Featured Publication: Cyanide Poisoning in Ruminants (ID-220)

Although, most areas of the states have had significant frosts, we are still getting questions on Johnsongrass and cyanide (prussic acid) poisoning. Let’s overview the main points.

Do not graze Johnsongrass when frost is likely (including at night). Frost allows conversion to hydrogen cyanide within the plant. Do not graze after a killing frost until plant material is completely dry and brown (the toxin is usually dissipated within 72 hours).

If cut for hay, allow to dry completely so the cyanide will volatilize before baling. Allow slow and thorough drying because toxicity can be retained in cool or moist weather. Delay feeding silage 6 to 8 weeks following ensiling. The full publication can be found here.


Forage Timely Tips: November

  • Begin utilizing stockpiled forage.
  • Graze down alfalfa after Nov. 1st or a killing frost <26o (whichever comes first).
  • Soil test and apply lime, P or K according to soil test recommendations.
  • Continue to inventory hay supplies and needs and get your hay tested for quality.
  • Utilize crop residues.
  • Herbicide applications for winter weeds are possible before hard freeze when day temps are in the 50’s.

USDA Hay Markets – October 30, 2018

Below are examples of grass prices being paid FOB barn/stack for selected states at the end of the day on Friday, October 26. Large ranges for a particular grade and state are often indicative of location and/or bale size. Also check the USDA Hay Market Prices for additional locations and more detailed information or go online and subscribe to eHay Weekly for weekly forage updates including hay prices. chart


Quote of the Month: “Repetition is Part of Education”

**Forage-Livestock Quotes and Concepts, Volume 2 is now Available!**

    book2  Legendary Tennessee forage specialist Joe Burns often states, “If you heard me say this before, please don’t interrupt: I want to hear it again myself.” He knew that many people in his audience had probably heard some of the words or ideas in a person’s mind. If we later forget details, it is easier to “re-learn” the information. This is one reason why it is helpful to attend education events, as well as read newsletters, farm magazines, internet blogs and other sources of valuable information. It is not only a matter of learning new things, but also fixing more firmly in our minds things to which we have previously been exposed. Hopefully, information and ideas in this publication will be of benefit regardless of the reader’s experience.  Forage-Livestock Quotes and Concepts, vol. 2 is available for purchase here.


Grazing Too Short in Fall and Winter Can Mean More Weeds in the Spring

Results of a study by University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers show that if you graze shorter, you’re helping weed seeds get the light and resources they need to germinate well in the spring. Their study focused on burdock, but results could be similar for other weed species that germinate in early spring. ~ Kathy Voth, On Pasture. Full article available here.


Forage Identification Book Now Available

Common Grasses, Legumes and Forbs of the Eastern United States: Identification and Adaptation presents photographic identification of the most important grassland, turf,book1 and non-crop plants, and their seeds to facilitate quick identification in the field. Unlike many publications that focus solely on floral identification, this book emphasizes vegetative identification as well to allow for accurate plant identification year-round. The book includes 23 forage legumes, 61 grasses, and more than 100 non-leguminous forbs found in pastures and grasslands of Eastern United States. The book is available online in paperback or ebook for $85.

Utilizing Cost Share for Farm Improvements

A leading cost share program in the area of environmental protection is the Environmental Quality Incentive Program, also known as EQIP. It is administered by the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), a division of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).  NRCS-EQIP provides both financial and technical environmental benefits on working agricultural lands.

Interior fencing to promote better rotational grazing on farms is a popular practice that is eligible in EQIP. Large pastures cut into smaller paddocks allows a farm to implement rotational grazing. This improved management practice results in more ground cover from grasses and legumes, reduced runoff and soil erosion and reduced need for purchased hay.  Stream crossing is another eligible practice. Streambed traffic, from livestock or vehicles, can erode the stream bank, causing changes in the flow and affect the wildlife that live in or near the stream.

NRCS-EQIP funds are available to all commodities and livestock farms. Within the state of Kentucky, there is no minimum acreage requirement for participation.  Interested applicants should visit their local NRCS office to become more familiar with what EQIP offers and the requirements for participating in the program.

The County Agricultural Investment Program (CAIP) is a cost share program available through the Kentucky Agricultural Development Fund (KADF) and the Kentucky Governor’s Office of Agricultural Policy (GOAP). CAIP aims to increase net farm income, add value to products and diversify operations. All of these things make a farm more profitable and more likely to stay in agricultural production.

Investments of CAIP may include commodity storage. Dry hay storage on farms can significantly reduce waste, therefore lowering the annual hay expense. Dry hay also retains quality better and is more likely to meet the needs of the animals without the need for additional supplementation. Other investment areas could be improving pasture productivity with seed, fertilizer or herbicide applications as well as fencing improvements or construction of run in sheds and equipment storage buildings. Check with your local county extension agent about the availability and eligibility of CAIP or other local cost share programs.

Most agricultural cost share programs will in some way involve either the local Cooperative Extension Office (state) or the local NRCS District Office (federal). Both of these agencies can provide a wealth of technical information to all types of producers, and can work with producers to be aware of cost share opportunities and assist in the application process. If you are interested in learning more about cost share programs available in your state or local area, contact your county agent and natural resource manager.

~ Krista Lea, S. Ray Smith and Linda McClanahan