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Schmidt: Small grain variety plot tour July 17

By Staff | Jul 14, 2017

The Pierce County Agriculture Improvement Association and NDSU Extension Service Pierce County will be hosting its annual small grain plot tour on Monday, July 17thbeginning at 9:00 a.m. at the plot site located along Hwy 2 at 26th Ave NE -3 miles west of Rugby from the Hwy 2&3 JCT and just northwest of the NDAWN Station. The plot features a number of varieties of spring wheat, durum and barley. This year’s topics include:

– Top 3 Weed-related Issues of Concern

– Comparison of Featured Small Grain Varieties

– Area Pest and Disease Concerns

The crop tour is open to all interested agriculturalists and the public.

Drought resources

The NDSU Extension Service has been monitoring the situation and developing resources to help farmers and ranchers cope with conditions. These resources including the widely publicized ND Feed List can be found by visiting: www.ag.ndsu.edu/drought .

With nearly one-third of the state experiencing extreme drought there are a number of drought related concerns for farmers and ranchers. At the forefront is dwindling feed supplies for cattle and withering crops. If that alone is not enough, drought also increases the risk for cyanobacterial poisoning in livestock; nitrate poisoning also becomes a concern.

Cyanobacteria often occur in stagnant ponds or dugouts, forming large colonies that appear as scum on or just below the water surface. Some species of cyanobacteria can be toxic when livestock and wildlife ingest them. Toxicity is dependent on the species consuming the water, the concentration of the toxin or toxins, and the amount of water ingested. can produce neuro and liver toxins.

Signs of neurotoxin poisoning can appear within five minutes to up to several hours after ingestion. In animals, symptoms include weakness, staggering, muscle tremors, difficulty in breathing, convulsions and, ultimately, death.

Animals affected by liver toxins may exhibit weakness, pale-colored mucous membranes, mental derangement, bloody diarrhea and, ultimately, death. Typically, livestock are found dead before producers observe symptoms.

If cyanobacterial poisoning is suspected as the cause of death, producers should check the edges of ponds for deceased wildlife and use gloves to collect a sample of the suspected cyanobacterial bloom from the surface of the water and deeper in the water. The sample should be kept cool but not frozen, and may be submitted to the NDSU Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory or a commercial laboratory. The sample can be evaluated microscopically for algae, or the water can be analyzed for several of the toxins at commercial labs at a higher cost.

For more information on sample collection and submission, contact your county agent of the NDSU Extension Service.

Producers who lose livestock due to cyanobacteria poisoning may be eligible for compensation through the U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency’s Livestock Indemnity Program. Compensation is provided for the first episode of deaths linked to a specific water source.

After that, producers must implement management practices to prevent additional losses.

Producers also must report losses to the USDA Farm Service Agency within 30 days after the loss is apparent.

Drought-stressed crops and forages can accumulate nitrates, which can lead to nitrate poisoning if consumed by livestock. Feeding drought-stressed forages from oats, barley and corn causes the majority of nitrate poisoning cases in North Dakota. However, a number of other plants also can accumulate nitrate, including wheat, sudangrass, sorghum-sudan hybrids, turnips and pearl millet. If producers are considering utilizing low-yielding crops as livestock forage, they should be tested for nitrates prior to feeding.

For more information on either of this week’s topics contact the Pierce County Extension office at 776-6234 ext. 5.

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