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Agriculture

  • COLUMN: BEWARE: Overmulching can cause serious plant problems

    Every year I write about mulch, but no ones seems to care. Mounds of mulch still choke the trunks of trees everywhere you look this time of the year. Trees in landscapes look like telephone poles sticking out of soon to be crusted over black mulch.
    How’s that for a foreboding tale?
    Here’s the message, too much mulch is a bad thing. I know, some people have been liberated, but we still have more work to do.
    The bottom line: 2 inches of coarse mulch that is not piled around the trunk of the tree or shrub is the desired goal.

  • Spencer students place at livestock contest

  • Local students participate in Skill-a-thon

    On Feb. 19, Spencer County 4-H members Courtney Jeffiers, Casey Montgomery, Ashley Montgomery and Danielle Montgomery attended the State Skill-a-thon Contest in Hopkins County.

    Casey participated in the Cloverbud Division.  In the intermediate division, Ashley placed ninth in individual evaluation and 25th in quality assurance; Courtney placed 21st in ID and 10th in individual evaluation, 22nd in  quality assurance and 17th overall.   In the senior division, Danielle placed 19th in ID, 12th in individual evaluation and 21st overall.

  • COLUMN: Pasture management fundamental to livestock farmers

    Farmers who raise livestock, whether cattle, horses, sheep, or goats, should think of themselves as forage farmers as well. Increased use of forage reduces feed costs and increases potential yield per animal; to some extent, it is an input that a farmer can manage himself to minimize concentrate purchases.

  • COLUMN: Raised beds alleviate issues with hard soil

    One dilemma facing many aspiring vegetable gardeners is sub-prime soil, shall we say. Compacted, clayey soil is not uncommon in Kentuckiana, but it is especially common in newer developments.
    One way to offset the problem is to employ a system of raised beds. Raised beds are practical for many reasons, and they are not just for the clay-challenged.
    Practical because you do not have to till, dig, double dig or battle clay in a raised bed. The soil has been added by you, so it is as good as you want it to be.

  • KFB to question Ag Commissioner candidates

    The Kentucky Farm Bureau Board of Directors will host candidates seeking to become Kentucky’s next Commissioner of Agriculture at a Measure the Candidates forum on April 20 in Louisville.
    The event will be held at the KFB state headquarters, 9201 Bunsen Parkway, from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. It will provide candidates with an overview of KFB’s priority issues concerning the future of the Kentucky Department of Agriculture and a chance to share their vision for the office.

  • Local FFA fares well at regional competition

    On March 10, 38 members of the Spencer County FFA Chapter participated in the Northern Regional FFA Day finals, which consists of speaking, parliamentary procedure, talent and record keeping contests. Seventeen chapters competed. The top two individuals in each speaking contest advance to the state finals in June.

  • Farm Service agency announces double cropping opportunities

    Jeanie Williams, County Executive Director of the USDA Farm Service Agency wants to make crop producers aware of Kentucky’s approved double-cropping practices.
    Approved double-cropping practices are used in determining the crop’s eligibility for FSA program purposes.
    Initial planted crops followed by a crop not approved as a practice for double-cropping are defined as a subsequent crop planting. Subsequent crops are not considered eligible crops for some FSA programs unless they meet an exception ruling.

  • COLUMN: Eastern tent caterpillar egg hatch underway

    Experts report that eastern tent caterpillar eggs have begun hatching in Central Kentucky, just as leaf buds are swelling on wild cherry trees. While it is too early to tell what 2011 levels will be, populations have been gradually increasing over the past several years.
    According to Lee Townsend, University of Kentucky College of Agriculture entomologist, the newly hatched eggs, which were laid last June, are easy to identify by the small holes tiny larva chew as they exit. In about two weeks, the tents should be about the size of a baseball and easy to spot in trees.

  • COLUMN: Early blooms not just forsythia

    True to most springs in Kentuckiana one day is sunny and warm, the next cloudy and cold.  It’s an anxious time of the year for most gardeners as we watch the sun coax open a little patch of crocus or we catch sight of an old landscape filled with waves of blooming white snow drops.  Must we wait for the forsythia to bloom as we pray for warmth?  No, there are plenty of other early bloomers to keep us happily occupied until spring truly arrives.