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Drivers: be aware of farm equipment

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By Steve Moore

With the coming of planting season, we see an increased amount of farm equipment sharing our roads and highways.  The following was written by my counterpart in Gallatin County, David Hull, and appeared in their paper a couple of weeks back.  The message is appropriate for us, too.

“Farmers are special in many ways, but one way they’re just like everybody else is that they have a job to get to; and like you, their workplace isn’t always right next to where they live, so they have to use our public roads to move equipment from one field to the next.  This movement of equipment can sometimes cause slight delays on the roadways.

Local drivers should remember that farmers have a right to be on the road too.  And even though they often try to move equipment at a time that least affects commuters, they don’t always have that luxury.

So please remember to be watchful, courteous, and patient when driving this time of year.  Remember, if you complain about a slow-moving tractor on the roadways, don’t do it with your mouth full of food.

Planting progress

Good weather has permitted much progress this planting season.  It would be a fair statement to say that more corn has been planted in Henry County before May 1 than ever before.  Thousands of acres went into the ground during the past two weeks, with soybean planting getting underway soon.  We’ve also seen some tobacco set last week, so with good weather later this week, folks with plants ready will be heading for the fields.

Harvest of hay has been somewhat sporadic, with threats of rain keeping harvest decisions on a back burner.  However, the early spring has pushed our forage plants to maturity quicker than normal so alfalfa and many grass hay fields should be cut and harvested soon for best quality.  Remember that once a plant reaches the heading stage for grass, or the bud/bloom stage for legumes, nearly all growth and tonnage increase in the hay field is because of an increase in the fiber portion of the plant.  The energy and protein components are already maxed out, so the addition of fiber and cellulose just lowers the percentages of beneficial nutrients and also lowers the total digestibility of the hay or pasture. 

Emerald ash borers emerging

The first case of emerald ash borers emerging this spring was found the week of April 16 in Jefferson County.   Since the borers do not emerge all at once, owners of ash trees need to watch for signs of the pest during the next three to four weeks, says Dr. Lee Townsend, UK Entomologist.  The borer’s emergence is almost three weeks ahead of normal due to the mild winter and a very warm March.

A small, dark-green metallic beetle, the emerald ash borer attacks all species of ash trees. The larvae burrow into the tree to feed beneath the bark, destroying the tree’s ability to transport water and nutrients to its canopy. This can cause die-back of the top of the canopy within a year or two and ultimately kill the tree.

Once adults emerge from the trees, they immediately fly up to the topmost leaves to get direct sunlight and feed on the foliage for about a week. Mating and egg-laying will begin about two weeks later. Adults will be active through June.

Owners of ash trees may find it difficult to spot the borers because of their size and preference for the topmost foliage, but they can find evidence of the insect by inspecting their ash trees for any D-shaped holes in the bark. The adult borers make these holes when exiting the tree in the spring. Owners of ash trees can also look for uneven notches on the edges of the tree’s leaves as a sign that the insect has been feeding on them.

Those who suspect they have an emerald ash borer infestation should contact the Henry County Extension Office at 845-2811 so we can make sure other proper offices are notified.