Ag Spring 2023 Newsletter

Ag Spring 2023 Newsletter

Ag Spring 2023 Newsletter

May 2023 Edition

Agriculture & Natural Resources
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            In April, I was asked to join a small delegation of Extension Agents from across Kentucky in Washington D.C. for a national conference of extension agents and administrators. Our objective was to learn more about the public issues across the country and how the Cooperative Extension Service is involved in addressing these issues within their respective states. The third day in D.C. was set aside for time on Capitol Hill where we had appointments with most of the Kentucky congressional offices’ staff and both Senate offices. We had the opportunity to share some of the extension activities occurring across the state and within each specific congressional district. Much of the conversation in those meetings pertained to the Farm Bill.
            The Farm Bill is a 5 year program. The current farm bill, passed in 2018 expires on September 30 this year. As we know from discussion in the news concerning federal spending, there is apprehension concerning the early congressional budget office cost estimates for the 2023 farm bill. The 2018 farm bill passed relatively easily. It was pre-pandemic, so no major increases to nutrition program spending were requested. The commodity prices were up, so despite the possibility of farm subsidy payments, there was low expectation they would be triggered, causing the budgeted funds to be dispersed. The third popular aspect of the 2018 farm bill included language allowing commercial hemp to be grown in every state.
            The farm bill forecasts spending for 10 years despite being only a 5-year legislation.  In 2023, we have an economy slowly recovering from the pandemic, continued strength in commodity prices, price inflation of SNAP eligible food items, and more people qualifying for SNAP benefits. When combined, those factors have the nutrition title forecast to compose 84.5% of the 2023 farm bill compared to 76.5% of the 2018 farm bill. In fact, the 2023 farm bill 10 year expense is forecast to exceed one trillion for the first time ever. The total amount budgeted is $1.4 trillion, $1.2 trillion of which is in the nutrition title. The 2018 farm bill forecast spending $867 billion over the 10 period, $663 billion in the nutrition title.
            This amount of funding request, specifically for the nutrition title of the farm bill, is certain to be used as leverage for other congressional requests concerning federal spending and deficit reduction. While most of the congressional staff we met with were optimistic the farm bill would be passed on time, all indicated it would be discussed up until the final minutes before approval. One office suggested it might not be approved for a long time, as was the case with the farm bill that expired in 2012. The congressional leadership and presidential administration at that time could not agree and that bill was repeatedly extended over the next two years until the new bill was finally agreed upon in 2014.
            To boil the farm bill down, there are four primary categories it provides. The first category being a farm safety net. The core agricultural leadership wish to maintain a risk management focus with crop insurance and countercyclical support with subsidies. Countercyclical is an economics term meaning to counteract the fluctuations of an economic cycle. They wish to improve and expand crop insurance, and revisit price support levels of support in the countercyclical measures. The second category is trade, followed with a simple one line, to increase support to market support and market development programs. The third category is conservation, in which they wish to prioritize voluntary conservation, cap CRP enrollments, and favor cost share for sustainable practice adoption. The fourth and by far the largest category of the farm bill is nutrition. The goal of congress is to maintain the nutrition titles as part of the farm bill and to advance domestic food security and food access through SNAP and related programs.
            The question often arises about why the nutrition title remains in the farm bills. It was explained best to me by a previous staffer on the house agriculture committee that keeping the nutrition title in the farm bill was the only way to ever get it passed in congress. With nutrition included, the senators and representatives from rural, agricultural districts and senators and representatives from the urban areas will all support and vote for it.

Welcome to Catherine Dowdy, our new the SNAP-Ed Assistant for the Nutrition Education Program. She and her husband Rickey and have eight children and live in McLean County. Prior to this position, she owned and operated a restaurant in Stanley and has worked extensively in the non-profit sector. She said “My role as the SNAP-Ed Assistant for the Nutrition Education Program is the perfect combination of all my passions: Community, Frugality, and course, Food!”

The Rinse and Return Chemical Jug Program is a voluntary, program sponsored by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture and the Agri-Business Association of Kentucky. This program allows for the proper recycling of these pesticide containers. 1,892,000 pounds of pesticide containers since its inception with more than 100 counties participating. It started out in 1991 with three participating counties and gathered 10,000 pounds of material in the first year. KDA field technicians believe the 2 million pound mark can be achieved this year. Daviess County Rinse and Return will be Wednesday, September 2nd from 9am-11am at the Daviess County Landfill on Hwy 815. On-farm pickup is an also and option by calling KDA employees Justin Butts at 502-229-7544 or John Hendricks II at 502-229-3176.

**download the pdf to see the picture of the flyer**

The Daviess County Agricultural Development Council met March 22 and committed a portion of the 2023 master settlement agreement appropriations for Daviess County. The council committed $100,000 for the Green River Beef Improvement Group to administer the County Agricultural Investment Program, eligible for Daviess County farmers and landowners. The signup will begin in early August and conclude on November 30. The council committed $20,000 to the Daviess County Youth Agricultural Cost Share Program, administered by the Daviess County Soil Conservation Service. The council committed $12,000 to Grain Day inc to support the 50th Anniversary Ag Expo January 31, 2024. Current board members are Brad Stephen and Frank Schadler representing the Farm Service Agency. Ray Wright and Caleb Taylor representing the Soil Conservation District. Dakota Edge and Dustin Warren representing the Cooperative Extension Service, Brandon Gilles and Robert Fischer representing early career farmers and Camille Lambert representing agri-business.

**download pdf to see the picture of the flyer**

From Friday night 4/21 through Monday morning 4/24, most of the state experienced cold to freezing temperatures with frost as well. Sunday/Monday (4/23 to 4/24) there were twelve sites at or below freezing. Mesonet stations in Butler, Caldwell, Carroll, Christian, Crittenden, Graves, Grayson, Hardin, Logan, Meade, Ohio, Taylor and Webster counties all experienced temperatures at or slightly below freezing for a small period of time. However, the lowest temperature (29.7°F in Webster County) was still not cold enough to cause any concern for the wheat crop.

Locally, emerging corn did indicate signs of cold/freeze stress with yellowed appearance and damaged leaf tissue but by Thursday 4/27 new growth emerging from the soil line was green and healthy in appearance. All indication is no negative effect on the corn crop should be expected. Soybean that were completely below ground are safe from injury but soybean fields in the emerging crook stage may see some stand reduction. Injury to the stem below the cotelydons (seed leaves) will kill the plant. Soybeans that were fully emerged may lose the unifoiliate leaves and/or primary growing point but as long as the coteyldons are sill attached, the plants will branch at the coteyldons and continue growing as shown in this image from May 21, 2020, two weeks following two consecutive frost mornings.

The market will be open Saturdays from 8am-12pm.  It is located at 1205 Triplett Street in Owensboro, Kentucky at the corner of East Parrish Avenue and Triplett Street.

Beth Horn will be retiring May 19 after 8 years of service to the staff and clientele of the Daviess County Cooperative Extension Service. Many achievements I have enjoyed can be traced to her effort, advice, and example of excellence in extension support.

There will be a retirement reception in her honor on Monday, May 15 from 4:00-6:00 p.m. at the Daviess County Cooperative Extension Office.

Don’t want to miss the weekly farm update but don’t receive the Messenger-Inquirer? Sign up to receive it by e-mail using this link You can also sign up to receive e-mails related to all of our program areas.

The crop has had excellent germination and emergence conditions. Here’s a refresher on calculating final stand. Row width and length of row needed to equal 1/1,000th acre.
15” rows 34 feet 10 inches
20” rows 26 feet 2 inches
30” rows 17 feet 5 inches
Counted plants in the length of row should be multiplied by 1,000 to equal plants per acre. Hula hoops are also a convenient method to estimate stands in narrow rows. Count the plants within the circle and multiply by the factor below which matches the inner diameter of your hoop. Hoop inner diameter = multiply factor
18” = 24,662
21” = 18,119
24” = 13,872
27” = 10,961
30” = 8,878
33” = 7,337
36” = 6,165



The first cutting of alfalfa is still a few weeks away. Be on the watch for alfalfa weevil and potato leafhopper. Their emergence coincides with warmer temperatures and they require insecticide control if the harvest is delayed due to weather.

Hopperburn, the characteristic symptom, results from the accumulation of photosynthates in leaves. It begins as a V-shaped wedge of yellow extending from about the middle of the leaf to the tip. PLH can reduce yields up to 25%, as well as lower crude protein, vitamin A, carotene, calcium, phosphorus, and digestible dry matter content.

A single, well-timed application of any one of several insecticides will provide excellent leafhopper control. A 35-day harvest schedule generally keeps leafhoppers from building to large numbers. Cutting drives the winged adults out of the field. The wingless nymphs are unable to leave and most starve or die from some other cause before regrowth starts.

SAVE THE DATE: Tuesday, July 25, 2023
8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. in Princeton, KY

May 9, 2023,  9 am-noon, registration 8 am
1205 Hopkinsville Rd
Princeton, KY 42445

Drone Regulations, Applications, and Economics: Dr. Josh Jackson & Dr. Tim Stombaugh, UK Extension Agriculture Engineers
Wheat Market Outlook: Dr. Grant Gardner, New UK Extension Marketing Specialist
UKY Oat and Rye Breeding: Dr. Lauren Brzozowski, New UK Small Grains Breeder
Wheat vs Weather: A Reoccurring Battle: Kinsey Hamby, UK PSS Graduate Student
Management of Fusarium Head Blight: Dr. Carl Bradley, UK Extension Pathologist
Wheat Agronomics: Conner Raymond, UK Grain Crops Extension Associate
Variety Trial Walk Through: Dr. Dave Van Sanford & Bill Bruening, UK Wheat Breeder & Researcher Specialist
Sustainable Management of Wheat for the Presence of Natural Enemies in Grain & Soybeans: Dr. Raul Villanueva, UK Extension Entomologist