Category Archives: Uncategorized

Basic Rules to Follow for the First Spring Mowing  

Many homeowners dust off their mowers and start its engines early in the month of April to mark the first mowing of the spring season! Before taking off, follow a few of these basic rules when mowing to guarantee the best looking turf for the home lawn.  

Make sure that mower blades are sharp. A dull mower blade causes leaf bruising and tearing of the grass which results in a rugged appearance that favors turf diseases. Dull blades even increase fuel consumption and put wear on engine parts. Homeowners can sharpen the blades at a mower repair shop or with a few simple tools from the garage. All mower blades should be sharpened several times during the year.

Set the mower blade at the correct mowing height for the specific grass species that is grown in the home lawn. For a cool season tall fescue lawn, the ideal mowing height is between 2 inches to 3.5 inches tall. See table 1 below for optimum mowing heights recommended for Kentucky lawns according to turf type species being grown. Once the correct mowing height is set, this amount will also determine how often the lawn is mowed. For example, if the lawn is mowed at 3.5 inches, it may require mowing once a week. If the height is lowered, mowing will occur more frequently.

Remember to only remove one third of the leaf blade at one time. For example, if the desired mowing height is 2 inches, the lawn should be mowed when it reaches 3 inches tall. Removing more than one third of the leaf at one time leads to clumping of dead clippings which blocks sunlight to the living grass underneath. This lack of sunlight causes yellowing on the blades to the living grass and can result in plant death.

In spring, while the grass is actively growing, homeowners can lower the recommended mowing height to help remove the dead grass leaves. By removing this debris with low mowing, sunlight can reach the soil surface and encourage earlier growth in the grass. When disease pressure is increasingly higher in the summer, homeowners should raise their mowing heights. If different mowing heights are desired, it is recommended to reduce mowing heights gradually rather than in one mowing.

Table 1: Mowing Heights for Kentucky Lawns

Grass SpeciesOptimum Height (Inches)
Bermudagrass1.0–2.0
Kentucky Bluegrass2.0–3.5
Perennial Ryegrass1.5–2.5
Tall Fescue2.0–3.5
Zoysiagrass1.0–3.0

Kristin G. Hildabrand is the horticulture extension agent in Warren County, Kentucky. She loves helping clients answer horticulture questions and can be reached at kristin.goodin@uky.edu.

12-Point Checklist to Ensure your Planter is Ready for the Field

Authors: Simer Virk and Wes Porter

With the 2022 planting season officially underway, we will start seeing more row-crop planters rolling in the fields in next few weeks. For growers to have a successful and stress-free planting season, it is important to make sure that planters are well maintained and ready to go before heading to the field. When it comes to planting, preparation is the key as any breakdowns in the field due to planter malfunction or planting mistakes can cost growers both valuable time and money. We all know that timely and uniform stand establishment is important to maximize yield potential early in the season and one of the main factors that can affect crop stand is planter setup and operation as it influences where and how uniformly seeds are placed in the soil. Spending time on planter setup and preparation to get it field ready goes long way for growers as it not only helps minimize downtime in the field but a successful crop stand also sets the stage for rest of the season.

Before heading to the field, here is a 12-point checklist for growers to consider to make sure that your planter is well maintained and dialed in for peak performance during planting:

Parallel Linkages – Stand behind the row unit and wiggle it up and down and left and right to check for any play in the parallel arms, and adjust or replace linkages and bushings to make sure row units are secured nice and tight on the planter.

Drive System – Check all chains, idlers, sprockets and bushings, and replace any parts that are too worn. Make sure all drive chains are snug and do not have any unnecessary jump or vibration when operating. Lubricate all chains and sprockets before begin planting and regularly in the season. Additionally, check all drive system parts including flex drives, hydraulic drives and lines, and electrical drive systems including connectors and wires.

Tire Pressure – Check and maintain proper air pressure in the tires as recommended by the manufacturer based on the weight of the planter and planting conditions in the field. Independent of drive system, improper tire pressure can have negative effects on seed placement due to improper levelling of the planter toolbar.

Double Disc Openers – Check that the double disc openers are still sharp and within the diameter tolerance outlined by the manufacturer. Replace if they are dull or worn more than half an inch of their original diameter. Perform a quick check using a business card to ensure adequate contact (1.75 to 2 inches) between the disc openers at the 4 o’clock position.

Double Disc Openers – Check that the double disc openers are still sharp and within the diameter tolerance outlined by the manufacturer. Replace if they are dull or worn more than half an inch of their original diameter. Perform a quick check using a business card to ensure adequate contact (1.75 to 2 inches) between the disc openers at the 4 o’clock position.

Gauge Wheels – Inspect the gauge wheels for any cracks or wear. Adjust the gauge wheels so that they run tight against the disc openers but just enough so they can easily be turned by hand with slight pressure. Gauge wheels should also move freely up and down without sticking in any position.

Row Cleaners – Check row-cleaners for any wear and replace any bearings if they are not turning freely. Floating type row cleaners should also travel up and down to effectively clear soil/crop residue out of the way.

Seed Meters – Inspect each seed meter thoroughly for any wear or damaged parts including vacuum seals, brushes, scrapers, and doubles eliminator. Ensure that the correct crop kit (for newer meters) is installed in the meter. If not utilizing a seed monitor (capable of by-row feedback) during planting, it is also recommended to run the seed meters on a test stand to check performance and make any necessary adjustments.

Seed Tube – Check seed tubes for any cracks and wear at the bottom. Seed tubes should also be cleaned properly to clear any debris or obstructions (seed, cobweb, etc.). Make sure that the seed sensor is secured properly to the tube and working as intended.

Closing Wheels – Check that closing wheels are centered directly over the center of the row. Inspect closing wheels for any wear or play in the arms and replace parts or adjust as needed.

Vacuum – Inspect the whole vacuum system including hydraulic motor, fan and hoses for any wear, leaks or loose fittings. Check that vacuum hoses are attached properly to the manifold and to the seed meters on each row unit.

Downforce – For mechanical (spring type) systems, check all the components thoroughly and make sure different downforce adjustments can be made easily. For pneumatic or hydraulic systems, inspect all air or hydraulic connections carefully and perform a static diagnostic test to verify that the downforce system is functioning properly. This includes the compressor for air systems, in some cases it stays in the cab and can be neglected.

Technology – Check that the GPS receiver and planter display have the most recent firmware upgrades installed and are functioning properly. Check if the GPS correction subscription services and any other display unlocks for advanced planting features are activated and paid for rest of the season. Perform a thorough inspection of all technology components including sensors, harnesses, ECU’s and connections to ensure everything is connected and functioning properly. Also, make sure to back up planting data from the previous season on a computer or an external storage device before start recording this year’s data.

Keep in mind that once in the field, growers should get out of the tractor and check seed depth, placement and seed-to-soil contact during the first pass, and adjust planter settings as needed to optimize planter performance within each field. Also, check all of these parameters anytime field conditions change drastically, and especially when changing crops.

Congratulations to Warren County Cattlemen Kenneth Lowe for being inducted into the Kentucky Cattlemen’s Association Hall of Fame!

KCA Names 2022 Hall of Fame Inductees 

Five deserving cattlemen were honored during this year’s Evening Banquet at the Kentucky Cattlemen’s Association Annual Convention in Lexington, KY. Gary Woodall, Kenneth Lowe, Tom McGinnis, Charles Wills and Dr. David Williams were the association’s 2022 Hall of Fame inductees.

Gary Woodall has owned and managed commercial cattle since childhood but started Woodall Angus Farm in 1980.  It is a registered Angus seed stock operation selling over 100 bulls yearly across KY and the southeast.  Woodall has been active in his county association and has sponsored and hosted many agricultural field days and educational events on his farm.  He was KCA President in 2015 and has served on several committees during his time at the state level.  He was the 2015 Kentucky Angus Association Performance Breeder of the Year, 2008 Logan County Chamber of Commerce Farm Family of the Year, and 2010 Logan County Extension Service Outstanding Volunteer of the Year. Woodall was instrumental in the establishment of New Life Baptist Church and has served as an elder since its inception in 2005.  Gary is married to his wife, Aubrietta and they have 2 children and 5 grandchildren.

Kenneth Lowe has been operating a Purebred Angus operation, Oak Hollow Angus, in Warren County for 41 years.  He is a 7th generation cattle farmer.  He received his B.S. in Animal Science from Western Kentucky University.  He was President of the Warren County Cattlemen’s for 20 years and hosted multiple educational fields days for local, regional and state cattlemen.  He also hosted several University classes and livestock judging teams.  He was President of the Kentucky Cattlemen’s Association in 1994 and worked on committees for NCBA and was on the Board of Directors for the Meat Export Federation. He has been awarded the American Angus Association Largest KY Angus breeder for several years, the Kentucky Seedstock Producer of the Year and the Kentucky Angus Association Performance Breeder of the Year. He has been married for 35 years to his wife Theresa and they have one son, Joe, who also works on the family farm.

Tom McGinnis raises Purebred Angus cattle in Shelby County.  Heritage Farm raised 200+ head of cattle and started in 1996.  Tom is an avid supporter of youth livestock projects and the Angus breed. He has been a buyer at the local youth livestock auction since it began in 1997.  He has been a sponsor of meals and activities for 4-H, cattlemen, Extension and other local agriculture organizations. He has also hosted several events at his farm including Great Meadows Angus Association sales. Tom served in the United State Army in Vietnam in 1967-68 and went on to receive his B.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Kentucky.  His kindness and generosity are huge assets in the Shelby County Community but he is very humble and finds joy in the success of others over himself.  He is married to his wife, Pam and has two children and 3 grandchildren.

Region 4 winner Charles Wills purchased a 155 acre farm from his grandfather in 1960.  He later added acreage and started cattle farming in the early 1970’s.  He became a premier backgrounder of heifers.  He always opened up his farm to novices and those interested in getting in the cattle business. He is a charter member of the Montgomery County Cattlemen’s Association and served for 2 years as President.  He was instrumental in recruiting and retaining over 650 members annually.  He served as a Second Lieutenant in the Air Force and was promoted to Captain during the Korean Conflict.  He returned and was a teacher and principal for 36 years.  Mr. Wills still runs his cattle operation with the help of his two grandsons, is a respected member of his community and is active in his church.  He was married to his wife for 62 years and has two children and 3 grandchildren.

Dr. David Williams is the Owner/President of Burkmann Industries, Inc, that owns and operates 13 animal feed manufacturing plants and 17 retail locations throughout Kentucky and Tennessee. He also owns Forever Spring Farm in Danville, KY.  Dr. Williams has provided Kentucky farmers nutritional support and feed products for over 42 years.  He has served in numerous positions over the years, including Kentucky Cattlemen’s Foundation Chairman, Kentucky Cattlemen’s Association Treasurer, and a member of the Kentucky State Fair Board.  He has spent the last 47 years supporting and being a resource to Kentucky farm families.  He began his career in the Kentucky Extension Service and his passion for agriculture education has continued throughout his career.  He has been very active in the Boyle County community sitting on Boards and donating to programs like the Backpacks for Kids program. He is very active in his church serving as Deacon, Treasurer and Sunday school teacher.  His advice and mentorship to so many in the state is second to none.  He received his B.S and M.S. in Animal Science from the University of Kentucky and his Ph.D from Iowa State University in Animal Nutrition.  He has been married to his wife, Betty-Gayle for 53 years and has two children and 4 grandchildren.

The Kentucky Cattlemen’s Association would like to congratulate all of these deserving individuals for their years of service and numerous contributions to the agriculture industry. Videos of the 2022 inductees can be viewed on the KCA Youtube and Facebook pages.   Applications are now being taken for the 2023 KCA Hall of Fame.  Call the office for more details at 859-278-0899. 

Contact: Carey Brown, KCA

859-278-0899 or cbrown@kycattle.org

Tornado Relief Fund

KCARD is working with the Kentucky Farm Bureau Education Foundation and the Kentucky Department of Agriculture to develop the Kentucky Agriculture Disaster Relief Program. This program will help farmers in Kentucky access needed farm supplies from local farm retailers following the disasters experienced in many areas of Kentucky on December 10 and 11, and on January 1.  Farm retailers in the program will receive funds to offset the costs of such supplies for farmers. 

How does the program work?  The participating retailer will set up an account in their sales system to record sales of eligible supplies to eligible farmers up to $1,500 per farmer.  They will provide records of those sales to the program and receive reimbursement (up to $30,000/store, subject to change) for those sales. 

What supplies are eligible under the program? 

  • Fencing supplies- wire, staples, fence chargers, testers, etc.  
  • T-posts and wooden posts 
  • Tools, such as hammers, rakes, and shovels 
  • Rope and bungee cords 
  • Livestock mineral and mineral feeders 
  • Hay and livestock feed 
  • Work gloves 
  • Chain saws, bar oil, and sharpeners 
  • Hay rings 
  • Gates 
  • Tarps 

What farmers are eligible?  Farmers will have to certify that they have farm property in one of the following counties and experienced farm damage from the storms on December 10 and 11, 2021, and on January 1, 2022:  Barren, Caldwell, Calloway, Christian, Fulton, Graves, Hart, Hickman, Hopkins, Logan, Lyon, Marion, Marshall, Muhlenberg, Ohio, Taylor, and Warren.  Farmers will sign a form at the retailer and provide their contact information. How do I become a Participating Retailer?  Participating retailers must be located in or near the affected area, be locally owned and operated, have the necessary inventory on hand or be able to secure it, and agree to maintain the necessary records for the program.  If you meet these criteria and are interested in the program, you can contact KCARD staff member, Mattea Mitchell at 270-681-0163 or by email at mmitchell@kcard.info.  Our first priority is to get at least one store in or near affected counties.  Additional stores will be added as funds are available.

What Retailers are currently participating? 

Caldwell County

Akridge Farm Supply & Ace Hardware

55 Wyatt Street, Fredonia, KY 42411

(270) 545-3332

Graves County

Falder’s Farm Home and Industry Supply

1428 Cuba Road, Mayfield, KY 42066

(270) 247-7790

Hart County

Hedgepeth Farm Supply

1406 Hedgepeth Road, Canmer, KY 42722

(270) 528-2133

Hopkins County

Calhoun Feed Service/Southern States

515 Nebo Road, Madisonville, KY 42431

(270) 821-5034

Logan County

Southern States – Russellville Cooperative

209 North Bethel Street, Russellville, KY 42276

(270) 726-7678

Marion County

T&H Feed Service

836 West Main Street, Lebanon, KY 40033

(270) 692-2749

Marshall County

Marshall County Co-op

501 Popular Street, Benton, KY 42025

(270) 527-1323

Taylor County

Arnold’s Feed and Seed

599 Arnold Road, Campbellsville, KY 42718

(270) 465-3659

Warren County

Southern States – Bowling Green Cooperative

640 Plum Springs Loop, Bowling Green, KY 42101

(270) 843-1146

Clean Up Garden Now for a More Productive Garden Next Spring!

Don’t put that trowel and rake away just yet! This year’s gardening season may be over, but it can also be a great opportunity to start preparations for next year’s gardening season. Taking care of a few garden clean-up chores now means fewer pests and disease problems which leads to a more productive garden for next spring! 

To help shine the light on garden clean-up, I contacted Kim Leonberger, our UK Agriculture Extension Associate to get the checklist needed to help take the guesswork out of garden clean-up. To hear the full episode, make sure to stay right here for Episode 20 of the Sunshine Gardening Podcast!

  • Why do we clean up?
    • Plant pathogens such as fungi, bacteria, and viruses can survive in plant debris and on items in the garden.
    • Cleaning-up helps to remove these pathogen structures so that they do not survive winter and come back to cause issues next year.
    • Failure to clean-up can result in more disease next year.
  • What gardening activities should we consider to help clean-up our gardens for the winter?
    • Remove plants and plant debris.
    • Turn soil when possible.
    • Clean tools, stakes, cages, decorations, pots and other items from the garden.
  • Do not compost diseased plant material.
    • Diseased plant material should be burned, buried, or taken off-site.
    • Home compost bins do not get hot enough to kill these plant pathogens.
    • Large-scale, commercial compost piles do get hot enough to kill pathogens.
    • Some communities have yard waste pick-up, which go to a large compost pile. It is ok to put diseased material here.
  • Cleaning tools
    • Cleaning products (soaps and detergents) remove loose organic matter. Products include dish soap, hand soap, some household cleaners.
    • Disinfection products (disinfectants/sanitizers) have anti-microbial activity and can kill disease-causing micro-organisms. Products include rubbing alcohol (70%), 10% bleach (9 parts water and 1 part bleach), hand sanitizer, some household cleaners.
    • Steps to cleaning tools
      • Clean and scrub to remove organic matter.
      • Rinse to remove any residues.
      • Disinfect – Follow product directions. Most require a dip, soak, or spray. Be sure to note exposure time. A lot of products it is between 3 and 5 minutes. Bleach is the most effective and requires 30-45 seconds. However, bleach is corrosive so a rinse is need to limit effects. Make sure to never mix bleach with other cleaning products as a toxic gas can form.
      • Rinse and Dry.
      • Example of cleaning a tool – Wash with dish soap to remove soil and other organic matter. Rinse and dry. Dip in 10% bleach solution for 30-45 seconds. Rinse in clean water (not the same as before). Dry with a paper towel.

I hope that you enjoyed our discussion today on garden clean-up! A big thank you to Kim Leonberger for being our guest on the Sunshine Gardening Podcast! To view the show notes for Episode 20, make sure to visit me on the blog at Warren County Agriculture! You can find us at warrencountyagriculture.com.

Kim Leonberger, UK Agriculture Extension Associate

FORAGE ALERT: Frost Brings Potential for Prussic Acid Poisoning

Last night many areas of Kentucky experienced their first frost.  Prussic acid (hydrogen cyanide) poisoning can occur when the sorghum species (forage sorghum, sorghum-sudangrass, sudangrass, and Johnsongrass) are frosted.  Freezing causes plant cells to rupture and the precursors for prussic acid formation (cyanogenic glycosides) are released.  Please find below some frequently ask questions about prussic poisoning, a note from the UK Veterinary Diagnostic Lab, and a link to Dr. Arnold’s prussic acid publication.

Frequently Ask Questions:

Can I cut the sorghum species for dry hay after frost?

YES.  Make sure the hay is properly cured before baling.  

Can I make baleage from frost sorghum species?

In most cases the answer is YES. Hydrogen cyanide concentrations are reduced during the ensiling process. However, as noted below, if toxin levels are excessively high at ensiling, forage should be tested prior to feeding.

How long do I need to wait to graze freshly frosted sorghum species?

Freshly frosted sorghum species should NOT be grazed until the affected tissue has dried down. This usually occurs 5-7 days after frost. Since fields are often not uniformly frosted and several frost events can occur over several days, make sure and wait until 5-7 days after the last frost event.

Drs. Arnold and Gaskill also has an excellent publication on prussic acid poisoning that can be found at http://www2.ca.uky.edu/agcomm/pubs/ID/ID220/ID220.pdf.

Note from UK Veterinary Diagnostic Lab:

This note can be found at http://ruminant.ca.uky.edu/content/beware-prussic-acid.  

BEWARE OF PRUSSIC ACID

Prussic acid, hydrogen cyanide or hydrocyanic acid all are terms describing the same toxin or “poison”.  A number of common plants, including sudangrass, johnsongrass, sorghums and sorghum-sudangrass hybrids easily accumulate the “cyanogenic glycosides” in the epidermal or outer cells of the plant.  Further inside the leaf tissue in the mesophyll cells are the enzymes needed to convert these compounds to the actual poison.  When the plant undergoes a stressful event such as cutting, wilting, freezing, drought, crushing, trampling, chewing or chopping, the plant cells rupture which allows the cyanogenic compounds and the enzymes to combine and produce prussic acid.  Once consumed, the toxin goes immediately to the bloodstream and blocks a necessary step in the release of oxygen from hemoglobin in the blood to the cells.  The animal essentially suffocates from lack of oxygen.  Ruminants are much more susceptible to prussic acid poisoning because they have enzymes in the rumen capable of converting the cyanogenic compounds in the plant into hydrogen cyanide.

Clinical signs of cyanide poisoning can occur in as quickly as 15-20 minutes and up to a few hours after consuming the toxic forage.  Usually the affected animals are found dead but, if observed early, may show rapid, difficult breathing, frothing at the mouth, muscle tremors, staggering then collapse.  The mucous membranes (for example-the gums) are bright pink and the blood will be a bright cherry red color.  A definitive diagnosis is usually made by testing the suspect forage for high levels of cyanide.  This test can be performed at a diagnostic laboratory (the UKVDL in Lexington and Breathitt Lab in Hopkinsville both offer this) and forage samples should be immediately frozen and shipped frozen.  It is difficult to diagnose from blood, animal tissues or rumen contents because it disappears rapidly after death.  If prussic acid poisoning is suspected in a live animal, a veterinarian has treatments available that can re-establish oxygen transport at the cellular level. 

Prussic acid is most often associated with sorghums (forage and grain) and sudangrass but many plants can be cyanogenic including:

Plants with Cyanogenic Potential

————————————————

Apple                                Johnsongrass

Apricot                              Lima bean

Arrow Grass                      Peach

Birdsfoot trefoil                 Poison suckleya

Bahia                                Service berry

Cherry                               Sudangrass hybrids                                                                                                                

Elderberry                         Sorghum-sudangrass hybrids

Flax                                   Shattercane

Forage Sorghums             Velvet grass

Grain Sorghums                Vetch seed

Hydrangea                         White Clover

Indiangrass

Important Points to Remember:

  1. Leaves produce much more prussic acid than stems, especially young upper leaves.  New shoots often contain high concentrations of prussic acid.
    1. Never graze sorghums less than 18” in height (“knee high”) to significantly reduce the potential for poisoning.
    2. Feed hungry cattle hay or grain before allowing them to graze forages which may contain high levels of prussic acid therefore reducing the amount of cyanide consumed.
  1. Drought increases the chance for prussic acid because slowed growth and the inability of the plant to mature favors the formation of cyanogenic compounds in the leaves.
  1. Frost/Freezing is especially dangerous because the plant cells actually rupture allowing prussic acid to be released.  Do not graze until well after the entire plant and new shoots are killed and have turned brown.
    1. **  NEW FORAGE GROWTH FOLLOWING DROUGHT OR FROST IS DANGEROUSLY HIGH IN CYANIDE.  WAIT AT LEAST 7 DAYS TO GRAZE AFTER A KILLING FROST TO ALLOW CYANIDE TO DISSIPATE. **
  1. Plants grown in high nitrogen soil  (and low in phosphorus and potassium) tend to have more prussic acid potential.  Splitting nitrogen applications will reduce the risk of toxicity.  Herbicides such as 2,4 D can also increase prussic acid for several weeks following application.
  1. Chopping or ensiling plants high in prussic acid will reduce toxin levels if properly cured.  However dangerous levels of prussic acid may remain if extremely high before cutting.  If in doubt, analyze suspect forages before feeding.
  1. Johnsongrass and sorghum-sudangrass hybrids also have the potential for nitrate accumulation, especially during drought conditions.  Nitrate tends to accumulate in the lower stem, so cutting hay very short, or overgrazing so that cattle have to eat the lower stem bases ( the “stubble”) can cause more intake of nitrate and signs similar to prussic acid poisoning.

Watch out for Horse Flies

by: Lee Townsend, Extension Entomologist 
University of Kentucky College of Agriculture 

Horse flies and deer flies are bloodsucking insects that can be serious pests of cattle, horses, and humans. Horse flies range in size from 3/4 to 1-1/4 inches long and usually have clear or solidly colored wings and brightly colored eyes. Deer flies, which commonly bite humans, are smaller with dark bands across the wings and colored eyes similar to those of horse flies. Attack by a few of these persistent flies can make outdoor work and recreation miserable. The numbers of flies and the intensity of their attack vary from year to year. 

Numerous painful bites from large populations of these flies can reduce milk production from dairy and beef cattle and interfere with grazing of cattle and horses because animals under attack will bunch together. Animals may even injure themselves as they run to escape these flies. Blood loss can be significant. In a USDA Bulletin 1218, Webb and Wells estimated that horse flies would consume 1 cc of blood for their meal, and they calculated that 20 to 30 flies feeding for 6 hours would take 20 teaspoons. This would amount to one quart of blood in 10 days. 

Female horse flies and deer flies are active during the day. These flies apparently are attracted to such things as movement, shiny surfaces, carbon dioxide, and warmth. Once on a host, they use their knife-like mouthparts to slice the skin and feed on the blood pool that is created. Bites can be very painful and there may be an allergic reaction to the salivary secretions released by the insects as they feed. The irritation and swelling from bites usually disappears in a day or so. However, secondary infections may occur when bites are scratched. General first aid-type skin creams may help to relieve the pain from bites. In rare instances, there may be allergic reactions involving hives and wheezing. Male flies feed on nectar and are of no consequence as animal pests. 

Horse flies and deer flies are intermittent feeders. Their painful bites generally elicit a response from the victim so the fly is forced to move to another host. Consequently, they may be mechanical vectors of some animal and human diseases. 

LIFE CYCLE

The larvae of horse fly and deer fly species develop in the mud along pond edges or stream banks, wetlands, or seepage areas. Some are aquatic and a few develop in relatively dry soil. Females lay batches of 25 to 1,000 eggs on vegetation that stand over water or wet sites. The larvae that hatch from these eggs fall to the ground and feed upon decaying organic matter or small organisms in the soil or water. The larvae, stage usually lasts from one to three years, depending on the species. Mature larvae crawl to drier areas to pupate and ultimately emerge as adults. 

PROTECTING YOURSELF

Deer flies are usually active for specific periods of time during the summer. When outside, repellents such as Deet and Off (N-diethyl-meta-toluamide) can provide several hours of protection. Follow label instructions because some people can develop allergies with repeated use, look for age restrictions. 

Permethrin-based repellents are for application to clothing only but typically provide a longer period of protection. Repellents can prevent flies from landing or cause them to leave before feeding but the factors that attract them (movement, carbon dioxide, etc.) are still present. These flies will continue to swarm around even after a treatment is applied. 

Light colored clothing and protective mesh outdoor wear may be of some value in reducing annoyance from biting flies. In extreme cases, hats with mesh face and neck veils and neckerchiefs may add some protection. 

PROTECTING ANIMALS

Horse flies and deer flies can be serious nuisances around swimming pools. They may be attracted by the shiny surface of the water or by movement of the swimmers. There are no effective recommendations to reduce this problem. 

Permethrin-based sprays are labeled for application to livestock and horses. These insecticides are very irritating to the flies and cause them to leave almost immediately after landing. Often, the flies are not in contact with the insecticide long enough to be killed so they continue to be an annoyance. These flies will swarm persistently around animals and feed where the spray coverage was not complete (underbelly or legs) or where it has worn off. Repeated applications may be needed. Check the label about minimum retreatment intervals. Pyrethrin sprays also are effective but do not last as long as permethrin. 

Horse flies and deer flies like sunny areas and usually will not enter barns or deep shade. If animals have access to protection during the day, they can escape the constant attack of these annoying pests. They can graze at night when the flies are not active. 

CONTROL

It is difficult to impossible to locate and/or eliminate breeding site of horse flies and deer flies. They breed in environmentally sensitive wetlands so effects of drainage or insecticide application on non-target organisms or water supplies is a concern. Also, these insects are strong fliers that can move in from some distance away. Breeding sites may be very extensive or some distance away from where problems are occurring. 

Fortunately, horse flies and deer flies are sporadic problems for specific times of the year. Some adaptation in behavior or use of repellents can allow enjoyment of the outdoors. 

Issued: 01/00 
Revised: 01/00
 

CAUTION! Pesticide recommendations in this publication are registered for use in Kentucky, USA ONLY! The use of some products may not be legal in your state or country. Please check with your local county agent or regulatory official before using any pesticide mentioned in this publication. 

Of course, ALWAYS READ AND FOLLOW LABEL DIRECTIONS FOR SAFE USE OF ANY PESTICIDE! 

Using Wheat for Grazing

Source: Jimmy Henning, Chris Teutsch, Ray Smith, UK Extension Forage Specialists and Tim Phillips, UK Plant Breeding and Genetics

It may surprise you that producers use as much as 25% of Kentucky’s wheat crop for forage or cover crops rather than harvesting it for grain. Wheat is a very attractive option to forage and livestock producers because it is winter hardy, planted later in the fall and adapted to most soils in Kentucky.

Livestock can graze wheat as forage in the fall and spring. The crop performs best as a forage on ground that is limed to a pH of at least 6.4 or higher and fertilized according to soil test recommendations. If you plan to graze the wheat, splitting the nitrogen application between fall and spring will increase total forage production. Make the fall application before seeding and a late winter/early spring application to stimulate early spring growth.

If you plan to harvest wheat for a stored forage such as hay, baleage or silage, soil test each year and fertilize based on test results. Wheat harvest will remove nutrients from the soil.

If you plan to have livestock graze wheat in the fall, plant it in September or as early as your crop rotation and soil moisture allow. Be aware that this early planted wheat is at a greater risk for aphids, which can transmit barley yellow dwarf virus. Since the wheat is grazed by livestock when it is in a vegetative state, it should be protected from Hessian fly damage if only used for grazing.           

Plant wheat used for stored forages after the Hessian fly free date in October. This date varies each year but most often occurs by Oct. 15. Plant wheat two to 2.5 bushels per acre and 1 to 2 inches deep using a no-till drill into crop stubble or by broadcasting seed and lightly discing the ground to get the seeds at the proper soil depth.

Wait to turn livestock into wheat pastures until the plants are well established and at least 6 to 8 inches tall. Monitor fields for wetness and trampling of plants by the livestock. This is especially a concern during spring grazing. Only allow livestock to graze plants to 3 to 4 inches and allow the forage to recover to 6 to 8 inches long before grazing again.  Small grains fit well into rotational grazing systems as they recover and increase production similar to pasture grasses.

If you still want to get a grain crop from the wheat, only allow livestock to graze it lightly in the early spring. Do not graze wheat after plants reach the Feekes 6 growth stage, which is when the first node is visible above the soil surface and at the beginning of stem elongation. Grazing after this stage removes the growing point and prevents the seed heads from developing.  

For the best quality stored forages, harvest the crop at the boot to early head stage. Early cut wheat will ensile easier because it contains higher amounts of fermentable carbohydrates and forms denser bales. Feed early cut wheat to livestock with high nutrient needs like calves or lactating cows.

Nitrate poisoning is very unlikely under normal plant growth and weather conditions. However, periods of cool, cloudy weather, hail damage, frost and drought can cause nitrates to accumulate in wheat. The ensiling process removes about 50% of nitrates and reduces toxicity risk.

More information on using wheat for forage is available in the University of Kentucky publication AGR 263: Growing Wheat for Forage. It is available online at https://bit.ly/3eK5Z9x or by contacting the Warren County office of the UK Cooperative Extension Service.

Educational programs of the Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of economic or social status and will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, creed, religion, political belief, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy, marital status, genetic information, age, veteran status, or physical or mental disability.

Buy Kentucky Fresh from Local Farmer’s Markets

Local foods tastes better. Fruits and vegetables grown  locally and sold at the farmer’s market spend more time maturing in the field, and less time on the road. They aren’t picked green and sprayed with hormones to ripen. They are naturally at their peak flavor and nutrition, and ready for your family to enjoy.

Tips for shopping at the farmers’ market

· Mind your budget. Before you go, decide how much you have to spend. Bring along a calculator or paper and pencil to track spending. Don’t buy more that you can store safely and eat or preserve before it spoils.

· Bring the kids and let them help pick out some of the fruits and vegetables. They will learn how to shop wisely and might even get excited about trying new foods.

· Arrive early for best selection. Popular items may sell out fast.

· Shop late for best prices. Some farmers will sell items at a lower price, rather than taking them home. Don’t be afraid to bargain.

· Make a lap around the market before making  purchases.  This will allow you to see which booths have the best quality food for the lowest prices, which vendors accept EBT or nutrition program benefits, or offer promotions such as Double Dollars.

· Keep an open mind. Produce sold at the farmers’ market is usually grown for taste, not appearance. It may look imperfect, but taste great.

· Ask for seconds. Sometimes farmers have good     produce that didn’t look good enough to display. Ask if they have seconds that they will sell at a reduced rate.

· Buy fruits and vegetables in season. That’s when they’re at the height of quality and lowest price. See below for information for when produce is in season.

· Ask questions. Farmers are usually happy to answer questions about their produce, and they often have good cooking and serving suggestions.

· Take notes to help you remember which vendors have good prices on high quality food. Next time you visit the market, refer to your notes.

· Buy now, enjoy later. If possible, buy large amounts of produce in season and freeze, can or dry it for the winter. Contact your county Extension office for   classes in food preservation.

Bowling Green Farmers’ Markets

Summer Produce Items

Other Available Items

Flies and Pink Eye a Problem Again This Summer

By Ric Bessin and Jonathan L. Larson; UK Entomology Extension Specialists

Face flies are annoying pests for cattle that can impact the animal’s welfare by just constantly molesting the eyes of our animals. These flies are looking to feed on tears but will also feed on saliva, blood, and nasal discharges. They do this by using their unique mouthparts, which resemble sponges and help them consume their liquid foods. Recently, county Extension agents informed us that they have received a large influx of questions regarding the connection between these pests and their transmission of pink eye.

Identification & Life cycle

Face flies look very similar to house flies in shape and coloration but are slightly larger than their close relative. They are dark grey with four black stripes that run down their back. As with a lot of flies, the maggots develop in fecal material. Specifically, face fly maggots develop in freshly deposited cattle manure. The maggots will hatch from eggs and then go through four stages of development over 15 to 25 days, depending on the weather. During the summer, face flies are not often found in structures, but the adults do overwinter in barns or attics and will become active again in the spring to start the next generation of flies.

Figure 1: Face flies are in the same genus as house flies and look very similar to that species. They are slightly larger in comparison and are less common in structures in the summer. Adults can be found resting on plants and fences when not on animals. (Photo: Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University, Bugwood.org)

Pink Eye Transmission

High numbers of face flies are associated with higher rates of pink eye issues. The feeding style of the flies causes more avenues of introduction by scratching the eyes, and the flies have been demonstrated to carry the causative agent of pink eye as well. Some estimates put the cost of pink eye in cattle at about $150 million annually.

Figure 2: Face flies feed on tears they induce from the eyes of cattle. The feeding style of the flies leads to irritation and can open the eyes up to infection by pathogens, in particular pink eye. (Photo: Clemson University – USDA Cooperative Extension Slide Series, Bugwood.org)

Management Must Be Multifaceted

Fly control is essential, but can be difficult as face flies are only on the animal for a small percentage of the time. Therefore, addressing the egg and larval stages of the fly, as well as the adults, is most effective. A moderate to heavy fly infestation is when there are 10 to 20 flies per animal during the middle of the day. A single fly-control program will not work on every farm, so it often takes multiple tactics of control to achieve good results.

Fly tags (mid- to late May, through mid-September-October)(one ear tag or session or two sessions; be sure to use the number of tags required by the manufacturer), insecticide pour-ons, back rubbers (no 2 diesel), dust bags and knock-down sprays (Bachpack or ATV) are helpful in reducing the number of adult face flies on your animals. Fly traps in barns can also be helpful in reducing the number of flies. Feed additives with insect growth regulators are available that target the maggots that are laid in the manure. Encouraging dung beetles, which break down the manure pat, will also decrease egg survival.

Face flies can develop resistance to pesticides over time, so switching the drug mode of action of pesticides used every year is important. For example, if pyrethrins are used one year, then organophosphates should be used the following year. Waiting until the start of fly season to apply fly tags and removing the old fly tags in the fall also decreases the development of resistance. It is also extremely important to follow the safety precautions recommended by the manufacturer, as these insecticides can be toxic to people if handled improperly.

Appropriate grazing, along with clipping pastures will prevent seed-head development, reducing the irritation to the eyes of cattle, as well as reducing the resting areas for the flies. Clipping pastures to a low stubble height in May just after the seed heads emerge and again in mid-summer when weeds appear is recommended. Shaded areas need to be available to decrease the ultraviolet (UV) exposure and, in Herefords, breeding for pigmented eyelids has been successful, as this is a heritable trait. A good management program, including an appropriate vaccination program [especially infectious bovine rhinotracheitis (IBR) and bovine viral diarrhea (BVD)] and having good quality nutrition and minerals available at all times, will improve the overall condition of the cattle and decrease the incidence of this disease. Overhead hay feeders should be lowered and round bales should be rolled out. Ensuring adequate bunk space will decrease direct contact between the animals. Animals that develop pinkeye should be isolated if possible.