Upcoming Events



Alabama Agricultural Market Workshops

Alabama Agricultural Market Workshops

 

 

Alabama Extension, Auburn University College of Agriculture, and Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station is hosting a series of workshops this month throughout Alabama concerning major agriculture commodities price outlooks.  The nearest meeting will occur Thursday, January 19th, 2017 in Shorter.  Location: E.V. Smith Research Center (4725 County Road 40, Shorter, AL 36075). This is at I-85 Exit 26 (Tallassee exit). Office phone: (334) 727-7403. Website: http://aaes.auburn.edu/evsmith/about/  . Start time: 8:00 A.M. Central (Light breakfast is included). End time: 10:30 A.M. For more information and/or RSVP: e-mail farmoutlook@aces.edu . This is a great opportunity for producers and agribusinesses to learn more about the new Farm and Agribusiness Extension Team and be updated on the current situation in Alabama agriculture and expectations for 2017.

If you cannot attend this session, see if another date/location works for you (January 10th in Belle Mina – Tennessee Valley Research Center; January 11th in Crossville – Sand Mountain Research Center; January 20th in Shelby County – Shelby County Extension Office; January 24th in Marion Junction – Black Belt Research Center; January 25th in Fairhope – Gulf Coast Research Center; January 30th in Headland – Wiregrass Research Center.

There is no cost to attend this meeting. However, please RSVP to the farmoutlook@aces.edu so we have an accurate amount of food and meeting room.

 

 

Timber Tax Workshops

 

Alabama Extension is offering a series of workshops this month throughout Alabama on income tax issues related to owning timberland and the production of forest products. The workshop is ideal for landowners, foresters, loggers, accountants and attorneys.  The nearest meeting will occur Monday, January 23rd, 2017 in Opelika.  Location: Lee County Extension Office (600 S. 7th Street, Opelika, AL). You can register by phone, online, or mail. Call (334) 844-5100 to register by phone. Go to www.aces.edu/timbertax for online registration. To register by mail, send a check to 301 O.D. Smith Hall, Auburn University, AL 36849-5608; make the check payable to Auburn University and specify the location and workshop.

Topics will include: Tax aspects of acquiring land; allocating basis; setting up timber accounts; using separately identifiable properties; calculating depletion allowance; reporting income from harvesting timber; reporting the cost of planting and site preparation, fertilization, timber stand improvement; and other cultural treatments, roads, and surveys; and disposing or exchanging of property.

If you cannot attend this nearby session, see if another date/location works for you (January 17th in Tuscaloosa – Tuscaloosa County Extension Office; January 18th in Montgomery – Montgomery County Extension Office; January 26th in Monroe County – Monroe County Extension Office; and January 31st in Fairhope – Gulf Coast Research Center.

Chambers County Youth Will Attend 4-H Summer Camp June 7 – 9

Chambers County 4-H youth ages 9-13 have the opportunity to attend 4-H Summer Camp at the Alabama 4-H Center on June 7-9. The cost of $106 includes lodging, all activities, meals each day, 3 snacks, a summer camp t-shirt, and transportation to and from camp! Youth will be chaperoned by 4-H trained and screened staff and volunteers. To register, contact 4-H Agent Rachel Snoddy via email (leerach@aces.edu), calling our office (334-864-9373) or stopping by the Chambers County Extension Office at 18 Alabama Ave E, Room 201, Lafayette AL. Our office hours are 8:00 AM until 4:30 PM Central time. Registration and a non-refundable $25 deposit is due by February 24th.

Drought Strategies and Available Assistance to Livestock Farmers

According to Sarah Dickinson, Animal Sciences and Forages Regional Extension Agent, counties in North Eastern Alabama have been dry throughout the summer of 2016. As property owners, commodity farmers, and livestock producers hope for rain, various management strategies and assistance programs may be considered. Livestock producers should use management strategies to stretch available hay and grazing. Hay availability has been of great concern to livestock producers this summer. Because of the lack of rainfall and bouts with armyworms, hay production has decreased. Furthermore, loss of grazing has increased summer hay demand, with many producers feeding hay at least sometimes this past summer. To better stretch your resources, consider grouping animals to feed hay and supplement appropriately for their varying nutritional needs. For example, cows in peak lactation will consume 2.5-3% of their body weight and require around 60% total digestible nutrients (TDN; e.g. energy) and 12% crude protein (CP), whereas dry, pregnant cows may only need to consume 2% of their bodyweight at 48% TDN and 7% CP. Test your hay for nutrient density, group livestock according to intake requirements, and supplement hay with feeds as needed. You can limit feed hay and meet the remainder of your cows’ nutrient needs by providing supplementation through stored feeds. Contact your County Extension Office or Regional Extension Agent for help determining hay requirements and proper supplementation for your animals.

While summer perennial grazing will begin to wind down as we move toward the winter season, considerations for winter grazing may be beneficial – especially if we receive some fall rainfall. Planting winter annuals on prepared land or over-seeding onto short grazed summer sods can provide grazing in the late fall and winter season. Small grains (oats, wheat, rye), ryegrass, and clovers are excellent species to consider planting alone or as a mixture for winter grazing. If you have the ability to stockpile tall fescue into the late fall months, this is another strategy that may help provide grazing if we receive moisture soon.

Animals that are not productive should be sold to reduce the number of animals that will consume your limited resources. Pregnancy check animals at weaning or at the end of your breeding season to identify and cull open animals. Also identify and cull low performing animals and animals with bad eyes, feet, udders, and dispositions. These animals will only consume resources needed by your quality stock, and the income from their sales can increase funds available for purchasing hay or stored feeds.

The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) provides assistance to grazing livestock producers that have lost grazing abilities due to droughty weather. Chambers County is currently listed amongst counties eligible for assistance. If you graze livestock in Chambers County and wish to apply for or learn more about financial assistance for your operation, contact your County’s FSA office at 334-745-4791. For more information on this and other Extension topics, please contact Sarah Dickinson at 256-537-0024, sed0029@auburn.edu or the Chambers County Extension Office at 334-864-9373. The Alabama Cooperative Extension System (Alabama A&M and Auburn University), is an equal opportunity educator and employer. Everyone is welcome.

 

Let’s Celebrate

LaFayette Grows Healthy Kickoff September 8th

I  have a question for you: “What’s healthy and growing in Chambers County?” The answer: Healthy resources and opportunities for YOU and your family! That’s right. So, what’s new? Well, there’s the LaFayette Raised-bed Community Gardens, the LaFayette Farmers Market, and the outdoor Walking Trail. Soon we will also install sturdy outdoor exercise equipment. Shortly thereafter, we will install children’s playground equipment.

It is time to celebrate these accomplishments and see how you can benefit from these opportunities!!!  How???  By having an epic Chambers County CDC Grant Kickoff Thursday, September 8th, 2016 from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM Central.  Location: 1084 Alabama Highway 77, LaFayette, AL 36862 (Chambers County Agricultural Center). There is no cost to attend.

What will be available? After the Opening Ceremony you will have access to:

  • Fitness education using Stretch bands (first 100 participants can keep their free bands)
  • Health and nutrition information by the Auburn University School of Nursing, the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM), and EAMC – Lanier experts
  • Raised-bed gardening education
  • Sheriff Sid Lockhart’s famous grilled delicacies
  • Nutrition Education Program Cooking Demonstration

How did these resources and opportunities occur? Chambers County Extension and a gamut of community partners have been tirelessly working to prevent and reduce obesity in Chambers

Soil Testing: Why It’s Important and How to Get Started

Did you know there is a simple tool available to help landowners and producers know how much fertilizer to use in their gardens, lawns and fields? This tool is a soil sample test. A soil test first determines the nutrients available in your soil. Then, the nutrient requirements of the forage you wish to grow are considered and fertilizer recommendations are provided based off your soil test. You can use these recommendations to apply the correct amount of each fertilizer component in your pasture. More forage growth is seen because your forages have the correct amount of required nutrients. Additionally, less nutrients (and money) are wasted compared to fertilizing fields with a “best guess” mixture and amount that lacks scientific calculations based off your soil.

Taking a soil test in your pasture is easy. You just need to contact your local Extension Office or Regional Extension Agent. You should collect about 20 samples of soil from various locations in your field. Dig soil 6-8 inches deep, or use a soil probe that can be borrowed from the County Extension Office or Agent. Once samples are collected, mix them well and place 1 pint in a soil sample box to send to the Soil Testing Laboratory at Auburn University. Soil sample boxes, information sheets, and other supplies for soil testing are available from your County Extension Office. More information can be found online at: http://www.aces.edu/anr/soillab/forms/index.php

Your soil test results allow you to properly fertilize your pastures, which leads to better forage growth and less waste. Why guess next time you purchase fertilizer? Get optimum forage growth and increased forage availability for your livestock by performing an easy soil test. For more information on this and other Extension topics, please contact Sarah Dickinson, Animal Sciences and Forages Regional Extension Agent, at 256-537-0024, sed0029@auburn.edu or the Chambers County Extension Office at 334-864-9373. The Alabama Cooperative Extension System (Alabama A&M and Auburn University), is an equal opportunity educator and employer.

Pond Weeds

 

Got pond weeds? There is a plethora of aquatic vegetation that can potentially plague ponds across Alabama. Filamentous algae, duckweed, southern naiad, watershield, and several species of water lily are just a few of the weeds that come to mind. There are several other types of aquatic vegetation that can become a nuisance for pond owners across the state. The first step in dealing with aquatic vegetation is to correctly identify the species you have in your pond. Then you can take proper measures to control and/or eradicate these unwanted plants. There are several options in controlling “pond weeds.” Mechanical, biological, and chemical treatments are the 3 different ways to combat unwanted vegetation.

Mechanical treatment is simply the removal of weeds by hand or with use of machinery. This is a great tool in conjunction with one of the other two methods, especially in small ponds where weeds have covered a large surface area. Rarely is mechanical removal a complete solution, due to seed, roots, or other plant particles being left in the pond, which will eventually allow the vegetation to grow again.

Biological control generally refers to the stocking of grass carp (white amur) to feed on and help control vegetation growth. Correct identification of your pond weeds will tell you whether grass carp will be beneficial. Some weeds in Alabama may not be controlled by grass carp, whereas others may be completely controlled using these fish. It is also important to remember that grass carp will benefit your pond for the first 5 or so years that they are stocked. After that, the fish do not feed as heavily as they do the first few years, thus allowing vegetation to grow back.

Chemical treatment is our third treatment option and can be a very effective method for controlling pond weeds. Again, correct identification of vegetation in your pond is needed to accurately prescribe a herbicide treatment. Based on what “weed” you are dealing with, a professional will then tell you what chemical (active ingredient) you need to control said weed. Some recommendations may suggest a combination of herbicides. It is of utmost importance to ALWAYS READ THE LABEL of any herbicide before applying. Never apply a terrestrial (land use) herbicide in an aquatic setting. Always look to purchase a herbicide that is labeled for aquatic use. There are all kinds of brands and tradenames for herbicides with the same active ingredients. When comparing products, recommend comparing prices while also looking at the amount of active ingredient in each formula and the recommended application rate. This will allow you to find the “best bang for your buck.” For more information on Fish Pond Management including Aquatic weed control, please visit our webpage www.alearn.info, then click on “Recreational Fishing.” Through this website you can also view a list of grass carp suppliers and a list of Pond Management Consultants who can provide herbicide application. For more information on this and other Extension topics, please contact Jordan Graves, Forestry, Wildlife and Natural Resource Management Regional Extension Agent, at 334-672-4826, jdg0041@aces.edu or the Chambers County Extension Office at 334-864-9373. The Alabama

Cooperative Extension System (Alabama A&M and Auburn University), is an equal opportunity educator and employer. Everyone is welcome!

 

Cogongrass

Overview

A Chambers County landowner recently had an unwelcomed visitor – Cogongrass. Cogongrass is an aggressive exotic perennial grass that was introduced to Mobile, Alabama in 1911. It was used in packing material from Japan. Cogongrass is spreading rapidly across Alabama, reducing forest productivity, destroying wildlife habitat, and encroaching in pasture and hayland acreage. Cogongrass can quickly become the dominant understory plant which can outcompete the desired vegetation. Cogongrass is highly flammable and creates a severe fire hazard, especially in drought conditions and the winter. The extreme temperatures generated when cogongrass burns can kill seedling trees and native plants. Dense stands of cogongrass will also destroy wildlife habitat by out-competing native grasses and forbs utilized as forage.

Identification

Cogongrass forms patches in a circular pattern. It grows in full sunlight to partial shade and varies in height from 1 to 4 feet. Leaves measure .5- to 1-inch wide and are commonly 12 to 30 inches long. The whitish upper midrib of a mature leaf is often not centered on the blade. Leaf margins are rough to the touch due to tiny serrations. The leaves appear to grow directly from the soil, but short stems are present. The plant is hairless except where a few short hairs can be found at the node (where the leaf grows from the stem). Seed heads (fluffy, white, plume-like) range from 2 to 8 inches in length and appear in late spring, early summer, or after a disturbance. Each seed has silky, white hairs that are wind dispersed. Rhizomes of cogongrass are white, segmented, branched, and are sharp pointed and often pierce the roots of other plants.

Recommended Control Measures

Tillage can eliminate new patches of Cogongrass if continued during the growing season. Herbicides with the active ingredients Glyphosate and Imazapyr have been used to effectively control established stands of cogongrass; however, the plant often regenerates within a year following a single application. A minimum of two applications per year is needed, with older infestations requiring 2 to 3 years of treatment to eliminate rhizomes. Herbicide labels specify application methods, rates and precautions – which should be followed. Cogongrass is often spread throughout the state by contaminated equipment. To prevent spread of Cogongrass, do not mow, bush hog, or go through the grass when seed heads are present. Do not work in an infested area when soil is muddy, as rhizomes can break off and get stuck on equipment. Do not push roads or fire lanes or grade roads through cogongrass. If you must work in Cogongrass-infested areas, it is important to clean vehicles, equipment, and clothing before moving into an uncontaminated site.

For more information and Cogongrass photographs, please see Extension Publications ANR-1241 at http://www.aces.edu/pubs/docs/A/ANR-1241/ANR-1241.pdf and ANR 1321 at http://www.aces.edu/pubs/docs/A/ANR-1321/ANR-1321.pdf . If you have further questions or need assistance in identification, please contact your Chambers County Extension office (334-864-9373), Forestry Commission (334-864-9368), or NRCS (334-745-4791, ext. 3) office.