University of Nebraska -Lincoln Extension Educator Steve Tonn provides information about your production agriculture neighbors in this monthly feature. Do you have questions about the production agriculture in your area? You can send them to Steve using the Ask An Expert function on this web site.
Talking Over the Fence - December 2013
Fall is a great time to be out in the country and this has been a fall to remember, one to enjoy and truly be thankful for. The yields have been surprisingly good. It has taken a little longer for some of the corn to dry down for harvesting but overall the weather has been good for the corn and soybean harvest.
Field Management and Soil Conservation
Farmers closely monitor the yields on each field at harvest time. They particularly note areas in the fields where yields are low and where erosion problems might have occurred, and give thought to ways to eliminate those problem areas. Applying manure or fertilizer to low yielding spots may help. Soil loss in eroded areas can be reduced with terraces, waterways, and the implementation of no-till crop systems. Soil conservation is high on the management list for any farmer.
The corn is gone now, but the cows have arrived. Grazing cows on crop residue is a way to utilize the crop residue and to provide food for cows in a very inexpensive way. Producers can save up to a $1 per head per day in feed costs by grazing corn stalks. With cows on the corn stalks, another task is hauling water and other feed to them. So get that hand ready to wave when you pass a pickup or truck hauling water to the cows.
The calves have been weaned and placed on a more nutritious diet. They will be fed through the winter and sold in January or February.
Have you noticed those big rounds bales in the fields have disappeared? Beef producers are moving their hay supplies closer to their farmsteads and livestock facilities. It is a lot more enjoyable to get a bale close by than to ride in a cold tractor for miles hauling hay bales.