Summer 2017 Livestock & Forestry Newsletter
Women in Agriculture Monthly Series
Farms across the country are increasingly being owned and operated by women, many widowed. These farm owners are suddenly having to make farm-management decisions that they did not have to before. In an effort to meet those needs, a network of support among area farm women was established in 2016 with forestry education and outreach. Due to the demand and need, this regional group of farm women continues to grow. They normally meet the first week of each month either during a “Lunch and Learn” or travel educational trip. For more information on the network group, contact me at email@example.com
Wednesday, July 5th: Travel trip to Savory Spice Shop in north Raleigh. Owner Cindy Jones has a tasting and shop tour scheduled for you from 10:30 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.; her website is www.savoryspiceshop.com/north-carolina/raleigh-lafayette-village.html; Dutch lunch at area restaurant; Afternoon, tour a new butcher shop that sources local meats. Leave in van from Extension Center at 9:30 a.m. in Louisburg.
Wednesday, August 2nd: Travel trip to tour a Natural Insect repellent business, founded by two women farmers in Nash County. Details will be coming soon; late morning tour.
Hay Directory on the Web
To better promote Franklin County hay to the equine world, we now have the Franklin County Hay Directory posted on the web at www.FranklinCountyFarmFresh.com, click on the link. If you have horse quality hay for sale this spring and summer, give the Franklin County Cooperative Extension office a call at 919-496-3344 and request to be added to the list; or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Forage & Beef Management Tips for May/June/July
- Plant warm-season perennial grasses such as switchgrass, flaccidgrass, common bermudagrass, gamagrass, and bluestem.
- Plant summer annuals at two-week intervals to stagger the forage availability.
- Fertilize warm-season grasses with nitrogen after each cutting or every four to six weeks on pastures.
- If irrigation is available, hybrid bermudagrass sprigs may be planted, but week control will be essential.
- Spray pasture weeds while they are small (3 inches) for most effective control.
- Do not apply nitrogen to fescue or orchardgrass pastures after April until August.
- Check cattle regularly; provide shade, water and complete mineral supplement (no need for high Mag. in summer – MgO).
- Start creep grazing calves on highest quality forage and allow cows to clean up excess forage.
- Take soil samples from fields which will be overseeded or planted during the autumn. Apply limestone as far in advance of planting as possible.
- A late planting of summer annuals may be made to extend forage supply.
- To stimulate warm-season grass yields, apply nitrogen after each cutting or every four to six weeks.
- Graze bermudagrass close (1- to 2-inch stubble), and, every four to six weeks, harvest any growth that has not been grazed. Cross fencing is a practical tool to help manage feed quality.
- Control summer pasture weeds before they get too tall and mature.
- Apply fly tags this month for best control throughout the summer. There are several good new chemical brands on the market (ex., XP 820). Remember to rotate classes of insecticides.
- For cows to be culled because of age and/or performance, wean calves and sell cull cows. Leave calves with the herd.
- Evaluate bulls based on calf performance. Decide which to cull. Maintain condition on cows and heifers. Make initial heifer replacement selections. Pregnancy check cows and heifers; sell open females.
- If you are concerned with nitrate levels in your hay, NCDA & CS will check it for FREE (even before you cut your hay). Come by the office and get the form with bag to mail in. (Note: there is no problem with prussic acid poisoning with pearl millets; only sorghum sudan’s)
- Stick to a four to six-week schedule application of nitrogen on summer grasses.
- Maintain harvesting frequency for quality hay.
- Hot, dry weather can result in nitrate and prussic acid poisoning of animals grazing stunted, highly fertilized summer annuals. (Note: no problem with prussic acid poisoning with pearl millets, however).
- Decide which fescue pastures will be stockpiled for winter grazing. Nitrogen (60 to 80 lbs./acre) should be applied between August 7 and September 1.
- Continue to provide shade, clean water and a complete loose mineral mix (no MgO) to your cattle herd.
22nd Annual Franklin County Horse Farm Tour – August 4th
Mark your calendar now and plan to attend the 22nd Annual popular horse tour for you, the horse owner, in the region. Three farms, several new, are scheduled with educational topics at each stop. Registration will begin at 8:00 a.m. at the Extension Center parking lot in Louisburg and it should conclude around 2:00 p.m. Topics such as “Fire Ant Control in Horse Pastures”, “Poisonous Plants to Your Horse/Livestock” and a pasture walk will all be discussed at the stops. To help prepare for the lunch, please pre-register by calling the Franklin County Cooperative Extension office at 919-496-3344 before August 1st.
West Nile Disease
Vaccination is the best defense for equine against the mosquito-borne disease, West Nile. Symptoms of WNV in horses can include loss of appetite and depression, fever, muscle twitching, weakness or paralysis of hind limbs, convulsions, impaired vision or hyper-excitability. Approximately 30% of infected horses die from the disease, despite supportive treatment. Call your veterinarian today and get your equine vaccinated for WNV and the deadly EEE (equine sleeping sickness) diseases, if you have not already done so.
Pasture Fertilization: Organic vs Conventional: Thursday, July 13th
Livestock and Horse owners, you don’t want to miss this one! My advisory committee recently met this spring and requested, along with several of you, we have an educational seminar on pasture management… organic vs. conventional types of fertilizer. In addition, we will have a former USDA specialist talk about risk management opportunities now for pasture and hay crop owners. Weed control in pastures will also be discussed. Please pre-register by calling the Franklin County Cooperative Extension office at 919-496-3344; There is a $12 per person fee to attend which includes handouts, lunch and refreshments. The program will be held in the Annex meeting room at the Extension Center in Louisburg with registration at 9:00 – 9:15 a.m.; the sessions should conclude around 2:30 p.m.
LOCAL Foods for our Youth: July 24 – 28; August 14 – 16
The week of July 24th, youth in our area will be participating in the 3rd Annual “4-H Sizzling Summer Session Junior Chef Program” where they will visit local farms, both meat and vegetable farms, in the morning in Franklin County, purchase fresh ingredients, and return to the Extension Center to prepare delicious, fresh, healthy lunches with the local food. One session will be on dining etiquette taught by Mrs. Barbara Batts. The last day of the program, Friday, July 28th, the youth will visit the Governor’s Mansion where they will meet the Executive Chef, tour the Mansion’s “food garden”, and then have lunch prepared for them by the Chef. We plan to conclude Friday with a tour of the State Farmers’ Market.
For the second year, from August 14 – 16, a “4-H Sizzling Summer Session Picklin’ & Jammin Workshop” for area youth will be held teaching them how to properly make an assortment of pickles and jams in a certified commercial kitchen. All are morning sessions with a lunch served. In the evenings, the kitchen will be open for adult entrepreneurs from Franklin County to use for making a safe product for retailing to the public. Contact me for details.
There is a fee for area youth to participate in both workshops.
Both area projects are promotional events to encourage and teach our public to Buy Local, Buy Fresh. Also, a website, www.franklincountyfarmfresh.com, has a list of local farms where the public can source local foods. For information, contact Meg Wyatt, Extension Agent, 4-H Youth Development, email@example.com or myself, your LOCAL Foods Coordinator & Ag Agent, firstname.lastname@example.org or you may call the office at 919-496-3344.
Youth Livestock Showmanship Clinic
Do you want to learn about showing cattle, sheep, or goats? On Friday, August 11th at an area farm, I will be teaching sessions on showing and preparing animals for the show. It will begin at 9:00 a.m. and conclude with a hotdog lunch at 1:00 p.m. There are many upcoming youth livestock shows this summer along with the NC State Fair shows in October. Give us a call at 919-496-3344 and let us know if you want to participate. Our 4-County Junior Livestock Show is scheduled for Friday, August 18th in Oxford at the Granville Expo Center. Check out our website, www.franklin.ces.ncsu.edu, for rules and reg. and entry forms.
Regional Forestry Update Meeting and Tour
Wednesday, Nov.1st AREA Forestry Conference and Tour (afternoon); 9:00 registration at Franklin County Extension Center, $10 fee to attend. Please contact the office at 919-496-3344 or email@example.com to register. Taxes, Cost-share Forestry Incentives, Wildlife leases and much more will be discussed by experts in the field.
Beef Prices at the Feedyard Increasing
If there is one commodity that cycles, it is the BEEF industry! In my many years being actively involved with this industry, I have seen it go ‘Up and Down’ over time. Today, it is like a rollercoaster and the feedyard operator is at the TOP. In 2015, when the cow-calf operator was at the TOP, the feedyard were at the bottom. Some economists are forecasting the best year ever for the feedyard operator with over $500 per head profits. With recent export negotiations with China, the market may even go higher. Stay tuned for a bumpy ride!