Cows and Crops, April 2016


By Rick Kersbergen, Extension Professor, University of Maine Cooperative Extension,

In This Issue

Cover Crop Termination

(Adapted From UVM crops and Soils team)

Over these past summer-like days, undoubtedly you’ve seen some rye growth! So now is definitely the time to be thinking about termination.

Killing the rye through plow down or herbicides are your options right now. Incorporating a winter rye cover crop in its vegetative stage will result in the quickest nitrogen release to your corn crop. An early kill (8-10 inches tall) can give a 30 to 50 pound nitrogen credit.

young corn in fieldWhen rye reaches the boot stage (right before the head emerges), it may be harder to kill and will be slower to break down. It also may tie up nitrogen and delay its availability to the corn crop.

If you are planning a no-till corn planting, terminate with herbicide immediate after planting –timing is key so be sure planting aligns with a nice stretch of weather. If you are planning to terminate the rye with a roller-crimper, you must wait until the rye is flowering — when the anthers are clearly visible and shedding pollen. (This is usually not an option in Maine).

Enjoy the nice weather.

Some additional information on your growing cover crops

  • If the crop is at 8 – 10 inches in height and you are not sure of when you can set it back with manure, tillage, or planting in the next 10 days, you need to start thinking of a way to terminate it before it becomes a problem.
  • If you’re planting soybeans, it will not be a problem. You can routinely no till into standing rye then spray and have a super soybean crop.
  • If you are no-tilling corn into standing rye, in most cases as long as you terminate (spray herbicide) immediately after planting it will not be a problem although it may tie up some nitrogen as it begins to decompose. Most people would recommend some starter nitrogen through the planter (30 lbs/acre).
  • If you are planning on conventional tillage, you need to watch your cover crop carefully or you will spend considerable time fighting with it in early June trying to get it to lay down enough to plant you corn into.

What the FDA’s Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) rule means for Maine’s Dairy Producers

VIEW the original letter from the State of Maine Department of Agriculture (PDF)

What does the rule say?

As of Jan.1, 2017:

  • You will no longer be allowed to go into the feed store and purchase most medicated feeds.
  • This rule requires a prescription from a veterinarian to give your animals feed with an antibiotic in it.
  • To get this prescription the veterinarian has to have a valid client-patient relationship with you and your herd.
  • In the case of feed with antibiotics added to it, the veterinarians will only be allowed to write prescriptions for animals that are currently sick, not for animals that will get sick.
  • There are only a limited number of exceptions to this rule and your veterinarian can advise you if you have questions.
  • Off label use of antibiotics in feed will no longer be allowed, not even with a prescription.
    (Off label use means using an antibiotic in any way that varies from what is on the label, such as in a different species or amount that is indicated on the drug container.)
  • The rule will start being enforced on January 1, 2017.

Will I need a prescription for my injectable antibiotics?

  • No, if you could buy the injectable antibiotic over the counter before it will still be available, though this may change in the future.
  • If you needed a prescription for an injectable treatment before you will still need a prescription for that same treatment.

What should I do to prepare for January 2017?

  • Start the discussion with your veterinarian about your herd and if the rule will impact your farm.
  • If you do not have a regular veterinarian, it is time to start calling around and see who is available in your area.

To learn more about the VFD Rule, ask your veterinarian or visit Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD).