Although horse farm owners by nature are jacks of all trade, they can easily overlook the importance of developing appropriate plans for environmental systems. Heavy rains throughout April and at the beginning of May provide a striking visual aide:
There is no better time to see how heavy rain and run-off can erode fields and paths, which makes spring the perfect time to take the necessary steps to prevent further soil loss, erosion, loss of forage, damage to pasture, and contamination of waterways.
The wettest April on record and historic flooding have kept the majority of Kentucky producers out of fields, delaying planting across the state and prompting producers to consider switching some areas from corn to soybeans.
According to the Kentucky Weekly Crop and Weather report, 17 percent of the state’s corn crop was planted as of May 1. This is a great deal behind 2010, which had 82 percent of planting completed at this time, and less than the five-year average of 59 percent.
The heavy rains, high water and flooding that occurred across Kentucky early this month may cause concerns about the safety of drinking water and well water in affected communities.
Anytime a well is surrounded by flood waters or when heavy rains cause the water to become muddy or cloudy after a rain, the well should be disinfected. Shock chlorination is the process used to sanitize private wells. The product recommended for use is regular liquid household bleach which can be purchased in local grocery stores.
The rules on amending the soil have changed over the years. Part of the change relates to the fact that good soil is hard to come by in newly developed subdivisions where enormous earth moving equipment is used to level trees and land. This equipment not only removes the valuable topsoil, it also compacts subsoil and kills the living organisms that make up a healthy soil system. The less we disturb the soil the better, but for many, some sort of amendment is necessary in order to improve tilth, drainage and nutrition.
Unless you are cultivating cranberries or rice, all this rain is likely thwarting your spring gardening plans; it sure is for many farmers in our area, which is my primary concern. While perspective is important in these matters, many homeowners may see a little stress in their landscapes as a result of over a week of soaking rain.
With all of the rain that we’ve had over the past few weeks here in Spencer County, insects may have found their way into people’s waterlogged backyards, homes and landscapes.
“There are insects and their relatives that thrive under most any set of conditions; this spring belongs to the ‘water bugs,’” said Lee Townsend, extension entomologist in the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture.
On April 19, the Spencer County Conservation District celebrated Soil Stewardship week with a country ham breakfast at Elk Creek Restaurant. Each year, the district recognizes the local ministers in Spencer County. Also awards are given for master conservationist and an appreciation award.
Recent rains have slowed corn planting progress across the state. However, it’s important for producers to wait for optimal planting conditions to ensure they get good yields at harvest time, said Edwin Ritchey and Lloyd Murdock, extension soils specialists with the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture.
According to the Kentucky Weekly Crop and Weather Report, only 13 percent of the state’s corn was in the ground as of April 17. That is well below the 31 percent that was planted by this time in 2010 and lower than the five-year average of 22 percent.
Even though you may not have put away your winter coat just yet, it’s time to start thinking about 4-H summer camps.
Are you ready to experience one of the most fun weeks of your life? Do you like to catch bugs, butterflies, crawdads or fish? Maybe you love swimming, riflery, archery, canoeing, crafts or music. Do you like to go hiking and spend time identifying trees and critters you find along the way? Do you like making new friends and having lots of fun? If any of these things appeal to you, you need to sign up for 4-H camp this summer.
The 2011 Perennial Plant of the Year is Amsonia hubrichtii, or the Arkansas blue star. We have long enjoyed Amsonia tabernaemontana, Arkansas blue star’s less refined cousin, in the garden; but A. hubrichtii takes the prize for superior multi-season interest.