Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Pasture Growth Needs Warm Sunshine, Good Management

Cool spring weather delays grass growth this year, forcing cow herd owners to feed hay long past winter.

Rob Kallenbach, University of Missouri forage specialist, hears two frequent complaints: The grass is not growing. And there are more weeds than usual.

The first is due to a cool spring. The second is due to a hot, dry summer last year.

“For grass to grow, we need warm sunshine,” Kallenbach says. “There is plenty of moisture in the soil, in contrast to the drought last summer.”

Farmers measuring grass growth in their grazing paddocks find one-third the growth of just one year ago.

“Last year in April, growth averaged 90 pounds of dry matter per day per acre. This year, growth is less than 30 pounds per day,” Kallenbach says.

Pat Guinan, MU Extension climatologist in Commercial Agriculture, says it’s the coolest March and April in 17 years. Across northern Missouri temperatures average as much as 6 degrees below normal.

“Air masses from the north cross a very large snow pack in the northern Great Plains,” Guinan says. “That snow cover extends to the Arctic.”

The six-to-10-day forecast calls for temperatures to return to near normal.

“With warm weather, pastures will jump,” Kallenbach says. “There is no shortage of water over most of Missouri.”

Grass recovery will be slow, however, on pastures grazed by cattle all spring. Cattle nip off leaves that create energy for regrowth. Sugars from photosynthesis make rapid growth.

Photosynthesis creates leaf elongation and develops side tillers that create more leaves.

“If there was ever a time for rotational grazing, this is it,” Kallenbach says. “Graze the grass down to a 3-inch stubble, remove the herd, and let the grass rest for 30 days.”

A recipe for killing a pasture is to put it through a drought, then graze it hard the next spring without time for recovery. Then, if it is hit with another dry summer, just kiss it goodbye, the forage specialist says.

“The aim is not just grazing in April, but also through June and again in the autumn. Grass management is required for stands to fully recover,” Kallenbach says.

Some farmers have confined their cows to a smaller pasture for continued hay feeding.

Farmers without hay have been buying one or two bales at a time to feed their cows. They keep thinking grass growth will start and they won’t have to buy hay another day.

“Grass grazed short will take longer to recover from bad management,” Kallenbach says. “Cows not being fed hay are eating a lot of scenery, which is not very nutritious.”

Weeds in pasture are filling bare spots caused when grass died in the drought, he adds.

Winter annuals, such as henbit and chickweed, are nature’s way of filling a void. The seed was already in the soil, waiting for a chance to grow.

Cows will graze chickweed, which is nutritious. The only problem is that there is not much growth there. Cattle avoid henbit.

The concern is what will fill those bare spots after winter annuals are gone, Kallenbach says. If crabgrass grows, that is good. If horse nettle grows, that’s not good. Tall weeds shade grass and reduce growth.

Some grasses, such as fescue, can be aggressive in reclaiming bare spots, given some good grass-growing weather.


Monday, April 29, 2013

Grant Writing Basics for Food Systems Projects

Have you ever wished you could get some insight on how grants are put together?  Now is your chance.  There will be a webinar on the community food project grant.  Even if you aren't submitting this grant, watching this webinar will give you some great information about grants in general.

Have a community food project or an idea for a project that you’d like to get funding for? Join this free webinar on Wednesday, May 1 at 2 pm.

Join us to hear two experienced grant writers discuss how to succeed at using federal programs to support your work. This one-hour webinar is an introduction to finding federal grant opportunities and designing a project. The workshop will be followed up with opportunities to participate in more informal web-sessions to discuss proposal writing.

Joining the webinar is easy: To connect, simply go to the link below up to 15 minutes prior to the webinar and enter as a guest. Sound will be through your computer speakers.


The presenters will be Margaret Krome of Michael Fields Agricultural Institute and Una Van Duvall of Cross Management Services.

This webinar is provided by the Community, Local & Regional Food Systems eXtension Community of Practice and the Community & Regional Food Systems Project.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Missouri Cage Free Table Egg Layer Workshop

The Missouri Dept of Ag is hosting a workshop for egg producers who raise their chickens cage free.  The workshop will be held May 1st at the Dr. Taylor Woods Youth Building on the Missouri State Fairgrounds in Sedalia, Missouri.  A registration fee of $20.00 covers lunch and materials.  This workshop program is suitable for those producers with larger flocks rather than the small backyard egg flocks.


  8:00   Registration

  8:30   Welcome--Dr. Linda Hickam, MDA

  8:45   FDA Egg Safety Rule--Dr. Eric Gingerich, Diamond V

  9:45   Break

10:00   Nutrition and Management—Dr. Jeff Firman, University of Missouri

10:45   Regulatory Issues--Dr. Terry Conger, USDA APHIS VS

11:30    Luncheon speaker --Jo Manhart, The MO Egg Council

12:30   Diseases of Poultry--Dr. Dan Shaw, University of Missouri

  1:30   Biosecurity and Foreign Animal Diseases—Dr. Dustan Clark, University of Arkansas

  2:30   Vaccination procedure and Monitoring--Gil Warriner, Best Veterinary Solutions

  3:30   Adjourn

Make checks payable to: The Missouri Egg Council and mail to 1000 West Nifong Boulevard, Building 1, Columbia, Missouri 65203-5678.  Please call 573-874-3138 to register.

For information on egg licenses click here.  

Thursday, April 25, 2013

AgSquared Application Recently Re-launched

AgSquared is an online record-keeping platform that is designed for small-scale mixed vegetable growers.   It started on a simple premise: that better plans, streamlined management, and more complete records can help make farms more productive, more profitable and more sustainable.

Two college students through their travels and many conversations with farmers, began to zero in on a missing link in the sustainability equation – easy-to-use tools for successful farm planning, management and record keeping. Seeing so many farmers who, amidst the controlled chaos of a farming season, remain deeply committed to improving their practices, and yet still struggle to learn from their successes and failures, inspired them to tackle this problem.

Before programming even one line of code, they spent countless hours poring over farm notebooks, spreadsheets, and books about farm planning and management techniques, to figure out what farmers need, what works, and how to make software that farmers would actually use. They realized that the internet presented a huge opportunity for offering cutting-edge farming tools at a cost so low that anyone, no matter how small their operation, could afford it. In 2009, they founded AgSquared to create what they hope will be the perfect farm planning, management and record keeping software.

AgSquared will help with:

·       Planning - Get your season started on the right foot with crop planning tools that help you plan your planting schedule, calculate your seed order, and map your field layouts.

·       Management - Stay on top of your farming tasks all season long with a calendar smart enough to keep your production plans on schedule - even when things don't go exactly as planned.

·       Record Keeping - Simple record keeping tools help you keep track of everything that happens on your farm, and keep your records beautifully organized so that you can always find just what you're looking for.

If you have questions about how to use AgSquared you can consult the help center at http://help.agsquared.com to watch videos, find how-to articles, and email their user support staff.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Microloans from the Farm Service Agency: What's the deal?

In Jan. 2013 the Farm Service Agency announced a new program to provide low-interest loans of up to $35,000 to farmers. In response to the tremendous interest in this new offering, the Cornell Small Farms Program held a webinar on April 10 with Carrie Novak of the FSA to explain the details and answer questions. Stream the recording.  (You're computer will download the appropriate software enabling you to hear and watch this archived webinar.)  So many great questions were asked during the webinar that Carrie summarized these into a Q&A document available for download as a PDF here.


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Basic Accounting: Guidance for Beginning Farmers

Good bookkeeping is critical to financial well-being for any business. It allows the business owner (the farmer) to see whether the business is profitable, set and monitor progress toward goals, and, above all, plan for the financial stability of the farm. The purpose of this publication is to make basic accounting approachable for people with little or no accounting experience and encourage new farmers to develop good record keeping habits at the outset.

Table of Contents
Annual Cash Flow Budget
Statement of Cash Flows
Income Statement
Balance Sheet
Record keeping
Further Resources
Appendix 1: Cash Flow Budget Template
Appendix 2: Income Statement Template
Appendix 3: Sales Log Template
Appendix 4: Balance Sheet Template

To read this publication click here.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Cover Crops for Missouri Webinar

Join Tim Reinbott, Superintendent of the University of Missouri Bradford Research Center for a webinar on "Cover Crops for Missouri" on Thursday, April 25th from 2-3:00 pm.  Tim has recieved grants on cover crops looking at weed control under different summer cover crops and researching the effects of cover crops on organic systems.  In this webinar, Tim will discuss the different cover crops, the benefits of cover crops and some of the results discovered from the research.

To join the webinar go to univmissouri.adobeconnect.com/debikelly and sign in as a guest.  To read more about the cover crop research at Bradford Research Center click here.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Extend the Growing Season with SARE's New Collection of How-To Resources

With consumer interest in locally raised foods steadily growing, vegetable farmers are discovering they can add an important income stream through high tunnels-a cost-effective means to extend production and sales into the traditional off season. One Maryland farmer started using a high tunnel to raise spinach and tomatoes from early spring through late fall, and in the first three years earned an extra $32,000 at the farmers' market.

The farmer was one of 41 in the Mid-Atlantic who built high tunnels from 2004-2007 as part of a SARE-funded project to share knowledge about the structures and promote them as a primary tool of season extension.

Now, in-depth information about high tunnels can be found in SARE's new Season Extension Topic Room - a one-stop collection of dozens of guidebooks, curricula, webinars, bulletins and other how-to materials to help farmers, educators and researchers across the country implement effective season extension strategies.

Information products in the Season Extension Topic Room derive from SARE-funded research and education projects, and are organized according to key topic areas: Overview; Types and Construction; Variety Trials and Selection; Fertility Management; Pest Management; Water Management; Energy; and Marketing and Economics. While the Season Extension Topic Room includes extensive information on high tunnels (also known as hoop houses), some materials also address greenhouse and nursery production, low tunnels and winter storage.

Examples Season Extension Topic Room features include:
Recognizing the role that high tunnels can play in diversifying farmer income while meeting growing consumer demand for local food, NRCS offers grants that help pay for high tunnel construction. In 2010, its first year, the program led to the construction of 2,400 structures in 43 states in 2010.

The Season Extension Topic Room will be updated with new resources as they become available, so check back often!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Drip Irrigation

With all the rain and flooding we have been having you may be asking, why are you posting about drip irrigation?  Well, spring is time for rain.  Summer is time for sun.  And come summer, many of you may be wishing you could have figured out how to save some of this rain!
Drip irrigation, often referred to as micro or trickle irrigation, slowly and precisely delivers water (and sometimes nutrients) directly to a plant's root zone, making it a very efficient method of irrigation. With a drip system, water moves through a pipe system that is under pressure that is then distributed through emitters or drippers that are strategically placed close to the plants. The pressure needed in a drip system tends to be low but this is dependent upon the distance from the water source to the plants. The average drip system requires about 15 to 30 PSI (pounds per square inch) and the average home water pressure is rated between 40 and 80 PSI. As a result, there is little, if any, noticeable difference in water pressure in the home when the drip irrigation system is operating. This low pressure also makes for a very simple system to put together and manage as it does not require hard-to-connect components, glues, or clamps that are often needed in higher-pressure irrigation systems.

Drip irrigation is more efficient than conventional irrigation systems in that it is measured in gallons per hour rather than in gallons per minute. Other efficiency benefits include:
• Delivering water directly where it is needed reduces water evaporation and runoff
• Easy to install and maintain and can be used in rough terrains
• Can reduce pest, weed, and disease populations
• Water, energy, and money savings

A few disadvantages should be noted and include:
• Irrigation tubing and tape is susceptible to rodent damage
• Mowing and weed whacking around a system can be a challenge
• A filter is required to prevent clogging
• Leaks can be difficult to locate
• Management of plant water needs may increase

There are several key components to consider in designing a drip system. First, it is important to collect as much site information as you can. This not only includes the location of the are(s) you are looking to irrigate, but also looking at the location of any other existing features, the direction of any slopes, and the soil type and condition. Designing a system will require all of this to be mapped out. Second, it is important to locate all possible water sources and to determine the type and size of the pipe of the water source as it will help in sizing and figuring out flow rates for the drip system.

Next, you will need to determine the flow rate. This can be done by timing how long it takes to fill up a five-gallon bucket. Other components to consider in the design include whether or not you are looking to install a timer as well as if a backflow fixture is required by state or municipal plumbing codes.

Once the system is installed and operating, it is important to follow all recommend maintenance routines by the manufacturer. Many companies recommend flushing the system regularly to remove sand and silt particles and mineral deposits, cleaning the filters, as well as adding chlorine or other chemicals to the drip line to prevent bacteria and algae from building up.

If you are following the National Organic Program (NOP) regulations, it is important to note:
205.601 Synthetic materials allowed for use in organic crop production states:
"In accordance with restrictions specified in this section, the following synthetic substances may be used in organic crop production: As algicide, disinfectants, and sanitizer, including irrigation system cleaning systems
(1) alcohols (i) Ethanol (ii) Isopropanol
(2) Chlorine materials—Except, That residual chlorine levels in the water shall not exceed the maximum residual disinfectant limit under the Safe Drinking Water Act [4 ppm]. (i) Calcium hypochlorite (ii) Chlorine dioxide (iii) Sodium hypochlorite
(3) Hydrogen peroxide
(4) Soap-based algicide/demisters"

Allowed materials include anything else that is considered "natural," including acetic acid (vinegar) or citric acid, as long as they are in compliance with the NOP regulations.

(From ATTRA website)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Interstate Cattle Movement Impacted by USDA Rule

A new USDA Animal Disease Traceability rule requires that livestock be officially identified before they are moved across state lines. University of Missouri Extension Veterinarian Craig Payne says everyone involved in the cattle industry should be aware of the rule that went into effect nationwide on March 11.

“This regulation applies to the interstate movement of cattle in the U.S.,” Payne said, “and under the regulations there are three classes of cattle that will be impacted.”

“If you are shipping sexually intact beef cattle 18 months of age or older out of state those animals will have to be officially identified and have a certificate of veterinary inspection,” Payne said. 
Another class of cattle that will need to be identified and have a certificate of veterinary inspection is any cattle, regardless of age, that are going out of state to a rodeo, recreational event, show or exhibition.

“The last one pertains to dairy cattle,” Payne said. “All female dairy cattle regardless of age and all male dairy cattle including dairy steers born after March 11, 2013 will require official identification as well as a certificate of veterinary inspection before moving out of the state.”

There are some exemptions to the identification requirement of the rule such as cattle moving directly to a recognized slaughtering establishment and those moving directly to a tagging site in another state such as livestock markets that have been authorized by Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, State or Tribal animal health officials.

“The big thing to keep in mind is that in terms of beef cattle, anything less than 18 months of age is not going to require identification,” Payne said. “Also, there are a quite a few exceptions and details in this rule so if you have any doubts about what is required contact your veterinarian or state animal health official.”

Payne says the primary forms of identification that will be used include the silver or “brite” metal ear tags. “If heifers have been brucellosis vaccinated their orange brucellosis vaccination tag will qualify,” Payne said. “There is also a tag called an AIN tag which has a 15 digit number beginning with 840. These include a variety of different types; one is the electronic identification tag and there is also a visual tag.”

“The final thing to remember about the rule is it is not a substitute for individual state import regulations which may be more stringent than the USDA regulations,” Payne said. Because of this, Payne recommends that you call the destination state prior to shipment to make sure you are in full compliance with their import regulations.

Click for more information about the Animal Disease Traceability. 
(Courtesy of Craig A. Payne, DVM, MS University of Missouri)

Monday, April 15, 2013


One of the most asked for questions I get besides "Where can I find a grant?" is "Tell me about aquaponics."  It so happens that Purdue University has put together a really nice youtube video. 

And here is a video of Chuck Hicks, Aquaculture Specialist with Lincoln University giving a presentation on aquaponics at the National Small Farm Trade Show and Conference in 2012.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Vegetable Tour

The Missouri Vegetable Growers Association and University of Missouri Extension are sponsoring a vegetable farm tour to be held on Tuesday, April 16.  The tour leaves from Osceola Cheese (north of Osceola at 3700 NE Hwy. 13) promptly at 8:15 a.m. If carpooling, park NE of store.  Osceola is halfway between Kansas City and Springfield on Highway 13.

8:30 to 10:30 a.m.—Bear Creek Farms, Jim & Robbins Hail
Bear Creek Farms near Osceola, MO grows 15 acres of certified organic produce. Our markets include the Whole Foods Markets in Kansas City, Door to Door Organics, and The Root Cellar in Columbia. This year we are also planning at being at the Farmers' Market of the Ozarks in Springfield. We sell garden transplants, fruit plants and vegetables.

11 a.m. to 1 p.m.—Evening Shade Farms, Cindy Parker
Our family has lived on this farm, located just south of where the Ozarks meet the plains, for more than 30 years. Our sole purpose is to provide skin care products that truly nourish your skin. Our products literally start from the ground up — handmade, hand cleaned, hand packaged — all right here on the farm.

Bring your own lunch, drinks provided.

1:15 to 2:15 p.m.—Wild Goose Gardens, Ethan Jones
Wild Goose Gardens is a small flower farm outside Osceola, MO on the foothills of the Ozark Mountains. We grow a wide variety of flowering plants-both annuals and perennials, shrubs, flowering trees and some bog plants for florists in the Kansas City and Springfield markets. We cultivate approximately 1.5 acres of open fields as well six hoop houses and in many permanent beds.

2:30 to 4:30 p.m.—Green Gate Farm, Ken & Katie Barber
We started farming in 2010, and in July 2013 we will be certified organic, which is part of the way we look after the land we farm and live on. The farm is balanced between intensive vegetable and fruit production, woodland, pasture for livestock and poultry, and protected steam. 2013 will be the first year farming in our newly constructed 2800 sq ft high tunnel. We produce heritage turkeys, chicken, duck, and goose eggs, and sustainably produced vegetables and fruit.

Call Robbins Hail at 417–282-5894 or Pat Miller at 417-448-2560 for more information.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

NRCS Advises Farmers to "Dig a little, Learn a Lot"

Spring is an excellent time for farmers, ranchers and gardeners to focus their attention on the soil below them. The USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service says a spring check-up of a soil's health gives clues to the ground's ability to feed plants, hold water, capture carbon and more. 
"No fancy equipment is required. Just grab a shovel to dig a little and learn a lot", says Doug Peterson, NRCS state soil health conservationist.

Small farmers, large farmers, organic farmers and even home gardeners can all benefit from this simple discovery project of one of their most important resources. And in the process they can reap big rewards for their crops and the environment around them, Peterson says.

Peterson suggests the following steps to investigate soil health:

Look first at the soil surface which should be covered with plant residue, providing organic matter and preventing erosion. Dig into the soil and observe the color and structure. It should be dark, crumbly, and porous--rather like chocolate cake. Healthy soil is full of air holes, live roots and earthworms. Poorer soils are lighter in color, compacted or unstructured, and lack living roots and critters.

Healthy soils have a sweet earthy smell, indicating the presence of geosmin, a byproduct of soil microbes called actinomycetes. These microbes decompose the tough plant and animal residues in and on the soil and bring nitrogen from the air into the soil to feed plants. An unhealthy, out-of-balance soil smells sour or metallic, or like kitchen cleanser.

Soil should be loose and it should crumble easily, indicating a porous texture. This holds water better, making it available for plants and stemming flooding and runoff. In healthy soils, roots can grow straight and deep, allowing plants to reach nutrients and water they need to produce food.

"We are blessed with productive soils in Missouri," says Peterson.  "We want to keep them that way and even build them where possible.

In addition to the vital production values of soil health to individual farmers and gardeners, Peterson explains that healthy soils have clear impacts on many of the larger agricultural and environmental issues of our day from sustainable food production to water quality to mitigating climate change. Healthy soils hold, filter and regulate water, mitigate drought and flooding, reduce runoff and erosion, cycle nutrients, sequester carbon and suppress weeds and pests naturally. For all these reasons NRCS has recently launched a nationwide effort to "Unlock the Secrets in the Soil."

For more information about soil health, visit http://www.nrcs.usda.gov, or contact your local NRCS office.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

University of Missouri Organic Research

Organic No-till/Cover Crop Field Day

As part of the USDA certified organic research grant, the University of Missouri will be hosting two different field days showcasing their organic research which is taking place at the Bradford Research Center and the Littrell Farm near Mexico, MO.

The Littrell Farm Organic Field Day will be held sometime during the last two weeks of May.
  • Twenty different cover crop mixes will be destroyed with a cover crop roller/crimper and soybean will be planted into the field.
  • This will take place at the organic grain crop farm of Terry Littrell, approximately 8 miles northwest of Mexico, MO in Audrain County.
  • Participants will be able to examine the cover crop mixtures, see a crimper in action and observe planting into a cover crop mulch.
  • This will take place one day during the last two weeks of May. The exact day will be decided based on weather conditions.
  • To sign up for notification of the event and to get directions call Kerry Clark at 573-884-7945 or email clarkk@missouri.edu.
Bradford Research Farm Organic Field Day

The Bradford Research Center Organic Field Day will be held August 1st from 1-6 pm. More information will be forthcoming. Topics and tours include Organic no-till, Winter cover crop tour, Trap cropping with cucurbits, Summer cover crop tour, Vegetable tour, Equipment, Organic Marketing, Interpreting your soil test, Soil carbon testing, Mobile certified kitchen and the tasting of the organic harvests! For questions call 573-884-7945 and ask for Kerry.

Bradford Research Farm Webinars

As part of the USDA certified organic research grant, the University of Missouri is offering 4 webinars. To join any of these webinars go to univmissouri.adobeconnect.com/debikelly and sign in as a guest. These webinars will be archived and can found on the Bradford Research Center’s website.

April 25, 2-3 pm – Cover Crops for Missouri Tim Reinbott, Superintendent of Bradford Research Farm

May 16, 2-3 pm – Soil Health Testing David Hammer, Director of MU Soil Health Lab and Professor Of Soil Science, MU College of Engineering

June 13, 2-3 pm – The Short and Long Term Benefits of Cover Crops Newell Kitchen, Soil Scientist, USDA-ARS

July 18, 2-3 pm – Practical Management of Cover Crops Tim Reinbott, Superintendent of Bradford Research Farm

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Farmers’ Market Food Safety Workshops

If you plan on selling at a farmers' market, this workshop is a must for you in learning what you can and can't do with selling your food products (both raw and processed foods). Are you familiar with the Missouri Jams and Jelly Law?  What do you need to do in order to provide samples of your product?  Do you need a hand washing station at your market?  For these answers and more be sure to attend one the workshops.

The Bureau of Environmental Health Services, Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services will conduct a workshop for producers of foods sold at farmer’s markets at four locations. The focus will be on the regulations and exemptions, approved source, food safety and sanitation, and processing of non-exempt foods. Locations are as follows:

April 18 - 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.
Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center
2289 County Park Drive, Cape Girardeau, MO 63701

April 22 - 12:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
NE Regional Office, MO Dept of Conservation
3500 S. Baltimore, Kirksville, MO 63501

April 23 - 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
NW Regional Office, MO Dept of Conservation
701 James McCarthy Drive, St. Joseph, MO 64507

May 28 - 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Runge Conservation Nature Center
Highway 179, Jefferson City, MO 65102

If you have questions call Ellen Dettman or Nancy Beyer at 573-751-6095.

Monday, April 8, 2013

2013 SARE Farmer/Rancher Grant Recipients

Congratulations to the following Missouri farmers who received a North Central SARE Farmer/Rancher Grant.  The announcement for the next call for proposals will come out in late August/early September and will be posted on this blog.

·       Mary Ellen Raymond of Chesterfield, MO was awarded $7,481.90 for the project, “Small Mechanical Harvester for Edamame and Green Bean Production.”

·       Daniel Roth of Brixey, MO was awarded $7,231.00 for the project, “Optimizing Year Round Leek Production in the Ozarks.”

·       Michael Seipel of Callao, MO was awarded $7,496.10 for the project, “Comparison of Annual forages for Grazing Lambs on Previously-Cropped Ground.”

·       Gary Wenig of Rayville, MO was awarded $6,462.00 for the project, “Chickens and Trap Crops – An Integration of Sustainable Approaches to Insect Pest Control in Vegetable Production.”

·       Michael Willis of King City, MO was awarded $4,000.00 for the project, “Evaluating the Roller-Crimper for Cover Crop Control in Corn and Soybeans on Terraced Ground.”


Thursday, April 4, 2013

Irrigation Workshop - April 24

Drought has become a reality for commercial producers and backyard gardeners alike in southwest Missouri. This workshop will discuss topics from irrigation basics, to drought preparation.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Irrigation Workshop
1:00-4:00 pm
Southwest Research Center, Mt. Vernon, MO

Sessions will be lead by:

* Bob Schultheis, University of Missouri Extension Natural Resource Engineering Specialist

* Patrick Byers, University of Missouri Extension Horticulture Specialist

* Nahshon Bishop, Lincoln University Cooperative Extension, 2501 Program Educator

A registration fee of $10 dollars per person will be charged to cover the costs of materials used in this workshop. Registration is required by no later than April 19, 2013. Please direct all questions to Nahshon Bishop by calling (417)-846-3948.

Preregistration is required by Friday, April 19th with registration fee of $10/person.  Make checks payable to the University of Missouri and mail to:

Lorri Winters
Greene County MU Extension Center
2400 South Scenic Avenue
Springfield, MO 65807


Integrated Pest Management Workshop

This hands-on IPM workshop is designed to help vegetable farmers learn about IPM and to see IPM as a sustainable approach to pest control that provides a variety of tactics to prevent, avoid or suppress weeds, insects and crop diseases while protecting human health, the environment, and the profitability of agriculture.
Get ready for the growing season! This workshop will emphasize sustainable and organic approaches to pest control that rely on preventive practices such as biological control, behavioral control, physical, and cultural controls

April 20, 2013
9:15 AM – 2:30 PM
(Lunch included)
Pacific Fire House # 2
7376 Hwy. O Robertsville, MO 63072

Due to the nature of the hands-on activities, registration will be limited to the first 25 people that register. To register, you need to contact Joyce Rainwater at 314-800-4076 or to reserve your spot.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

MU Soil and Plant Testing Laboratory

The Soil and Plant Testing Laboratory analyzes soil, plant, water, manure, compost and greenhouse media. The fee-based services are available to farmers, homeowners, horticulturists, golf course managers, consultants, researchers and government agencies. The laboratory provides quality testing and unbiased, research-based recommendations to clients for economically viable and environmentally safe nutrient management practices.
The laboratory analyzes about 25,000 to 35,000 field crop (farm) soil samples, 5,000 to 7,000 horticultural crop (lawn and garden) soil samples and 1,000 commercial fruits, vegetables and turf soil samples each year. Soil test reports for samples processed through the laboratory are available online. The test reports can be accessed with a password. Reports are also delivered via U.S. mail and email to regional specialists and clients by request. The regional specialists review reports and make additional comments if needed and mail to the clients.
To see all that the Soil and Pland Testing Lab can do click here.
There are currently two regional university laboratories in operation. The laboratory based in Mumford Hall at the University of Missouri handles samples from the northern half of the state, including the Kansas City Metro Area. A second lab based at the University's Delta Research Center at Portageville handles samples from the southern half of the state, including the St. Louis Metro Area.
Current routine soil fertility tests include
·       pHs
·       Organic matter
·       Neutralizable acidity
·       Ammonium acetate
·       Extractable K, Ca, Mg
·       Bray and Kurtz extractable P

Special tests include
·       Extractable Sulfate-S
·       DTPA extractable Zn, Fe, Mn, and Cu; Boron, Nitrate-N
·       Electrical conductivity
·       Textural analysis

The MU lab, in addition to soil testing, offers analysis of
·       Plant tissue
·       Greenhouse/nursery soil-less growing media
·       Compost
·       Water

These services are particularly valuable to horticulturists (fruit growers, ornamental growers and vegetable growers) and nursery producers wishing to fine tune their plant nutrition programs. These services further benefit growers as campus-based and regional horticulture specialists work directly with the soil testing lab to develop recommendations.

A soil test measures the relative soil fertility levels. It is a basic tool in planning an economically and environmentally sound fertility program. Plant analysis, on the other hand diagnoses or confirms diagnoses of a visible symptom. Combined with the soil test information, plant analysis allows fertilizer management to be fitted more closely to a crop's needs.

Plant analyses enable a more accurate measure of the nutritional health of fruit crops than through soil testing alone. It can also be used to help fine tune the efficiency of a fertilizer program before nutrient symptoms appear and is especially useful for perennial crops. Presence of nutrient deficiency symptoms indicates an acute shortage in the plant and is usually accompanied by reduced yields or fruit quality. Growers can avoid these losses by using plant analysis to identify nutrients approaching deficiency levels before yields decline or symptoms appear.