Scout Fields and Sample Soils in 2013 Urges Purdue Specialist27 December 2012
US - Weekly scouting of forage fields for weeds, pests, and nutrient deficiency and sampling soils for nutrient levels are good habits to get into for the new year, Keith Johnson, Extension forage specialist at Purdue University has advised.
Purdue University livestock and agricultural economics specialists shared their top farmer resolutions for the year ahead.
"Follow through with the addition of limestone and fertilizer recommended by the test. The application of a blended fertilizer like 12-12-12 and calling this your fertilizer program is not a wise decision," warned Mr Johnson.
Keith Johnson also mentioned the benefits of regularly monitoring forage fields.
"Do this weekly to determine the well-being of the growing forages. Evaluate grazing pressure, presence of pests - weeds, insects and disease - and possible nutrient deficiency symptoms."
Finally Mr Johnson advised that producers should evaluate the possibility of grazing corn residues in the early fall as this can reduce feed cost substantially for beef and sheep producers."
Ron Lemenager, Beef Specialist at Purdue University, has stated the importance of studying feed samples closely to maximise efficiency.
He has suggested farmers take feed samples and have them analyzed for nutrient content.
"Work with a nutritionist to formulate rations that will minimize cost and optimize performance."
Mr Lemenanger has also talked of the benefits of adjusting rations for cold stress, to minimize losses in weight and body condition:"For each 10-degree drop in wind chill factor below 30 degrees, the maintenance energy requirements increase by 13 per cent for cows in moderate body conditioned with a dry, winter hair coat and 30 per cent for thin cows or cows with a wet or summer hair coat."
Chris Hurt, Extension agricultural economist at Purdue also recommended action for the year ahead.
"Never say, 'It can't happen to me' The 2012 drought was a stark reminder that bad outcomes can come to our farms and businesses. Evaluate and use the tools to help reduce the terrible financial consequences that can come from bad outcomes. Start with a re-evaluation of crop insurance alternatives."
Mr Hurt's adivce extended to new laws and technology:"New technology is coming at us quickly. There will be a new farm bill to learn about. Tax laws will likely change. New farm products are emerging. Brand new opportunities will be presenting themselves. Be sure to commit time to increasing your knowledge and to the improvement of your decision-making skills."