The annual KY Alfalfa and Stored Forage Conference (sponsored by KFGC and UK) will be held Feb. 22, 2018 at the Cave City Convention Center. This year, the conference will be a workshop covering all aspects of Alfalfa Production from Establishment to Exports. Topics include: 1) Fine tuning variety selection, 2) Alfalfa Establishment, 3) Fertilizing for high producing stands, 4) Integrated weed and pest control systems, 5) Keys to harvest high quality alfalfa, 6) Mechanization to optimize efficiency, 7) Economics of new varieties, 8) Emerging export markets, 9) Understanding GMO traits and their impact. Early registration is only $30 and can be completed online or by mail. Full details and registration at the UK Forage Website.
Well over a year ago, the UK Forage Extension team debuted a new look for Forage News. Since then, we have been busy developing a new website as well. This new site, found at www.forages.ca.uky.edu was launched in January. It’s designed to be more user friendly, adapted for mobile devices, and allows producers and county agents to see all media related to a specific topic area. These areas include: Grazing Management, Soils and Fertility, Weeds Insects and Diseases, Alfalfa, Hay and Storage, Forage Species, Variety Trials, Equine and Establishment. Upcoming events and registration are also listed. Check out the new site today! You can still Google “KY Forages” and you’ll be redirected to the new site.
- Collect and submit a soil test.
- Begin frost seeding clovers on closely grazed pastures.
- Consider herbicide options for early spring weeds.
- Apply 40-50 lbs of nitrogen at green-up to promote early grass growth.
- Plan pasture utilization strategy (fencing, water, shade).
The 2017 growing season was wet early and dry later with conditions favorable for excellent corn silage yields. This year, besides silage production different between varieties, ratings were also taken for gray leaf spot (GLS) and both rusts together (Rust). This year, the most rust was common rust; however southern rust may have been present as well. Disease pressure was relatively low at all sites and a foliar fungicide likely would not have increased yields. See the full report online.
- Using Variety Trial Results to Make Selections.
- The Soil is Alive!
- Building Strong Nutrient Cycles in Kentucky’s Pastures.
- Putting the Pieces Together: Using Cattle to Build Soils
- Cover Crops: Opportunities for Improved Management.
- The Bottom-Line: Economics of Integrated Crop-Livestock.
- Overview of Integrated Crop-Livestock Systems.
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One of the signs that spring has arrived is when the yellow flowers of buttercup begin to appear, but it’s during the winter months that the vegetative growth of buttercup takes place. As a cool season weed, this plant often flourishes in over grazed pasture fields with poor stands of desirable forages. In fact, many fields that have dense buttercup populations are fields heavily grazed by animals during the fall through the early spring months.
Buttercups are sometimes classified as short-lived perennials, but often grow as winter annuals. Plants typically produce five, shiny yellow petals in the early spring. There are four different species of buttercups that may be found in Kentucky: bulbous buttercup (Ranunculus bulbosus), creeping buttercup (Ranunculus repens), tall buttercup (Ranunculus acris), and small flower buttercup (Ranunculus arbortivus). Although each of these plants may have somewhat similar flower heads, each of these buttercup species differs somewhat in their vegetative leaf characteristics. New seed are produced during the time petals are showy. Waiting until after flowers appear can be too late to implement control tactics. This is one reason buttercups can survive year to year and new plants emerge each year.
Most buttercup plants emerge from seed during the fall or late winter months. Therefore, pasture management practices that improve and promote growth of desirable plants during these months is one of the best methods to help compete against the emergence and growth of this plant. Whereas, livestock animals allowed to overgraze fields during the fall and winter months is one of the main factors that contribute to buttercup problems. Mowing fields or clipping plants close to the ground in the early spring before buttercup plants can produce flowers may help reduce the amount of new seed produced, but mowing alone will not totally eliminate seed production.
For chemical control, herbicides registered for use on grass pastures that contain 2,4-D will effectively control buttercup. Depending on other weeds present products that contain dicamba+2,4-D (eg. Weedmaster), aminopyralid (eg. GrazonNext, Milestone), triclopyr (eg. PastureGard, Crossbow), or metsulfuron (eg. Cimarron) can also be used. However, legumes such as clovers interseeded with grass pastures can be severely injured or killed by these herbicide products. For optimum results apply a herbicide in the early spring (February – March) before flowers are observed, when buttercup plants are still small and actively growing. For best herbicide activity wait until daytime air temperatures is greater than 50 F for two to three consecutive days. Consult the herbicide label for further information on grazing restrictions, precautions, or other possible limitations.
For fields heavily infested with buttercup a variety of control tactics may be needed. Apply a herbicide to help reduce the population of buttercup plants in the spring plus use good pasture management techniques throughout the year to help improve and thicken the stand of desirable forages. ~ Dr. J.D. Green, Reprinted from Grazing News.
The 2018 Heart of America Grazing Conference will be held in Springfield, MO February 26th and 27th in combination with the 34th SW Missouri Spring Forage Conference. Monday’s schedule includes a Grassland Soil Health Workshop and Keynote address from Dr. Garry Lacefield, University of Kentucky Professor Emeritus, titled “Gratitude.” Tuesday is a full day of concurrent sessions, trade show and lunch keynote By Dave Pratt of Ranch Management Consultants titled “Do You Own a Job or Business? Are You Working for a Lunatic?” Advanced registration closes on February 16th. Full registration is $80, with partial registrations available. For more info, click here.