Kentucky gets a waiver to mix corn

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By Steve Moore

For the past few weeks, grain farmers have been harvesting the 2012 corn crop in Henry County, with yields reported “all over the place.”

From nearly no yield to fields yielding a whopping 160 to 180 bushels, the drought and heat had interesting effects.  One of the effects can be an increase in a mycotoxin named aflatoxin in the grain.

Science has a good handle on exactly what levels of this toxin are safe for humans and different species of animals, and normally, any corn testing more than 20 ppb (that’s 20 parts in 1,000,000,000) cannot be accepted into trade where it would be fed to milking dairy animals.

In fact, we had a few loads of corn rejected at just over this limit, and needless to say, this made our growers nervous about their grain sales.

While all the grain found a market, we have just been notified that the UK College of Agriculture’s Division of Regulatory Services in conjunction with the Department of Agriculture has received approval for Kentucky corn high in aflatoxin to be mixed (at the market terminals) with other corn to obtain an aflatoxin content safe for feeding to specific animals.  This should make it easier to market this 2012 crop.

Master Stocker starts Thursday

Our newest Extension Program, Master Stocker, begins Thursday evening at 6 p.m., at the Shelby County Extension Office.  It looks as if we have space available, so if you haven’t already signed up, just come on to the first meeting and register there. 

Master Stocker is open to any beef producer who is involved in or interested in raising stocker cattle.  Master Stocker includes eight classroom sessions covering topics that will improve your understanding of best management recommendations for stocker and backgrounding operations.  Sessions will meet on the following dates from 6 to 9 p.m., with a meal included in each program..

Oct. 25 — Enterprise budgeting & cost of production - Shelby CES

Nov. 1 — Animal handling, transport & welfare - Trimble CES

Nov. 8 — Economic risk management tools - Henry CES        

Nov. 15 — Nutrition management - Shelby CES

Nov. 29 — Forage management – Trimble CES

Dec. 6 — Health management – Oldham CES

Dec. 13 — Environmental compliance & BMP’s – Henry CES

Dec. 20 — Marketing – Oldham CES

Registration fee is $50 to cover meals and materials. 

2013 tobacco disease control starts now

The first diseases producers face each growing season are in the float system, with the biggest problems being rhiztoctonia (damping off, target spot, and soreshin) and pythium root rot. Years of float research and observation indicate tray sanitation is critical.  Cleaning used float trays takes a two pronged attack.  First, the trays should be cleansed of any dirt particles.  Then, something is used to destroy pathogens which may be hidden in the tiny spaces in the Styrofoam tray.  Household bleach, Quatenary salts, and steam have some effectiveness when properly applied.  The one that can be nearly 100 percent effective is steaming, however, it can be the most complicated and most expensive.  When using the bleach or Quatenary salts, remember that the trays need to be submersed for a period of time to give the disinfectant time to work.