Morton County Extension Update

Growing More in Morton
August 2020

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Welcome to the 2nd issue of Growing More in Morton, a quarterly online newsletter published by Morton County Extension. The goal of this newsletter is to be an educational resource and highlight North Dakota agriculture and natural resource issues in our area. Please contact the office with topics you would like to see covered in the future.


Watch for Cyanobacteria

Cyanobacteria also known as blue-green algae can produce toxins harmful to livestock, wildlife and people. Blooms often occur in stagnant ponds or dugouts with elevated nutrient levels. Poisoning symptoms include weakness, staggering, muscle tremors and death. To prevent poisoning of livestock reduce nutrient levels entering water source, fence off pond and pump water out and use water from other sources during hot, dry weather.

Water testing bottles are available at the office. Be sure to follow the Livestock Water Testing Guidelines when taking samples. 

Fall Cattle Checklist

Fall is the time to make labor and management decisions, move cattle to fall grazing, repair facilities and access crop residue opportunities. Other issues to consider include:
  - Pregnancy checking cows & heifers
  - Determine age of open cows
  - Assess body condition score on cows & bulls
  - Evaluate vaccination protocols before weaning


Nitrate Toxicity

Nitrate toxicity is a potential problem for livestock that consume small grain forages, brassicas, millet, sorghum, sudangrass and standing corn or corn used for hay. Weeds such as Kochia, Lambsquarter, Pigweed, and Quackgrass may also accumulate nitrates. 

Nitrates accumulate when plants are stressed or photosynthesis is inhibited. Drought, prolonged cool temperatures and cloudy conditions can cause nitrates to build up.

In the office, we can conduct a Nitrate QuikTest which determines if nitrates are present or not in standing forage. Contact the office for more details. 

Inventory Forage Supplies

Determining forage inventory early, allows time for producers to determine potential deficiencies and develop a plan for the upcoming winter feeding season. Use the following steps to inventory forage:
1. Get an accurate count of bales and other forage harvested
2. Determine dry matter content of forages
3. Estimate potential feed needs. Make sure to account for each class of livestock, stage of production, body weight and forage quality 
4. Determine feeding losses


Assessing Wheat Yield Potential

Estimating wheat yield can give you an idea on how environmental and management factors are influencing crop yield. Components that contribute to wheat yield are number of spikes per 3 ft of row, number of kernels per spike, number of spikelets per spike and kernel weight. 

Unsolicited Seeds

Have you received any unsolicited seeds in the mail? I have gotten a few calls here in the office so be on the lookout! These unsolicited seeds may be invasive and introduce diseases harmful to plants or livestock. If you receive any of these seeds in the mail, contact the North Dakota Department of Agriculture at 701-328-2391.


Common Transition Planning Mistakes

- Not having a plan
- Thinking the farm/ranch has insufficient wealth

- Not understanding the difference between equal and fair
- Failure to transfer management authority to the next generation

"The single most important part of a succession plan is having one, and the most important step is getting started" -The Legacy Project

Available Services

The office has the following services or equipment that can be borrowed:
   - Hay Bale Probe
   - Soil Testing Probe
   - Forage Nitrate Quick Test
   - Cyanobacteria Water Testing Bottles

   - Livestock Water Quality Test
   - Soybean Cyst Nematode Bags
   - ND Farm Record Books
   - ND Weed Control Guide
   - ND Field Crop Plant Disease Management Guide
   - ND Field Crop Insect Management Guide
Contact the office at 667-3340 for more information.

Seeding Pastures

Before developing a pasture, determine the intended season of use and soil type in your area. Cool season grasses can be planted between August 10-September 15 or after November 1 for dormant seeding. Legumes can be planted between August 10-August 25 or after November 1 for dormant seeding.

CFAP Program

The Coronavirus Food Assistance Program provides financial assistance to producers who faced price declines and additional marketing costs due to COVID-19. Eligible commodities include non-specialty crops, wool, livestock, dairy and specialty crops.
Application deadline is August 28th.

Agriculture Applied Podcast

Adams County NDSU Extension Agent, Hannah Norby, hosts the Agriculture Applied Podcast which covers all things related to NDSU Extension. Previous episodes include NDAWN Stations, ND Drought Monitor, Water Quality Concerns, BQA and more!

Soil Sense Field Check 

Soil Sense Field Check gives producers an opportunity to ask questions about farming or soil health and have professionals answer them. Previous episodes include questions on hybrid rye, fertility for no till corn, tradeoffs of planting green and more!

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Tractor Cab Stickers

The NDSU Extension Farm Safety Team has created two window stickers to be placed in the cab of tractor, combines, sprayers, trucks and more. 

The Hand Signals Sticker contains the 11 hand signals used in agriculture created by the American Society of Agricultural & Biological Engineers. Communication is critical in farm safety and this sticker is intended to help equipment operators communicate in a language both parties can understand. 

The Clean the Cab Sticker shares an easy four step process on how to clean the cab before a different employee takes the wheel. It also includes the various high-touch surfaces to disinfect within the cab after each use. 

Stop by the office to pick up your window stickers!




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Contact Information 

NDSU Extension-Morton County
210 2nd Ave NW
Mandan, ND 58554
(701) 667-3340