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Craig County OSU Cooperative Extension Service

Ag News Letter February 2017

Craig County                                        Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service                              February  2017



                                                        210 W. Delaware, suite 107    918-256-7569

Ag News                                 


         Ag Newsletter

Thank you to those of you that have requested your newsletter be e-mailed to you. You know one of the advantages of getting your news through the email is that I can send out notices to you faster and send more current information and you not having to wait for a month or more.

We all know that the State of Oklahoma is going through some budget problems which trickle to the Oklahoma State Cooperative Extension Service. To help save on postage for our office I am asking each of you with the capability to receive your newsletter via email to please send me your email address to; walter.white@okstate.edu

I do realize not everyone has internet service and for this reason I will continue to mail out the Ag Newsletter to those who don’t have internet service and also to those who prefer to receive a hard copy.

It is time to begin the early evening feeding

Glenn Selk, Oklahoma State University Emeritus Extension Animal Scientist

It is generally accepted that adequate supervision at calving has a significant impact on reducing calf mortality. Adequate supervision has been of increasing importance with the higher price of live calves at sale time. On most ranching operations, supervision of the first calf heifers will be best accomplished in daylight hours and the poorest observation takes place in the middle of the night.

The easiest and most practical method of inhibiting nighttime calving at present is by feeding cows at night; the physiological mechanism is unknown, but some hormonal effect may be involved. Rumen motility studies indicate the frequency of rumen contractions falls a few hours before parturition. Intraruminal pressure begins to fall in the last 2 weeks of gestation, with a more rapid decline during calving. It has been suggested that night feeding causes intraruminal pressures to rise at night and decline in the daytime.


The concept is called the Konefal method. A Canadian rancher, Gus Konefal reported his observations in the 1970’s.  In a follow-up Canadian study of 104 Hereford cows, 38.4% of a group fed at 8:00 am and again at 3:00 pm delivered calves during the day, whereas 79.6% of a group fed at 11:00 am and 9:00 pm. In a more convincing study, 1331 cows on 15 farms in Iowa were fed once daily at dusk, 85% of the calves were born between 6:00 am and 6:00 pm.

Kansas State University scientists recorded data on 5 consecutive years in a herd of spring calving crossbred cows at the Kansas State University Agricultural Research Center at Hays, Kansas. They recorded the time of calving (to within the nearest one-half hour). Births that could not be estimated within an hour of occurrence were excluded. Cows were fed forage sorghum hay daily between 4:00 and 6:00 pm. For statistical purposes, the day was divided into four-hour periods.

Between 6:00 and 10:00 am, 34.23% of the calves were born;
Between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm, 21.23% of the calves were born;
Between 2:00 and 6:00 pm 29.83% of the calves were born;
Between 6:00 and 10:00 pm, 8.41% of the calves were born;
Between 10:00 pm and 2:00 am, 4.4% of the calves were born; and
Between 2:00 am and 6 am, 1.91% of the calves were born.

 It is interesting to note that 85.28% of the calves were born between 6:00 am. and 6:00 pm. This is very similar to Iowa data when cows were fed at dusk. These data also revealed that for a majority of the animals in the herd, the time of calving was within 3 hours of the average time of day that cow had previously



given birth. Feeding the forage in the early evening hours undoubtedly influenced the percentage of cows calving in daylight hours. (Jaeger and co-workers. Abstracts 2002 Western Section of American Society of Animal Science.)


Are Cool Season Forages Worth Fertilizing This Spring?

Brian Pugh, NE Area Agronomy Specialist

It has been a dry fall and winter for a large portion of Eastern Oklahoma this year. Forages such as fescue and ryegrass have not faired well, and the coming spring may end up being one of those where we are forced to feed large quantities of hay and supplement into April. If you do have a decent stand of fescue or ryegrass, you may want to consider fertilizing it this spring in order to reduce the cost of feeding in March and April.

Many of the pastures that were planted to ryegrass or traditionally have ryegrass stands, may appear to have low plant populations. If you really get out there and look closely, some of them have 3 or 4 plants per square foot. These plants are extremely small and are hanging on by a thread, but they are still green. With better weather and a little fertility, it may still be possible to make a decent forage crop of ryegrass in early March and April. You just need to get out there and take a close look now in order to develop a game plan.

Ryegrass, when given the right fertility and some rainfall has the ability to produce many tillers that increase stand density and forage yields. A tiller is just a stem that grows from the crown of the plant and produces leaves, stems and seed heads. A ryegrass plant that has 5 to 6 of these tillers can produce a lot of forage! To determine if it is worth the expense to apply fertility to the pasture, an easy method of determining





plant populations is to use a wire coat hanger and actually go out and count ryegrass plants. The inside of a wire coat hanger is about 0.5 square feet. If we throw the coat hanger on the ground and there are 4 small ryegrass plants inside the wire, we would have about 8 plants per square foot. When using this method to make counts, it is important that you take counts across the whole pasture. Drive a pickup or ATV across the pasture and throw the coat hanger down in at least 20 places. Count the visible plants in each sample and multiply times 2, recording

20 separate measurements. Add them together and divide by 20 and this will give the average plants per square foot for the pasture. If its 5 or 6 plants per square foot, adding nitrogen fertility may be worth the expense in reduce feeding costs. If its 1 to 3 plants per square foot, you may want to save those fertilizer dollars for use later in the spring for Bermudagrass production.

The most difficult aspect of this method could be proper identification, especially on late or weak stands. Ryegrass can look a whole lot like other winter grasses that do not respond as aggressively to fertility. It is pretty easy to tell them apart if you look closely. Most of our annual bromes (winter grasses) will have hairs somewhere on the plant. It may be on the leaf blades, or it may be where the leaf meets the stem or it could be on the collar around the stem. If the plant has any hairs on it anywhere, it is not ryegrass. Ryegrass will have a shiny appearance when in bright sunshine and there will be no hairs on the plant. This makes it easy to identify if you look closely.

A similar process can be used to determine if fertilizing fescue will pay off. Fescue being a perennial plant, it will have large crowns that can cover quite a bit of area. Instead of counting plants, when we throw our coat hanger down, we will estimate ground cover. If the green fescue plant covers 25% of the area inside the coat hanger, we would write this down. After taking 20 observations across the field, we would add up all the numbers and divide by 20. This would give us the average percent ground cover of fescue for the pasture. If this






number is above 25%, you should consider applying a fertility treatment. If the average is less than 25%, you may want to save those fertilizer dollars for later in the year. In the spring of 2016, an OSU cooperator herd was able to fertilize 1 acre per cow of fescue on February 14th, and with good weather, by March 5th had ceased all hay and supplementation for the remainder of the spring. This equated to a 40 day reduction in feeding, which saved the producer just over $40 per cow! Not to mention the additional fescue production eliminated the need to immediately begin grazing Bermudagrass fields in late spring, allowing these fields to get a “jumpstart” on the cowherd. Since Urea is currently cheaper than it was last year, what do you think this producer will do in 2017? Making the cow do her own work can not only save money but labor as well.

Nitrogen fertilizer prices still remain reasonable when compared to hay/supplement costs and applying 130 lb per acre of Urea in February could easily result in a ton of forage production this spring. If you have the ryegrass plant populations needed or the fescue ground cover needed, consider fertilizing them to reduce your spring feeding costs.




Equine Dental Checkups


Earl Ward, NE Area Livestock Specialist


There’s an old saying of “never look a gifted horse in the mouth.” This is wise advice to not offend the gift giver, but it is highly recommended to take a glance in the equine’s grass grabber often to prevent potential problems.

This became apparent for an older mare over the past year or so as she never recovered from nursing a colt and continued to lose weight. A quick observation of her led to the conclusion that she had something wrong with her teeth. For a mare that has always been quick to consume





grain, she had slowed her intake and seemed to lose large amounts of feed out of the side of her mouth. The same for forages, as she stood at the hay bale or grazed in the pasture she would lose clumps of forages. It was a lot of work to consume the little calories she was actually receiving. It seemed no matter what feed she was fed or even how much, she was still decreasing in body condition score. Within the last months, she received an appointment with an equine dentist that actually pulled two teeth that were busted and then floated the remaining teeth. Now that the pain is gone from chewing, she is on the mend and beginning to gain her appetite and few pounds.

It is recommended to check your equine’s mouth at different stages of the animal’s life. An annual examination of your horse’s mouth would be sufficient unless the animal is between two to four years old or is older than 15 years. During these exceptions it may be required to perform oral exams more often. The following list are just some of the things you should be looking for during the different stages of life.


·  Birth to 18 months old – check for birth defects, proper tooth development, improper position and number of teeth.


·  18 months to 4 years old – development of cysts or inflammation in the gums, wolf teeth interfering with the bit, and sharp enamel points.


·  4 to 15 years old – contact and balance of bite surface, sharp edges of cheek teeth, jaw balance, abnormal wearing, tooth alignment, and balance of incisors.


·  15 years old and older – balance between upper and lower jaws, gingivitis, tartar accumulation, tooth loosing, and over half of these horses will develop an incidence of periodontal disease (bacterial infection caused by inflamed gums).


Often, dental problems are misdiagnosed as behavior problems with animal’s tossing their head, being head shy, or not accepting a bit. Other symptoms are weight loss,





head shaking, excess salivation, reluctance to eat hay, or abnormal slurping during chewing If you observe these signs of pain, it is best to evaluate the situation but allow a professional perform any dental procedures. So I guess it is recommended to look a gifted horse in the mouth.




         Medical Story


Two patients limp into two different medical clinics with the same compliant. Both have trouble walking and appear to require hip replacement.


The first patient is examined within the hour, is x-rayed the same day and has a time booked for surgery the following week.


The second patient sees his family doctor after waiting three weeks for an appointment, then waits eight weeks to see a specialist, then gets an x-ray, which isn’t reviewed for another week and finally has his surgery scheduled for a month from then.


Why the different treatment for the two patients? The first is a Golden Retriever. The second is a Senior Citizen.


Next time take me to a Vet.

Author unknown



Horticulture Tips

February 2017


David Hillock



·         Base any plant fertilization on a soil test. For directions, contact your county Extension Educator.

·         Provide feed and unfrozen water for your feathered friends.

·         Clean up birdhouses before spring tenants arrive during the middle of this month.

·         Avoid salting sidewalks for damage can occur to plant material. Use alternative commercial products, sand or kitty litter for traction.

·         Join Oklahoma Gardening for the start of its new season beginning on February 11, 2017. Oklahoma Gardening airs on Saturdays at 11:00 a.m. and Sundays at 3:30 p.m. on your local OETA station.


Trees & Shrubs

·         Fertilize trees, including fruit and nut trees and shrubs, annually. (HLA-6412)

·         Most bare-rooted trees and shrubs should be planted in February or March. (HLA-6414)

·         Finish pruning shade trees, summer flowering shrubs and hedges. Spring blooming shrubs such as forsythia may be pruned immediately after flowering. Do not top trees or prune just for the sake of pruning. (HLA-6409)

·         Look for arborvitae aphids on many evergreen shrubs during the warmer days of early spring.

·         Gall-producing insects on oaks, pecans, hackberries, etc. need to be sprayed prior to bud break of foliage.

·         Dormant oil can still be applied to control mites, galls, overwintering aphids, etc. (EPP‑7306)




Fruit & Nuts

·         Spray peaches and nectarines with a fungicide for prevention of peach leaf curl before bud swell. (EPP-7319)

·         Mid-February is a good time to begin pruning and fertilizing trees and small fruits.

·         Collect and store graftwood for grafting pecans later this spring.

·         Begin planting blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, grapes, asparagus and other perennial garden crops later this month.

·         Choose fruit varieties that have a proven track record for Oklahoma’s conditions. Fact Sheet HLA-6222 has a recommended list.



·         A product containing glyphosate plus a broadleaf herbicide can be used on dormant bermuda in January or February when temperatures are above 50°F for winter weed control.



·         Cool-season vegetable transplants can still be started for late spring garden planting.

·         By February 15 many cool-season vegetables like cabbage, carrots, lettuce, peas and potatoes can be planted. (HLA-6004)



·         Force spring flowering branches like forsythia, quince, peach, apple, and weigela for early bloom indoors.

·         Forced spring bulbs should begin to bloom indoors. Many need 10 to 12 weeks of cold, dark conditions prior to blooming.

·         Feed tulips in early February.

·         Wait to prune roses in March.




















Craig County OSU

Cooperative Extension Service

                                                                                                                         C W White


210 W. Delaware, Suite 107                                                                       Craig Co. Extension Ed

Vinita, OK. 74301                                                                                         Agriculture/4-H/ CED

Oklahoma State University, in compliance with Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Executive Order 11246 as amended, and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972(Higher Education Act), the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and other federal and state laws and regulations, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, genetic information, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, or status as a veteran, in any  of its policies, practices or procedures.

Issued in furtherance of cooperative Extension work, acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Director of Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma. This publication is printed and issued by Oklahoma State University as authorized by the Vice President for Agriculture Programs and has been prepared and distributed at the cost of 0.01 cents per copy based on 250 copies. 09/16



















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