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Officials: Conditions ripe
for West Nile outbreak
Shelby County horse owners who have not updated the vaccinations for their horses against West Nile Virus might want to call their vets.
That’s the advice of State Veterinarian Dr. Robert Stout and Agriculture Commissioner James Comer, who issued a warning that weather conditions are ripe for an outbreak of West Nile.
“While we do not wish to cause unnecessary alarm, we are concerned about the equine population’s vulnerability to this potentially deadly disease,” Comer said in a statement released by his office. “I am confident that Kentucky’s equine owners will act in the best interests of their horses and seek guidance on vaccinations.”
West Nile is spread by mosquitoes, and mosquitoes thrive in the warm, wet conditions Kentucky has experienced in the past few weeks. No horse in Kentucky that has undergone a full West Nile vaccination regimen is known to have contracted the virus since 2003, according to Dr. Stout.
West Nile was first discovered in Kentucky in 2001, and Kentucky experienced 513 equine cases of the disease in 2002 and 102 cases in 2003. Kentucky recorded one equine case in 2011, in Fleming County.
West Nile Virus causes encephalitis, or inflammation of the brain, in horses, humans, birds, and other warm-blooded animals. It is transmitted by mosquitoes that acquire it from infected birds. Humans and equine cannot transmit the disease. It was first discovered in the United States in 1999 in New York.
Early corn planting is possible
Some Central Kentucky farmers might take advantage of unseasonably warm weather to plant corn early this spring, depending on potential rainfall over the next several days.
Matt Adams, a Hardin County extension agent for agriculture and natural resources, said farmers could begin planting corn this week or by the second week of April if rain predicted this week does not make soil too wet and temperatures do not dip too low next month. The traditional earliest time for planting is between April 10 and April 15.
Adams expects most corn planting to be finished by May if rains hold off.
Memories of last year’s weather could influence farmers’ decisions on when and how much to plant before mid-to-late April, Adams said.
“I don’t think it will be a tremendous number of acres,” he told The News-Enterprise in Elizabethtown. “Everybody still has last year on their mind.”
Warm temperatures last spring influenced some farmers to plant early last April. Then, record-breaking rainfall that month and in May caused some areas to need replanting and forced late planting for farmers who hadn’t set crops before the rain.
Planting early means corn pollinates before the hottest weather of the summer and matures earlier in the year. That means farmers can avoid harvesting during wet conditions in late fall and can sell corn near August, when mills are beginning to run out of corn and are willing to pay a higher price for it.
Planting can begin when soil temperatures consistently are higher than 50 degrees at 7 a.m. and the ground is dry enough. Right now, the temperature seems high enough, but the ground is a little wet.
FSA program deadlines
Farm Service Agency Executive Director John W. McCauley reminds producers that the 2012 deadline to enroll in the Direct and Counter-Cyclical Payment program is June 1. DCP provides payments to eligible producers on farms enrolled for any of the 2008 through 2012 crop years. There are two types of DCP payments: direct payments and counter-cyclical payments. Both are calculated using the base acres and payment yields established for the farm. DCP is authorized by the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (2008 Farm Bill).
In addition to DCP, other FSA programs also have enrollment deadlines approaching:
§ Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program: Check with the FSA service center for dates.
§ GRAZE-OUT – March 31 for calendar year 2011 crops.
§ Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) General Sign-up 43 – April 6.
§ Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) – June 1.
§ Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payment Program (SURE) – June 1, 2012 for crop year 2010.
§ 2011 ACRE Production Evidence – July 15.
§ Certification of Planted Acres – Various deadlines, but no later than July 15.
§ Farm Reconstitutions (changes) – August 1, 2012 for the 2012 crop year.
§ MILC –Sept. 30, 2012;
§ Crop Insurance – Contact a crop insurance agent or the regional RMA office.
For more information, contact the FSA office on Howard Drive in Shelbyville or visit www.fsa.usda.gov.
§ Mount Eden Saddle Club’s first horse show of the season will be 6 p.m. April 14. The horse shows will continue every second Saturday through Oct. 13. If there’s rain, the shows will be on the fourth Saturday. For more information, call 502-232-5071.
§ Robertson Equine Sales LLC in Shelbyville will hold its spring 2012 auction April 15 at the Shelby County Fairgrounds.
§ Cattail Creek and Walnut Way Farm will co-host an Interscholastic Equestrian Association saddle seat competition at 11 a.m. on April 22 at Walnut Way Farm on Shelbyville road. Riders are involved in a riding program and attend weekly practice lessons. Horses for competitions are acquired from different sources by the hosting team. Riders select their mounts by “luck of the draw.” For more information, E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
§ Shelby County Master Gardener Association will host the 12th Annual Shelbyville Garden and Art Fair at 9 a.m.-2 p.m. on April 28 at the Shelby County Fairgrounds pavilion. Hundreds of perennial plants from members’ gardens will be offered for sale. Garden exhibits, arts and craftsman displays, as well as Kentucky horticultural organizations, will be on site. Music and food accompany the event. The Shelbyville Farmers’ Market will be open until 1 p.m. The Master Gardeners are seeking exhibitors for the fair. If interested or for more information, contact Carol Ison at 502-834-7222 or email@example.com.
The Kentucky Ag Report is compiled weekly from news releases distributed by Keeton Communications, the Kentucky Press News Service.