Ag News and Views: April 2008
Four keys to an effective weed management program are knowing the types of weeds present, the problems they cause, estimating their economic thresholds and knowing their available management options.
In the mid-1990s, a program was started at the Noble Research Institute to develop a cool-season perennial grass. Now, more than a decade later, the Noble Research Institute is close to achieving this long-sought goal. Perhaps ironically, the candidate grass was found on one of the Noble Research Institute's own farms.
A research project has been designed to examine the economic feasibility of utilizing switchgrass in a dual-purpose production system that allows for 1) springtime grazing by stocker cattle and 2) fall biomass production that can be harvested and delivered to a biorefinery that will convert it into ethanol.
Many livestock producers reduced cow numbers in 2006 because of the drought and were hesitant to restock early in 2007. The abundant rainfall last summer, however, cleansed memories and renewed optimism, and we began to add back numbers later in the year in the form of heifers.
In 2006 we experienced the driest growing season on record, only to be followed by the best growing season in 2007. No doubt our pastures have seen the worst of times and the best of times in a very short time frame. As one of my colleagues, Eddie Funderburg, stated recently, your pastures are probably not as good as we saw last year or as bad as we saw in 2006.