Published in Iowa Gardening
Holstein calf by nengloveyou/

The I-29 Moo University collaborative will host a webinar titled “Renovating Dairy Barns: Giving Them a Second Career” for dairy owners considering alternatives for their dairy facilities after selling their cows. The webinar will be held at noon on Friday, March 22. Read more about Dairy Webinar Focuses on Options for Empty Dairy Facilities

Published in Georgia Gardening

One of our workshop offerings during our Wednesday Volunteer Celebrations on April 10, 2019, is a yoga class.

Story source: Graham McCaulley, 573-882-2005

COLUMBIA, Mo. – The Missouri Council on Economic Education and the University of Missouri Center for Economic and Financial Education have launched a newly revamped program for high school students that focuses on financial planning and economic vibrancy.

The Missouri Personal Finance Challenge (MPFC) is a statewide, online competition for high school students to test their personal finance acumen and respond to real-life economic situations using knowledge and information gained as part of the Missouri personal finance course requirement for graduation.

Participation in the MPFC is free. The online competition runs through March 29. Top regional teams will compete April 19 in the state finals on the MU campus in Columbia. For more information or to register as a team, go to

“Hosting this event is a great opportunity for our center to engage with top high school students and their personal finance teachers on campus,” said Graham McCaulley, an MU assistant extension professor and co-director of the Center for Economic and Financial Education. “We look forward to connecting the students to Missouri financial professionals, who will help serve as competition judges for the students to receive feedback grounded in industry experiences.”

The MPFC offers an opportunity for students to compete for scholarships and represent Missouri in the National Personal Finance Challenge. In 2018 more than 1,100 students from 143 high schools across Missouri participated in the MPFC.

“We are extremely excited about the rejuvenated program and look forward to serving students and teachers across the state,” said Garrett Webb, executive director of the Missouri Council on Economic Education. “Programs like MPFC help us fulfill our mission to create an economically vibrant and financially literate workforce for Missouri, one student at a time.”

Webb said the council hopes this new partnership with MU will expand the program and increase participation.

Missouri, as one of six states nationwide to require completion of a standalone personal finance course before high school graduation, also co-hosts the National Personal Finance Challenge.

Photo available for this release:


Cutline: MPFC logo.

Media contact:
Linda Geist
University of Missouri Extension
Phone: 573-882-9185
E-Mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Story source: Valerie Tate, 660-895-5123

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Weed problems may explode this year thanks to the drought of 2018 and residual problems associated with overgrazing in parched pastures, says University of Missouri Extension agronomist Valerie Tate.

Last year’s extreme weather conditions created a forage shortage. As a result, many pastures were overgrazed.

When pastures are overgrazed, there is little green leaf material left to make sugars for plant growth, says Tate. When more than half of the aboveground plant material is removed, root growth slows or even stops. Weakened root systems reduce the ability to take up water and nutrients.

“Overgrazed pastures provide an opportunity for weeds to fill in the open spaces left when the forage is grazed short and plant roots are stunted,” Tate says.

A cooperative program between Natural Resources Conservation Services and MU Extension provides forage and livestock producers an opportunity to get technical help to design grazing plans that give pastures periods of rest. These rest periods make pastures stronger and healthier.

Well-rested pastures let more water into the soil and allow plants to have more vigorous root systems. Deep root systems and large carbohydrate stores help forages resist environmental stresses such as drought.

Proper soil fertility also helps reduce the encroachment of weeds in pastures. Over a two-year period, MU Extension weed scientist Kevin Bradley and his students surveyed 46 Missouri sites every two weeks from April through October.

They found that 80 percent of the pastures surveyed showed low or very low soil phosphorus levels. Thirty-seven percent presented low or very low soil potassium levels. Soil pH averaged 5.8. When pH increased by one unit, total weed density shrank by more than 4,000 weeds per acre. Common ragweed and lanceleaf ragweed dramatically decreased when pH increased. Yellow foxtail also fell significantly.

If annual weeds like ragweed and foxtail are problems in pastures and hayfields, improving pH, phosphorus and potassium levels may be more beneficial than controlling weeds with herbicides, says Tate. Perennial weeds like horsenettle and ironweed are more effectively controlled with herbicides.

For more information, contact your local University of Missouri Extension agronomist or go to

adult in show ring with cattle and students outside the ring.

A training session for livestock judging coaches will be held on April 20 at the Hansen Agriculture Learning Center in Ames. The session is designed for adults who are interested in learning how to coach a youth livestock judging team or want to improve their livestock coaching skills. Read more about Training for Livestock Judging Coaches Is April 20

Media contact:
Linda Geist
University of Missouri Extension
Phone: 573-882-9185
E-Mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Story source: Darla Campbell, 660-457-3469

GLENWOOD, Mo. – Hay producers can learn how to grow forage and harvest quality hay at University of Missouri Extension’s Hay Production School, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, March 23, at the Schuyler County Community Center in Glenwood.

During the one-day workshop, MU Extension specialists will tell farmers how they can harvest quality hay more economically, says Darla Campbell, MU Extension field specialist in agribusiness.

Topics include soil testing and fertility, forages, weeds and insects, testing hay for nutrient quality, harvest, storage, and feeding. Farmers also can learn how to increase profits and reduce costs when selling hay. Specialists will give guidelines to help farmers decide whether it is more economical for livestock producers to grow their own hay or to buy it.

Register by March 19. Contact Darla Campbell at the MU Extension Center in Schuyler County at 660-457-3469 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The Schuyler County Community Center is at 308 Main St., Glenwood.

Published in Indiana Gardening
Eight years ago, the Purdue Wine Grape Team asked Indiana residents and tourists to “Try On
Published in Missouri Gardening

Media contact:
Duane Dailey
University of Missouri Extension
Phone: 573-882-9181
E-Mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Story sources: Craig A. Roberts, 573-882-0481; Eric Bailey, 573-884-7873; Tim J. Evans, 573-884-9270

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Two years of abnormal weather changed plant growth, which changes livestock digestion. In the end cows die.

The words “it’s very complex” kept popping up in a University of Missouri emergency teleconference of state and regional MU Extension specialists.

This winter farmers find groups of cows dead, often falling on newly unrolled baled hay. In the worst cases, half the herd dies. Often the first sign of trouble is 10 dead cows.

The MU Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory in Columbia diagnosed more than 200 deaths from nitrate poisoning in the last month. The lab’s toxicology section head, Tim Evans, said it first: “It’s very complex.”

A bit later, MU Extension beef nutritionist Eric Bailey told of first aid to help nitrate-stricken cattle. Feed shelled corn to cows normally fed hay. “It’s very complex,” he adds.

Unusual weather the last couple of years set up this problem. Too much rain turned to too much drought. Hot weather turned very cold. Such extremes affect the biology of plant growth. Also, lots of pastures didn’t grow. That led to the hay shortages.

Fertilizer and poultry litter make grass grow. Nitrogen enters the plant as nitrate. That adds growth and protein for hay fed to cattle. Nitrogen fuels a cow’s rumen, the first stomach in digestion. In the end, nitrogen creates protein, making meat. Normally, more nitrogen on hayfields helps. More protein-rich hay grows healthy cattle.

When rains turn to drought, biology stops working. When plant juices stop flowing from roots to leaves, the raw nitrate stays in grass stems. When farmers bale nitrate-rich grass, the hay turns toxic.

What is normally a good practice of fertilizing grass becomes a bad practice. Who knew? As specialists said, “It’s very complex.” Many variables come into play.

The cow rumen needs nitrates to digest hay and make protein. Too much nitrate in hay stems overwhelms the digestive system. Toxins spill over into the blood.

This is where it gets more complex. An oversupply of nitrate ends up as nitrite. Nitrites prevent oxygen from binding with red blood cells. Without oxygen, animals die. That’s how nitrate-rich hay kills cows quickly.

All a farmer sees of that complexity are dead cows beside hay just unrolled.

Nutritionist Eric Bailey spoke up with a fix. Adding starch to the cow’s diet absorbs much of that extra nitrate in the rumen. Normally, farmers are advised to go slow adding corn to a rumen on a hay diet. At first, starch upsets rumen microbes.

In this unusual year, plain corn gives an answer. But adding a protein-rich supplement worsens the problem. Protein adds unneeded nitrogen. At first sign of trouble, take away any protein supplement.

Corn, a starch, speeds up digestion in the rumen. That moves toxic hay right on down the digestive tract.

At first sign of nitrate poisoning, which often can be death, remove bad hay.

As a first step, farmers should test suspect hay for nitrates, says Craig Roberts, MU Extension forage specialist.

“Know your hay,” Roberts said. Know where it came from and whether fertilizer or poultry manure was used. Risks rise in hay made in drought. Hay detective work doesn’t come easy.

Farmers face a serious problem now. After two years of drought, not much hay was baled. Buying good hay becomes almost impossible. It’s hard to find.

County MU Extension centers may have quick-test kits left over from last summer’s droughts. A few drops of the acid turn dark blue on split stems of high-nitrate grass.

Blue indicates a quantitative test is needed.

Evans says quantitative nitrate tests report parts per million. Less than 2,500 ppm seems safe. More than 5,000 ppm means danger. At 10,000, watch out!

Regional MU agronomists and livestock specialists gear up to help farmers sort complex issues.

Evans says added problems come when cold fronts descend from the Arctic. Cattle sense weather changes in advance, and then they overeat, filling the rumen with forage for the cold spell. Even borderline toxic hay not causing trouble becomes potentially toxic in an overloaded rumen.

Pregnant cows near calving are vulnerable. Unborn calves die of nitrate poison. They lack oxygen.

Cows in poor condition suffer most. With low hay supplies and bad weather, cows started winter in lower body condition. Thin cows with less fat reserves are more vulnerable.

Roberts says toxin management includes watching each cow. Some may show early signs of poisoning by their weakness. That warns of complex problems ahead.

Ask for help from veterinarians or extension specialists early rather than later.

The MU Extension guide “Nitrate Problems in Livestock Feed and Water” is available for free download at

Published in Iowa Gardening
mother teaching daughter teeth brushing in bathroom by Oksana Kuzmina/

Big changes in a child’s life, such as getting a sibling or moving to a new home, bring big transitions. Although learning to manage big transitions is important for children’s development, learning to manage the small transitions of daily life is equally important, according to Cindy Thompson, with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. Read more about Help Children Manage Small Transitions of Daily Life

Published in Iowa Gardening
Mark Rasmussen standing in front of cattle.

The role of livestock in sustainable agriculture is the topic of the Iowa Learning Farms webinar, Wednesday, March 20 at 12 p.m. Read more about Iowa Learning Farms Webinar Looks at Impact Cattle Have on Planet

Page 8 of 1560