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Agricultural News for Farmers and Agribusiness in SW Georgia

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Posts Tagged ‘livestock’

Question of the week – Peanut Tree (Cassia)

Posted by romeethredge on December 4, 2015

Last week I had a photo of a small tree we sometimes grow here that is really nice, but affected by hard cold. We call it a peanut tree due to the resemblance to a peanut’s leaves and blooms and it is in the same plant family, but it’s one of the Cassias. Often it’s known as Cassia bicapsularis or Butterfly Bush. IMG_9409

 

Mississipi Extension has a nice article about it at this link. Here’s an excerpt.

“While other trees are preparing for winter, butterfly bush is just waking up in the fall. This sprawling, semi-evergreen shrub, reaching a height of 8 to 10 feet with an equal spread, produces blossoms in fall that resemble golden butterflies. Bright yellow flowers appear at a time of year when little else is in bloom. This plant has a place in any sunny landscape.

Winter CassiaA touch of the tropics in a landscape setting is always a pleasure, especially when it comes at an unexpected time. That’s what you get with fall blooming Senna bicapsularis, which is in full bloom right now along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Its sunny yellow tropical flowers have a lot of people wondering what it is. Senna bicapsularis has many common names including Butterfly Cassia, Winter Cassia, Butterfly Bush and Christmas Senna. Whatever it may be called, when in bloom, this plant becomes a point of special interest and the talk of the neighborhood.

Winter Cassia is one of those plants that originated in the tropics, probably South America or Africa where it freely distributes itself by seed. Somehow it made its way to the U.S. and is frequently used along the Gulf Coast and in Florida landscapes. Its official cold hardiness varies, depending on whom you ask, but I feel safe saying it is a hardy perennial in zone 8. That is, it will die back to the ground each winter in south Mississippi but will resprout each spring and grow 8 to 10 feet tall and about as wide then bloom like crazy in the fall. In tropical regions it becomes a large shrub or small tree.”

 

This week’s question is about a pig. We had our Market Hog weigh in last week and I was glad to see this pig because it reminded me of one I exhibited in 5th grade. What kind of pig is this, what predominant breed?

 

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Posted in Agriculture, Horticulture, Livestock | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

Avian Influenza Update

Posted by romeethredge on April 13, 2015

If you would like more information about this Avian disease, please email me for the full update. ( ethredge@uga.edu )

 

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Posted in Agriculture, Livestock | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Stinging Nettle Flourishing Now

Posted by romeethredge on April 1, 2015

I’m seeing some of Stinging Nettle that is flourishing now in pastures. It is mainly found in shady areas. Don’t touch it!!

Here’s some I saw last week in a pasture, under an oak tree on the fencerow. It’s the lighter green growth here mixed in with the grass and clover.  I tried to tell this heifer to avoid it but she wouldn’t listen. Go to my earlier post for a closeup view of this nasty weed, Stinging nettle closeup. They say it has some medicinal properties, but I’d stay away from it.

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Posted in Livestock, Weeds | Tagged: , | 4 Comments »

Grow More Hay

Posted by romeethredge on March 23, 2015

I’ve had a couple of growers lately say that hay is a profitable part of their farm and they would like to grow more of it per acre. Here’s a great meeting to go to to get some good hay and forage growing information.  Go to Georgia Forages.com and click on upcoming events. It’s on April fool’s day but it’s no joke.

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Posted in Agriculture, Forages, Livestock | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Alfalfa in the South

Posted by romeethredge on March 9, 2015

The UGA Georgia Forages program will host a workshop entitled “Alfalfa in the South” on Mar. 17 starting at 9 a.m. The workshop will be at the UGA Livestock Instructional Arena (2600 Milledge Ave., Athens, GA).
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The workshop will focus on how to successfully use alfalfa, including how to grow your own N and feed supplement by interseeding alfalfa into bermudagrass. Subjects covered include: site selection, establishment protocol, soil fertility, harvest management, and how to use this high quality and cost-effective crop. We will also have a grower panel to hear how other producers are using alfalfa in bermudagrass across Georgia and the Southeast. We then will go to see two fields where alfalfa was interseeded into bermudagrass (see full agenda).

Cost of the one-day workshop is $25 and includes lunch and refreshments, an ‘Alfalfa in the South’ notebook, and other publications on alfalfa production and use in the South. To register, call Cathy Felton at 706-310-3464 or send us an email. (Note: Cathy is part time and works mornings. If you don’t get her, just leave a message and she’ll get back with you.) If you are interested in attending the workshop virtually, call Cathy Felton at 706-310-3464 or send her an email. Attending the webinar is free and you will receive all of the information via a pdf file.

Posted in Cattle, Forages, Livestock | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Implanting Cattle Misconceptions

Posted by romeethredge on January 29, 2015

 Here’s a good article dispelling myths concerning implanting cattle.  _DSC0088

 

What has two thumbs and wants to turn $2 into $50??? THIS GUY!

If nothing else, I got you to stop and read this first sentence, or at least look at the figures. Implanting cattle is not a new technology, its been around for years. It has the potential to add 3-5% more pounds to your calf crop, yet fewer and fewer producers are employing the practice. WHY? Unfortunately, we as producers are faced with battling myths and urban legends about the food we provide. Although there is no science behind it, we are faced with the stigma of hormones in beef, and the resulting “natural beef” that many are producing to satisfy this concern. We figured now would be a good time to review what we know about implanting since we’re entering the time of year when winter/spring born calves are ready for this practice.

What are implants? Implants are small pellets that contain a growth stimulant that is slowly released over a period of time. Implants work by increasing circulating levels of somatotropin and insulin-like growth-factor 1. These compounds are produced naturally by the animal and control mechanisms that regulate growth and feed efficiency. Implants are available for nursing calves, stocker calves and/or finishing cattle. Bulls calves intended for breeding stock and replacement heifers should not be implanted.

Do implants improve performance? The simple answer is “yes”. A summary of several research studies revealed that implanting steer calves only once improved daily gains by 0.10 pounds per day, and implanting twice (the second implant would be administered 70-100 days after the first) increased daily gains by 0.13 pounds per day when compared to calves receiving no implants. This resulted in an average response of 5.3% increase in gain of calves at weaning for one implant, and a 6.2% increase for two implants.

Does pay to implant? Again, the simple answer is “yes”. For example, assume an implanted calf on the cow gains and additional 5%. At weaning, a non-implanted calf would weigh 600 lb, so its implanted counterpart would weigh 630 lb. In today’s market, if we consider $2.00/lb value, that would add an extra $60 in value to that calf. All of this for an approximate input cost of less than $2 per head for the implant and the labor. Another way to look at it is that you would need to receive a $58+ premium for the non-implanted calf through a natural program to eliminate this technology.SECA 2015

Is it safe for the consumer? Once more, the simple answer is “yes”. The public concern is focused on the increased estrogenic activity caused by the consumption of beef from an implanted animal. First, there is no such thing as “hormone-free beef”. Hormones are present in all biogogical food sources, whether it’s animal or plant, implanted or not. Table 1 illustrates the estrogenic activity of common foods. This clearly shows the safety of this practice, as it applies to human health.

So hopefully this helps explain the benefits of utilizing implants in cattle. There are several available commercially, and a specific applicator is needed for this practice.

This article originally posted in the  Southeast Cattle Advisor. There’s lots of good stuff to read there.

Posted in Agriculture, Cattle, Livestock | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Sod Based Rotation

Posted by romeethredge on December 23, 2014

With the lower commodity prices and higher cattle prices, we have thought again about the sod based rotation idea that has been explored by David Wright in Florida and others.

Here’s an excerpt from the UGA Bahiagrass publication.

“Improvements in nearly all facets of crop production have been reported when row crops are grown after bahiagrass compared to following other row crops . This includes the most important factors to producers—yield and crop quality. Yet, there are other proven improvements that result from such rotations.

In terms of soil environment, which greatly contributes to the sustainability of agricultural systems, factors such as reduced erosion, build-up of soil organic matter, root growth and depth of penetration by the succeeding crop, water infiltration, earthworm population, and soil tilth all change for the better.

From a row crop standpoint, the most important benefit is usually from reduced incidence of numerous pests. Research results have shown a reduction in early and late leaf spot (Cercospora arachidicola and Cercosporidium personatum, respectively) diseases in peanut, decreased southern blight/stem rot/white mold (Sclerotium rolfsii) in peanuts and cotton, and fewer thrips (Flankliniella fusca), leading to less tomato spotted wilt virus (Tospovirus) in peanuts and tobacco.

In addition, it is reported that peanut and soybean root-knot nematode (Meloidogyne spp.), reniform nematode (Rotylenchulus reniformis), and soybean cyst nematode (Heterodera glycines Ichinohe) infestations may decline following bahiagrass since it is a non-host to these pests .

Collectively, these factors can result in savings from reduced inputs such as a less frequent need for irrigation, elimination of one or more fungicide spray events, and potentially reduced applications of expensive specialty herbicides due to bahiagrass outcompeting weeds.

Peanuts that have been sod-seeded
Figure 3. Peanuts that have been sod-seeded into a field that was formerly in bahiagrass.
(Photo Credit: Dr. David Wright, University of Florida)

In addition to the potential for improved yields and reduced inputs for the row crop enterprise, the inclusion of livestock can be a very successful capital venture that diversifies the farm operation and may serve as a profit center. This can buffer and insulate the farm operation from market fluctuations and, perhaps, catastrophic weather events. Even operations that do not wish to incorporate ownership of livestock could still benefit from similar systems (e.g., contract grazing, selling hay/seed of pasture grasses to nearby cattlemen, etc.).

Though an economic analysis should be conducted to determine if a sod-based rotation using bahiagrass is economically feasible in a specific scenario, this may be a profitable rotation system for some farms in the Southeast.

If bahiagrass is to be used in the rotation, it is recommended that it stay in stand for two years, followed immediately by peanuts or soybeans, then by a subsequent cotton crop (Do not plant cotton immediately after bahiagrass, since there are reports of excessive and rank vegetative growth in cotton that followed bahiagrass).”

Here’s a poster recently presented by Kris Balkcom and others showing some research results.

SBR poster Headland Cattle Field Day 2014_SOM2

 

Posted in Cattle, Forages | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Frost Causes Prussic Acid Buildup

Posted by romeethredge on November 7, 2014

We had 3 frosts recently and they can cause problems for grazing plants in the sorghum family.

Here’s some Sorghum that was frosted so it should not be grazed for a week or so until the Prussic acid can dissipate.

 

 photo (3)

 

Prussic acid or hydrocyanide is formed in certain plant species during water stress or frost
conditions. Under normal growing conditions, these plants produce a nontoxic substance
called dhurrin. When plants are injured by frost or wilting, enzymes come into contact
with dhurrin and liberate toxic prussic acid. Concentrations of prussic acid can also be
high in young, rapidly growing tillers.

Plants in the sorghum family are susceptible to prussic acid formation and include
johnsongrass, sudangrass, sorghum and sorghum-sudan hybrids. Wilted wild cherry
leaves can also contain lethal amounts of prussic acid. Unlike sorghums, pearl millet does
not produce prussic acid (but does accumulate nitrates) and can be safely grazed
following a frost.

 

 

This Pearl Millet can be grazed with no problem after frost unless there’s a worry about nitrates if the field had been fertilized and /or under drought conditions and had recent rain. A sample can be sent for nitrate testing if it is a concern.

 photo (4)

Prussic acid is most concentrated in young leafy tissue which is also the plant part
preferentially selected by grazing animals. Therefore, unlike nitrate toxicity, grazing
pastures lightly to reduce toxin intake is unlikely to succeed.

Toxic mechanism
Prussic acid is lethal to animals because it interferes with the animal cell’s ability to
generate energy. This ultimately results in death. Simply put, cyanide prevents oxygen
transfer from the blood and animals suffocate at the cellular level. Because blood from
prussic acid poisoned animals does not release oxygen, venous blood is normally a bright
cherry red color when a postmortem examination is performed. This is a good indicator
that prussic acid poisoning has occurred.

Prussic acid poisoning occurs rapidly. The time from ingestion of toxic forages to death
is usually short with animal losses sometimes occurring within 10 to 15 minutes of
grazing affected pastures. Typical animal symptoms include excessive salivation, rapid
breathing, and muscle spasms. Because the tissues cannot receive oxygen, mucous
membranes often have a purplish color. Animals are occasionally observed staggering
through the pasture before collapse and death. Successful treatment is almost impossible
because of the rapid progression of symptoms. Animals must be removed from toxic
pastures immediately. Preventative management is the only reliable method to avoid
animal losses.

 

For more forages info go to georgiaforages.com.

Posted in Agriculture, Forages, Livestock | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Stockmanship

Posted by romeethredge on August 21, 2014

I like this article by Dr. Lee Jones,UGA Vet, in the Southeast Cattle Advisor blog. Here’s the link to the blog with the full article.  http://www.secattleadvisor.com/

Stockmanship, Dr. Lee Jones, UGA College of Veterinary Medicine | Southeast Cattle Advisor

“Stockmanship, like sustainability, is a commonly used word that many might find hard to clearly define in a few words. Stockmanship has been defined as the knowledgeable and skillful handling of livestock in a safe, efficient, effective, and low-stress manner and denotes a low-stress, integrated, comprehensive, holistic approach to livestock handling (Stockmanship Journal). However, stockmanship is more than just handling. It is concerned with the whole life of the animal in our care. We used to call it animal husbandry or stewardship. First and foremost, stockmanship is livestock centered. By that I mean, we must consider the natural behavior and needs of the animal or group. There are 3 essential elements of good stockmanship: an environment that provides protection and comfort appropriate for the species; adequate, well designed facilities that enables low stress handling; and a comprehensive, herd health management program……….

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Stockmanship and Resources

The good stockman knows his/her resources and is a good business manager. Bud Williams was fond of telling folks that “ranchers have 3 things in their inventory: money, grass and animals. You can never have too much money or too much grass but you sure can have too many animals.” It’s beyond the scope of this article to go into a lot of detail but good stockmen manage grass and soils and let the cows harvest the grass. To some degree herds on understocked pastures can increase production (calf weaning weights) to make up the difference but herds on overstocked pastures not only don’t reach their full potential the overall herd production is severely diminished, soils become depleted or degraded, future pasture health is compromised and cow herd fertility suffers as well as calf weights and calf health. Calves from overgrazed pastures are more likely to experience health problems after weaning. Good stockmanship means knowing what the carrying capacity is of the pastures and stocking appropriately.

Principles of Cattle Handling

Slower is better. Obviously this has its limits but for the most part slower is better and faster than getting in big hurry. Pressure from the side and only when cattle see where to go. When cattle are pressured from the rear they are likely to turn around to face the pressure. Cattle want to see you. Once cows can see the opening and are facing that direction then we can push them in that direction from their side behind the point of their shoulder. Cattle must be comfortable to go by you and stay straight. Cattle naturally face any threat. If cattle feel threatened by you they won’t walk straight or go by you. When working cattle in an alley, going with the flow slows them down and going against the flow speeds them up. This seems counter intuitive at first but it works. Try it and see. Cattle can only process one thing at a time. Many folks like to talk to their cattle. If cattle are used to this then it probably won’t cause problems. However, multiple stimuli including sight, sound and touch creates confusion for cattle and thereby increases stress and the flight response. Cows work best when they are ready; it’s up to us to get them there.

Simply put, I think good stockmen are students of their cattle. Good stockmanship is like a timely rain, sunshine and hybrid vigor; it doesn’t cost anything extra but the benefits to cattle health, welfare and performance are tremendous.”

Posted in Cattle, Livestock | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Tifton HERD Sale

Posted by romeethredge on April 18, 2014

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The Tifton HERD Sale is scheduled for Tuesday, April 22, 2014, at 12:30 p.m.  To view the catalog and sale order now, simply click on the following:  

http://www.caes.uga.edu/commodities/animals/beef/herd/index.html

 Scroll down to Tifton HERD Program.   Click on Catalog (pdf).  Click on Sale Order for 4/22/14 (pdf).

Posted in Livestock | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

 
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