Is It Time to Think about Renovating or Planting a New Pasture or Hay Field? Part 3: Planning to Planting


In Parts I and 2, I covered testing the soil in the field in which you plan to establish a new pasture or plan to do a total renovation and species selection.  Depending on how close you are to planting and whether you will be working the soil or planting using a no-till drill, it’s probably time to recheck soil pH and fertility levels in the field to be planted or renovated.  The final soil test should be taken approximately 6 to 9 months after the earlier limestone application.  This should be enough time for previously applied lime to react with both the active acidity (hydrogen ions in soil solution) and the reserve acidity (hydrogen and aluminum ions on the clay and organic matter cation exchange sites) and the soil pH to be reaching an equilibrium state.  In this way if another smaller application of limestone is needed to move the soil pH slightly higher, the lime can be applied and worked in the soil, assuming some type of tillage for incorporation of the limestone. In no-till situations, the process of adjusting the soil pH takes much longer and should be started as much as two or three years in advance of seeding or renovation  since lime moves downward through the soil at about one inch per year.

Now that the soil fertility requirements have been completed, it’s on to the planning and planting process.  One of the biggest challenges these days, especially if you have a small number of acres in the field, is finding someone with equipment the right size to fit the field and a willingness to do the job in a timely fashion.  Of course even if you’re lucky enough to find the equipment and operator, cost is going to be a critical factor when making the decisions of what parts of the plan are actually doable.  Another factor that has become more of a challenge in recent years is the availability of forage seed of the selected species and variety.  Many forage seed production fields have been converted to row crop production and in some locations restrictions on burning seed production fields have allowed disease issues such as ‘choke’ to reduce forage seed yield potential.

In planning the whole procedure, your time will be a valuable asset.  With high prices, limited seed supplied, and challenges in finding equipment and help to fertilize, lime, control weeds, and plant seeds, the time you take to shop around should pay big benefits.  July and August are the time to do these chores since the fall planting season is right around the corner.

For planting date, forage agronomists often list from mid-August through September as being the time to plant as long as soil moisture is adequate.  Soil moisture for many hay producers and grazers in the state and region really will be at critically low levels for much of August.  This can extend late into September due to the drought and hot weather conditions we usually experience during July and August.  With all our pre-planning and planning activities, the final decision on when to plant and even whether to plant on time will be determined by the weather conditions during August and September.  You may be tempted to plant as soon as the field receives the first rainfall in the planting window but you should keep in mind that if the deeper layers of soil are deficient in moisture the new planting will likely fail if fall turns dry.  Use a shovel or your soil probe to test the soil for moisture at the 6 to 12 inch depth.  If the field hasn’t received enough rainfall to supply this soil depth with at least some water, a new planting will be very much at risk if rain events do not continue from planting until winter dormancy takes hold.  Only you know the amount of risk you are willing to take to establish the new seeding this season and none of us know what the future weather will be.

What if enough rain to supply water to the deeper soil layers doesn’t fall until very late in September?  Certain species, such as low alkaloid reed canary grass, require a specific amount of time between planting and first frost (six weeks minimum for reed canary grass) but almost all species will not only yield less the following year but take a lot more time to reach full establishment if planted late.  Again, the hay producer or grazer must evaluate the amount of risk they are willing to take on when deciding to plant after September.

You should maintain frequent contact with your fertilizer/lime dealer, seed dealer, equipment supplier, and others who will be helping you with the process of planting the new pasture or hay field.  If you will be using equipment provided through the county conservation districts, be sure to get your name on the list as early as possible since many folks may want to seed about the same time when moisture conditions become favorable.

This article was submitted by Dr. Richard Taylor, Extension Agronomist, University of Delaware.  Dr. Taylor can be reached at

Don't be shellfish...Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someoneShare on LinkedInPrint this page

USBGA Offers Discount on Association Transfers and Dual Registrations for the Month of August

Received via email from the United States Boer Goat Association (USBGA)

“We have received a lot of calls recently from people wanting to register their goats with USBGA that are currently registered with other associations. USBGA accepts registrations from ALL associations ALL of the time! To help with the expense of dual registering or transferring your registrations to USBGA we are offering 25% of all Association Transfers/Dual Registrations thru the end of August!

In addition, if you know someone who is interested in USBGA but is not currently a member AND they have animals they want to transfer to us please refer them to us & they will receive 25% off a New Membership as well! (be sure to have them mention this ad and mention that you referred them…we also send out referral coupons to you for recommending our association!)

The process is simple!  All you have to do is fax, email or mail in a copy of the registration certificate from any other association! This special is only good thru the end of August so be sure to spread the word!”

For more information call the USBGA at 866-66-USBGA or email




Don't be shellfish...Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someoneShare on LinkedInPrint this page

Free Webinar- Winter Care of Backyard Poultry Flocks

EXtension logoBackyard poultry owners may be interested in participating in this free, timely webinar on September 25th, beginning at 7:00 pm EDT.  Fall is the time to prepare your flocks and coops for the toils of winter. Dr. Brigid McCrea from Delaware State University will cover the activities that are recommended for such preparations.  Whether this is your first  or fortieth flock, take the time to learn about changes to your management and biosecurity routines so that your flock stays happy and healthy all winter long.  For more information click on or to connect to the webinar directly, click

Don't be shellfish...Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someoneShare on LinkedInPrint this page

Milk Protection Program

Dairy Margin Protection Program update

The Agricultural Act of 2014 (2014 Farm Bill) authorizes the Margin Protection Program for dairy producers (MPP-Dairy). This new voluntary risk management program replaces the Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) program which expires on September 1, 2014. MPP-Dairy offers protection to dairy producers when the difference (the margin) between the all-milk price and national average feed cost falls below a certain producer selected amount.

Eligible producers may purchase coverage for their dairy operations by paying an annual administrative fee of $100, and a premium as applicable, for higher levels of coverage. Producers in the dairy operation will have to select a desired coverage level ranging from $4.00 to $8.00, in $0.50 increments, and a desired coverage percentage level ranging from 25 to 90 percent, in 5 percent increments. Producers in the dairy operation will also have to decide whether or not to participate in the MPP-Dairy Program or the

Livestock Gross Margin program administered by the Risk Management Agency, but will not be allowed to participate in both. However. FSA is working on a process to allow maximum flexibility for dairy producers to make that decision.

Dairy operations will establish their production history upon initial registration for the MPP- Dairy program. Production history will be established for a dairy operation based on the highest annual milk production marketed during the full calendar years of 2011, 2012, or 20 13. New dairy operations in operation for less than a year will either have their production established on their available full months marketed milk production extrapolated to a yearly amount or their estimated actual marketed milk production based on the actual herd size of the dairy operation relative to the national rolling herd average.

Verification of the production records used to establish the production history for the dairy operation will be required. Payments under the program will be triggered when margins fall below their producer selected levels.

The regulations for MPP-Dairy are still being developed. Please watch for additional information about this program as it becomes available. 

The following schedule may be used for your planning purposes:

  • Now… Producers should obtain milk marketings for calendar years 2011, 2012, and 2013.
  • Sept 2014… Decision Tool will be made available to help make coverage level decisions.
  • Fall 2014… When announced by FSA, enroll in 2014 and/or 2015 MPP-Dairy program.
Don't be shellfish...Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someoneShare on LinkedInPrint this page

Sheep Operations With Footrot Needed

The University of Maine Cooperative Extension is seeking sheep farms with footrot to participate in an applied research project funded by Northeast SARE. The project is in its 4th year and has already gathered data from approximately 1,000 sheep in the northeast. The researchers are seeking data from additional flocks to determine if a genetic marker can be identified for possible resistance to the footrot.Sheep on its knees

Sheep farms with footrot from the following states are sought: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and West Virginia

If you have footrot in your flock and would like to participate, please contact Principal Investigator Richard Brzozowski at or (207) 951-7155.

All information about participating farms is confidential. For more information about the project and the protocol, see


Don't be shellfish...Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someoneShare on LinkedInPrint this page

Protecting Your Animals This Summer

As it gets further into the summer months, livestock begin to show express a common discomfort as humans do: sunburn. Exposure to UV radiation can cause skin damage to dairy cows, light-colored beef cattle, sheep, pigs, and horses. Affected skin becomes red, painful and raised, which can lead to the skin becoming extremely dry and will eventually slough off leaving those areas exposed to secondary infections.

A cow losing patches of its coat due to sunburn

A cow losing patches of its coat due to sunburn

Sunburn not only makes the animal uncomfortable, it affects their overall productivity and performance. The body takes the nutrients that is needed for growth and uses them to repair the skin that is damaged. In dairy cows, this can lead to a decrease in milk production and in sheep, a decrease in wool quality. Sheep can be burned sheared or unsheared since the radiation is strong enough to penetrate through the wool. Pigs are one of the lucky animals that can protect itself form the suns rays. By wallowing in mud, the pig is forming a protective coating that shields the skin from the sun. Light coated animals are not as lucky. Cows and horses with predominantly white coats suffer more sunburn than those with dark coats. However, dark coats absorb more sun, which leads to more symptoms of heat stress.

UV radiation isn’t the only determinant of sunburn in animals. Animals that feed in wheat pastures with certain weeds are likely to develop photosensitivity. This is caused by a reaction within an animal’s body when the chlorophyll in some wheat plants release a toxin that increases sensitivity to the sun. Weeds such as barley, alsike clover, St. John’s Wort, nettles and others are some of the culprits in photosensitivity and can also be the causes of liver damage and neurological disorders that develop in the animal.

Preventing sunburn doesn’t just mean keeping them out of the sun, although providing a shady place for the animals can definitely help. If the sun is a concern, baby formula sunscreen can protect the areas that are more vulnerable to sunburn. Another way of decreasing sunburn is restricting the access of wheat pasture the animal is consuming to prevent photosensitivity. Adding grass hay in the morning when grazing intake is high helps in restraining the animal from consuming too much wheat during those times.

Don't be shellfish...Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someoneShare on LinkedInPrint this page

IPM Workshop

Smart Drenching and FAMACHA
What: Integrated Training for Gastrointestinal Nematodes in Small Ruminants
When: Saturday, August 16, 2014
Where: University of DE, Webb Farm
508 S. Chapel St., Newark, DE
Time: 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Cost: $25.00 – Paid at time of registration

Mark your Calendar and call 831-2506 to register by Friday, July 25th.
During the all day workshop, participants will learn about gastrointestinal parasites that are presenting problems in small ruminants (goats and sheep), anthelmintic resistance and practices to manage parasite loads. The morning session will serve as an introduction for the afternoon hands-on training which will allow participants to get certified on the use of FAMACHA© score card and learn how to conduct fecal egg counts.
Due to the complexity of this program it has been limited to the first 15 people who register. To register or request more information, please call our office at (302)831-2506. If you have special needs in accessing this program, please call the office two weeks in advance.
Thank you and see you there. Dan Severson, Susan Garey,

9:00 – 9:30 AM Registration
9:30 – 10:15 AM Parasites in General
10:15 – 10:45 AM Break
10:45 – 12:00 AM FAMACHA and Parasite Control
12:00 – 1:00 PM Lunch
1:00 – 2:00 PM FAMACHA Hands-On
2:00 – 3:00 PM Fecal Egg Counts
3:00 – 4:00 PM Open Discussion and Evaluations

Don't be shellfish...Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someoneShare on LinkedInPrint this page

Papaya for Parasites

Information from UF/IFAS News

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — One of the world’s fastest growing agricultural industries, goat farming, is plagued by deadly intestinal parasites, particularly the barber’s pole worm – a pest that poses great danger to the goat-farming industry in the Southeastern U.S. and other parts of the world.

Improper use of commercial medicines has helped make the parasites resistant to many deworming drugs.

But recent research by the University of Florida’s Animal Sciences department may be closing in on a solution. Although researchers say it needs more study, they’ve recently found papaya seeds to be an inexpensive, alternative method for ridding goats of their parasitic passengers.

Led by Adegbola Adesogan, a professor of ruminant nutrition, the study examined the effect of natural food supplements on reducing intestinal worms in goats. Papaya seeds were found to be the most effective treatment, significantly reducing parasite egg and adult counts.

“The beauty of using papaya seeds is they’re out there and we aren’t really doing much with them,” Adesogan said. “To find just grinding the seeds and feeding a small quantity daily purges the parasites is, I think, very encouraging.”

The study, part of a master’s thesis by Miguel Zarate under Adesogan’s supervision, compared supplementary lespedeza hay, peanut hay, mucuna seed and papaya seeds in varied proportions for their deworming properties. Just 10 grams of ground papaya seed added to a base diet of bahiagrass removed 78 percent of adult parasites and 72 percent of their eggs. The next most effective treatment, a half-and-half mixture of lespedeza and bahiagrass, reduced the adult worm count by 52 percent.

The use of papaya seeds or their derivatives may also be useful someday for treating parasites in cattle and other species, but more experiments must be done to look at issues like residues, tissues and other possible side effects before it is recommended for widespread use, Adesogan said.

“I would say that this is very promising,” he said, “but we’re still in early days and we need to do more work to develop it and to answer these questions of side effects and withdrawal times and safety.”

Adesogan said high concentrations of certain enzymes, alkaloids and cyanates were the likely candidates for the papaya seeds’ success but the specific active ingredient is yet to be confirmed. The amount of protein supplied by the papaya seeds was low in relation to the other supplements and probably had limited effect.

While UF/IFAS scientists aren’t ready yet to endorse papaya seed-supplemented diets for goats, the study indicated that at least two weeks would be needed to effectively reduce parasite populations in infected individuals.

The papaya has a wide growth habitat in tropical countries and some subtropical areas like south Florida. In his native Nigeria, Adesogan said, as in many tropical developing nations, papaya trees are everywhere in the wild and in residential areas.

“You don’t have to rely on expensive equipment to process the seeds, because with just a small traditional grinding stone, farmers could grind the small quantity for their animals,” Adesogan said. “This would be a locally available, homegrown kind of remedy to solve this big problem.”


Don't be shellfish...Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someoneShare on LinkedInPrint this page

APHIS Issues Conditional License to Produce First PEDv Vaccine

Washington, June 16, 2014 — The United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) today issued a conditional license to Harrisvaccines, Inc. of Ames, Iowa for a vaccine that may aid in the control of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv) in swine. This is the first licensed vaccine for PEDv.  It will be used to vaccinate sows with the intent that they build antibody, and transmit that antibody through their milk to newborn piglets. It is intended to protect the piglets against PEDv.

APHIS licenses veterinary biologics products for use in controlling diseases of animals.  Conditional licenses are issued based on full safety, purity testing, and an expectation of efficacy.  Preliminary studies have been promising, and they’ve shown sufficient data that we think the vaccine will be effective.  The company will continue working toward completing the requirements for a full license.  In the meantime, there are no restrictions on vaccine use under the conditional license.

APHIS supports and encourages the rapid development of new vaccines, particularly in emergency situations. When a company obtains a conditional license they are able to bring an important disease management tool to producers safely and quickly. Full licensing can occur subsequently while producers get the products they need to protect animal health.

Porcine epidemic diarrhea is a disease that causes significant sickness in swine, affecting their growth and health, and causes high mortality in piglets. The disease is common in parts of Asia and Europe, but is not reportable to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). PEDv only affects pigs and does not pose any risk to people or pets. It is not a food safety concern.

Licensing this vaccine is another step APHIS is taking to continue to help industry/producers.

Recently APHIS announced the availability of $26.2 million in funding to combat these diseases and issued a Federal Order requiring the reporting of new detections of PEDv and other new swine enteric coronavirus disease to APHIS or State animal health officials. The Federal Order also requires that operations reporting these viruses work with their veterinarian or USDA or State animal health officials to develop and implement a reasonable management plan to address the detected virus and prevent its spread. Plans will be based on industry-recommended best practices, and include disease monitoring through testing and biosecurity measures. These steps will help to reduce virus shed in affected animals, prevent further spread of the disease, and enable continued movement of animals for production and processing.

Throughout the PEDv outbreak, APHIS has worked closely with the swine industry to identify risk factors in the transmission of the virus and minimize its impact on producers and industry.

APHIS is part of a task force with the Food and Drug Administration and State and industry stakeholders, including the American Association of Swine Veterinarians (AASV), National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), National Pork Board (NPB), veterinary diagnostic laboratories (VDLs), and State Animal Health Officials (SAHOs).

This task force aims to investigate the virus, identify and trace risk factors in thetransmission of the disease, and keep producers informed.

Source: APHIS Stakeholder Registry News Release June 16, 2014

Don't be shellfish...Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someoneShare on LinkedInPrint this page

Delaware Hog Owners Required to Report Deadly Swine Viruses

Delaware hog owners, veterinarians and laboratories are now required to report suspected cases of two rapidly spreading swine diseases to the Delaware Department of Agriculture. Delaware has had no cases of either disease reported to date.

Under a new federal order, suspected cases of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, or PEDv, and porcine deltacoronavirus, or PDCoV, must now be officially reported. PEDv has killed seven million piglets in the last year throughout the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. PEDv was first reported in the United States last year, and has also been reported in Canada and Mexico.

Delaware has only a handful of commercial hog farms, but also about 55 smaller hobby farms with swine, such as back-yard hogs raised for shows.

“Despite Delaware’s small hog population, this virus remains a significant concern because it can be easily spread from farm to farm on contaminated clothing, shoes, equipment, trucks, or from infected swine,” said Delaware State Veterinarian Dr. Heather Hirst. “We are keeping a close eye on this situation to protect our hog owners and make sure they are aware of what to look for. The best defense for hog owners is to employ strict biosecurity measures to help prevent the viruses from getting to their farms.”

Examples of good biosecurity measures include:

  • Purchase pigs from a reliable source.
  • Keep newly purchased pigs separate from the rest of your herd for at least 30 days before mingling them with your established herd.
  • Avoid carrying manure on clothing, boots, equipment, or vehicles from one farm to the other.
  • Prevent visitors from other hog farms from entering animal areas at your farm.
  • Avoid visiting farms where hogs are kept. If you must visit other hog farms, take special care to avoid carrying any trace of manure home with you to your herd.

Clinical signs of PEDv include severe diarrhea and vomiting, with the greatest losses occurring in pre-weaned piglets. Reports of suspected PEDv cases – any pig with severe diarrhea, vomiting, or both – should be made to the hog owner’s veterinarian as well as the Delaware Department of Agriculture’s Poultry and Animal Health Section at 302-698-4500. Hog operations with positive test results will be required to develop management plans with their veterinarian in order to prevent the spread of the disease to other farms.

More information is available at

Source: Delaware Department of Agriculture, June 13, 2014

Dan Shortridge
Chief of Community Relations
Delaware Department of Agriculture

Don't be shellfish...Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someoneShare on LinkedInPrint this page