Monday, March 30, 2015
Wednesday, March 18, 2015
National Agriculture Day is a day to recognize and celebrate the abundance provided by agriculture! A good place to get involved in the celebration of food, farming and family is Agrilicious.org.
Agrilicious connects consumers with over 130,000 farms, food hubs, CSA’s and farmers' markets throughout the U.S. Agrilicious is the first of its kind national online resource and marketplace for All Things Local Food and Handmade Goods.
Agrilicious is at the heart of the food movement providing an exciting way to participate in the local food experience while expanding the family-and-farmer connection. Agrilicious has become the go-to source for all things local food. Follow on Twitter @AgriliciousSPC.
Friday, March 6, 2015
(Editor’s Note: This article relates to cattle production, but fescue toxicity also affects goat production. Converting pastures to toxin-free fescue would benefit goat producers as well as cattlemen.)
Justin Sexten, University of Missouri beef nutritionist, sees a way to protect fragile land and make profits with forages. He knows better grass provides better cow nutrition. Sexten is part of the Alliance for Grassland Renewal, which conducts schools on converting pastures of toxic Kentucky 31 fescue into toxin-free novel endophyte fescue. Five new varieties are available for farmers.
“CRP (Conservation Reserve Program) ground that was planted to crops when grain prices shot up may be ready to reseed to grass,” Sexten says. “Cropping a couple of years eradicates toxic K-31.”
Grazing new novel-endophyte fescue varieties will improve productivity, Sexten says. The toxic endophyte cuts calf gains, reduces cow’s milk and hurts conception rates. Novel-endophyte fescues avoid those problems.
There is an added advantage. Nitrogen fertilizer can be applied to the new varieties to produce more pounds of grass per acre. With the old fescue, adding nitrogen increased toxin levels. That defeated the advantage of added pounds of grass.
Four fescue schools held across Missouri will teach the steps in killing old fescue and planting new. Management is needed in both steps: eradicating and reseeding. If K-31 plants and their seeds in the soil are not killed, toxic fescue will return and crowd out new seedlings. The new grass must be protected with careful grazing.
Economic outlook favors conversion. With current high prices for beef calves, and a strong outlook, there should be quicker payback for pasture conversion.
Staff at the fescue schools will urge starting small on best pastureland and increasing the renovations year by year.
The schools and local contacts for registration are:
• March 31, Mount Vernon; MU Southwest Research Center. Carla Rathmann, 417-466-2148.
• April 1, Cook Station; MU Wurdack Research Center. Will McClain, 573-775-2135.
• April 2, Columbia; MU Beef Research and Teaching Farm on Highway 63 South. Lena Johnson, 573-882-7327.
• April 3, Linneus; MU Forage Systems Research Center. Tamie Carr, 660-895-5121.
Space is limited at each school. The research centers are part of the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources. The Alliance for Grassland Renewal brings together all players in the renewal process, Sexten says. That includes MU research and extension, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, seed companies, fescue testing labs, nonprofits and farmers.
“All work together now,” Sexten says. “Land taken out of CRP and put in crops is an ideal place to start raising new fescues,” he says. “That land was not top-grade crop ground when it was enrolled in CRP. Now it can be returned to grass to slow soil erosion. At the same time it can be a profit center on the farm.”
However, current toxic K-31 pastures can be no-tilled into crops. Corn and soybeans can be used as smother crops in the MU-perfected “spray, smother, spray” fescue eradication. Cropping helps pay the cost of pasture reseeding. Otherwise, the smother crop can be an annual grass used for beef forage.
See school registration details at www.grasslandrenewal.org.
Tuesday, March 3, 2015
|Brittany and David Carwell of B&D Genetics.|
David and Brittany Carwell are living a dream come true. The young couple finished graduate school in 2011 when they were both 23, receiving their Master’s degrees in Reproductive Physiology at Louisiana State University. The couple married and returned to David’s family farm in Cherry Valley, Ark., where they launched their business, B&D Genetics. The company offers a variety of reproductive services for small ruminants, including embryo flushes and semen collection and storage.
“For me this is something I have always wanted to do,” David said. “My whole family has farmed or run their own businesses. My parents have played a huge role in my life. My dad taught me to work hard and be honest and fair with people at all times. He is the reason I pursued graduate school at the early age of 21. Without his guidance I don't feel as if I would be where I am today. My mom is still living and is significantly involved in our business on an everyday basis.”
He added, “Brittany grew up on a small farm in East Texas. When we first met, her dream was to raise a family and to farm. We go hand-in-hand, as you might say.”
To read more about the Carwells and B&D Genetics, check out the March 2015 edition of Goat Rancher magazine. To subscribe or read it online, visit www.goatrancher.com.
The magazine also can be found in all Tractor Supply Co. stores.
|Lauren Linahon's article will have you laughing out loud as she recounts how the purchase of six baby chicks turned into a full-fledged adventure in Homesteading.|
Lauren and Bill Linahon are a young family (she’s 26, he’s 32) with three children and one on the way. Last April, they started their homestead, Herman’s Homestead, in Boone County in central Iowa. It is a small, family-owned, integrated livestock homestead that includes Nubian goats, Southdown Babydoll sheep, turkeys, chickens, rabbits and pigs (coming in the spring).
Their story is a lesson in what can be accomplished in less than a year. Read Lauren Linahon’s humorous account of their new adventure in self-sufficiency in the March 2015 special Homestead Edition of Goat Rancher magazine. If you’re not a yet a subscriber, visit www.goatrancher.com for more information.
Friday, February 20, 2015
Alcohol is OK but red meat isn't?The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) this week released the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee recommendations online, the agencies said in a news release. The recommendations are available for public review and comment.
USDA and HHS will consider the committee's recommendation, "along with input from other federal agencies and comments from the public as they develop the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2015, to be released later this year," the release said.
The public is encouraged to view the independent advisory group's report and provide written comments at www.DietaryGuidelines.gov for a period of 45 days after publication in the Federal Register.
Organizations representing the livestock industries were quick to issue comments on the committee's recommendations.
"We think the advisory committee has taken the wrong approach," said Howard Hill, a veterinarian and pork producer from Cambridge, Ia., who is president of the National Pork Producers Council. "Science recognizes that meat is, and should be, a part of a healthful diet. It appears the advisory committee was more interested in addressing what's trendy among foodies than providing science-based advice for the average American's diet. Have we really come to the point where alcohol is okay and meat isn't?" he said, referring to the fact that the committee omitted lean meat from its recommended dietary pattern (recommending 5.5 ounces a day of "protein foods") while including a recommendation for moderate amounts of alcohol.
Barry Carpenter, chief executive officer of the North American Meat Institute, said in a news release, "We appreciate the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee's recognition of the important role that lean meat can play in a healthy balanced diet, but lean meat's relegation to a footnote ignores the countless studies and data that the committee reviewed for the last two years that showed unequivocally that meat and poultry are among the most nutrient dense foods available. Nutrient dense lean meat is a headline, not a footnote."
The National Cattlemen's Beef Association statement indicated lean meat plays an important role in the American diet and science shows it needs to be recognized as part of a healthy dietary pattern just as it was in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. They encourage Secretaries Burwell and Vilsack to reject the advisory committee's recommendation that healthy American diets should be lower in red meat. The process was incomplete with flawed conclusions specific to health benefits of red meat's role in the American diet.
(Editor's Note: This article is geared toward cattle. To avoid additional supplementation, a 132-pound doe nursing twin kids would require about 4.5 pounds of hay per day that tested 11% crude protein and 48% total digestible nutrients.)
|A hay probe is used to extract a sample from the middle of a round bale.|
By David Burton
Civic Communications Specialist
Missouri Extensioin Service
MT. VERNON, Mo. - University of Missouri Extension specialists frequently remind farmers that the only effective way to evaluate the merits of hay or haylage is to have it tested by a lab.
"Earlier this winter, a Newton County farmer in his 70's sent me the lab results on some grassy hay he'd purchased. He commented that he'd never had a hay sample analyzed in his life. I said, 'well it's about time you did'," said Eldon Cole, livestock specialists with MU Extension.
According to Cole, the hay that was tested had 8.7 percent crude protein on a dry basis which should meet a mature, dry cow's needs. The energy or total digestible nutrient (TDN) was the low spot at only 48 percent.
"I told him it would need some additional energy supplement to meet most classes of cattle's requirements. I also was concerned the high neutral detergent fiber (NDF) level of 71 percent would limit the animal's intake," said Cole.
In a few weeks, Cole received three more lab results on hay this same farmer had raised or purchased. The protein levels ranged from 9.8 to 11.9 percent. The TDN values were 54 to 54.5 percent. NDF was acceptable for grass hay in the 61 to 64 percent range.
"As a rule the lower the NDF, the greater amount the cattle will eat," said Cole.
Since then, Cole says the client has found some fescue, barn-stored, with 12.4 percent protein and 55.5 percent TDN. The very last sample he submitted was not so good at 8.8 percent protein, 49.9 percent TDN and 69 percent NDF.
"He figured out it wasn't worth the money, and he is not buying any more of it," said Cole. "Although he'd never had hay tested in his life, I believe he is glad he did and his experience should make him a better hay evaluator in the future."
For more information, contact your local Extension agent.