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Fall Noxious Weed Control

This fall most areas are good for fall weed control, but there will also be some areas that it may not be the best.

Fall weed control can give the best weed control but it also can be a poor time. If the noxious weeds were sprayed or clipped earlier this summer and there is good weed growth now, this would be a good time to spray these weeds and get a good kill. However, if the weeds were not controlled early and now are tall, very mature and do not have a lot of regrowth you may not even want to make an effort because it will not do any good.

The questionable area is where the weeds were maybe clipped earlier and there is regrowth or the regrowth is starting to dry up because of the dry conditions and is not growing well. These areas then become questionable to spray. If you want to spray these areas make sure that you use a spray that has residual effect so when the plant starts growing again after a rain, it will be killed then.

Lastly, even though we have not had a freeze we are in September and the perennials have started to prepare for winter by sending nutrients down to the roots to help the plant make it through the cold winter months.

If you have fall spraying for leafy spurge, Canada thistle, sow thistle, wormwood sage, and musk thistle to do now is the time, not when you get busy with harvest in the next few weeks.

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Plan for Winter Dairy Udder Health Now

Sudden shifts in the weather are a stark reminder that dairy producers need to plan ahead to maintain udder health during the winter, says J.W. Schroeder, North Dakota State University Extension Service dairy specialist.

“Winter teat-end lesions are easily triggered when the temperature drops 20 degrees,” he adds. “With inevitable cold winter weather on its way, the advent of teat-end lesions is likely to predispose cows to mastitis.”

Wind chills and temperature changes are the major factors leading to winter teat challenges. Schroeder says the dairy manager’s objectives should be to:

  • Control exposure to weather factors as much as possible.
  • Minimize other teat stressors that exacerbate the problem if cracking or freezing occurs.
  • Keep the teat disinfected, healthy and soft as much as possible through proper milking procedures.
  • Minimize secondary bacterial infections through proper milking practices and environmental sanitation.

“We can’t control the weather, but we can control factors that will ensure cow comfort and the cows’ udder health in the coming weeks,” he says.

Here are ways he suggests producers accomplish those objectives:

  • Control cold temperature exposure by providing windbreaks if animals have to go outside, feeding and housing cows indoors during cold weather when possible, avoiding drafts in buildings by keeping ventilation and openings controlled properly, and avoiding putting animals directly into extreme wind chills post-milking.
  • Control stall/bedding environment by having comfortable, dry areas for animals, providing dry bedding, and maintaining and changing bedding at appropriate intervals. Recent research in Minnesota showed that bedding maintenance is critical to reducing bacterial exposure.
  • Maintain milking equipment by checking vacuum and milk line hoses, pulsators, inflations and vacuum level; keeping pulsators clean; and changing inflations on schedule.
  • Ensure pre-milking sanitation by using procedures that maximize teat disinfection and skin conditioning while minimizing irritation or trauma. Also pre-dip with a good germicidal dip with skin conditioner, blot teats dry instead of rubbing to minimize irritation on problem teats, and use milking hygiene practices like those used to control contagious mastitis (clean hands, gloves and individual towels). Cloth towels are best because they dry teats more thoroughly with less abrasion than other types of towels.
  • Review people/milking machine/time interactions because using proper techniques is imperative to maximize unit performance (maximum flow/unit time) and minimize teat stress (extended milking due to low flow rates or gross overmilking).

“Remember that teat-end changes can occur rapidly in winter with dehydration and cracking, and at other times with acute machine problems,” Schroeder says.

“Minimizing the weather effects through proper facilities and environments is job one. Some practices may need to be altered or adapted during cold weather (dipping, blotting, etc.), and the advantages and disadvantages should be carefully examined when evaluating using new technologies or products such as teat dips.”

To date, researchers have found no protocol that stops cracked teats completely during the winter.

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10 Must-Dos for Transition Cows

The transition period will make or break a lactation and quite possibly the entire productive life of a dairy cow.

Do it right, and cows are primed for healthy, productive lactations. Do it wrong, and cows languish in the hospital pen and become early cull candidates.

“Shift your mindset from the transition cow as a disease opportunity to the transition cow as a production and reproduction opportunity. Begin with the end in mind,” says Tom Overton, a dairy management specialist with Cornell University.

The goals should be to optimize milk production, maintain or minimize the loss of body condition score, metabolic disease and immunocompetence, control days to first ovulation and birth healthy calves. “Our high performing dairies do all of these,” says Overton.

To achieve these goals, Overton has a top 10 list of feeding and management strategies:

1. Manage macromineral/DCAD of dry cows, especially in the last two to three weeks before calving. Feed low potassium and sodium forages, along with anionic supplementation. The amount of anionic supplement will depend on the calculated DCAD content of the ration. Also supplement with magnesium and calcium as needed.

2. Control energy intake in both far-off and close-up diets. Too little can be as bad as too much.

3. Supply enough metabolizable protein before calving. The emphasis should be on bypass protein sources and amino acids.

4. Get the feeding management right—every day. Minimize sorting. The longest straw or hay particles should be less than 1.5”. The dry matter content of the TMR should be 46% to 48%. Add water if necessary.

5. Provide clean, comfortable housing and fresh water. Large, well-groomed stalls or clean, dry bedded packs are essential to cow comfort.

6. Manage social interactions and group hierarchy. Stocking densities of less than 100% are recommended with plenty of bunk space. Also avoid commingling first-calf heifers with older cows, and minimize group changes as much as possible.

7. Manage heat stress. Heat stress during the dry period can result in decreased birth weight of calves, greater incidence of passive immunity transfer failure, poorer immune function of both dam and calf, poorer feed efficiency and decreased milk production during first lactation.

8. Offer high quality forage and fermentable diets to fresh cows. High levels of undigestible forage neutral detergent fiber limits how much a cow can eat, reducing rate of passage and feed intake.

9. Strategically use feed additives and specific nutrients. Choline helps the liver export fat and improve performance. Amino acids improve performance and immunity. Chromium-propionate helps energy metabolism, immune function, dry matter intake and performance. Additives such as monensin can improve energy metabolism and post-partum dry matter intake. Yeast products can improve rumen function, dry matter intake and performance.

 

10.  Implement cow- and herd-level monitoring programs. Cow-level monitoring seeks to make diagnosis and treatment decisions on individual animals. Weekly herd level monitoring, such as urine pH or ketone testing, helps indicate when changes are needed in feed or management.

 

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Perennial Weed Control in Grass Hay and Pasture

At the recent Ag Progress Days in Pennsylvania one of the most common questions asked involved perennial weed control in grass hay and pasture. While we still have nice warm days, it is good time to scout pasture and hay fields for the presence of perennial weeds. As you hopefully have heard before, late summer and fall is the best time to control most perennials with a systemic herbicide because herbicides are moved into the root systems allowing more permanent control. With the autumn weather, these plants more actively transport carbohydrates and sugars to underground storage structures such as rhizomes, tubers, and roots to enable them to survive the winter and to provide the necessary energy to begin the next cycle of growth in the spring. Mowing the pasture and hay fields in mid-summer or several weeks before the herbicide application to prevent seed production and to promote healthy new leaf tissue that can intercept the herbicide is also important. In general, the application window runs from early September through October depending on where you are in the state and what weeds you are targeting. For the warmer season perennials like johnsongrass, horsenettle, groundcherry, wirestem muhly, Japanese knotweed and poison ivy, herbicide application between September 1 and 15 is generally ideal. For weeds like hemp dogbane and bindweed, make applications before October 1, and for quackgrass, other cool season grasses, and Canada thistle, try to make applications by October 15. These suggested dates target central PA, so adjust by a week or so forward or backward if you are south or north. Here is a list of the most common herbicides labeled for grass pasture and hay and some of their strengths/precautions.

  • 2,4-D is marketed by various companies with various trade names. Rates generally range from 1 to 2 quarts per acre. Refer to the label provided with the product for specific recommendations and restrictions as formulations vary. 2,4-D provides postemergence control several annual, biennial, and perennial broadleaf weeds. Ester formulations are slightly more effective (more leaf-absorbed) than amine formulations, but also slightly more volatile so greater care must be taken when making applications next to sensitive species such as grapes. Interval between application and grazing is 0 to 7 days depending on type of animal and is 30 days for haying. 2,4-D is often tank-mixed with dicamba as a general broadspectrum broadleaf herbicide.
  • Dicamba – Banvel (DMA), Clarity (DGA), Engenia (BAPMA), Fexapan (DGA + VG Tech), and Xtendimax (DGA+VG Tech) provide postemergence control and less than 1 month of soil residual control of a relatively broad spectrum of annual, biennial, and perennial broadleaf weeds. Rates vary by formulation but generally can be applied at up to 1 lb ae per acre to established grasses. Interval between application and grazing ranges from 0 to 40 days and 0 to 70 days for haying depending on rate of application and type of animal. Dicamba is often tank-mixed with 2,4-D as a general broadspectrum broadleaf herbicide.
  • Crossbow – contains a mixture of 2,4-D ester and triclopyr ester. Generally applied at 1 to 3 quarts per acre. Commonly used for brush control and effective for control of a number of problem weeds including smooth bedstraw. Grazing restrictions range from 0 days up to the next season (for lactating dairy) depending on animal type and 14 days for haying.
  • GrazonNext HL – contains aminopyralid + 2,4-D amine. This product was formerly marketed as ForeFront HL in our region and Milestone herbicide contains the single active ingredient aminopyralid. GrazonNext provides postemergence control and 2 to 3 months of soil residual control of many annual, biennial, and perennial weed species in permanent grass pasture. GrazonNext is particularly effective on thistles, horsenettle, and smooth bedstraw. The GrazonNext label has restrictions concerning the use and management of plant residues (hay, straw, mulch, compost) and manure that may contain aminopyralid residues. These include important restrictions concerning the movement and sale of hay products treated with aminopyralid. Be certain you understand and are able to follow these label restrictions before using this product. Interval for application and grazing is 0 days and 7 days for haying.
  • Metsulfuron 60DF – Metsulfuron provides both postemergence control and 2 to 3 months of soil residual control of many annual, biennial, and perennial weed species, and suppression of blackberry and multiflora rose in permanent grass pasture. Metsulfuron is also effective on seedling spiny amaranth. Special precautions are provided on the label for applications to fescue or timothy. Do not use metsulfuron on Italian (annual) or perennial ryegrass, or severe injury will occur. Cimarron Max is a co-pack that contains the active ingredients of metsulfuron and 2,4-D plus dicamba. Cimarron Plus is a premix with the active ingredients metsulfuron and chlorsulfuron (Glean or Telar). Interval for application and grazing and haying is 0 days, however allow time for the herbicide to work before harvesting for hay.
  • Overdrive 70WDG – contains dicamba (Na-Salt) + diflufenzopyr. Overdrive is applied at up to 8oz per acre and provides postemergence control and less than 1 month of soil residual control of several annual, biennial, and perennial broadleaf weeds. Interval for application and grazing and haying is 0 days, however allow time for the herbicide to work before harvesting for hay.
  • PastureGard contains triclopyr ester + fluroxypyr and provides postemergence control and 1 to 2 months of soil residual control of many annual, biennial, and perennial weeds as well as many woody plants. Interval for application and grazing and haying is 0 days, however allow time for the herbicide to work before harvesting for hay.
  • Remedy Ultra 4L contains triclopyr ester and provides postemergence control and 1 to 2 months of soil residual control of many annual, biennial, and perennial weeds as well as many woody plants. Interval for application and grazing and haying is 0 days, however allow time for the herbicide to work before harvesting for hay.
  • Stinger 3S contains clopyralid and provides postemergence control and 1 to 3 months of soil residual control of some annual, biennial, and perennial broadleaf weeds, but it is primarily used for Canada thistle control. Interval for application and grazing and haying is 0 days, however allow time for the herbicide to work before harvesting for hay.
  • Weedmaster 3.87L contains dicamba DMA + 2,4-D amine and provides postemergence control and less than 1 month of soil residual control of many annual, biennial, and perennial broadleaf weeds. Interval between application and grazing ranges from 0 to 7 days depending on type of animal and 37 days for haying.
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LEADelaware accepting applications for next class

LEADelaware designed to help build the next generation of leaders within food, fiber sectors

LEADelaware, the state’s agriculture and natural resources leadership program, is now accepting applications for its fifth fellowship class, which will run for two years starting in January 2018. (Delaware Department of Agriculture)

DOVER, Del. — LEADelaware, the state’s agriculture and natural resources leadership program, is now accepting applications for its fifth fellowship class, which will run for two years starting in January 2018. Applications must be received by Oct. 27; applicants will be notified of their selection in early December.

LEADelaware is designed to help build the next generation of leaders within the food and fiber sectors that influence our food system, our economy and our environment.

“The development of leaders in today’s agricultural and natural resources fields is more important than ever,” said Michael Scuse, Secretary at the Delaware Department of Agriculture, which is a lead partner in the program. “Delaware farmers must have the skills to discuss critical issues with public and policy makers at the local, state and even national levels.”

The program consists of 10 sessions throughout Delaware and Washington, as well as an international agricultural visit. Fellows will learn about agriculture, food systems, policymaking and hands-on leadership skills.

Candidates must be a resident of Delaware or work in Delaware agriculture or natural resources for at least two years. This includes farmers, growers, industry suppliers, agribusiness employees and government agency professionals. Applications are available at http://sites.udel.edu/leadelaware or by contacting Grace Wisser at the University of Delaware at gwisser@udel.edu or 302-831-4722.

LEADelaware is a partnership between University of Delaware’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and the Delaware Department of Agriculture, as well as sponsors including MidAtlantic Farm Credit, Delmarva Poultry Industry, Inc. and the Delaware Soybean Board. For more information on the program, visit http://sites.udel.edu/leadelaware.

Delaware Department of Agriculture

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