Seeding annual or perennial ryegrass can help fields recover

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Winter feeding has left a large number of fields with bare spots that are very susceptible to erosion or being taken over by weeds. Seeding annual or perennial ryegrass in these areas can provide a quick cover to keep soil in place and provide a thick ground cover that will keep weeds from taking over. Even if these areas are small, allowing weeds to take over is a problem because each weed produces thousands of seeds that can be spread by animals or wind to other areas of the farm.
Annual ryegrass will provide the quickest cover but will die out in the summer heat. Perennial ryegrass will not grow as fast and also suffers from summer heat, but it will usually last two to three years. If bare areas are to be returned to permanent pasture farmers may want to plant annual ryegrass and replant orchard grass or fescue in the late summer. If feeding will take place again on these same areas next winter, perennial ryegrass can be planted to give some late spring, early summer grazing. The perennial ryegrass will grow again in the fall providing some grazing prior to when feeding starts again. A higher grazing capacity may be had by planting annual ryegrass now followed by a winter small grain crop planted in late summer or early fall. Farmers need to decide if it is worth the extra seed and planting expense to make two plantings.
Cattle Producers should be feeding High Magnesium Mineral to cattle for the next couple of months to avoid Grass Tetany. Grass Tetany is a metabolic disorder caused by low magnesium levels in the blood. It is most common in the spring with cattle that are producing large quantities of milk for young calves. Symptoms often observed include nervousness, lack of coordination, muscular spasms, staggering, convulsions, coma, milk yield decrease, and death. If you see these symptoms contact your veterinarian immediately as treatment can save the animal.
Grass tetany is most common on lush, fast growing cool season grasses and small grains. High levels of nitrogen or potassium in the soil increase the risk of grass tetany so do not place animals on heavily fertilized fields unless they have been consuming high mag mineral for a period of time and continue to offer it on a free choice basis. High mag mineral is often not as palatable as other mineral so make certain the cattle are actually consuming the amount called for on a daily basis according to the label. Continue to feed high mag mineral until temperatures are consistently in the 60’s or higher. A good rule of thumb is to feed it through the end of May.
The Farmer’s Market Meeting that was to be held this past Monday has been rescheduled for Friday, March 28, at 1 p.m. at the Marion County Extension Office. Anyone interested in selling their farm products at the market are welcome to attend. We are looking to improve the market this year with new vendors, products and locations to help local consumers obtain fresh nutritious food directly from the farm. Consumers are welcome to attend to express what they would like to have available at the farmers market as well as their ideas on hours of operation, locations, etc.
The Kentucky Department of Agriculture is offering a Thistle Eradication Program again this year. The Department will provide a sprayer and enough chemical to spray ten acres of pasture or hay ground and farmers may buy their own chemical and use the sprayer to treat another ten acres. Farmers must provide a tractor and driver to spray the fields. We have only been allocated the opportunity to do this on seven farms. The date will be Wednesday, April 2. If you are interested please call the Extension Office at 270-692-2421 to sign up. If we have more than seven sign up we will randomly select seven farms to participate. Preference will be given to farmers who did not participate last year.
UK will hold its EweProfit 3 class at the Oran Little Research Farm in Woodford County on April 8, beginning at 10 a.m. This is one of a three-part class on Sheep Management. You do not have to have attended the previous classes to attend this class. There is no charge for the class. Call the office for details.
There will be a Beekeepers Meeting, Wednesday, April 9, at 6:30 p.m. at the Marion County Extension Office. Anyone with bees or interested in starting is welcome to attend the meetings. There is no charge to attend.
The Marion County Cattlemen’s Association is again offering a $1,000 scholarship to a 2014 high school graduate. They have asked the Extension Office to handle the application process and we have arranged for the Kentucky Cattlemen’s Association to impartially rate the applications. Applicants must be a graduate of a Kentucky high school and be accepted to attend a Kentucky college or university and majoring in agriculture or a related field. A parent, guardian or the applicant must be a member of the Marion County Cattlemen’s Association. Applications are available at the Marion County Extension Office or at Marion County High School. Applications must be postmarked by April 20.
Marion County Cattlemen’s Association will meet Tuesday, April 29, at 7 p.m. The meeting will be at the Marion County Extension Office. Please call the extension office at 270-692-2421 if you plan to attend.

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