Friday, October 26, 2012

Difficult Year for Farmers Continues

The difficult year continues for Darke County farmers. Rain events throughout the county last week and the northern part of the county this week are making it difficult for farmers to complete a harvest that was once thought to be the earliest completed in many years.

It does appear that 80% of the soybeans have been harvested, a higher percent to the south and less to the north. Corn is around 60% harvested.

Laura Lindsey, OSU Extension and Professor, reported this week in the C.O.R.N. Newsletter that the best time to plant winter wheat is 10 days after the fly-free-safe date for Hessian fly, September 29 in Darke County. She reports that all “Ohio counties are now well past the 10-day window for optimum wheat planting. Wheat fall growth is reduced when planting is delayed resulting in reduced winter hardiness. However, if freezing weather does not occur until late November or early December, wheat planted up to three weeks after the fly-free-safe date can achieve the same yield as wheat planted within 10 days of the fly-free-safe date. If wheat is planted three to four weeks after the fly-free-safe date (which is now for northern Ohio), it is recommended to increase seeding rates to 1.6-2.0 million seeds per acre or 24-30 seeds per foot of row.”

Last week’s OSU Extension Beef Newsletter calls on cattlemen to complete a key management practice this fall. As calves are weaned this fall, cows should be pregnancy checked. With the drought this year, feed costs will be very high. It is not a good business decision to keep a cow on the farm, feeding her all fall and winter that is not going to calve next spring.

Dr. Les Anderson, Beef Extension Specialist, University of Kentucky reports “When it comes time to cull cows from your herd, pregnancy status is one of the first criteria that will determine whether a cow stays in the country or goes to town.”

According to the results of a survey conducted by the National Animal Health Monitoring System, fewer than 20 percent of beef cow calf producers used pregnancy testing or palpation in their herd. However, the benefits of this practice are fairly simple to realize. First of all, pregnancy diagnosis allows producers to identify "open" or nonpregnant cows. Compare the roughly $5 per head cost of a pregnancy exam with the $100-200 per head cost of hay alone to feed an open cow through the winter. It's easy to see that pregnancy testing quickly pays for itself.

For more information visit the Darke County OSU Extension web site at, the OSU Extension Darke County Facebook page or contact Sam Custer, at 937.548.5215.

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