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The Central Kentucky Premier Heifer Sale was held Saturday Nov. 3, at the Marion County Fairgrounds. About 180-bred heifers were sold at an average price of $1,813. All of the cattle were from local farmers and had been through a rigorous health program and were graded and sorted by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture. Buyers came from all over the state to purchase these quality cattle. The strong price is an indication of the strength of the cattle market resulting from the shortage of cattle nationwide. Many traditional cattle areas in the southwest have had several years of drought and resulting reduction of cattle numbers. Kentucky and other areas have had large numbers of acres of land move from cattle production to grain production. Our cow population in Kentucky has fallen by nearly 100,000 head over the past few years. Demand for beef continues strong, however, so we should continue to see good prices for the next few years.
We were blessed to have sufficient rains after the drought broke to get some decent pasture and hay this fall so producers should have plenty of forage to make it through the winter and be able to take advantage of these high prices. It is important to make sure forage quality is adequate to meet the nutritional requirements of the animals being fed. The most important thing you can do is get your hay tested. A hay test will tell you whether the hay alone will fulfill the nutritional requirements of your livestock or if supplemental feed must be provided. Many of the calf health problems and problems with calving and rebreeding cows that occur in the spring and summer are a direct result of improper nutrition the previous winter. Forage can be tested and analyzed very inexpensively. The Kentucky Department of Agriculture has a program where they will come to your farm and collect samples and analyze them for $10.00 per sample. We at Extension can then help you determine the best feeding plan for your livestock.
While on the subject of testing and analyzing, a reminder that now is a good time to bring soil samples to the Extension Office for analysis. The sooner you know what your fields need, the sooner you can make arrangements for fertilizer and lime for your fields for the spring. Lime can be spread anytime this winter when the ground is dry or frozen, avoiding the spring rush.
The University of Kentucky is preparing to offer the Master Cattleman classes again in 2013 at a limited number of locations. They only have funds to offer five more series of classes and this may be the last time they are offered. I have had several people tell me they would like to take the classes if they are offered again, so we have requested that Marion, Nelson and Washington County be able to host the series again. We don’t know if we will be selected or when the classes will be, but I know they will want to offer it where they have the most interest. If you have not completed the course and are interested in taking it please call the extension office and let us know so we can tell them how many are interested and hopefully get the class locally.
The annual meeting of the Marion County Cattlemen’s Association will be held at 6 p.m., Monday, Nov. 26, in Floral Hall at the Marion County Fairgrounds. Membership dues are currently due to the Kentucky Cattlemen’s Association, which also covers membership in the local association. You should have received a reminder in a yellow envelope from KCA. If you are not a member call or come by the extension office and we can help get you enrolled. KCA does an excellent job of representing the interests of cattle producers at the state and national level and their monthly “Cow Country News” provides many articles of interest to producers.
The Central Kentucky Goat and Sheep Producers Association will meet at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 13, at the Marion County Extension Office. This is the association’s annual holiday meeting. All attendees should bring a dish for the event. Please call Joyce Cardenas at the extension office at (270) 692-2421 if you plan to attend in order to coordinate your portion of the meal. New members are encouraged to attend. Membership fees are $15 per year.
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