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News Update

August 31, 2012

Workshops Will Share Techniques to Improve Digestibility of Corn Stover and
Other Feed Alternatives

With 2012 bringing one of the warmest and driest April-through-July stretches in more than 100 years, pastures, crops and even established trees are suffering from the drought. In response to the reduction in forages, some cow-calf operators across Missouri are considering significantly reducing or liquidating their herds.

For those livestock farmers struggling to find feed sources, Justin Sexten, University of Missouri beef nutritionist, the Missouri Corn Merchandising Council and the Missouri Cattlemen's Association are working together to explore alternative forages. The coalition will be hosting workshops around the state to demonstrate how to improve digestibility of corn stover and lower-quality hay by 15% while doubling the feeds' protein content.

Incorporating a specific treatment process called ammoniation, producers can treat corn stover at a cost of approximately $25 per ton of forage. The added nutritional value makes it an economical choice in a season filled with climatic and economic challenges. To help walk producers through the process, the university and the state's corn and cattle organizations are offering free workshops in select regions.

"The livestock industry is our No. 1 customer," said Gary Wheeler, vice president of operations and grower services for Missouri Corn. "Through these free forage demonstrations, we are working to help connect corn growers with cattlemen for the good of all parties involved."

For more information and the full release, click here.

Proper Use of Range Herbicides
Will Be Topic of Sept. 6 Webinar

"Range Herbicides 101 — What Are They? What Are the Laws and Regulations Concerning Them?" will be the topic of a Sept. 6 webinar.

Part of a seminar series scheduled by the Texas AgriLife Extension Service's ecosystem science and management unit, this webinar will be presented by Barron Rector, AgriLife Extension range specialist in College Station.

Rector said the webinar will address major herbicides used in rangeland brush and weed control in Texas. Information on an herbicide label, what the herbicide is used for, and why herbicide use regulations and laws will be discussed.

The webinar is scheduled from noon to 1 p.m., according to Brittany Grube, graduate assistant and webinar coordinator. Only participants seeking Texas Department of Agriculture continuing education units must pay a $10 fee on the website. This program will offer one laws and regulations unit.

This webinar, and others in the 2011 and 2012 series, can be accessed by clicking here. For more information on the webinars, contact Grube at

Grazing Wheat in Missouri

Recent rains have given producers hope that they will be able to plant wheat this fall. Producers may be looking to plant wheat not only for a grain crop but also to provide some fall and early spring grazing, says a University of Missouri Extension agronomy specialist.

Grazing wheat is a common practice farther west where soils are better drained and expected rainfall is less, says Pat Miller. "It can work here, but if we expect to also get a grain crop we have to limit grazing to when the field is dry or the ground is frozen. And we have to remove livestock before the wheat joints in the spring."

As tempting as it may be to graze earlier, you should delay fall grazing until plants are well established –– 6 to 8 inches (in.) high, she said. Small grain plants grazed before this time will likely suffer from severe defoliation and result in lower fall and spring production.

On the other hand, waiting too long will result in rank, succulent plants that are easily damaged during grazing. Stocking rate should be light enough to avoid continuous complete removal of top growth (graze to about 2-3 in.). Strip grazing will allow producers to better control grazing heights and reduce trampling.

For the full release, click here.

Leaders Say Farm Bill Still Possible Before Sept. 30

Farm group leaders and House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas said this week it is still, in Lucas' words, 'theoretically' possible for Congress to approve new farm and food legislation before the 2008 Farm Bill expires Sept. 30.

On Aug. 30, agricultural policy publication Agri-Pulse published an interview in which he reassured readers there would be a new farm bill, though the timeline is still uncertain.
Lucas said he remains focused on passage of new legislation before the 2008 law expires, a similar message heard from Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee Ranking Member Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) this week during the Republican National Convention.

This week, members of seven groups participating in the Farm Bill Now coalition hosted a press conference at the Farm Progress show in Boone, Iowa. They focused on the need to achieve new, long-term farm policy before existing law expires. They also spoke to the positive economic impact of a strong farm economy and the certainty provided by the farm bill in an inherently uncertain industry.

For the full release, click here.

Fall Feral Hog Webinar Series Set

The eXtension Feral Hogs Community of Practice will conduct a feral hog educational webinar series this fall for anyone needing information on this growing problem, said the webinar's coordinator.

"Despite all the control efforts and the public's awareness of the issue, feral hog numbers in the state continue to rise at an alarming rate," said Jared Timmons, AgriLife Extension Plum Creek Watershed Feral Hog Education Program assistant at San Marcos. "The purpose of this series is to provide the public with the most current feral hog-related facts available in such a way that participants can interact with the experts from anywhere as long as they have Internet access."

The Feral Hogs Community of Practice is a resource area within eXtension concentrating on the control, adaptive management, biology, economics, disease risks, and the human interface of feral hogs across the U.S., Timmons said. Its goal is to provide critical information, resources and expert application of knowledge.

To join the webinars, log in as a "guest" by, clicking here. There is no charge for the series.

The four sessions are from noon-1 p.m.

The session dates, topics and speakers include:

For more information, contact Timmons at 254-485-4886,

Nebraskans Are Asked to Consider Putting More Meat on the Grill

Nebraska Farm Bureau is asking Nebraskans to consider adding more steak, pork chops and chicken to their grills this holiday weekend and throughout the rest of the tailgating season.

"It's one way Nebraskans can help and show support for Nebraska's livestock farmers who have been hit particularly hard by the drought that's stretched across the state and most of the country," said Steve Nelson, Nebraska Farm Bureau president.

The drought has been difficult on many farm and ranch families, but beef, pork, dairy and poultry farmers have felt the greatest pinch of the drought. According to Nelson, many Nebraska ranchers have watched the drought eliminate the pastures and other forages they depend on to feed their beef animals, forcing many to reduce and liquidate beef herds. Pork, poultry, beef and dairy farmers are also feeling the pressures of the drought as the price of corn and soybeans, primary livestock feeds, have climbed considerably as a result of drought ravaged fields and expected shortfalls in crop yields.

For more information and the full release, click here.

PETA Reportedly Set to Invade
Kansas State Fair

The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, (PETA) will be heading to the Kansas State Fair in Hutchinson in a few weeks as a vendor in its attempt at misleading consumers and misrepresenting agriculture as a cruel and vicious industry.

By its own admission, "PETA is the largest animal rights organization in the world."

Kansas State Fair officials accepted the organization's vendor application; however, PETA was told that it had to shield graphic video footage from visitors who may pass by its booth. Anyone interested in seeing the video would have to enter the booth and make the conscience decision to do so.

In retaliation, PETA filed a free speech lawsuit against the Kansas State Fair in hopes of displaying all of its material openly and visible to everyone.

"PETA intentionally displays graphic material to get a rise out of people. The State Fair is a family event. PETA's content will likely be graphic, inappropriate and not suitable for children." This group is not going to the Fair to provide factual information. It's promoting its own anti-meat, anti-dairy agenda with attempts to exploit the innocence of children. How ethical is that? Fair officials should be commended for their judgment to protect fair goers. The State Fair is an event that showcases agriculture. It is disturbing when animal rights groups invade our community, distort the truth, and misrepresent our industry," stated Kansas Cattlemen's Association (KCA) Executive Director Brandy Carter.

For more information and the full release, click here.

Ongoing Drought Means Livestock Producers Need to Creatively Manage Feed Rations

The worst drought on record in Ohio has forced many livestock producers to choose between culling their herds or forking over significantly more money to feed their cattle. But a pair of Ohio State University (OSU) Extension experts said that producers might want to consider "outside-the-box" management ideas to try to minimize the economic losses.

The extreme heat and dryness have left many producers short on hay and silage supplies, and thus, at a loss for how to best manage their feed rations, said John Grimes, beef coordinator for OSU Extension. Producers who are open to nontraditional ideas might be able to save money and save their herds.

"This year has posed some significant challenges that increase the need to think of solutions that are more outside of the box than what farmers may do in a typical year," Grimes said. "I think the key for any operation is to get as much production as we can off of an acre. Just typical management that we've done over the years with hay production may not be enough. We may need to look at some different options."

As a result, many farmers are now using silage as a large part of their plans for surviving the drought, said Stan Smith, an OSU Extension program assistant in agriculture and natural resources.

"Obviously, this year the hay production has been down due to the drought and we've found the quality of the hay, quite frankly, isn't good as we've tested some of it," he said. "So as we get into fall, we're finding a lot of corn in fields that aren't going to yield a lot of grain, and they can be made into corn silage."

For more information and the full release, click here.


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