Ag Radio programs for July 5 - 11, 2007
Holding Back Wheat
This is Ag Outlook 2007 on 1420 KJCK, I'm Chuck Otte, Geary County, K-State Research and Extension Ag & Natural Resources Agent. Last week I was talking about some of the characteristics of a wheat crop that I would consider keeping back for seed. What I forgot to mention was moisture, probably because I really didn't think it would be an issue as we moved into harvest. Even though you are going to be planting this in about 3 months, grain can go bad in about 3 weeks or less. I have seen truckloads of grain in the upper teens with moisture starting to heat in less than 24 hours. So, if you have some wheat that is above 56 pounds per bushel and not from a field that planted to a blend, and you want to keep some back for seed you had better have really dry wheat or have the ability to aerate and dry it. How dry is dry becomes the $64,000 question. Without aeration, I would want that moisture to be no higher than 11%. And even at that level, I would want to check that grain every week to make sure we weren't getting some moisture migration and crusting. With aeration, I'd still want it down to 13% going into storage. Ultimately, I think it's going to be easier for most producers to just line up new seed for this fall. BUT, speak for it early - don't wait until September 15th. Secondly, you may end up going further from home than normal so make sure you are getting a variety that is suited for our area. There are a lot of varieties popular in western Kansas and Nebraska that we have no business planting here. The biggest killer will be a variety that does not have soil borne mosaic resistance. If you aren't sure about a variety, give me a call and I'll check the master list! This has been Ag Outlook 2007 on the Talk of JC, 1420 KJCK, I'm Chuck Otte.
Timely cutting of prairie hay
This is Ag Outlook 2007 on 1420 KJCK, I'm Chuck Otte, Geary County, K-State Research and Extension Ag & Natural Resources Agent. It's time that we start talking about cutting prairie hay and the importance of timeliness in that process. Of course, talking about timeliness this year is almost laughable with the weather we've been having. I saw some bromegrass that was recently being cut for hay. And I just thought to myself, boy I wished they would have harvested that a month earlier. Well, we are now heading into native hay baling season and I don't want to see the same thing happen there as we did was a lot of the bromegrass. Native grass quality is already starting to drop. It peaks early, starts to taper off through June and then midway through July it takes a nose dive. Remember that we need to keep crude protein above 5% if we hope to have a hay that has any usable value to the livestock. Once crude protein drops below 5%, consumption drops way off because it takes more energy to digest the feedstuff than the animal gets back out of it. Prairie hay is seldom a real high protein source, but with timely cutting, you can get it up into the 7 to 9% crude protein range, which is really pretty good and gives us something we can use in balancing a ration. But that also means that you need to get native hay cut before the first of August. Early cutting also gives the grass plenty of time to recover before cool weather halts growth. Native grass growth rate really slows after September 1st. We like to have 6 weeks of good growing weather to restore those food reserves and keep the grass plant healthy. Cutting in August, especially late August, gives poor quality hay AND a weakened grass plant! Don't stress the grass anymore than it has the past several years. Cut it in July!
This has been Ag Outlook 2007 on the Talk of JC, 1420 KJCK, I'm Chuck Otte.
Time to evaluate cattle and pastures
This is Ag Outlook 2007 on 1420 KJCK, I'm Chuck Otte, Geary County, K-State Research and Extension Ag & Natural Resources Agent. We may not want to think about it, BUT we're about half way through the standard grazing season. This is the time of year when yearlings have put on the majority of the growth that they'll get off the grass this summer, because the grass quality is starting to drop off so fast. We're at that time when calves are really starting to try to get more and more from the grass and less and less from mom. It's time to take a look at the pastures and take a look at the cattle and see where both are. We've had excellent growing conditions for native grasses so far, so in pastures stocked at a full season rate, you shouldn't be seeing too much usage. If there are a lot of thin spots then maybe we need to move some cattle out of that pasture. Take the time to look at the condition of the cattle as well. Check to see if ectoparasites, I like that word, which is just a fancy word for flies and ticks, are bad or really bad. We may need to put some oilers or back rubbers out there to get some additional insect control. If you've got yearlings out there, keep an eye on the market. If you were going to sell them in the fall, why not move them early if you can make a good profit. Have you sold off all your cows that didn't have a calf last year. If you haven't, why are you still hanging on to her? If you have older cows that probably need to move out of the herd, look for opportunities anytime now to move her out of the herd and to market early either with or without the calf at her side. You can always early wean some of those calves if you want to keep heifers in the herd. You just need to start looking at the cattle, looking at the market and be ready to move when opportunities come along. This has been Ag Outlook 2007 on the Talk of JC, 1420 KJCK, I'm Chuck Otte.
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