Are Fungicide & Insecticide necessary?
Jul 17, 2018

We have endured another tough spring and early summer throughout Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska.  However, our crops look pretty good across the Central Valley Ag (CVA) geography.  There are some threats that are showing up that could still hurt our yields so we need to consider ways to maximize yields this year.  I’m Mick Goedeken, Innovation Agronomist for CVA, and today I want to discuss some of these threats that we are seeing in the fields and how to minimize yield losses from these threats.

Heat Stress in Cattle
Jul 17, 2018

With temperatures recently reaching high degrees, producers have started the fight of keeping their cattle their cool and maintaining intakes. Conquering the heat is challenging, but when coupled with high humidity, cattle become even more stressed. For example, when the temperature is 86°, and the humidity is 50%, cattle are only mildly stressed, but when the temperature is 95° with 90% humidity, cattle quickly become severely stressed. Periods of heat stress result in reduced body weight, feed intake, and feed conversion. Depending on the length and frequency of heat stress periods, cattle’s dry-matter intake can be reduced by up to 125 pounds during their time in the feed yard, which equals 40 pounds of gain lost per head. In high-risk areas, an average of 4-5 deaths occur for every 1000 head. It is estimated that heat stress-related mortalities and performance reductions add up to $370 million each year.
 

Pulling the Fungicide Trigger
Jul 11, 2018

Every year as we find ourselves at pollination time, there is always a discussion going on about fungicide. I have found that when it comes to fungicide, there are three groups out there that we all fall into. The disciples of fungicide, or the grower that does it every year, no matter what. The apprehensive user, or the grower that toils with the decision every year as they look at budgets and commodity prices. And of course, the skeptical, who have not tried, or not had the success they expected in the past with fungicide, so they are not believers in the process. Given the conditions that we have had this year to date, especially in the last month or so, I think a convincing case can be made to look into fungicide applications this year.

Water Quality Affects Cattle Production
Jul 09, 2018

Water is the most important nutrient for cattle. Often, producers overlook this fact. On average, lactating cows and grower/finisher cattle will consume around 20 gallons of water in the summer months or two gallons per 100 pounds of body weight. If the water content is not ideal, cattle will not consume the amount of water that they need. Water is needed for processes such as growth, digestion, reproduction, metabolism, lubricating joints, and regulating body temperature. A poor water source can lead to a decrease in rate of gains, milk production, and overall health.
 

Signs
Jul 05, 2018

“Sign, sign, everywhere a sign … Do this, don't do that, can't you read the sign?” - Five Man Electrical Band

There is no doubt that in the last 20 years we have come a long way in reading what our fields tell us. Whether it has been the wide adoption of soil sampling, yield monitors, or even the advent of infield sensors like moisture probes, we have come a long way in learning how to read the signs that our fields give us. These signs, or to be truthful, our willingness to read the signs have unlocked a lot of yield for us in these last 20 years as we have seen the US average corn yield go from 140 to 170+. There is another area of our fields that we have the ability to read that most growers have been ignoring, and needs to be taken more seriously, that is plant tissue testing.
 

WE ARE CVA | Eilert Farms
Jul 05, 2018

The day begins well before the sun rises for Allen Eilert, a grain producer near Beloit, Kansas. With two planting seasons, two harvest times, and protecting those growing crops in between, Eilert Farms is constantly on the go.
Allen is a conventional producer who farms 2,200 acres of hard red winter wheat, 500 acres of soybeans and 600 acres of grain sorghum. Of those 3,300 acres he manages across north central Kansas, Allen personally owns 900 acres.

Is Your Show Box Ready?
Jul 02, 2018

The show season is here and the many hours of hard work spent in the barn preparing for show day are about to pay off.  Is your show box ready? Many of you have worked with 4H leaders, feeds sales specialists and experts in the industry to get your animal ready. Now that you are packing your trailer here are a few things to remember to make sure you and your animal have a great and memorable experience.

Separating E and T
Jun 28, 2018

Evapotranspiration, or ET is how we measure water movement through our plants. It is a combination of the evaporation of water from the cells on the leaf surface, as well as from the soil surface, and the transpiration of water through the plant and out the leaves and back into the atmosphere. Growers that irrigate pay a lot of attention to ET values because it is an indicator for what our fields will need to stay hydrated and growing healthy crops. I think, however, that there are many misconceptions about ET out there, and whether on irrigated or dryland, we could all use a deeper understanding of ET.
 

What is Happening with Nitrogen?
Jun 26, 2018

Moderate to heavy rains this week have left us with cooler temperatures and raised some concerns about nitrogen loss.  Nitrogen loss estimation can be difficult to determine due to the complexity of the Nitrogen cycle in the soil, soil type, N application timing, N Stabilizer use, rainfall amounts, intensity of rainfall events, and soil saturation. With rainfall amounts of 1.5 to 4.5” across our geography, and given that some fields had been irrigated prior to the rain, we most likely have saturated soils in many fields. So, let’s address some of the concerns you may have on N loss due to recent rain events. 

Hoop Barns for Cattle
Jun 25, 2018

Finishing out cattle in an enclosed structure is growing more popular each year. Slatted, bed pack and hoop barns are the most common types seen around the state. When it comes to building a hoop barn, the advantages and disadvantages of confinement housing should be considered in relation to traditional outdoor facilities. Animal density, manure handling, feeding, animal handling, ventilation, and cost are a few of the factors to consider. Hoop barns avoid some pollution control issues while providing a suitable environment for the cattle. The roofed structure reduces runoff and allows for better control of manure.

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