture. Given a choice, fall would be the preferred time because it allows more time for any needed lime applications to have an effect before the main growing season begins, and it gives the producer some flexibility for planning nutrient applications.

 Soil sampling on a regular basis (every 3 – 4 years) can keep you from applying excessive and unnecessary amounts of fertilizer or manure, and can increase yields by revealing exactly which soil nutrients are too low for optimum productivity. By doing this practice properly, producers can save money and reduce the environmental impacts. Continue reading “Fall Pasture and Hay Field Soil Test”

Fall Volunteer Wheat

 In Harvey County, recent rains have stimulated yet another flush of volunteer wheat. Volunteer wheat is known to be an important reservoir for wheat streak mosaic and wheat curl mites that spread this disease. Many growers are asking if this newly emerged volunteer elevates the risk for problems with wheat streak mosaic becoming established this fall.

While volunteer wheat is known to be an important reservoir for wheat streak mosaic, all volunteer wheat is not equal in its contribution to disease outbreaks. The greatest risk comes from volunteer wheat that emerged shortly after harvest and was left all summer long. This volunteer wheat is rapidly colonized by the curl mites and infected with viral diseases. When this volunteer wheat is removed, the risk is reduced because the virus and curl mites do not survive more than a few hours without a living host. If new volunteer wheat emerges during the summer or fall, the risk of disease returns but not to the same degree. The risk is lower relative to the initial flush because there is less time for it to be colonized by curl mites and infected with virus prior to wheat planting. Volunteer wheat that emerges at planting, or just as the new wheat crop is emerging, is less likely to become a reservoir for disease than volunteer that has been present all summer. If fact, the late emerging volunteer wheat may pose no more risk than early planted wheat fields.

The need to control this volunteer wheat depends on the density of the stand and rotational plans for individual fields. A thin stand of sparse volunteer wheat may be able to wait until other planned herbicide applications are made in the spring. In contrast, a heavy or thick stand of volunteer wheat or other winter annual grasses like jointed goat grass, downy brome, or other brome species may necessitate some action this fall. Glyphosate is our best herbicide for controlling these winter annual grasses. Glyphosate can be tank-mixed with other residual herbicide programs that often are used to manage winter annual broadleaf weeds such as mustards, henbit, or mares tail.

Communication is Key for Good Landowner-Tenant Relationships

Good tenant-landowner relationships are always based on good communication just like every good relationship. Often when a land owner requests terminating a lease, he says poor communication is the leading factor. Here are some examples of a few questions that might be a sign there is poor communication the tenant and landlord.

  • Why are my yields less this year?
  • Why are you going to plant that?
  • Where is my share of the grain being stored this year?
  • When is harvest going to start?
  • Why are there cows in my field? How long will they stay?
  • Why isn’t there a crop growing in the field right now?
  • When am I getting paid?
  • Why are my yields less this year?

As a tenant it is critical to be able to rent and to hold on to the land you are farming in order to remain profitable. It is very important that when property changes hands, you as a tenant make sure you do what you can to keep in good communication with new landlord. I really encourage all tenants to build and maintain a strong relationship with their landlord.

Factors that Influence Hessian Fly Fall Infestations

Which wheat fields are most likely to be infested with Hessian fly in the fall? It depends on residue management, variety, planting date, the presence of nearby volunteer wheat, the use of insecticide seed treatments, and crop rotation.

Residue management. Undisturbed stubble favors survival. Experience has shown that, where soil management practices allow, thorough incorporation of the stubble can be a useful management technique. Continue reading “Factors that Influence Hessian Fly Fall Infestations”

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