Cummings and Goings in Agriculture

Recent Dry Spell Allowed Time For Hay Cutting

By Steve Cummings

The crops in Yalobusha County are progressing nicely at this point.  Another rain or two and the crops should be made.  This time of year, farmers have to keep an eye out for hurricanes and tropical storms in the gulf.  

These storms not only bring much needed rain, but often bring high winds which can be destructive to the crops.  

There is quite a bit of activities in the tropics now, so let’s just hope the hurricanes stay out to sea, not only for our farmers’ sake, but for our neighbors on the coast as well.

The recent dry spell gave our cattle farmers a small window to cut hay.  While the wet year has been good for pastures and hay fields, it has posed a problem for getting hay cut and bailed.  

But, all and all, so far this looks like we have the potential for a good farming year.  We just have to get the crops in.

 Our new 4-H Agent, Mary Mason Furr, started this week.  Her first day on the job was spent in Raymond, MS at a livestock and horse show training.  Please stop by our office and welcome her to the county.

 This Saturday is District IV Farm Bureau Talent and Queen’s competition at Mississippi State University, and Yalobusha County will be well represented.  

Austin Mills is Yalobusha County Miss Farm Bureau for this year and McKenzie Bailey and Briley Kilgore will be competing in their respective talent divisions.  These ladies will do an outstanding job representing Yalobusha County and hopefully will move on to compete in the state contest in December.

Horticulture Tips:

Apply Herbicides Soon

Did you have to mow winter weeds from your lawn this past winter and spring? Now is the time to begin doing something about preventing this from happening again this winter.   Annual weeds that show up as young seedlings in the fall and become quite unsightly by mid-winter through spring will begin germinating in only a few short weeks.  

A pre-emergence herbicide applied before these weeds germinate is the most efficient way of control.  Pre-emergence herbicides have little effect on weeds that have already germinated so it is important to get the herbicide out soon (late August north to late September along the coast). Labor Day is generally a good target date.  To ensure that the herbicide is activated and moves into the surface soil to form a uniform weed control barrier a minimum of one-half inch of water either from rain or irrigation should follow shortly after the herbicide application.  

Pre-emergence herbicides are formulated as liquids, wettable powders or water dispersible granules that are applied in sprayable form, and also as dry granules or coated on fertilizers.  Choose a formulation that is best suited for you and ALWAYS READ THE LABEL for specific application instructions, weeds controlled, and safety precautions.  

Extension publications 1532 and 1322 provide information to help select the appropriate herbicides for specific weeds.  These publications can be obtained from your local extension office or downloaded from the www.msucares.com web.

It Is Caterpillar Season And Fall Armyworms Are

On The March

 Late summer and early fall are the peak season for fall armyworm invasions of well managed turf especially Bermuda grass lawns, athletic fields, and golf courses that have been fertilized and watered.  The moths migrate in large numbers and lay as many as a thousand eggs each.  During these hot days of summer the eggs hatch in only a few days with the tiny caterpillars feeding almost continuously.   When small they may go unnoticed while consuming only a small amount of leaf tissue daily but nearing their last few days as larvae they can literally devour an entire lawn almost overnight. Therefore, it is important that a careful scouting regime be established to detect their presents and control them while they are small.

 At least once a week during the remaining growing season randomly check several locations in the lawn by brushing the grass back and forth with your hand, part the blades down to the soil line and look for coiled light-tan or green to nearly black caterpillars.  

If you care to pick one of them up and look at it straight on you may noticed a small inverted “Y” marking on its forehead.   A tip that golf course superintendents use to alert them of their arrival is checking the flags on the greens each morning for small light brown egg masses that have been laid on them by the moths during the night. You might try placing a small flag in your lawn as well.

Control is not too difficult if the lawn is treated with an appropriate insecticide when the caterpillars are small.  Liquid sprays or granules containing active ingredients of carbaryl, cyfluthrin, permethrin, lambda-cyhalothrin, or trichorfon are recommended.  For more details refer to extension publication 2331 “Control of Insect Pests in and around the Home Lawn” which can be obtained at your local extension office or downloaded from the extension web at www.msucares.com.

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