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Keep good records of livestock losses from drought and other natural disasters

Written by stevefairchild on .

We got a note from USDA today that said livestock producers who want federal help from natural disasters such as the 2012 drought and Hurricane Issac need to keep good records.

USDA/FSA recommends that owners and producers record all pertinent information of natural disaster consequences, including:

-          Documentation of the number and kind of livestock that have died, supplemented if possible by photographs or video records of ownership and losses;
-          Dates of death supported by birth recordings or purchase receipts;
-          Costs of transporting livestock to safer grounds or to move animals to new pastures; and
-          Feed purchases if supplies or grazing pastures are destroyed.
 
Secretary Vilsack also reminds producers that the department’s authority to operate the five disaster assistance programs authorized by the 2008 Farm Bill expired on Sept. 30, 2011. This includes SURE; the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP); the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees, and Farm-Raised Fish (ELAP); the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP); and the Tree Assistance Program (TAP). Production losses due to disasters occurring after Sept. 30, 2011, are not eligible for disaster program coverage.

Make corn stover more digestible for livestock

Written by stevefairchild on .

There are several field days coming up (see list below) about alternative forages to get your herd through the winter. Good breeding stock is an asset at risk this year. The following is a release from the Missouri Cattlemen's Association, who along with MU and the Missouri Corn Merchandising Council are pushing information out to producers.

With 2012 bringing both the warmest and driest April through July stretch in 118 years, pastures, crops and even established trees are suffering from the drought. In response to the reduction in forages, some cow-calf operators across Missouri are considering significantly reducing or liquidating their herds. Photo credits: Missouri Corn Merchandising Council
 
For those livestock farmers struggling to find feed sources, Justin Sexten, MU beef nutritionist, the Missouri Corn Merchandising Council and the Missouri Cattlemen's Association are working together to explore alternative forages. The coalition will be hosting workshops around the state to demonstrate how to improve digestibility of corn stover and lower-quality hay by 15 percent while doubling the feeds' protein content.
 
Incorporating a specific treatment process called ammoniation, producers can treat corn stover at a cost of approximately $25 per ton of forage. The added nutritional value makes it an economical choice in a season filled with climatic and economic challenges. To help walk producers through the process, the university, alongside the state's corn and cattle organizations, are offering free workshops in select regions.
 
"The livestock industry is our number one customer," said Gary Wheeler, vice president of operations and grower services for Missouri Corn. "Through these free forage demonstrations, we are working to help connect corn growers with cattlemen for the good of all parties involved."
 
Sexten will also demonstrate treatment of processed corn stover with calcium hydroxide. Similar to ammoniation, stover digestibility is improved with this process and the protein content remains unchanged.
 
Farmers interested in purchasing or selling corn stover, corn stalks or hay as a feedstock are encouraged to visit the following online forage directories:

http://agebb.missouri.edu/haylst/index.htm

www.mocattle.org/haydirectory.aspx

http://mda.mo.gov/abd/haydirectory  
 
Workshop schedule:
    •    Sept. 11-Joplin Regional Stockyards, 6 p.m.
    •    Sept. 13-Brent Martin's farm in Anutt, 3:30 p.m.
    •    Sept. 18-MU Thompson Research Center Field Day near Spickard, 9 a.m.
    •    Sept. 20-MU Beef Research and Teaching Farm in Columbia, 6 p.m.
    •    Sept. 25-MU Forage Systems Research Center Field Day near Linneus, 9 a.m.
    •    Sept. 27-Triple V Farms in Perryville, 6 p.m.

New offering from AgLeader

Written by Austin Black on .

Ag Leader has recently designed a high-accuracy automated steering system that intends to bridge the gap between expensive, full-featured and economically simple. GeoSteer can be easily transferred between vehicles and features a Flex Mode, which allows it to continue operating even if a GPS signal is temporarily lost. The system allows service technicians to diagnose problems while the operator is in the field and built-in remote and calibrations provide easy access for in-cab display. This system is ideal for planting, tillage and other field operations requiring precise steering.

Don't get burned during harvest

Written by stevefairchild on .

There is risk of fire every year as the combine rolls out, but this year’s drought, and the extreme lack of moisture in leaves, stalks and husks amps up the chance for mishap.


Everyone knows the routine—a combine is necessarily a messy rig. And it needs to be cleaned and maintained. During years when there is a bit of humidity in the air, you might skimp on the routine, but this year is one to pay attention.

(Video from Antelope Farm via YouTube)


Kent Shannon, Natural Resource Engineer for MU Extension in Boone County reminds operators to take the normal precautions, and be extra vigilant this year.

“Fuel sources such as leaves, stalks, husks, dust, oil and fuel are always present when harvesting fields, and so are numerous sources of ignition on farm equipment or transport vehicles including exhaust, bearings and electrical wiring. Fire safety in the field has two key components—prevention and preparation in case a fire does break out,” Shannon pointed out.

Shannon added that combines aren’t the only source of ignition in harvest fields. Grain trucks exhaust systems reach high temperatures and can come in contact with field residue. In years of extreme dry, limiting field traffic can reduce the chance for combustion.

Shannon offers a check list for operators:

Electrical systems:
• Keep wiring and fuses in proper operating condition and position.
• Properly route and insulate all replacement wires.
• Use heat-resistant insulation.

Fuel systems:

• Regularly inspect fuel lines.
• Keep fuel lines in good condition with tight connections.
• When refueling, always shut off the engine and let the equipment cool for 15 minutes before you refuel.
• Never fill the gasoline supply tank near an open flame, while smoking, or with the engine
running.
• Wipe up oil and fuel spills as they occur. This prevents chaff and trash from collecting and
combining to start a fire.

Mechanical operation:
• Use a pressure washer or a compressed air blowgun to thoroughly clean the machine.
• Remove excess crop residue from rotating units.
• Always inspect the machine for buildup of harvest materials (chaff and leaves) before operation.
• Keep your work area clean.
• Check lubricant levels often, and grease fittings regularly. Fix leaking oil, fuel, or hydraulic lines promptly. Check belts for proper tension and wear to reduce friction.
• Carefully check bearings for excessive heat. Overheated bearings are a major cause of combine fires.
• Check valve covers for oil leaks that can ignite as oil runs down manifolds.
• Check for cracked or loose exhaust pipes, ports and check the manifold.
• Pay particular attention to the exhaust system, checking for leaks, damage, or an accumulation of crop residue.

In the field:

• Always have a fire extinguisher within reach.
• Keep at least one fully charged 10-lb. ABC fire extinguisher on all equipment. (Or carry two: one l0-lb. ABC fire extinguisher in the cab and one 20-lb. ABC fire extinguisher where it can be reached from the ground.)
• Visually check your extinguishers monthly, looking for cracks in the hose and inspecting the gauge to see if the extinguisher is fully charged.
• Invert the extinguishers once or twice a season and shake them to ensure that powder inside the extinguisher hasn't compacted by machine vibrations.
• Have a professional fire extinguisher company inspect your fire extinguishers annually.
• Have a shovel available to scoop dirt onto a fire.
• Carry your cell phone or two-way radio with you at all times so you can summon help.

If a fire does occur, CALL 911 FIRST, and then attempt to extinguish the fire by pulling the pin on the fire extinguisher and squeezing the handles together. Aim the nozzle at the base of the fire and sweep from side to side. Remember P.A.S.S., which stands for Pull, Aim, Squeeze, Sweep.


 

Just saying...

Written by stevefairchild on .

I once stood on the sidewalk outside a conference and debated a PR man about a carbon-trading scheme for the United States. I was skeptical. He was on payroll to make such a trading scheme sound good. It was the early days of the Chicago Climate Exchange. Each time he made a seemingly persuasive point, I'd reply, "But the whole thing is built on a house of cards, innit?" And he'd say it didn't matter if it was built on a house of cards. "It's a market!" he'd say. Last year the CCX stalled out at a nickel per ton of carbon and went the way nickels sometimes go on the streets of Chicago—down a sidewalk grate toward murky nothingness. But rent seekers don't miss nickels. It's the big picture that matters. The sails look flat above the deck of the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme. Is that a 10c Euro rolling down a sidewalk in Brussels?

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