County Agricultural Investment Programs (CAIP)

By Tommy Yankey, Anderson Co. Ag Extension Agent - In 2000, the Kentucky General Assembly passed House Bill 611 which created the Kentucky Agricultural Development Board (KADB) and the framework for what is now known as the Kentucky Agricultural Development Fund (KADF). Funding for this program comes from Kentucky’s annual share of the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement (MSA). Kentucky law provides that 50% of the total funds received through the Master Settlement Agreement be given back to agriculture.

Farm Highlight: Stockpiling Fescue

By: John Thomas - This past winter the Grazing for Cash program conducted several demonstrations across KY for producers to see best management practices in place, and the benefits they possess. One of these demonstrations was implemented in Madison County by producer John Thomas. Mr. Thomas utilizes recommended management practices such as forage improvement, rotational grazing, extending the grazing season using small grains and mak-ing timely hay harvests. His operation consists of a commercial Hereford cow/calf herd with spring and fall calv-ing seasons.

Master Grazer Profile: Bob Hall

Scott County native Robert (Bob) Hall, Jr. is a man of many hats. He and his wife Bonnie have embarked on many ventures on their farm including sheep, hogs and tobacco. Hall was born and raised on the farm outside of Georgetown, where he currently resides and operates a stocker operation. Bob Hall is known regionally for his cattle and pasture management skills. He has always tried to utilize grazing management as a tool to maximize profitability from his cattle operation.

Multi-Species Grazing

Grazing two or more animal species in a pasture-based system can increase forage utilization and efficiency. This method can also be used to renovate pastures by controlling certain forages, weeds, and brush that one livestock species may not graze. Each species of livestock are unique in the manner in which they graze and in what they prefer to graze. When deciding which species to add to a grazing system, it is best to evaluate current plant species on the farm and determine which are not being grazed.

Timing Fertilizer and Pasture Yields

Many producers have already started planning pasture and hayfield fertilization. Pastures require nutrients to reach peak productivity. These nutrients are derived from several sources including residual nutrients in the soil, the breakdown of manure and soil organic matter, and nitrogen produced by N-fixation in legumes. Most importantly, nutrients are supplied to plants through the application of commercial fertilizer and lime.

Tips to Controlling Weeds in Grass Pastures

By Dr. J.D. Green, Extension Weed Scientist - Using good pasture management practices can help minimize weeds and unwanted plants in grass pastures and hayfields. To get the most quantity and quality from pastures, use management practices that encourage growth of a vigorous, dense stand of forage grasses and limit germination and growth of unwanted plants. Weeds that reproduce by seed readily germinate in thin pasture stands, and unwanted plants are more prone to become established in these areas.

The Value of Coated Seed

Over the last 20 years there has been a growing trend for more and more alfalfa and clover seed to be coated. I am often asked “Is it worth buying coated seed?” I almost always answer yes to this question, especially in the case of alfalfa and clover seed. This question is usually followed by another question “Since the coating means that there’s less seed in the bag, should I plant at a higher seeding rate?” My normal answer is no, you should plant at the same rate as recommended by the forage establishment publication in your state.

Renovating High Traffic Areas

High traffic areas, such as feeding areas, sacrifice lots, alleyways, gateways and waterers, are often bare and muddy late winter and early spring. To slow and reduce soil erosion, compaction, forage damage, and weed problems, these areas need to be renovated promptly. Reducing these muddy areas is beneficial for animal health.

Soil Test to Determine Fertilizer Applications

Fertilizer is one of the main expenses in a productive grazing system. It is important to apply fertilizer and lime in accurate amounts for best forage production and financial and environmental reasons. Performing a soil test on pastures and utilizing the results to evaluate pasture fertility is strongly advised. Analysis of a soil sample will determine nutrient content of the soil including phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, sodium, sulfur, manganese, copper, and zinc. Soil pH, organic matter, and exchangeable acidity will also be included in the results.