Cows and Crops, August 2016


Gary AndersonAnimal & BioScience Specialist
Rick Kersbergen, Sustainable Dairy And Forage Systems
David Marcinkowski, Dairy Specialist

Save the Dates

Pasture Walk at Wolfe’s Neck Farm
Thursday, August 11, 2016

Maine Farm Days 2016
Wednesday – Thursday, August 24 – 25, 2016
Misty Meadows Farm, Clinton, ME

Pesticide Credit Workshops – 1 credit awarded per workshop

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

10:00 to 11:00 a.m.
Comparing pests, soils, and yield in no-till and conventional till corn with John Jemison, Professor, Soil and Water Quality, University of Maine Cooperative Extension

11:10 a.m. to 12:10 p.m.
Using summer annuals besides corn silage for weed management and feed on the dairy farm with Rick Kersbergen, Extension Educator, University of Maine Cooperative Extension

1:00 to 2:00 p.m.
Choosing and managing cover crops in corn silage systems—herbicide concerns, species selection, and planting methods with Lauchlin Titus, Agronomist, AgMatters (part of NRCS Soil Health series

2:10 to 3:10 p.m.
Spotted wing Drosophila—a new pest for horticultural crops with Tori Jackson – Extension Educator, University of Maine Cooperative Extension

Thursday, August 25, 2016

10:00 to 11:00 a.m.
Insect identification exercise with Clay Kirby, Entomologist, University of Maine Cooperative Extension

11:10 a.m. to 12:10 p.m.
Ticks and mosquitoes: Information for personal protection with Griffin Dill, IPM Professional, University of Maine Cooperative Extension

1:00 to 2:00 p.m.
When Fluffy can’t keep up: Preventing and controlling rodents on the farm with Kathy Murray, Entomologist, Maine Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Conservation

2:10 to 3:10 p.m.
Invasive forest pests—Slowing the spread with Charlene Donahue, Forest Entomologist, Maine Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Conservation

Maine State Holstein Show
August 29, 2016 at the Windsor Fair

Drought Impact on Forages

Many areas of the state are suffering from a prolonged drought or sever dry conditions. While corn planting and first cutting of hay/haylage were timely and provided some excellent quality feed, the continued dry spell has significantly impacted the growth and yield of second and third cutting haylage.

Field in drought 2016Corn silage crops are also suffering with dry locations showing curling, just as the plant needs water for good pollination and ear development. Not only will yields be low, the quality of the crop will be diminished due to a lower percentage of kernels in the crop.

To add to the situation, drought stressed crops such as corn tend to accumulate nitrates in the lower portion of the stalk, so if the drought situation continues, producers may want to “chop high” to reduce the potential for nitrate toxicity.

For organic producers who rely on pasture, the situation has caused some of them to limit grazing so as not to severely damage pastures. These farms are also digging into what would normally be their winter supply of stored hay and haylage.

Doing a feed inventory will be critical to make some decisions heading into the winter. Knowing what you need and making adjustments in the fall is much easier than trying to find and purchased feed for your herd in March and April next year. If you need help doing some of these calculations and estimates, please contact one of us so we can help you determine what you have and what you need.

Gary Anderson, 207.581.3240
Rick Kersbergen, 207.342.5971
Dave Marcinkowski, 207.581.2740

Plan Now for Cover Crops and Transition to No-till Corn

Now is the time to plan for your cover crop strategy for the fall, especially if you are going to use winter rye. You should have your seed source located and plans in place for seeding as quickly as possible after the corn harvest.

Additionally, now is the time to plan for no-till forage rotations. Killing old sod in the fall provides the best opportunity for a successful transition into no-till corn. I saw many fields this year where producers tried to kill sod in May with poor resulting corn stands. Killing the sod in the fall is not only more effective, but also requires less herbicide! Some of the best corn I have seed this year came from fields that where sod was killed in the fall.

Remember to soil test and lime fields where necessary when transitioning from sod to no-till corn.

EQIP and AMA Conservation Programs Sign Up Deadline Set for August 19

The USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has announced the application deadline date for two of its principal conservation programs – the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and the Agricultural Management Assistance Program (AMA).  The Fiscal Year 2017 application deadline for EQIP and AMA is Aug. 19, 2016.

Agricultural producers and foresters are encouraged to sign up now for EQIP, which provides financial and technical assistance to address varying natural resource priorities. The Fiscal Year 2017 funding consideration application deadline for most EQIP fund pool categories will be Aug. 19, 2016.  This does not include the EQIP National Water Quality Initiative and Conservation Innovation Grants.

“These programs are completely voluntary and support agricultural production and environmental quality in Maine,” said NRCS-Maine State Conservationist Juan Hernandez. “The deadline is approaching quickly, so we encourage you to contact one of our specialists at your local USDA Service Center as soon as possible.”

EQIP categories that are included in the Aug. 19 signup deadline, in addition to the “general” local pool categories (such as animal waste, cropland, forestry, seasonal high tunnels, pasture, and wildlife) are:  Beginning Farmer; Socially Disadvantaged; Tribal Projects; Water Conservation/Irrigation; Aquatic Organism Passage Projects; Conservation Activity Plans; On-Farm Energy and Organic.

Agricultural producers are also encouraged to sign up now for the AMA program, which has a Fiscal Year 2017 application deadline for funding consideration in statewide funding pools of Aug. 19, 2016.  AMA assists agricultural producers to manage risk and voluntarily address issues such as water management and water quality. For 2017, NRCS will continue to offer an opportunity for funding High Tunnel Systems through AMA.

There is a continuous, year-round sign-up for these two programs, but applications submitted by the deadline mentioned above will be considered for funding in Fiscal Year 2017.  Proposals submitted after that date will be held for the next period of funding consideration.

For more information on EQIP and AMA, please contact your local NRCS Service Center.  Service Center locations and contact information can be found on the Maine NRCS website, along with more information about the programs and services NRCS provides.

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.

Milk Quality Management Reminders

With the hot, humid weather we have been having in July and will continue to have through August and much of September, there is the potential for increased somatic cell counts.  With the hot, humid weather, blood vessels are dilated to increase surface area and an attempt to get rid of excess heat.

Unfortunately, one of the areas affected is the teat end.  This results in the teat canal potentially being more open than in cooler times of the year so the use of a barrier teat dip is recommended. Make sure that you are using nonreturn teat dippers and use only enough dip for milking.  Wash teat dippers and use multiple sets of dippers that you rotate each day.  Here is a list of reminders for this time of year (important at all times, but very important now!).

Remember … Clean and Dry, Clean and Dry, Clean and Dry

  • Make sure stall surfaces are clean and dry. Evaluate pasture areas for low, wet areas and keep cows out of these areas to keep teats clean.
  • Wear disposable gloves during milking
  • If teats are visibly dirty at milking time, clean teats before predipping.
  • Make sure predip contact time is adequate.
  • Strip 3-5 streams of milk from each teat to flush out the streak canal. (this also has the benefit of stimulating milk letdown)
  • Remove all predip using individual towels
  • Attach machine and milk
  • After cow is milked out, post dip with an effective barrier teat dip

Fall Oats — Something to Consider to Help with Forage Supplies

Fall seeded oats (August seeding…meaning NOW!) can provide some significant boosts to your forage supply going into the winter.  Seeded now, oats will grow rapidly into the fall, and when a frost coincides with the boot stage of the plant, the oats can accumulate significant amounts of sugar and a very digestible forage crop.

Several types of oats are available, and forage type oats have become popular.  Forage oats should be seeded in early August for best results. If you are seeding later in the August, regular grain type oats may be more appropriate and perhaps a little less expensive.

Seeding oats for a fall forage supply does have some risks. The crop does accumulate nitrates, so the continued dry weather not only may impact germination, but also the quality of the crop. Oats can produce a significant amount of forage with relatively high moisture content, so trying to wilt and dry the crop for good fermentation in a silo or baleage may be difficult in October when this crop would normally be harvested.

Seeding oats for forage in late summer or fall is also a great way to transition into a no-till corn rotation as in the spring, you will have a nice seedbed ready to plant into without having to plow and harrow.

Welcome Dr. Juan Romero to the AVS FacultyDr. J. J. Romero, Assistant Professor School of Food and Agriculture, University of Maine

Welcome to Dr. Juan Romero who has recently joined the Animal and Veterinary Sciences faculty in the School of Food and Agriculture. Dr. Romero is originally from Lima, Perú. He received his B.S. degree in Animal Science from Universidad Agraria La Molina, Perú, and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Animal Science and Ruminant Nutrition from the University of Florida. Following his Ph.D. he conducted postdoctoral research at North Carolina State University.

Dr. Romero’s research aims to expand the understanding of the factors that affect silage and hay quality through the development of novel additives that will improve the forage digestibility and the profitability of livestock producers. Specifically, his program focuses on the use of enzymes to solve specific issues in silage production and the development of additives to enhance the stability of stored forages. Dr. Romero has pioneered the use of advanced protein technologies to compare commercially-available enzyme products, identifying for the first time some of the important enzymes involved in improving fiber digestibility. He has also use microbiological sequencing to assess bacterial communities in silage and the rumen.

Dr. Romero will also be teaching AVS145, our basic animal science class for incoming students.

Maine Hay Directory

Did you know that UMaine Extension manages a hay directory for buyers and sellers of hay and hay products? If you have hay or forage to sell, this listing June help you find buyers! If you are interested in posting your products or looking for feed to buy, check out the directory at the Maine Hay Directory.