Corn Silage Dry Down Day Results

CCE educator Paul Cerosaletti addressing group in field with corn crops

19 samples of corn were tested on September 18th and averaged 29% Dry Matter (DM). Samples ranged from 24% DM to 34% DM. Whole field DM will be 2 points wetter than a small sample. Download the results (PDF)

A few fields are getting close to or are at target Dry Matter (DM) for harvest, but many are 10 – 21 days out from predicted target harvest moisture, assuming an average dry down rate of 0.5% point per day. This could change with extended dry weather, frosted corn and/or advanced leaf disease damage.

We found that most samples had extensive symptoms of early leaf disease, which may progress rapidly in next few weeks with above average temperatures, dry weather, and maybe even frost in the forecast.

Considerations:

  • Harvesting too early (<32%DM) will result in reduced yield, reduced silage starch content, challenged fermentation and increased risk for silo juicing (which is a potent pollutant as well as tough on silos).
  • It is critical to continue monitoring whole plant DM. Getting DM into the target zone yields best fermentation.
  • Using reputable inoculants, especially when it is getting too dry, can help. Inoculants containing Lactobacillus Buchneri have been shown to be more effective with corn silage.
  • Increasing chop length with wetter silage will reduce silo juicing.
Our next dry down day will be on Tuesday, October 1, 2019 from 10:00am – 2:30pm at
DelRose Farm (The Hanselman’s)
9636 County Route 18 Bloomville NY 13739
Can’t make it? We can test dry matters at any time in our office!  Call the either the Nutrient Management or Precision Feed Management teams at 607-865-7090.

Be on the Lookout for Black Cutworm Damage in Corn in Delaware County!

This spring throughout the Northeast we are seeing areas with increased catches of Black Cutworm moths in pheromone traps.  Delaware County is one of these areas with elevated Black Cutworm moth catches, and we are starting to hear reports of cutworm damage in the county.  While Integrated Pest Management specialists are quick to point out that elevated catches do not necessarily mean damage will be greater, it does signify that the risk of cutworm damage may be greater.

Black Cutworm moths travel in from other parts of the US on storm fronts, as do many other crop pests.  The moths typically (although not always) look to lay their eggs in areas where there is some green growth, such as weedy fields.  Black Cutworms are nocturnal and feed on corn plants at night.  During the day they hide in the soil at the base of corn plants.   Delayed crop planting this year, puts the seedling corn at greater risk as economic damage thresholds are more quickly achieved on smaller corn plants:

What to D0:

  1. Scout your Corn:Now is the time to get out in corn fields and look for cutworm damage.   Cutworm damage is easy to spot; look for corn plants cut off as the soil level.  Sometimes (especially in dry conditions) the larvae will cut the palnt below the soil surface and the corn seedling will simply wilt and die in place.   Depending on when plants were cut, there may or may not be a corn plant yet on the soil surface.   Where there is evidence of freshly cut plants, dig into the soil within a couple inch radius of the corn plant.  Typically, the cutworm (a black greasy looking caterpillar) can be found readily (see photo).    It should be noted that cutworm damage can look a lot like bird damage where birds snip of the corn plant in the process of trying to pull it up.  The defining variable will be the finding of the cutworm larvae.
  2. Act if Necessary:  Just because you find cutworm damage and live cutworms does NOT mean that you have the pest at a level that will cause economic damage.    Integrated pest management specialists have determined the following economic damage thresholds, when reached or exceeded, would warrant chemical control;
    1. Corn at V2 stage (2 fully emerged leaves with leaf collars)  – 2 cut plants per 100
    2. Corn at V3 stage (3 fully emerged leaves with leaf collars)  – 3 cut plants per 100
    3. Corn at V4 stage (4 fully emerged leaves with leaf collars)  – 5 cut plants per 100
    4. Corn at V5 stage (5 fully emerged leaves with leaf collars)   – 7 cut plants per 100

NOTE:  Be realistic about how extensive the damage is in the field – it may only be in an isolated area

NOTE: If larvae are large (1.25″) they will pupate soon and most of the damage is already done.

If you find you have economic damage and larvae still have growth left (and damage left to do), chemical control is an option, and can be combined with herbicide applications that may still need to be done.

Black Cutworm and Cut Corn Plant – Photo Jamie Cummings, NYS IPM

 

 

There’s Always a Benefit

I caught myself saying this phrase the other day, “Remember there is a benefit, it just might not be the benefit you’re looking for at that moment”. I was talking with a dairy farmer about how wet his pastures were and the fact that the pasture quality is getting low and the quantity is getting high but it is too wet to clip without sinking out of sight. My statement references the natural nutrient cycle that is created in a compost pile or when a cover crop is sprayed or rolled. Because of the mature nature of the grass at this point, Mid-June, the dairy herd is probably going to leave a large amount of grass out in the pasture. What to do with the rest… This particular farmer was using his heifers to try and eat what the lactating herd left. This is a good idea and allows you to let the lactating herd to eat the “best” and leave the rest. Another benefit is the refusal itself. With pastures getting overgrown this year, I am going to go out on a limb and guess that manure or fertilizer may not have made it to the pasture either because of the wet conditions. The trampled grasses, forbs, and legumes left after grazing can add nutrients back to your pasture as they decompose and feed the microbes that release nutrients to the living portions of the plant that are beginning to tiller and regrow. The mat of grass also helps keep your cows from sinking through and pugging up the pasture and reducing compaction. So I will end with how I started, Remember there is a benefit, it just might not be the benefit you’re looking for at that moment. Happy Grazing!

P.S. for further reading check out this article form OnPasture.com:

What Makes Grass Grow Back Fastest – Trampling, Clipping or Cow Spit?

By Ben Hepler:

Friends of Recovery Training

Our thanks to Friends of Recovery, Delaware and Otsego, for conducting the week long recovery coach training program in Margaretville during the last week of March. Ten people completed the week and now will be completing additional hours to become certified. Several participants live in our region and are eager to be of help. The workshop was led expertly by Sarah Wilson of FOR-DO. Our thanks to the Fairview Library for donating the space for the workshop.

Students taking the class.

Short on Feed Inventory? Increase Grass Yield This Spring!

The Yield and Economic Response is Solid (Virtually Guaranteed, Nearly a Sure-Bet etc.)
Wet weather last summer has left many farms with tight forage inventories this spring. Budgets are probably even tighter. Year in and year out, one of the most reliable crop production investments is nitrogen fertilization of grass crops in the spring. Applying 75 to 100 lbs nitrogen per acre at green up increases yields (about 50% more in first cut) and quality (about 4 points higher CP and 3 points lower NDF). The graph below shows Forage Income over the Cost of N fertilizer from a N response trial in Delaware County a few years ago. N application, at recommended rates, gave a significant return even if fertilizer prices are well above what we expect to see this spring.


Cutting Management Critical
Cutting management goes with N fertilization. Early cut grass is highly digestible, and most of you know from experience that cows perform when you feed it. When N is not applied, many are reluctant to cut when grass is at peak quality, deferring to wait for more yield. Fertilized fields have good growth at peak quality, and fields cut early regrow quickly and usually will have a nearly equal second cut 30 days later. N fertilization and aggressive cutting management.

When is the Right Time?
So, when is the right time to begin grass harvest? The chart below shows fiber content (NDF%) and fiber digestibility (NDFD) by the day in May taken from the past 11 years of scissors cut samples in Delaware County. The long term average is for grass to reach the optimum NDF level (50%NDF) for starting grass harvest on May 16,. You will also notice that as the month progresses, fiber digestibility trends down as fiber content goes up. More mature grass has more fiber and that fiber is less digestible, meaning a cow can eat less (fewer pounds) and gets less energy from each pound she eats. Watch the scissor cut reports to see how this year’ crop develops and be ready to begin harvest when the first weather opportunity hits.


Fertilization Strategies
Grass needs Sulphur too, so it’s becoming more common to see a little ammonium sulfate (AMS) mixed with urea for grass topdress, especially where there is little or no manure history (manure is an excellent source of Sulphur). Consider a 75% uea-25% AMS blend. Our recommendations are to apply N at green up in the spring (early-mid April, depending on the year) If you’re applying urea this early, you should consider a nitrogen stabilizer to protect your fertilizer investment from wafting off with the breeze, if the application cannot be timed close to a rain fall. Later application also will likely benefit, but the chances of good conditions, rainfall and rapid N uptake, are better then.
When grass has good fertility, first cutting yields are high yielding and of excellent quality. Highly digestible forages have always been a key factor in low cost rations. So in a year with tight margins and tight forage inventories, fertilizing those core grass fields, where aggressive harvest is going to happen, is a sound investment.

Catskills Youth Climate Summit at Frost Valley a Big Success

122 youth and teachers from 14 area schools attended a 2-day leadership training on being environmental stewards at Frost Valley YMCA, Claryville, NY on October 9-10, 2018.  The summit was organized by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Delaware County and an advisory group of science teachers and students from South Kortright and Margaretville Central Schools, teachers from Andes School and Manhattan Country School, The Wild Center’s Youth Climate Program, with summit funders: the Catskill Watershed Corporation, NYC DEP, Delaware County Soil and Water Conservation District and Frost Valley.

Danielle Eiseman, Program Manager of Cornell Institute for Climate Smart Solutions, started off the summit with a keynote presentation about youth being the future leaders in a changing climate.  Morning and afternoon workshops included Understanding Solar, Geoengineering the Planet, How Mushrooms Will Save the World, Theater Art Survival Camp, Sustainable Bedroom Furniture, Home Heating, Composting Big & Small, and What’s Your Climate Story?

Youth enjoyed thought provoking and team building activities presented by Kurt Hahn Expeditionary School in Brooklyn and then watched a documentary about the health and environmental effects of bottled water called Tapped.  The evening ended with a bonfire and s’mores by the lake.

Day Two started with a poster session featuring school environmental projects and area organizations and businesses focusing on climate change.  Students from the Adirondacks next presented the Climate Action Plan for each school to plan ways to make a change in their school and community.  School developed action plans focusing on composting, recycling, reducing single use plastic beverage containers, and solar energy.

“I thoroughly enjoyed every activity available to me,” commented one student participant.  “We look forward to planning another successful Catskills Youth Climate Summit in 2019,” added Jeanne Darling, Executive Director at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Delaware County.”

Taking action against ticks at 4-H Camp Shankitunk

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Delaware County is the proud operator of Camp Shankitunk, the oldest continuously-operating 4-H camp in New York State. Situated on the Delaware River, the 165 acre camp features beautiful woods and open recreational areas. The cool, moist mountain setting is ideal for camping, but is also conducive to tick activity.  Each year, the camp serves over 700 campers ages 6 to 16. The majority fall into the 8-13 year age bracket, which coincides with the population that is most at-risk for tick-borne diseases. In Delaware county, reported cases of Lyme disease doubled between 2014 and 2016.

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is an effective and environmentally sensitive approach to pest management that relies on a combination of common-sense practices. The New York State IPM program uses current, comprehensive information on the life cycles of pests and their interaction with the environment. This information, in combination with available pest control methods, is
used to manage pest damage by the most economical means, and with the least possible hazard to people, property, and the environment.

With funding from NYS IPM, horticulture and natural resources educator Carla Crim, camp director Corrine Tompkins, and 4-H team leader John Hannum implemented innovative tick control strategies at our camp. We also developed fun and effective educational resources for three target groups: campers, camp staff, and parents.

 

Control Strategies

Habitat Elimination: The staff at Camp Shankitunk take pride in maintaining a clean, open campground. Well before the season, grounds- keeping begins. The perimeters of the cabins and common buildings are kept free of weeds and brush. Leaves are raked away from wooded gathering areas and trails.

 

Life-Cycle Disruption: The majority of ticks require three different hosts to complete their development. Ticks go through four stages of life – egg, larvae, nymph, and adult. A female lays several thousand eggs at a time, which hatch into the larval stage in the summer. Mice, which live in the woods and can carry disease, are a common host for larval ticks. We are utilized “tick tubes” as a mechanism to kill ticks at the larval stage. The bio-degradable paper tubes contain permethrin-treated cotton which mice readily steal for their bedding. Permethrin, which is considered quite safe for humans, kills ticks on contact, disrupting the life cycle.

 

Hundreds of tubes were deployed around the grounds by a licensed pesticide applicator from Pestech Pest Solutions in the late spring and the late summer.  We used commercially-available Tick Tubes from Damminix.  The applicator, Brandon Scutt, is actually an alumnus of 4-H Camp Shankitunk and quite familiar with the grounds.

Education:

In the IPM Pyramid, prevention is the first line of defense in the control of pests.  In addition to the control strategies employed to reduce tick populations, we relied on an educational approach to prevent exposure to disease. With resources and support from NYS IPM and Delaware County Public Health, we engaged camp staff and parents to maximize the delivery of tick education to campers.

Parent/Caregiver Education:  We developed an informational brochure that was mailed to camp families prior to the season.  The infographic-style brochure will contained facts and information to encourage packing and pre-treatment of appropriate clothing, as well as recommendations for selection and use of insect repellents.  Most importantly, it contained instructions for doing a tick check.  Because tick checks are a private matter, we felt that parents were best suited to discuss the details of this process with their children. We also asked that they encourage their campers to shower to 1) wash away unattached ticks and 2) have opportunities to check for ticks.  Note: At the end of this post, we have included links to download a zip file that contains editable versions of these materials for use at other camps.

We also included a letter from the camp director.  This letter served to not only inform the parents about the project and encourage them to play a role in camper education, but also reinforced our commitment to camp safety. Click here for a full-sized pdf version of the letter.

Just before we sent our mailings, NYSIPM published a series of infographics as part of the “Don’t Get Ticked NY” campaign.  We felt that the infographics about permethrin clothing treatment and insect repellent usage were particularly relevant and included them in the packet.  To view/download these infographics and many others related to tick awareness and prevention, visit the NYSIPM website.

 

Staff Training:  Educators from Delaware County Public Health services gave an in-depth training to staff during orientation week. Activity directors, counselors, nurses, and kitchen staff were in attendance. Topics covered were tick-borne diseases, tick removal, and repellent usage. Staff were instructed to send all potential tick encounters (attached or not) directly to the nurse on duty. Subsequently, protocols for proper removal and reporting were reviewed with the nursing staff.

 

Camper Education: Each week at camper orientation, Carla and Corrine gave a brief presentation about ticks.  Afterward, a group of counselors put on a skit to demonstrate “tick-safe” and “tick-risky” behavior.  Squeaky stuffed tick dog toys were used as props and the cast incited uproarious laughter while getting the message across.  Throughout the week, counselors reminded their campers to use repellents, shower, and do tick checks.  Signage and handheld mirrors were placed in restrooms and shower stalls to prompt campers to conduct frequent tick checks.

 

Outcomes:

The combination of good groundskeeping practices and chemical intervention likely reduced the population of ticks at camp, however this is difficult to quantify given the already low tick population as determined by pre-season monitoring.  In 2017, ticks were removed from six counselors.  This year, ZERO counselors reported tick bites, indicating that preventative measures were successful.  Conversely, four campers found ticks on their bodies (three attached, one unattached) as opposed to zero in 2017. We suspect that campers did indeed encounter ticks in 2017, but were not as likely to be checking for them on their bodies.  This year, the three tick attachments were noticed at very early stages of attachment (no engorgement) and safely removed by camp nurses, greatly reducing the chance of disease transmission.

The majority of parents surveyed indicated that they took at least one proactive measure in terms of packing and preparing their children for camp.  Over 60% discussed tick checks with their campers, and more than 50% talked to them about each of the following: wearing protective clothing, proper use of insect repellent, and what to do if a tick bite is suspected.  Over one-fourth of the parents surveyed said that the educational materials strongly influenced them to pre-treat clothing with permethrin.  Almost all of the all of the parents surveyed encouraged their campers to shower during the week, which increases the likelihood of thorough tick checks.

Over the period of 5 weeks, 700+ campers and 45 staff were educated at orientations, and continuously received “tick check” prompts in the restrooms and shower stalls.  They will likely carry this knowledge beyond camping season and will be more apt to take protective measures in other outdoor settings.  We also created a display for the county fair, where we talked to community members and visitors about ticks and distributed tick ID cards.

Downloadable Materials:

We developed our materials with the hope that other camps will put them to use in delivering tick education.  We had the brochures and IPM infographics printed (and folded) through printdirtcheap.com.  Depending the size of your order, the cost may be equal to or less than printing in-house, and the results are very professional.  The brochure is available in two formats: generic (ready to print) and customizable (can be personalized with organization names and logos).  The tick check poster (generic or customizable) is designed to be printed on 11 x 17″ paper, and we recommend lamination. The letter from the camp director is provided in Word and Rich Text formats so that you can add your return address and a picture of the camp director.

Prepare to be Tick-Free Brochure:

Letter from the Camp Director:

Tick Check Poster:

 

Community Service with Little Clovers

You can’t afford to have sore feet

Dollar losses due to lameness are not easily detected on dairy farms.  That also means that there is a cost to not maintaining health hooves in your dairy herd.  Dr. Chuck Guard, DVM, Cornell University recently updated his cost analysis for lameness at around $545.00 per incident. This disease is one of the highest costs with loss in milk production of 750 pounds and reproduction. It takes 28 more days to get a 2 year old cow pregnant as an example. This is not to mention the long term consequences of having sore feet.

The best policy is to develop a no lameness tolerance.  It is better to have a prevention plan rather than have a reaction plan to sore feet.

Here are some steps to take to accomplish a prevention plan.

  • Locomotion observation. Locomotion Scoring information and charts are available on the CCE Delaware website.  There are even videos online that show cows with sore feet walking with head bobs and arched backs.  Observing cows as they stand will not always reveal when sore feet are present.
  • Early intervention with weekly observation of heifers starting at 10 months of age and by following a Veterinarian approved/ prescribed practice of spraying or better yet a foot bath would decrease the prevalence of having Digital Dermatitis also known as “Hairy Foot Wart” in the whole herd. Hairy Foot Wart manifests in an anaerobic (no oxygen), dirty, moist environment and can easily be spread to herdmates.  Once the skin gets weakened the causative bacteria can penetrate and cause the lesion.   Keeping feet clean by scraping stalls often, providing dry stalls or areas to lay down is important. Wallowing in manure and mud is the environment that is a brewing place for trouble.
  • Karl Burgi with the Dairyland Hoof Care Institute recommends a foot bath system with side walls and a 20 to 22” wide bath that is 2 and ½” deep and 10 to 12’ long. This system prevents cows from defecating as they walk through it and prevent weakening the footbath solution giving the needed 6 second contact.
  • Hoof trimming should be scheduled so that first calf heifers have functional healthy feet prior to freshening and cows are looked at in the early part of the dry period to decrease any stressor in the transition period at the very least.
  • Plan on a 24 hour turn around treatment for cows with sore foot that are early in the transition period to early lactation since this is a stressful time period.
  • Hoof trimming does not mean that the trimmer needs to have a pile of hoof shavings to have done a good job. Cleaning off the foot and taking a look is all that may need to be done. Dr. Karl Burgi’s comment is that 85% of cows are over trimmed.
  • Groves in flooring should be done in the direction of cattle traffic and should be ¾” wide, ½ “deep, and ¾ “center to center. The reasoning for this is that would prevent cows from sliding and when cleaning the barn it moves the manure out of the grooves more efficiently than if cross grooving.
  • New “green” concrete or rough surfaces where cows walk will make hooves wear quicker and cause potential sole ulcerations. Taking the time to smooth out surfaces are vital for good hoof health.  Grooved concrete that has just cured needs to have smoothing done by some method.  Examples of that usually involve another heavy concrete block dragged across the surface enough times so that you can walk across it comfortably in bare feet.
  • Pay attention to broken stall dividers as the break near the concrete could provide a hazard to feet. Walkways that have sharp gravel can be an issue as well.  Talk to your dairy nutritionist about a good zinc source to help strengthen hooves.
  • Keep good records from the hoof trimmer. Cows that have had permanent damage from prolonged inflammatory situations may need to be on your cull list if they are chronically sore footed.
  • Don’t keep wraps on longer than 24 hours. The purpose for wraps are to hold any medication or treatment on the foot or protect a wound for a short time from having manure etc. entering it directly. Having a wrap more than 24 hours actually promotes more filth being closer to the foot.
  • Cows need 12 hours of lying time for rest and rumination. Cows that are standing for prolonged periods of time are telling you something. They could be heat stressed and standing to gain more air circulation to cool off or they may not have a clean, dry, and comfortable bed to lay down in such as an overcrowded free stall. Also ally scrapers can be a source of pooled manure.
  • When purchasing cattle, quarantine them if possible check for hairy foot wart and treat them immediately and aggressively.

Sources:

Locomotion Scoring: https://www.zinpro.com/lameness/dairy/locomotion-scoring (Photo Credit)

Karl Burgi: http://comforthoofcare.com/

Hoards Dairymen Webinars: https://hoards.com/flex-309-Webinars.html

By April Wright Lucas, Community Educator

Gaga comes to 4-H Camp

Ga-Ga Ball! The excited chanting of campers experiencing this game for the first time at Shankitunk was music to our ears this summer.  Traditionally 4-Square is the place to be during free recreation time, but gaga proved to be a smashing success that the kids loved.  How did this sensation come to be; a little organization and a lot of love and support from our community.  Camp Director, Corrine Tompkins, first pitched the idea of a gaga pit to bring life back into the volleyball court, an area of camp that was being under-utilized.  The beauty of gaga is that children of different ages and skill levels can all play at once. Games tend to go quickly meaning that once a camper gets out, they don’t have to wait long for a new game to start.

4-H Camp Shankitunk received a grant from the Stewarts Holiday Match Program to purchase the bracket system and wall buffers for the pit.  Donors and alumni pitched in throughout the year kicking off on #GivingTuesday to raise funds for an ADA compliant door and other miscellaneous pit expenses.  Lumber siding was donated by Pickett Building Materials and Bestway.  The Cornell chapter of AlphaZeta donated funding to purchase sand for the area which was trucked free of charge by Seward’s Sand and Gravel.  Staff worked to prep the site, after which local volunteers helped level out two loads of pea stone donated by local friends of camp.  The final step was assembling the pit. Volunteers helped us get started, but weather forced staff to finish up another day.  A plaque will be installed next summer to recognize the contributions of everyone involved in making this project a success that our campers will be able to enjoy for generations to come.

We’d like to thank our community for their role in this new and exciting addition to 4-H Camp Shankitunk.