Ag Report: March 9, 1012

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By The Staff

Officials warn horse owners

of tent caterpillar outbreak


Experts are warning that a tiny critter that can have a big impact on horse owners is back. The University of Kentucky warned last week that eastern tent caterpillar eggs have begun hatching well ahead of last year.

According to the UK extension office, controlling eastern tent caterpillars is vital to horse farms, as UK research has proven the caterpillars caused outbreaks of Mare Reproductive Loss Syndrome, which can cause late-term foal losses, early- and late-term fetal losses and weak foals.
During the 2001-2002 MRLS outbreak, an estimated 30 percent of that year’s Thoroughbred foal crop was lost. The state suffered an economic loss of approximately $336 million in all breeds of horses, the office reported.
According to Lee Townsend, UK College of Agriculture entomologist, populations have been sporadic during the last few years, with pockets of increased populations in some areas.

He estimated that central Kentucky could soon see distinct tents in trees with live larvae.
“The small caterpillars will stay near the egg mass for a short time before moving to feed on expanding leaves,” Townsend said.

“Eastern tent caterpillars grow and develop as long as the temperature is above 37 degrees; the warmer it is, the faster they will grow. Cold temperatures will slow them down, but the tent and the general cold hardiness of the species will keep them from being affected drastically, even if temperatures drop below freezing at night.”

Townsend urged horse farms to check wild cherry and related trees for eastern tent caterpillar activity to determine whether management is necessary. If control measures are needed to reduce numbers, steps should be taken before the caterpillars leave their trees.

Beef expo cracks $1 million in sales

The $1 million barrier fell last weekend at the 26th annual Kentucky Farm Bureau Beef Expo in Louisville, with records were set for gross sales, average per head, and top price for a single lot, and several other records were shattered in the individual breed sales.
In all, 485 lots sold for $1,062,940, an average of $2,192 per head, in the 11 breed sales and the pen heifer sale. Gross sales were 24.1 percent higher than the 2011 total of $856,545, and the average was a 27.4 percent increase over last year’s average of $1,720.

The sale topper was an Angus female consigned by Boyd Beef Cattle of Mayslick that sold for $27,000 to Bridges Beef Cattle of Shelby, N.C.

The results of the breed sales, with number of lots, gross sales, and average, were:
Angus – 47 lots, $153,850, $3,273, Beefalo – 37 lots, $63,900, $1,727, Charolais – 42 lots, $90,850, $2,163, Gelbvieh – 29 lots, $67,975, $2,344, Hereford – 42 lots, $99,150, $2,360, Limousin – 26.5 lots, $75,350, $2,843, Pen heifers – 72 lots, $118,975, $1,652, Red Angus – 36 lots, $76,725, $2,131, Saler – 30 lots, $45,900, $1,530, Shorthorn – 37 lots, $67,490, $1,824, and Simmental – 60 lots, $173,600, $2,893.

In the junior show, 477 animals entered the show ring, including 138 from Kentucky.
For more information, visit http://kybeefexpo.com.


USDA seeks applications for loans, grants

The is seeking applications for loans and grants to help rural businesses create jobs and spur economic development. The funding is being provided under the Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant (REDLG) program.

Eligible recipients are rural utilities program borrowers that pass the funds to local organizations.  The money must be used for projects to retain and create jobs, upgrade public infrastructure, improve service delivery or improve the quality of life for area residents and visitors.  The maximum amount of funding for any one project is increased to $1 million in loans and remains at $300,000 for grants.

The deadline for submitting applications is the last business day of each month during fiscal year 2012. Applications must be submitted to the Rural Development state office where the project will be located.  For more information, visit http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/StateOfficeAddresses.html.


Farm equipment auction

The 29th annual Fayette County Farm Bureau Farm Equipment Consignment Auction will take place at the Kentucky Horse Park on March 17, beginning at 9:30 a.m. This auction is the main fund raiser for the Fayette County Farm Bureau Education Foundation, with all proceeds from the auction go toward the Fayette County scholarship program. Since 1993 the Fayette County Farm Bureau has given out 19 scholarships to high school seniors totaling $560,000.

Tractors, boats, hay balers, trailers, and a wide array of farm, lawn and garden equipment will be on sale at the auction. 

Fayette County Farm Bureau will begin accepting equipment for the auction at the Horse Park on Thursday and Friday. No equipment will be accepted for sale on the day of the auction. 

A $5 parking fee will be charged by the Horse Park the day of the sale. For more information contact Carrie Johnson at 859-253-0023.


NAP filing deadline

The final deadline to file an application for natural disaster protection under the Noninsured Assistance Program (NAP) is Thursday. The crops covered are beans, beets, broccoli, cabbage, cantaloupe, carrots, cauliflower, corn, corn-hybrid seed, cucumbers, eggplant, gourds, greens, herbs, lettuce, onions, peas, peppers, popcorn, potatoes, pumpkins, radish, sorghum, sorghum-grain, soybeans, squash, strawberries, sunflowers, sweet potatoes, tobacco-burley, tobacco-dark air, tobacco-fire cured, tomatoes, turnips and watermelons.

Producers filing for coverage under the NAP are required to pay a $250 service fee per crop per county not to exceed $750 per producer per county or $1,875 per producer in all counties. For more information, contact the Farm Service Agency office on Howard Drive in Shelbyville.


Bulletin board

§       The Bluegrass Beekeeping School will be 8 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Saturday at Kentucky State University in Frankfort. It’s part of a 2-day schedule of Bee Friendly Frankfort this weekend. To register for the conference, visit www.ksbabeekeeping.org.

§       The Kentucky Horse Park is hosting its second free gelding clinic on Saturday. Applications are currently being accepted, and the clinic is open to any horse whose owner who is financially unable to afford the surgery. Castrations will be performed by a veterinarian or a veterinary student under close supervision by a licensed veterinarian. Stallions must be halter broke, in good health, with two descended testicles and be at least four months of age, with current Coggins and health certificate. A $20 registration-processing fee will be charged to help offset some of the expenses. For application or additional information, contact Sheila Forbes at Sheila.Forbes@ky.gov or 859-233-4305.

§       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 walnutwf@aol.com.


The Kentucky Ag Report is compiled weekly from news releases distributed by Keeton Communications, the Kentucky Press News Service.