Words and photos by Jessica Ekern & Allison Jenkins

Livestock producers work with MFA to evaluate past performance, strategize for future success

Building a plan

Usually before or after game days, sports teams will watch film of themselves playing to understand mistakes, evaluate their techniques and notice things they had not seen while in the heat of the action.

Coaches typically lead these film sessions, pointing out certain things to the entire team to encourage them to critically think about how to make themselves better and defeat opponents.
MFA takes a similar approach when designing custom nutrition plans and solutions for the specific needs of each farming operation. Just as athletes examine film and collaborate with coaches to improve future performance, MFA livestock experts work one-on-one with producers to review what went right, what went wrong and build a game plan for next season.

“At the end of the day, we all want to be profitable,” said cattle producer Herb Schnitker of Middletown, Mo. “MFA helps us put a plan together and figure out how to maximize performance, both when things are going well and when things are tough and challenging.”

Farmers are notoriously self-sufficient, and Schnitker is no exception. He collaborated with one of his daughters to design a carefully thought-out cattle-working facility that includes wide alleyways, privacy pens, a calving corral and an office. There are even multiple cameras that rotate to monitor when a cow begins the calving process. From his home or phone, Schnitker can.
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These predatory birds have their place but can also threaten Missouri livestock farms

Black vultures: friend or foe?

If you reside in Southern Missouri, the words “black vultures” are probably not new to you or the folks at the local coffee shop. They’ve been in this neck of the woods for several years, but residents further north have recently noticed their expansion and increasing population. In particular, livestock producers are concerned because black vultures have earned a reputation for attacking live calves.

These birds are different than the red-headed turkey vulture that we are all accustomed to seeing throughout Missouri. The black vulture has a black body with a naked black head and is a bit smaller than its turkey vulture cousin. Both feed on dead and decaying animals. The difference between the two is that black vultures will attack live animals that are injured or unable to escape. Although this problem is not very common, it does happen. When it happens to your herd .  .  .  .

Tar spot targets Midwest corn

Emerging fungal disease can develop quickly, spread rapidly and cause significant yield loss 

There is a new fungus among us, and it’s been spotted in northern Missouri cornfields.

This emerging fungal disease is tar spot, which attacks leaf tissue in corn and causes the plant to rapidly deteriorate. Tar spot limits water and nutrient movement, resulting in reduced photosynthesis that can affect yield and grain quality.

“Tar spot has the potential to be a very aggressive disease,” said Kevin Moore, MFA senior staff agronomist. “However, there are several factors that affect the severity of the disease—environmental conditions, stage of the crop, hybrid tolerance and crop health to name a few.” . . .

ImageLast summer, MFA crop consultant Gabby McDermott scouted tar spot damage to a corn crop in northern Missouri. Scouting fields is recommended when weather conditions are conducive for the aggressive disease. Having 85% humidity and more than seven hours of moisture on the leaves appears to promote the infection and disease development.

May 2023 Today's Farmer

This issue covers tomatoes, soil health service, successful ranchers, a technical article on keeping aquatic weeds under control and more.

SUBSCRIBERS & MFA members typicaly get the printed issue of Today's Farmer before we post the magazine online. The May issue is currently in production and will ship the first week of May.

About Today's Farmer magazine

Today's Farmer is published 9 times annually. Printed issues arrive monthly except combined issues for June/July, August/September and December/January. Subscriptions are available only in the United States.

If you would like to begin or renew a print subscription, CLICK HERE and go to our shop. We are proud to offer the subscription for only $15 per year.

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