Tips for cattle producers and aid for organic growers

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By Steve Moore

The Henry County Cattleman’s Association will meet at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 25, at the Henry County Extension Office.  Please contact the Extension Office at 845-2811 to reserve your spot.

The Board of Directors has planned a good series of meetings for 2013, and has again applied to administer the Phase I cost share reimbursement for farmers throughout Henry County.  The cost share program is now called County Agricultural Improvement Program, and to date, we see very little change in how it will be presented.   With their early application, the Cattleman’s Board and the Henry County Agriculture Development Council hope to gain as much retroactivity in the program as is possible. 

This means that forage seeding, fencing, water development and many other projects may be done now through early summer and be eligible for cost share funding if the applicant is successful in gaining approval through the scored application process.  The earliest we’ve ever been able to begin the application process is June, and we don’t see any change in the system.  We’ll be able to keep folks posted on progress in this column and on the Henry County web site, and also be available to answer detailed questions at the Extension Office.

Timely tips for cattle producers

This is calving season for many Henry County cattle producers.  Some producers have told me that they have had excellent results so far, but there always seem to be some disappointments.  Here are some tips from Dr. Roy Burris, UK Beef Specialist:

• Evaluate the overall condition of the cow herd.  Cows losing weight now are most likely to have weak or dead calves, and will likely be a poor source of colostrum milk for the newborn calf.  Feed high quality hay and supplement to keep cows in good shape.

• Calving equipment (puller and chains, etc.) , supplies (eartags, scales, iodine, etc), and  facilities should be ready.

• Expect calving difficulty if (1) calf’s head and two feet are not visible, (2) only the calf’s tail is visible, and (3) the cow has been in labor for 1.5 hours.

• Recognize situations that are beyond your capability and seek professional help as early as possible.  Calves should consume colostrum within 30 minutes of birth to achieve good immunity.

• Male calves in commercial herds should be castrated and implanted as soon as possible.

• Separate cows that calve away from dry cows and increase their feed.  Avoid muddy feeding areas so that cows’ udders won’t become contaminated and spread scours. 

• Increase feed after calving to 25-27 pounds of high quality hay.  The most important time to feed a beef cow is after calving.  Cows must be in good condition if we plan to breed them early in the season for best pregnancy rates.

• Watch for scours in newborn calves.  Consult your veterinarian for diagnosis, cause, and treatment.  Obtain fecal samples and submit to diagnostic lab, if scouring begins.

• Begin feeding a mineral supplement with adequate magnesium to prevent grass tetany (~ 15% Mg) now. 

• Provide water at all times.  Watch for frozen pond hazards.

• Control lice.  Watch for signs such as rubbing.

• Begin pasture renovation.  You can frost seed clovers while we still have good freezes and frosts.


Third Thursday Thing-Organics

KSU invites you to attend the February Third Thursday Thing, Feb. 21, at the KSU Farm at 1525 Mills Lane, Frankfort.  Organics will be the theme of the day, with the agenda including the following programs and presentations: 

Government Programs Assisting Organic Growers:

KSU Grants –Small Farmer Micro-Grants(Organic, Aquaculture, Value Added)

KDA – Organic Certifying Agency

NRCS – Environment Quality Incentives Program, including High Tunnels

KSU Organic Research, Demonstration, and Extension including Cover Crops, Organic Corn, and Grain Studies

High Tunnel Construction – Production – Marketing