The Press-Dispatch

April 13, 2022

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1220 Willow St., Vincennes • 812-882-2507/812-882-0210 • Summer Hours: Monday-Friday 8-5 SIEMERS GLASS CO. INC. Since 1943 • Satisfied Customers Are Our Best Advertising FARM GLASS SERVICE • Windshield Replacement & Repair • Glass Repair & Replacement on Tractors, Heavy Farm Equipment & Semi Tractors • Electric Window Repair • Auto & Truck Door Lock Repair • Domestic Truck Sliding Rear Window • Glass Replacement for most foreign models Shower Doors & Panels Installed Replacement of Residential & Commercial Insulated Units We Specialize In Insurance Work • Mobile Service Available • Pickup & Delivery WEEKEND EMERGENCY SERVICE AVAILABLE 902 Newton St. Jasper 812-634-6500 1251 E. Broadway, Princeton 812-386-1100 or 1-800-793-1676 Hours: Monday through Friday 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Grazing Bites By Victor Shelton Retired NRCS Agronomist/ Grazing Specialist I'm glad that warmer weather is finally here– at least most days it is. What I real- ly don't like this time of year is major rain- storms, mud and the increasingly finicky palates of some livestock. I would com- pare the last to a nice, delicious meal on the table for the family to eat while know- ing there is fresh pie for dessert. The mo- mentary stables that are fine most any day are suddenly just not good enough and the desire to skip to dessert is almost more than some can endure. For the ruminant there are some good reasons for this. They have the ability to get fairly quick biological feedback from what they are consuming. This allows them to seek what may have the highest energy or nutrient that they need. The cows even know "washy" grass usually only "appears" better than the hay and will balance their diet if needed. It also can provide some feedback to items that might be harmful so they rec- ognize that it shouldn't be consumed. This is particularly true when there are plenty of choices to be made on the pas- ture salad bar. Perhaps we humans have something to learn from this. Smaller ruminants are better grazers or browsers than larger livestock. Sheep and goats cannot only select specific plants to eat, but also very specific plant parts. Larger livestock such as cattle and horses are not as selective and do tend to consume more variety per bite if present- ed and especially so if there is any com- petition for that bite. So, the more you concentrate livestock, especially cattle, the less selective they become, and the more undesirable plants are consumed. Smaller ruminants out graze larger livestock quality wise. This has been shown in fecal analysis studies and al- so in fistulated animals. They consistent- ly harvest the highest nutritional plant parts available. I prefer for the allocation of forage to be grazed down fairly evenly during the grazing event. By doing so, intermedi- ate and undesirable species are also con- sumed and are less likely to get a stron- ger foothold in the pasture and out com- pete the desirable species that we, or rather the livestock, like. To get a fairly even grazing and yet not allow overgrazing, ideally, the graz- ing event should be very short, and the livestock moved before enough time has passed for there to be much regrowth to prevent grazing of that new growth. That new growth is needed to help restore the solar panel that was just removed and al- so the energy reserves of the plant. If they are grazing new regrowth since the last move, they have been there too long. In an ideal situation, where livestock is moved prior to starting to graze new re- growth and forage is allowed to rest and recover, the grazing event is generally never over three days with shorter peri- ods being better. The smaller the rumi- nant livestock, the truer this is. I still raise some sheep. I would much rather have the sheep out on stockpiled forages or annuals this time of year than waiting and feeding hay. As soon as the first blade of grass appears in the over- wintering area, hay is no longer the choice feed, no matter how good it is. Cattle are a bit more patient as long as they are not provided too many minute samples of the upcoming morsels. Once they get a good taste of new growth, they also balk, but are also more content on sufficient hay. If you haven't figured it out yet, there is an order in which hay should be or should have been fed. Hay leftover from the pre- vious year(s) should be the first to be uti- lized going into winter or whenever you first need it. The last of the winter feed- ing should be the best hay. This is espe- cially true if you are spring calving. Noth- ing will stir up ruminant uproars more than feeding the least quality stuff at the end of winter. They will quickly complain about being fed broccoli leftovers while waiting for the ice cream to get ready. As we discussed last month, it is best to wait for the forages to have some sub- stance before grazing begins. Preferably, you will wait to start grazing until the plants are at least 8 to 10 inches tall (tall cool-season forages such as fescues and orchardgrass) and sufficient growth that includes enough fiber for the livestock. The forage plant early in the spring is al- so pulling reserves from the roots and starting photosynthesis. Being con- sumed too early and immature slows the process and reduces resilience and long- term growth potential for the season. I'm counting the days. Once you do transition to pasture for the season, it is still a good idea to have a little hay available for them to start with and ensure you make sure they have con- sumed some hay prior to the first gate opening. It will provide some stable fi- ber to help balance out new forage that is still lusher and often higher in water content than what they have been con- suming. Generally, if they need it, they will eat it. Ruminant livestock have nev- er failed to support that theory. It is probably a wise decision to make sure you are feeding a mineral mix with sufficient magnesium. Normal rates for mineral mixes contain about 2 % magne- sium. When we have cooler temperatures and lush forage in front of the cows, a high-magnesium mineral supplement should be used. High-magnesium miner- al mixes usually have about 16.5% magne- sium. You should probably continue with this supplement until we get past the ear- ly fast flush of new grass growth. Fields that have been supplemented with ex- tra nitrogen and potassium tend to have more issues because more magnesium can be tied up. It's a balancing of cations. Keeping sufficient salt and other miner- als that are needed available all the time is always a good place to start and low- ers concerns. Check with your local vet- erinarian or extension agent for more in- formation. It does seem we are having more rain and wetter springs than in the past or my patience grows thinner the older I get. Thankfully, the wind helps to dry things out between them some. New for- age growth stabilizes the soil and builds increasing amounts of resilience with an abundance of new roots and additional cover mixed with last season's leftovers. I dread the transition period from fed forages to pasture almost every year. That might sound a bit odd to say. I'm glad to have livestock grazing again, I just wish that there had been enough for- age of some type available, perennial or annual, that grazing was more of a per- petual event than seasonal. That is the ul- timate goal for some. For most, the goal is to just reduce the amount of winter feed needed as much as possible. Some hay or winter fodder is almost always need- ed, even in the most ultimate systems and purely for insurance purposes if nothing else. The weather can and has thrown some major curve balls. Winter feed has always been a major cost of ruminant livestock production. The more it can be reduced, general- ly, the better it is on the bottom line. It takes more acres per animal unit to be able to graze more days per year. It gen- erally takes both perennial and annual forages, but not always. The livestock is for the most part, going to be consum- ing the same amount of dry matter each year whether it is harvested by the live- stock themselves or harvested by you or someone else and fed to it. The amount of forage that is "fed" to the livestock is quite often just person- al choice. The more hay made, the more hay that is fed. Could some of that fodder have been grazed in place or at least more of it? This season is going to have some challenges, especially with fuel prices. Reducing the turning of wheels should be a goal with a focus on growing more forage per acre and harvesting more of it directly with livestock instead of me- chanically. Remember, it's not about max- imizing a grazing event, but maximizing a grazing season! Keep on grazing! More pasture information and past issues of Grazing Bites are available at tal/nrcs/in/technical/landuse/pasture/ Grazing Bites has changed. Please send comments or questions to grazing- Invasive plant: Poison Hemlock By Lydia Spann Invasive plants are becom- ing well known in southwest Indiana and more people are figuring out that these types of plants are doing more harm than good to our local environ- ments. One common invasive plant that causes a huge issue in southwestern Indiana is Poi- son Hemlock. At first, peo- ple saw this plant as a poten- tial candidate for adding more beauty to their yards. Its at- traction is probably due to its unique physical features, which include purple spotted stems, fern-like leaves, and white clustered flowers. How- ever, over time this plant has shown another side of itself. Poison Hemlock does not co- exist well with other native plants; therefore, it has taken over the edges of roads, for- ests, farm fields, ditches and more. Not only does this plant spread to nearby areas quick- ly, but it is also poisonous to living organisms, such as ani- mals and humans. It is import- ant to be proactive with the re- moval of this plant due to its tendency to quickly spread to nearby areas. Therefore, here are a few ways to man- age the spreading of this plant, which in- cludes, mowing, cut- ting, herbicide use and pulling by hand. Due to this plant be- ing poisonous, peo- ple should take cau- tion when removing this plant by hand and they should al- ways remember to wear protective gear, such as gloves. An- other factor to con- sider when remov- ing and managing poison hemlock is timing. There are certain times that this plant should be managed, if it is removed at the wrong time there is a possibility that the plant will come back and/or spread more. Poison Hem- lock spreads more when they are close to being fully ma- tured seeds and when me- chanical equipment is being used, which it is around fall time. Herbicide use should be avoided when the plant is flowering, which is around summer/fall time. A great way to stay involved and informed about Poison Hemlock is by keeping up with updates and events that are provided by or- ganizations that focus on ed- ucating the public and man- aging the spread of invasive plants. Some organizations include Southern Indiana Co- operative Invasives Manage- ment, Cooperative Invasives Species Management Area (CISMA) and Soil and Water Conservation District. Party for the Planet at Mesker Park Zoo Mesker Park Zoo & Botanic Garden will be partying for the planet to honor and celebrate our rich, beautiful plan- et on April 23 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. This added expe- rience is free with general admission and free for mem- bers! The party will host many fun and engaging activities that will highlight our theme "Spring into Ac- tion! " There will be a lot to see and do, including activ- ity stations, animal encoun- ters, keeper chats, entertain- ment, animal feedings, com- munity vendors and mascots, art contest entries on display, and more. We will help fam- ilies "spring into action" to save our species and planet through simple, meaningful daily actions! EARTH DAY ART CONTEST Spring into action! Ex- press yourself for Earth Day in this unique art contest! Create a work of art with recyclable elements that demonstrates your individ- ual perspective of our Earth and its plants, animals, wa- ter, soil, sky, or people. How do you see your Earth? Visit to enter. PENGUIN PALOOZA CONTEST Challenge yourself with a scavenger hunt zoo-wide and locate hidden festive pretend penguins! This unique con- test will test your eagle eyes and is a fun way to see the whole zoo! Children will seek easier-to-find colorful pen- guins while adults are given the added challenge of black penguins in sneakier loca- tions! Soil Expo set for Aug. 16 Local SWCDs will host a Seven-County Spectacular Soil Expo on Aug. 16 at the Toyota Event Center inside Gibson County Fairground, 709 N. Embree St., Prince- ton. There is no cost to attend, but their is a fee for PARP credits. Daviess, Gibson, Knox, Pike, Posey, Vanderburgh and Warrick SWCDs along with Conservation Cropping Systems Initiative and Pur- due Extension will host the event. There is an opportunity for booth rental or sponsorship. For more information, con- tact one of the above SWCDs. Celebrate Earth Week April 18-22 "Our goal is not just an en- vironment of clean air and water and scenic beauty. The objective is an environment of decency, quality and mutu- al respect for all other human beings and all living crea- tures." – Earth Day Found- er, Senator Gaylord Nelson Celebrate Earth Week April 18 -22, 2022. Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. The Press-Dispatch Wednesday, April 13, 2022 D-7

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