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Special Features Section, Superior Express

Straight From the Horse's Mouth

Jenny's REESources


Straight From the Horse's Mouth, by Duane Lienemann, UNL Extension
I am not sure how to start this week's column. As I start writing today is officially May Day. Now that may not mean much to some people, but it does bring back some good memories from my much younger years of May baskets, flowers and the old tradition of hanging flowers or baskets of flowers and goodies on the doorknob or on the porch of friends and neighbors, ringing the doorbell and running. It was the nice version of "Ding Dong Ditch." Other people have said in their community the tradition was if the neighbor catches you, you will get a kiss. That sounds rather risky, but I am sure it was most likely young people who this applied to. I can about imagine some junior high kids perpetrating this exercise. I am not quite sure how I would have reacted if catching and kissing had been part of our tradition.
May Day also kicks off National Beef Month! From cattle farmers and ranchers to feed manufacturers and processors, thousands of people play an important role in beef's journey from pasture to plate. Beef is Nebraska's single largest industry and the engine that powers the state's economy. The multiplied impact of the $6.5 billion in cattle sales each year is $12.1 billion. Cattle-related employment means income for businesses up and down the main streets in towns and cities all across the state. In short, the beef cattle industry has an unmistakable impact on other economies in Nebraska. Twenty thousand beef cow operations and more than 1.88 million head of beef cows; 4,570 cattle feeding operations statewide (with only 770 feeding operations larger than 1,000 head); 5.1 million cattle fed and marketed per year combine to give us on average 2.3 million head of cattle on feed. That is what goes into making Nebraska number one in the nation in commercial red meat, all cattle on feed, commercial cattle slaughter, and beef veal exports.
The importance of cattle feeding to Nebraska's economy runs deeper than in other states. Nearly 5 million head are finished and marketed in Nebraska, a state with a population of 1.8 million residents. It may also interest you that Nebraska is home to the top three beef cow counties in the U.S., including the nation's No. 1 cow county, Cherry County, with nearly 166,000 cows. Custer County is No. 2 with 100,000 and Holt County is No. 3 with 99,000. Also among the top counties in the nation is Lincoln County at No. 12 with 69,000. Nebraska continues to have far more cattle than people. Cattle outnumber Nebraskans nearly 4 to 1. Cows number 1.94 million, versus Nebraska residents who number just 1.8 million. The cows and the 4.7 million head that are annually fed in Nebraska total nearly 6.64 million cattle.
Do you wonder why my pickup sports a Nebraska the Beef State license plate. I do because I am proud of our heritage and the beef industry.
Nebraska's farmers and ranchers take pride in what we do and we do it right. Regardless of the size or type of beef operation they run, one thing that Nebraska cattlemen have in common is the quality of care these animal stewards provide for their livestock. Just like someone in the accounting industry may be good with numbers, cattle producers are good with cattle and enjoy their work. For Nebraska beef producers, it is a business, but more importantly, it is a way of life and ranchers do what they do because they love the outdoors and their animals. They are committed to providing the best care possible for their livestock and providing a healthy and humanely-raised product for consumers.
Beef producers have long recognized the need to properly care for livestock and take particular pride in this responsibility. They have for the most part passed on animal care principles from generation to generation. Personal experience, training and professional judgment all serve as valuable resources for providing this care. But beef producers don't just rely on those qualifications, they also rely on science. They lean heavily on research that has provided additional information that can supplement experience and in the quest for continual improvement in the cattle industry. Research provided by the University of Nebraska, UNL Extension Research and Extension Centers, USDA Meat Animal Research Center and the Great Plains Veterinary and Education Center provide the basis for many day-to-day decisions about animal husbandry here in Nebraska. Sound animal husbandry practices, based on decades of practical experience and research are known to impact the well-being of cattle, individual animal health and herd productivity.
All of the beef programs I have worked with over the years are tradition proven, science-based and common-sense driven. As such, the cattle industry in Nebraska and all across this great nation continues a commitment to proper care and handling of livestock. Most cattlemen will tell you that animal care is their first priority on a daily basis. Beef producers are passionate and dedicated to the care of their animals, and are concerned about the consuming public that is receiving mixed messages about animal care and welfare and downright lies and misconceptions that are used for agendas at the expense of these caring individuals who contrary to what you would hear are the very first environmentalists!
All of this is why I become fired up when people attack our industry or simply denigrate it. I have written on several occasions about one such player - Chipotles' Mexican Grill. You can go to the company's website at and find their new slogan, "Food With Integrity - G-M-Over It" which is basically saying that Chipotle's menu is now free of GMO ingredients. This combined with all the vitriol that they have waged on farming and the beef industry is just one more example. I could write several pages on that alone but I encourage you instead to read the article entitled "Hey, Chipotle! Don't Look Now, But It's Turtles All the Way Down!" which can be found at:

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Jenny's REESources, by Jenny Rees, UNL Extension

Happy May! April has flown on and it's great to see the planters rolling in this area. Corn planted in the April 15th time-frame is peaking through and is looking good overall. For those of you with newer planters, you may wish to check your seeding depth. I have checked a few fields of emerged corn where the outer planter rows were planted shallow compared to the center rows which were at a good depth. There's obviously not much you can do about it now, but this did happened this year.
I've seen wheat stripe rust in the majority of Clay and Nuckolls county fields I've looked at. It's favored by cooler temperatures and high humidity and is mostly found in the lower canopy right now. This is the disease that hit us so bad in 2012. With cost of production and wheat prices, it would be awesome if the disease progression would hold off for those of you with non-irrigated wheat right now to avoid a fungicide application till flag leaf. I'm not sure how fast it will progress, so please be scouting your fields. An updated fungicide table for wheat diseases can be found at:
Glyphosate resistance in Nebraska has recently been confirmed in palmer amaranth. Palmer amaranth (Amaranthus palmeri S. Wats.) is a dioecious broadleaf annual weed species that has created significant problems for growers in the Mid-South the past 10 years because of its resistance to glyphosate and its prolific seed production. A single female plant can produce one million seeds, depending on growing condition and competition. As of 2015, glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth has been confirmed in Georgia, North Carolina, Arkansas, Tennessee, South Carolina, New Mexico, Mississippi, Alabama, Missouri, Louisiana, Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan, Virginia, Kansas, Texas, Arizona, Delaware, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Florida, Maryland, New Jersey, and Wisconsin.
Greg Kruger and Amit Jhala with their graduate students conducted greenhouse studies last winter screening 82 Palmer amaranth populations from southwest Nebraska to evaluate glyphosate resistance. Dose response analysis was performed to estimate the I90 (effective dose required to cause 90 percent injury to the population) values for each Palmer amaranth population. The populations, when screened in the greenhouse, showed low levels of resistance in many of the populations that were arbitrarily collected, and a few populations showed high levels of resistance. While the level of resistance may not directly translate to the field, the trends in the greenhouse provide a clear message that glyphosate alone is neither a long-term solution for management of this species nor a recommended practice.
In Nebraska, HPPD-inhibitor resistance had also been confirmed in Palmer amaranth. This problem was associated primarily with seed corn production in south-central Nebraska and now may be more wide-spread. Applicators and growers should use these products judiciously if they suspect resistance.
Continuing to rely on glyphosate alone for weed management will speed up the evolution of glyphosate-resistant weeds and diminish the effectiveness of glyphosate-based crops and weed control programs. Control of glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth will require an integrated approach including: practices of zero-tolerance (or mitigating seedbanks from being replenished at the end of the year), use of soil residual herbicides with different modes-of-action followed by labeled post-emergence herbicides other than glyphosate as needed throughout the growing season, and considering crop rotation when possible to help diversify the weed management tools being used.

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