Cover Crops

(Frank Chaffin) It’s a good AGam in Kansas morning! Good morning and let’s take a look and see what’s coming up today. First learn the basics of how to create a windbreak for your farm or ranch. Then Dr. Kevin Donnelly shares a couple of classroom experiments from the Kansas Foundation for Ag in the Classroom’s Summer Workshop for Teachers. Next we have some important tips about meat safety for your family; and then Curtis Capone talks about his family’s cattle operation. We’ll end with Dr. Chris Blevins and the importance of equine dentistry.

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(Charles Barden) Good morning I’m Charles Barden with K-State Research and Extension Forestry. I’d like to visit with you today about windbreaks. We’re just on a field day here with the KLA and we saw some excellent windbreaks that were put in to protect the cows and calves as they were calving in the fall and in the spring. Whenever you can provide wind protection for cattle during the cold winter weather to eat less feed to get through the cold weather, and especially the calves will be healthier because they won’t be so subjected to the cold wind chill. Cattle will feel wind chill just like people do and that can really be a problem. What we saw on this property here was some beautiful windbreaks that were planted back in 1984. And they’re used to protect their areas where they bring in their cows to calve and to get settled in. A good windbreak, we need to start really with Eastern Red Cedar. That’s our native evergreen tree to the state of Kansas and a couple of rows of Eastern Red Cedar spaced within the row about ten feet apart or between rows about 20 feet apart, really form the basic backbone of the windbreak. If there’s space to put in additional rows, a row of hardwood tree something like a Burr Oak or a Honey Locust will get real tall, will actually help the windbreak quite a bit. The height of the windbreak determines how far downwind the zone will be protected. So, the cedars do the most, the heavy lifting of the windbreak as the backbone of having some taller hardwood trees help extend that protection area downwind. And then if there’s interest in wildlife or aesthetics adding in some flowering or fruiting shrub rows also help improve the low level density of the windbreak, help trap more snow within the windbreak and also provide some additional wildlife habitat. If you go the Eastern Red Cedar, they’re pretty much a bulletproof tree. But if you don’t want to use Eastern Red Cedar you can use Oriental Arborvitae, but they are also prone to bag worms that will need to be sprayed occasionally. In early summer the bag worms are bad and we can’t really recommend many pine trees for the main part of the windbreak because of insect and disease problems on our pine trees here in Kansas. For additional information they can go to the Kansas Forest Service website. That is Kansas forests, with an “s” on the end, dot org. Or call the State office number at 785-532-3300 and tell the person what you’re interested in and they can put you in contact with a local district forester who could come out to your farm or ranch property and help you design a windbreak and help you get the seedlings you need.

(Dr. Kevin Donnelly) I’m Dr. Kevin Donnelly, a Professor of Agronomy, Kansas State University. Today we’re here working with our Kansas Foundation for Ag in the Classroom’s summer workshop for teachers. And so, we’re pleased to be able to participate in that. We do a number of activities here involving plants and soils. This is also the International Year of Soils, so we’ve put a special emphasis on soils this year as well. One of the experiments or demonstrations that I always like to show the teachers that they can use for showing children the impact of soil erosion is just a little simple display. It doesn’t cost a lot. It’s made out of foil pans and a couple of two by fours and you can do it on a curb here. So what we’ve done is set up some pans of soil. And we have a bare soil, we have cut up a little thin layer of sod to put on one of the pans, and then the other one we have residue cover, that is some straw or leaves. You could use whatever you want. So, then where you have done the demonstration that you will see to show that the residue cover or the grass cover will protect that soil from the impact of the raindrops, where the bare soil will show a lot of erosion in terms of water moving off, soil moving off, water comes off with a lot of soil particles. And so it’s a good easy demonstration to show… and an inexpensive way to show the impact of cover on soil to prevent soil erosion. The other that we talked about this morning, we’ve had a focus on nutrients. We’ve had presentation from a staff person from Nutrients for Life. We’ve also talked about the different nutrients and what plants need to get from, obtain from the soil. And we also talked quite a bit about the advantage of legume crops, which are able to fix their own nitrogen from the air, through the interaction with the rhizobia bacteria that live in the nodules. So, this morning we’re out in the field, looking here just in a lawn here on campus, and we were able to find some white clover and birds foot trefoil and sweet clover, red clover, these are just kind of growing along with our grass here. And even a weedy species called black medic that’s also a legume. So, we’re looking at those nodules, which live, which are formed on the root system at the bacteria live within to perform the nitrogen fixing process. Something that we kind of don’t even know is happening sometimes, so again a very important process because it provides us with nitrogen that we don’t have to use as fertilizer, or as much fertilizer on legume crops, compared to what we do on wheat and corn and sorghum and our grass crops. So, one of our main objectives with Ag in the Classroom is as well in our education efforts, we talk a lot about STEM education- Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics are kind of those basic core disciplines that we can apply then into something that is a career opportunity, an opportunity to help feed the world, to provide for human needs. And so agronomy, plant science, applications using crops, growing crops, learning about it. So we work with the teachers to try to start to bring some of these agricultural examples. And we’ll also talk about animal examples this afternoon, to utilize that in teaching to help bring science and math and technology into…a practical application that hopefully will inspire some students to seek out careers in these areas. And so we’ve had a very strong demand in the area of agronomy for students, graduates to work in the area of seed, fertilizer and protecting our environment. So, we’re all about trying to get that seed, if you will, planted at the elementary age.

(Londa Nwadike) The meat industry is doing a great job of keeping things as safe as possible. They’re working very hard to make sure that the products that consumers are buying are as safe as possible. (Travis O’Quinn) The beef in the United States is safe. Regardless whether we’re talking about conventionally raised products or if we’re talking about organic or natural. All beef is safe because it’s all inspected by the USDA. All of the standards that go into effect for conventionally raised products are also applied to any other form or production system as well. (Londa) Potentially ground beef could have some microbial contaminants. Animals are grown in an environment where there are potential contaminants. They’re grown outside. Those contaminants can potentially get into the meat eventually. (Travis) We look at intact steak products or roast products; the inside of that muscle where that’s never been exposed to the outer air surface is sterile. That’s why we can safely cook and prepare steak and roast meats to a rare degree of doneness because the inside of that meat was never contaminated or never even had the potential to be contaminated with any form of pathogenic bacteria. Ground beef products on the other hand is something entirely a concern because the inside of that product, what was once the outside, is ground up into what is now the inside of the product. Because of that the outside is no safer than the inside. We have to make sure we prepare those products accordingly because of that. (Londa) Any ground beef, pork, lamb those should be cooked to 160 degrees. That temperature is safe to make sure that we know that you’re killing off any bacteria that could be present. Definitely always use a thermometer to make sure that the temperature is correct. Unfortunately color is not a really good indicator in particular for ground meats, if it’s done or not. I tell people microorganisms don’t care what color the meat is. They only care what temperature it’s been cooked to. So make sure that temperature is getting up to 160 degrees for ground meats. If you’re cooking a roast or a steak, intact products that haven’t been needle tenderized, those only need to be cooked to 145 degrees. (Travis) From where contamination can occur, it can occur at any point and time. From the time that animal’s harvested all the way up until the time it goes onto a plate. A lot of times consumers don’t take a lot of responsibility for mishandling raw meat products in their own home. (Londa) It’s so important that the whole way from the farm all the way to the consumer that we’re doing things as safely as possible. That we’re making sure that we’re all using safe handling practices.

(Samantha Capoun) Hello folks, today with have us Curtis Capoun and he’s here to talk about some of the daily activities that him and his family have throughout the year. Curtis, why don’t you tell us about your operation. (Curtis) My family owns and operates the CX Ranch near Wabaunsee County, Kansas. We have a few spring cow and calf pairs that we run year around. In addition, we start to get in stocker cattle at the beginning of January and feed them throughout the winter. When the summer grasses are ready at the beginning of May, we turn the stockers out for a 90 day grazing period, ship them towards the end of July. (Samantha) So, what kind of operations do you do throughout the spring to keep them in check? (Curtis) Well, to start with, we burn all of our pastures in the spring, which really helps the rate of gain with these steers, as opposed to unburned pastures. We have miles of fence to go around, brome traps and native pastures and fences that need to be checked and mended. (Samantha) You guys have been getting a lot of rain lately, correct? (Curtis) That is correct. Throughout May we have accumulated 10 inches already. (Samantha) Are there any negative effects that it may have on the pastures? (Curtis) Not necessarily on the pastures. Although it kind of gives us a little bit of extra work to do. We have a lot of current gaps that need checked if we get even up to an inch of rain, we go and check every one of our creek gaps. (Samantha) So, what is a creek gap? (Curtis) A creek gap is a spot where a fence crosses over a river ravine or a creek. It is a section that stops at the fence and we have either a breakaway fence that can be wiped out by flood waters and debris, or a free swinging current gap that will swing out of the way when it gets flood with the creek. (Samantha) So, what you’re basically saying is when all these heavy rains come down, all the water goes down to the ravines and it washes out the fences, so you guys have to go and fix them. So, what’s the importance of fixing? (Curtis) Well if we didn’t fix them, steers and heifers and our pairs would be out and we would be out chasing them, which is just more work in the end. So, we’ll go out every day, doesn’t matter how much rain we get, check the creek gaps. (Samantha) How do you check? (Curtis) Well, you go to every spot that the fences cross the ravine and make sure that the creek gaps aren’t plugged up with driftwood and grass and debris. And if it is, you shake all the debris out of ’em and throw it out of the creek. If the fence happens to be wiped out, you just wire it back into place. (Samantha) Well, Curtis thank you for coming to join us today. We certainly appreciate it. And we wish your family good luck in the future and hopefully we keep getting more rain, but you guys don’t have to do too much work in the creek gaps. (Curtis) Well, it would be alright with me. (Samantha) Thanks for joining us.

(Dr. Chris Blevins) Hello. Welcome to Horsing Around. I’m Dr. Chris Blevins at Kansas State University Veterinary Health Center. Today, I’m going to talk a little bit about equine dentistry and some things that we do here at the Veterinary Health Center as far as examination of the equine teeth, mouth area. One of the new and exciting things that we have here at the vet school is a dental endoscope. What this piece of equipment is used for is a camera that we can put in the horse’s mouth and actually video record and diagnostically see different angles within the mouth, because as we know, the horse’s mouth is very tunnel-like when we look inside the mouth. This gives us different dimensions to see. We’re actually finding other things that maybe we haven’t diagnosed in the past. When we use the dental endoscope, I also allow for the students to see on a TV screen. In addition, the owners can really see and be involved with the examination process too. It’s really been a great asset here at Kansas State Veterinary Health Center as far as diagnostically and educationally the tool that we use. There have been all kinds of other things that we’ve added too for equine dentistry including some aspects of removing incisors with dental drills and moving some of the bone away. We have some older horses that get resorptive lesions and enbulge in the teeth that are anchored in and hard to remove. We use the drill. Now, we’ve used that for equine incisor extractions that’s needed for that tooth resorptive lesion. In addition, we’ve had caps that has donated their thing to rinse out the mouth and rinse out pockets within the mouth. That is an instrument that we have here. It is just on a tube, but it’s about 80 Psi. It really flushes pockets or spaces that maybe in between some of the teeth that we can’t get with just a normal rinsing mouth applicator. It allows us to get in there and squirt water in there and to remove some of those debris diagnostically and therapeutically for these horses. It’s been a really great thing for us to be able to use here at Kansas State. Some of the other things we do is standing oral extractions of some of the cheek teeth. Those things are some that evolved and used worth here at Kansas State. It’s not a new process that’s being just developed. It’s something that we’ve been modifying even through educational purposes and things, continuing education that we’ve learned about horses’ mouths. We’ve now learned every horse is different. Every mouth is different. Examination, seeing what the horse needs to be able to use those teeth through their whole life is very important; something that we continue to build here at Kansas State Veterinary Health Center. I think the other thing is to remember that we have other things that are going to be coming in the near future when it comes to teeth, horses’ teeth, in addition dental caries or cavities in horses’ mouths and stuff we’re seeing a lot more with this scope. I think those things, again, as we continue we’re going to be coming forward in the future. If you If you have any questions about equine dentistry here at the Veterinary Health Center or just about your own horse, give us a call here at the vet school any time. I’m Dr. Chris Blevins at Kansas State Veterinary Health Center. I’ll see you around.

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