West Virginia Conservation Agency  •  1900 Kanawha Blvd. E. •  Charleston, WV 25305  •  304-558-2204
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Little Kanawha District

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June 2018 Minutes - 1/31/19
posted by: Jessica Nichols
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Training the Jr. Master Gardener Trainers - 1/25/19
posted by: Jessica Nichols

The Little Kanawha Conservation District is pleased to co-sponsor a program that will benefit students in our area for years to come.

Please share this upcoming training opportunity with your groups, local school teachers, local media contacts or individuals that might be interested in teaching from a research-based curriculum. We have a free Youth Gardening Trainer Hands-on Training (Jr. Master Gardeners) offered with free resources on Friday, February 1, 2019 from 9 am to 2 pm at the Roane County Library in Spencer, WV. Register today by calling 304-927-0975! Excellent for Elementary and Middle School teachers and staff, home-schooler parents, youth organization volunteers from 4-H, scouts, after-school, etc! This training will be conducted by Aimee Figgatt from the Capitol Conservation District thanks to a WV Conservation Districts Association Grant. Little Kanawha Conservation District will be providing lunch for the training. The workshop is hosted by the WVU-Roane County Extension Service. To register or if you have any questions, contact Brandy Brabham at brandy.brabham@mail.wvu.edu or call the office at 304-927-0975.

LKCD Offers Scholarships to Appalachian Grazing Conference - 1/23/19
posted by: Jessica Nichols

The Little Kanawha Conservation District is pleased to offer scholarships to the Appalachian Grazing Conference this March.  Scholarships will be limited to one District Cooperator per county within the District area (Calhoun, Ritchie, Roane, Wirt & Wood).  For more information regarding the Appalachian Grazing Conference please check out this link.  For additional information regarding the scholarships that the District is offering please call 304-422-9088, Monday thru Friday between 8 – 4.

Winter Grazing Stockpiled Forages, and Frost Seeding - 1/23/19
posted by: Jessica Nichols

– Victor Shelton, NRCS State Agronomist/Grazing Specialist

It is 45 degrees outside today as I write this article. I normally appreciate mild winter weather, but when it rains, and temperatures remain above freezing, except for a frivolous teasing of heavy frosts, a pasture can get pretty ugly. I for one wouldn't mind a little free concrete right now, you know, frozen ground. For many of us, 2018 was an extremely wet year. Some parts of Indiana, including where I live ended up with over 60 inches of rain. That makes me think of a Clint Eastwood quote, “If you think it’s going to rain, it will.”

Strip grazing stockpiled forage is usually a delight. Of course, it is best accomplished under dry or frozen conditions. If the pasture of stockpile is heavy (at least 3,000 pounds of dry matter per acre), then it can often be grazed even under fairly wet conditions without too much long-term damage but, you will need to have a watchful eye.

Under wet conditions make sure you are providing sufficient allotments daily according to your set time frame. If livestock start to run low before the next move, you will often see some pacing along the temporary fence line as they patiently (not) wait for the next move. Their pacing creates a lot of soil disturbance and pugging. Pugging can quickly turn a nice pasture into what appears to be a wallow. The hooves create pockets of compacted soil that bury the remaining plant tissue quickly. These highly disturbed areas of bare soil are then prone to erosion, especially if they are on sloping land and will most likely be a weedy mess next spring. You can reduce the impact by allocating out a little more than normal and by not being tardy in rotating to the next allowance.

The livestock still need mineral and water. Most likely than not, particularly due to the time of year and less use of temporary water systems, permanent type water tanks are used. When permanent water tanks are used, the moves or allocations of stockpile usually start from that location and move out from there with no back fencing so livestock can go back to the water and mineral if it is left at the same spot. Under wet conditions, some trailing is inevitable in that path to the water. There is not a lot you can do about it under wet conditions. I probably try to extend temporary water systems way beyond a sensible time frame just to reduce this disturbance. I have found that the feeding of bale of hay unrolled on that area as the last event for that field for the season is not a bad idea.

Fields that are grazed with less forage mass present under these same wet conditions will have more damage. The lack of surface plant material along with the reduced complementing root structure is more prone to pugging, compaction, and more visual soil and thus even erosion. Okay, we have all done this at one time or another, by accident or simply neglect and the first thing to cross your mind when you see the field all mucked up is, dang, that’s not very pretty and it won’t look much better next spring.

I hate bare soil. Bare soil is nothing less than a missed opportunity for forage production and at the same time an invitation for unwanted plants and weeds. Come spring, something is going to be growing in that bare spot and you will want it to be plants with some grazing or biological benefits. Now is a great time to look at the situation and opportunities to improve.

By this time of year, any seeding of forages would be considered a dormant seeding. Seeds planted now will lay there until the right conditions present themselves closer to spring. Most producers with pasture or hay ground understand the concept of “frost-seeding.” Frost-seeding is taking advantage of the freeze-thaw process of the soil during winter months. When water in the soil freezes, it moves upward, pushing some soil with it. This creates little pockets for seed to fall into, especially slick smooth seeds like clover. This process provides a good environment for seed-to-soil contact and good conditions for that seed to grow later. Soils that have been disturbed and that have more soil visible are subject to more heaving due to a lack of enough vegetative buffers. Soils that are bare or that have thin cover will freeze quicker and deeper. Soils with heavy cover sometimes don’t freeze much at all.

If you already have some clover planted and are just enhancing what you have, then utilize improved varieties for the best results. If not, then you should inoculate the seed with the appropriate rhizobium. The seed may germinate and thrive without it, but it will do so much better if it is present, especially if one of the goals for planting the legume is as a nitrogen source for the grass component of the stand. The clover fills in the gaps or voids in a grass stand, especially disturbed ones. Adding clover to help fix these sites makes sense. Clover adds diversity, boosts yields, provides pollinator loving plants to the pasture, and there are some benefits, especially with red clover, in reducing or diluting endophyte-infected tall fescue issues.

If there is a lot of disturbance, then the situation gets more challenging. You certainly don’t want to fill in all those voids with legumes. High amounts of some legumes, especially white clover, can increase the risk for bloat. What you really want is something to fill in those voids until the perennial forages can take hold again and compete successfully with opportunist weeds in the spring. By early spring, anything growing in those spaces that can be consumed as forage and not a weed, even temporarily, is a good thing.

Planting grasses into existing grasses is almost always risky at best. Those new little seedlings can’t compete with established plants; it’s just too much competition. Typical tall cool-season forage seeded, such as orchard grass and tall fescues, don’t come up fast enough in the early spring and by the time they are really starting to grow, the established plants are already outgrowing and out competing them. One grass that potentially can fit this bill is perennial rye grass, especially in the southern part of Indiana. In normal weather conditions, it will come on early enough to get a foothold and at least provide enough cover to help reduce weeds and some quality forage too. This rescue method with perennial rye grass does have some risk, and often does not remain long-term.

Keep on grazing!

Invasive Species List Increases - 1/23/19
posted by: Jessica Nichols
Two Invasive Species Added to Noxious Weeds List. Kudzu joined the West Virginia Noxious Weeds List in 2018. Japanese Barberry is set to be added to the list by July 2020. Being added to the list means those species can longer be commercially sold in the state. To view the list please click here. The LKCD offers the Agricultural Enhancement Program to assist cooperators regarding these problem issues. For additional information please call the District office at 304-422-9088, option 5, Monday thru Friday 8 to 4.

Winter wheat management: What are tillers and how do they contribute to yield? - 1/22/19
posted by: Jessica Nichols

Winter wheat management: What are tillers and how do they contribute to yield?  

January 22, 2019 Crops - Ohio’s County Journal

By Matt Hutcheson, CCA, product manager for Seed Consultants, Inc.

In the coming months as the weather warms, up winter wheat will break dormancy and will begin to green up. After a period of about 2 weeks producers should evaluate their stand in order to make management decisions for their wheat crop. Part of this evaluation includes counting tillers to determine if there is an adequate stand for achieving high yields. According an article in a 2014 C.O.R.N. Newsletter written by Laura Lindsey, Ed Lentz, Pierce Paul, “Yield potential is reduced if tiller numbers fall below 25 per square foot after green up.”

So, what is a tiller? And how should they be counted? Tillers are additional stems that develop off of the main shoot of the plant. Primary tillers form in the axils of the first four or more true leaves of the main stem. Secondary tillers may develop from the base of primary tillers if conditions favor tiller development. On the wheat plant pictured above, you can count 6 tillers in addition to the main shoot.

Tillers, especially those that develop in the fall, are needed to achieve high yielding wheat. The plant pictured above has the potential to develop 6 to 7 heads. A wheat stand of 1.65 to 1.7 million plants per acre with this amount of tillering (6 to 7 heads), a 100 bu/ac yield is possible. While fall tiller development is promoted by timely planting and applying fall N, determining if stands are adequate and applying N at green up are also critical components in a management program that produces high wheat yields.

Two Free Forage Samples for LKCD Landowners - 12/28/16
posted by: Jessica Nichols

Have you ever had your forage tested? A simple core test can be done to enable you to know the nutrient values of your hay.

These are analysis for beef cattle, horses, and sheep productions. Determining the nutritional values of your stored feeds will allow you to determine the supplements that you will need.

A conservation specialist will obtain either a sample from your field or get a core from your hay bales for only a charge of $25, that fee covers: using her equipment, making the visit to your farm, and bagging, packaging and postage for the samples. Oh did I mention the Little Kanawha Conservation District also pays for two of your samples. Then you just pay for what type of testing you are wanting done from either Basic or Protein and fiber for the rest of your samples. Samples from the field are taken approximately one week before you cut the field. Hay bales can be sampled after 30 days from being baled. Fermentation needs to be completed, which is usually 3 weeks after being baled.

The samples will be analyzed and the results will be sent to you as well as the Little Kanawha Conservation District. We supply assistance to Calhoun, Ritchie, Roane, Wirt and Wood counties.  If you are located in these counties and would like to schedule an appointment for the District Conservation Specialist to assist you in taking advantage of this farm management opportunity for the small fee of $25 , call the Little Kanawha Conservation District at (304) 422- 9072, Ext. 122. We will be happy to arrange a time that is convenient for you


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