Hope for the Best, But….Have an Applicator’s Pesticide First Aid Kit Handy

For many, applying pesticides can be a routine task. But sometimes, unexpected events happen: a broken hose under pressure, a leaky tank, a hose popping off the backpack sprayer, or just blowback from the nozzles. When you are contaminated with pesticides, you need to quickly get cleaned up. I (Ray) know a producer that is blind today because of a hose leak when applying anhydrous ammonia. That day he had forgotten to bring along an eyewash bottle.

The supplies in a pesticide first aid kit can help to limit amount of exposure when accidents occur. (Photo: Ric Bessin, UK)

If someone has swallowed or inhaled a pesticide or gotten it in their eyes or on their skin, and the person is unconscious, having trouble breathing, or having convulsions, then call 911. Always check the pesticide label for directions on first aid for that product. For help with first aid information, call the Poison Control Center (800) 222-1222 or National Pesticide Information Center (800) 858-7378.

If pesticides are inhaled, remove the individual to fresh air immediately. Loosen the victim’s tight clothing. If not breathing, provide artificial respiration, preferably mouth-to-mouth. Open doors and windows so no one else will be poisoned by fumes. Seek medical attention.

It is a good idea to have a pesticide first aid kit handy and to bring it with you when making applications. Keep in mind that first aid is not intended as a replacement for care administered by professional medical personnel; rather, first aid is the initial effort to help a victim until professional medical help can be provided. A pesticide’s risk is a function of the toxicity of the material and a person’s exposure to the material.  Exposure can occur through the eyes, skin, nose, mouth, stomach, or lungs. But another aspect is the time of exposure; the quicker the exposure can be interrupted, the better the exposure can be limited.  Always check the label for pesticide-specific first aid procedures.

Components of a pesticide first aid kit:

Gloves – good all-purpose gloves, such as barrier laminate, to protect against a wide range of pesticides. Remember to protect yourself from pesticide exposure prior to and while giving assistance. Make sure you wear the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), including a respirator, before assisting someone in an enclosed area.

Coveralls – when a change of clothes are needed after contaminated clothes have been removed.

Liquid soap and clean water – a couple of gallons of clean water to decontaminate the victim. Avoid harsh scrubbing since this can increase pesticide absorption.

Saline eye-wash – hold the eyelid open and immediately begin gently washing the eye with clean running water or eye-wash solution. Continue washing for 15 minutes. Cover the eye with a clean piece of cloth and seek medical attention immediately. If contact lenses are worn, remove and discard the contacts before washing the eyes.

Disposable towels 

Syrup of ipecac – used only with ingestion of certain pesticides. Read the first aid statement on the pesticide label carefully. Induce vomiting ONLY if emergency personnel on the phone or the product label tells you to do so. Never try to administer anything by mouth to an unconscious person.

Activated charcoal – used only with ingestion of certain pesticides when vomiting is not permitted. Read the first aid statement on the pesticide label carefully.

After giving first aid, call the emergency number listed on the label and/or the Poison Control Center at (800) 222-1222. Have the pesticide label on hand when you call. ~ Ric Bessin, Kentucky Pest News

Are Hay Preservative Applicators Worth It?

Weather during harvest can be the biggest challenge in putting up high-quality hay. If hay is still a bit wet but a storm is coming and you want to get it baled and stored before the rain, you might consider using inoculants and hay preservatives. If used correctly, these additives can be beneficial.

Ideal storage moisture depends on bale size. According to agronomy extension specialists at South Dakota State University, small square bales should be baled/stored at about 18%-20% moisture and larger bales about 3%-5% dryer to prevent heating and mold. When moisture levels exceed these ranges, a hay preservative or inoculant may be appropriate, but if moisture reaches more than 30%, these won’t help.

There are several products designed to help keep hay from heating and spoiling. Bacterial inoculants add more “good” bacteria to aid fermentation and improve aerobic stability (stopping mold growth). These bacteria occur naturally in many plants; inoculants simply add more.

They work best on hay that is wetter than good baling conditions, but less than 25% moisture. Inoculants should be applied uniformly as hay is baled and before any rain gets on it. They help protect against small moisture changes (3%-5% higher than you would typically bale) to reduce or stop mold growth, improve hay quality and palatability, and maintain green color.

Hay preservatives are different than inoculants and different than desiccants, which are drying agents applied at cutting to increase drying rate. Preservatives are applied to hay as it is baled to minimize spoilage during storage. Both products are usually applied through a spray system, either on the mower (for desiccants) or on the baler (for preservatives).

A preservative can be applied through spray nozzles fastened above the pickup attachment on the baler, which is common for large round balers, or discharged directly onto the hay within the bale chamber for small or large square bales. Preservatives prevent heating of hay baled at higher moistures by inhibiting growth of aerobic microbes. They allow hay to be baled sooner, reducing the time it lies in the field exposed to precipitation risk.

Preservatives are cost-effective if used as needed to prevent rain damage, when applied uniformly to the windrow as it enters the baler. The most effective preservatives for alfalfa are organic acids, mainly propionate (propionic acid) and acetate (acetic acid).

Effective application relies on using proper rate (dependent on moisture content and size of bale) and quality of forage. Preservatives containing high amounts of propionic acid are generally effective in reducing spontaneous heating in moist hay, but ammonium propionate (buffered propionic acid) is often recommended because it’s less caustic. The preservative should be sprayed using the most uniform application possible.

Small bales ranging from 20%-25% moisture should be treated with approximately 0.5% propionic acid. A 1% increase in application rate may be needed for hay with 25%-30% moisture. Many studies have shown no benefit from preservatives used on hay that’s over 30% moisture.

      Research has shown that propionic acid, as well as buffered propionic acid, is not harmful to animals. Since propionic acid can be corrosive to equipment, buffered acids and salts of acids have been developed to help overcome some of these issues. Both propionic acid and buffered forms may cause some hay discoloration but help protect feed value.

Even though hay might be higher-quality/higher-value when preservatives are used judiciously, some producers are hesitant to invest in preservative applicators, thinking these are too expensive or too complicated. “They are more affordable and simpler than you may think,” says Andrew Frankenfield, agronomy extension educator, Penn State Extension. “With challenges of making dry hay, this may be a change you can’t afford not to make.” Many times, hay is almost ready to bale but a little tough and you go ahead and bale it and hope it doesn’t mold. “These are the times you wish you had a preservative applicator, so you could bale and not have problems.” Yet you hesitate to buy one, thinking applicators are too expensive if you are only baling a couple thousand small square bales a year.

“You can buy a 25-gallon baler liquid applicator for around 500 dollars. These are not complicated – just a small electric sprayer you mount on the baler,” he says. You also need a baler-mounted moisture tester so you can assess moisture of the hay as you bale it. “A moisture tester can be purchased for 350 to 500 dollars. For less than 1,000 dollars you can outfit your baler with ability to apply a hay preservative when conditions are not perfect and get the hay off the field before rain destroys quality.”

If you want something fancier, you can spend several thousand dollars for fully automatic controls. These systems have a monitor that regulates flow of the preservative depending on moisture content of the hay, and with use of an electric eye, the applicator turns off and on when hay is flowing through the baler pickup. You can get the same results, however, with cheaper models.

“Consider the value of 5 acres of hay that you don’t get baled because of rain. It could have been worth 2,500 dollars [$250 a ton times 2 tons per acre times 5 acres], but now is only worth about half as much – maybe 125 dollars a ton and valued at 1,250 dollars. The 1,250 dollar lost could have paid for the applicator, moisture tester and preservative, and you’d still have money left in your pocket,” says Frankenfield.

“You can buy various types of preservatives in multiple unit sizes. One product for example: If you buy a 50-gallon drum [450 pounds], [it] costs about 450 dollars or one dollar per pound. If you buy a 275-gallon tote [2,380 pounds], it costs about 2,000 dollars or 84 cents per pound,” he says.

He gives examples, looking at stem moisture, application rates for small square or round bales and application costs per ton (based on $1 per pound). When stem moisture is 22% and under, preservative should be applied at 4 pounds per ton, at a cost of $4 per ton. Stem moisture of 23% to 25% would require 8 pounds per ton, or $8 a ton. Stem moisture of 27% to 30% would require 16 pounds per ton, at $16 per ton. Anything above 30% moisture should not be baled. For larger square bales: stem moisture of 22% and under requires 6 pounds per ton, or $6; stem moisture of 23% to 26% requires 10 pounds per ton. If moisture is 27% or above, do not bale.

When calculating how much preservative to apply, he says it’s like calibrating a sprayer, but instead of gallons per acre, you calculate pounds per ton. “Figure out how many tons per hour you bale. Count the number of small square bales you make in three minutes. Let’s say it’s 15 bales. Weigh several bales to get average weight. If they are 40 pounds and you bale 15 bales in 3 minutes, in an hour of baling you’d bale 300 bales with average weight of 40 pounds. 40 [pounds] times 300 [bales] equals 12,000 pounds per hour or 6 tons per hour.”

In this scenario, to apply 4 pounds of preservative per ton, you’d need 24 pounds per hour. “If the preservative weighs 9 pounds per gallon, that’s 2.7 gallons per hour or 0.045 gallons per minute. The preservative is slightly heavier than water,” he says. “In this example we would use one TP110050 spray tip at 35-40 psi to achieve our desired 4 pounds of preservative per ton of hay. If we need 8 pounds per ton, we can turn on a second spray tip or replace the single TP110050 tip with a tip with twice the output, such as TP11001,” says Frankenfield.

The applicator for your baler may pay for itself the first year you install it.  ~ Health Smith Thomas for Progressive Forage, full article here. For recent issues of Progression Forage, go to their website or sign up to receive regular issues at  https://www.progressiveforage.com/

Silage and Baleage a big focus for the 2022 Kentucky Alfalfa and Stored Forage Conference 

The Warren County Ext. office is hosting this years KY Alfalfa and Stored Forage Conference on Feb. 24.

Schedule of Events (All Times Central)
7:30 Registration, Silent Auction and Exhibits
8:00 Welcome and overview for the day
Brett Reese, Southern States, President of KFGC and Dr. Ray Smith, University of Kentucky
8:15 The biology of silage fermentation and additives
Dr. Chris Teutsch, University of Kentucky
8:45 Species and variety options for baleage
Dr. Ray Smith, University of Kentucky
9:15 Harvest timing and moisture determination
Dr. Jimmy Henning and Ben Connor, University of Kentucky
9:45 Break—Visit exhibits and silent auction
10:15 Mowing and conditioning for baleage: Equipment adjustment and harvest management— Dr. Jessica Williamson, AGCO
11:00 Alfalfa insect update
Dr. Lee Townsend (ret.) University of Kentucky
11:30 Lunch, Alfalfa awards, Silent auction results
12:30 Optimizing quality with bale density and time of wrapping
Dr. Jessica Williamson, AGCO
1:00 Round bale silage: Farmer results in Kentucky
Dr. Jimmy Henning, University of Kentucky
1:30 Baled silage panel: Making high quality baleage
Dr. Jessica Williamson, Agco and Craig Cohron, Warren Co producer
2:30 Final Comments and Survey Collection
3:00 Adjourn

Pub of the Month: Renovating Hay and Pasture Fields (AGR-26).

Renovate means to renew and improve. This publication discusses managing a pasture or hay field that has become less productive and renovating or “renewing” it so that it will become more productive. In Kentucky, this usually means adding lime and fertilizer, controlling weeds, and planting an adapted legume such as red clover and/or ladino white clover. The primary benefits of renovation come as a result of getting legumes established in grass-dominated fields. Download at Forage website under here.

Frost Seeding Clover: Getting it Right! 

Legumes play in sustainable grassland ecosystems.  This is especially true at current fertilizer prices. Nitrogen prices have continued to increase (Figure 1). Currently, one pound of nitrogen as urea is coming in at $0.95.  The following article provides some practical suggestions for establishing and maintaining legumes in your pastures. 

Figure 1. Nitrogen price trends over the last 12 months.   

Soil test and adjust fertility.  In order for clover and other improved legumes to persist and thrive in pastures, we must create an environment conducive to their growth.  This starts with soil fertility.  Prior to frost seeding clover, lime and fertilize pastures according to soil test recommendations. 

Suppress sod and decrease residue.  The existing sod must be suppressed and plant residue reduced prior to frost seeding.  The reduction in plat residue allows seed to reach the soil surface where it can be incorporated by freezing and thawing events.  Sod suppression and residue reduction is best accomplished by hard grazing in late fall and early winter.  

Ensure good soil-seed contact.  Good soil-seed contact is required for seed germination and emergence.  In frost seedings, this occurs when freezing and thawing cycles form cracks in the soil surface, often referred to as a honeycomb.   

Seed on Proper Date.  Frost seeding is best accomplished in late winter or very early spring (February and early March).  Frost seeding is accomplished by simply broadcasting the seed on the soil surface and allowing the freezing and thawing cycles to incorporate the seed into the soil.  Success with frost seeding can be enhanced by dragging your pasture as or immediately after or as you broadcast the seed. 

Use High-Quality Seed and Adapted Varieties.  Use either certified or proprietary seed to ensure high germination, seed genetics, and low noxious weed content.  Do NOT use VNS or Variety Not Stated seed since there is no way to tell how it will perform in Kentucky. 

Choose clover varieties that have been tested in Kentucky.  The University of Kentucky has one of the most extensive variety testing programs in the country.  The 2021 variety testing results can be found on the UK Forage Extension website or by visiting your local extension office. 

Use correct seeding rate.  In Kentucky, a good mixture for frost seeding is 6-8 lb/A of red clover, 1-2 lb/A of ladino or grazing white clover.  On rented farms or where soil fertility is marginal, adding 10-15 lb/A of annual lespedeza to this mixture can be beneficial. 

Calibrate seeding equipment.   Maintain and calibrate seeding equipment prior to seeding.  Several approaches to calibrating small spinner seeders or no-till drills can be viewed on the KYForages YouTube Channel.  

Inoculate Legume Seed.  Most improved clover seed comes with a clay-based coating that contains inoculant.  Make sure that the seed is fresh and has not been stored under adverse conditions.  If the seed is not pre-inoculated, inoculate it with the proper strain of nitrogen fixing bacteria prior to seeding.  This is relatively inexpensive insurance that legume roots will be well nodulated and efficient nitrogen fixation will take place.

Control Seeding Depth.  Small-seeded forages should be placed than 1/4 to ½ inch deep.  If using a drill always check seeding depth since it will vary with seedbed condition and soil moisture status.  Placing small-seeded forages too deep will universally result in stand failures.  Since frost seeding broadcasts the seed on top of the soil, this problem is minimized. 

Check seed distribution pattern.  When using a spinner type spreader/seeder make sure and check you spreading pattern.  In many cases small-seeded forages are not thrown as far as you think.  This can result in clover strips in your pastures rather than a uniform stand. 

Use GPS guidance to eliminate overlaps and misses.  A recent study conducted at UK Research and Education Center in Princeton found that frost seeding without GPS Guidance resulted in a 35% overlap.  Using GPS guidance reduced the overlap to 3%. At an overlap of 20% and an overseeding cost of $30/A, a portable GPS unit will pay for itself in less than 250 acres.     

Control Post-Seeding Competition.  Not controlling post-seeding competition is one of the most common causes of stand failures.  One of the best management practices is to leave cattle on pastures that have been overseeded with clover until the clover seedlings get tall enough to get grazed off.  Then remove animals from the pasture and allow that clover to reach a height of 6-8 inches.  At that time the paddock can be placed back into the rotation.  If the existing vegetation is not controlled, the new clover seedlings will be shaded out. ~ Chris Teutch, Cow Country News

Forage Timely Tips: February 

  • Continue grazing stockpiled tall fescue if available.
  • Assess grass stands. If thin, consider adding legumes.
  • Begin frost seeding with at least 6 lb/A red and 1 lb/A white clover on closely grazed pastures.
  • On pastures with lower fertility, consider adding 10-15 lb/A annual lespedeza to the above recommendation.
  • Consider applying nitrogen in mid to late February on some pastures to promote early growth.
  • Sign up for shared use drills for spring renovation.
  • Service and calibrate no-till drills

No Surprise: 2021 Hay Production was down

      The annual release of hay and forage data by USDA that defines the previous year’s hay production and year-ending inventories arrived in email inboxes last Thursday.       Overall, virtually all forage production metrics were down in 2021 compared to the previous year — even corn silage production. In the case of many states, drought was the reason that forage production suffered. This caused a reshuffling of state rankings for both hay and haylage production. Read the full article in Hay and Forage Grower.

Cattle preference for hay from round bales with different wrap types

      Three different methods of wrapping and storing alfalfa hay in round bales were used to explore possible differences in preferential consumption. Large round bales of alfalfa were stored indoors, outdoors, with conventional net wrap, or outdoors with a new wrap that incorporates a breathable film. This film is intended to better conserve hay in round bales by shedding precipitation but allowing internal moisture to exit the bale through microscopic pores. Five separate preference trials, each of 18-d duration with six 3-d periods, were conducted using beef cattle. In all 5 preference trials, hay wrapped with breathable film was preferred over net-wrapped hay stored outdoors. For instance, in trial 1 hay wrapped with breathable film was preferred over net-wrapped hay stored outdoors in all 18 pairings (P < 0.001), and consumption of the film-wrapped hay was significantly greater (78 vs. 28 % of total hay offered, P=0.05). Results suggest that when bales are stored outdoors, cattle will strongly prefer to consume hay from bales wrapped with breathable film compared with net-wrapped bales. Although in 2 trials hay wrapped with breathable film was preferred over hay stored indoors, when considered across all trials and pairings, preference of hay from breathable film bales did not differ from stored indoors. ~ Shinners et al., 2013. Professional Animal Scientist.

UK Rises above tornado aftermath

In the midst of utter destruction caused by the Dec. 11 tornado outbreak, University of Kentucky employees continue to press on, offering help where and when their fellow Kentuckians need it the most. The UK Research and Education Center in Princeton took a direct hit from the powerful tornado that began in northwestern Arkansas and carved a path of destruction across the western half of Kentucky. UKREC employees, led by director Carrie Knott, have worked tirelessly over the last three weeks.

“Our hometown heroes of hope—our faculty, staff and Extension agents in our Western Kentucky communities have rallied to assist others even as we were dealing with damages to critical UK facilities in Western Kentucky,” said UK President Eli Capilouto. “As the University for Kentucky, we understand how important faculty and staff at the UK Research and Education Center and Cooperative Extension Service are to relaying educational information to their communities. We are committed to rebuilding, helping the area recover and emerging stronger than before.”

“The center is the home to a group of very dedicated UK employees, and I commend Dr. Knott and her staff for their heroic recovery efforts,” said Nancy Cox, dean of the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment and UK vice president for land-grant engagement. “While the center won’t be the same for some time, the college is committed to helping our employees and communities recover from these devastating events and serving the Western Kentucky agricultural community.”

While the physical structure that housed the UKREC is temporarily gone, the center has been, and always will be, vital to Kentucky agriculture. “The outpouring of community support has been very humbling to us,” Knott said. “We are not closing our doors, but we will look a little different and be a little more fragmented at least for the near future.”

The center was established in 1925 on nearly 1,300 acres about one mile from downtown Princeton. In 1980, the Rottgering-Kuegel Agricultural and Extension Building was added and housed the center’s nearly 50 staff and hosted countless extension and area meetings. That facility underwent a major renovation and addition to house the UK Grain and Forage Center of Excellence, which opened in 2019. Since its inception, numerous stakeholders have provided strong support to the center and critical funding for many of its improvements.

“The Kentucky agricultural community is a strong community. It is a kind community, and it is a generous community,” said Chad Lee, director of the Grain and Forage Center of Excellence. “We are going to rely heavily on them to help us get through this as we work to build anew. Our hearts are broken but not our spirits.”

Over the years, scientists at the center have spearheaded many important research endeavors including numerous no-till research projects, precision agriculture, forage variety testing, and a soil fragipan research breakthrough. Center specialists have been the area farmers’ go-to resource for research-based information in agronomics, forages, beef management, disease control, pest control, precision agriculture, grain storage systems, soil fertility and grain marketing.

If you wish to make monetary donations to tornado victims, donate locally or to UK’s Office of Philanthropy at https://uky.networkforgood.com/causes/9900-cafe-annual-discretionary-fund. ~ Katie Pratt