Tricounty News

Agricultural news

KLFD sponsors June Dairy Month Breakfast Everyone living in Minnesota knows that June is dairy month. It's the month we recognize dairy families who are on the job 365 days of the year. KLFD radio has sponsored an on-farm breakfast for many years. The first I can remember was Gene and Mary Ellen Nilson in Greenleaf Township close to 20 years ago. This year's breakfast will be held June 18, just north of the Nilson farm at "Barka Dairy" owned by Dan and Josh Barka. The Barka farm is easy to find - approximately nine miles SW of Litchfield on CSAH 1. The public is invited to attend. Enjoy pancakes, sausage, and, of course, milk and other dairy products. KLFD will also have a live, on-the-farm broadcast. If you have not been on a dairy farm for some time, come see a modern dairy facility and show your children where milk first begins its journey to the grocery store. There may even be a politician on hand to shake hands with and to share your concerns. This event grows every year, so pick up a friend and come between 6-10 a.m. for a great farm breakfast! Honeylocust and catalpa trees slow to leaf out Soil temperatures were much colder than normal this past winter due to the open winter. Native plants handled the winter well but some of the introduced species suffered winter injury. Honeylocust and catalpa trees are leafing out slowly this spring and some trees not at all. Our horticulture people at the U of M say tree roots are the most sensitive to cold temperatures. Normally, a blanket of snow covers the soil and insulates the soil from extremely cold winter temperatures. This was not the case over much of Minnesota where we saw winter injury to many types of perennial plants. Homeowners should wait until the end of June before doing any pruning of dead limbs. Trees may leaf out later in the growing season so it's best to have patience and see how these trees recover. Weed control at risk with low rates of roundup If temperatures stay cool, growers may want to use the full rate of Glyphosate rather than reduced rates this growing season. Glyphosate needs optimum growing conditions to translocate in plants This includes warm temperatures and good soil moisture. We have had the soil moisture but temperatures have been well below normal. Our growing degree-days were 20 percent below normal for the month of May. This is still better than last year when corn was having a difficult time emerging in late May. Low rates of Glyphosate will probably control annual grasses under less than optimum conditions, but growers may not get the control they want if annual broadleaf or perennial weeds are present. With the cost of Glyphosate, we need to think twice about cutting rates to save a few cents and risk weed control. New tax laws will affect farmers Extension Farm Management Educators Robert Anderson and Gary Hachfeld put together a fact sheet to summarize how the new tax cut bill will affect farmers. One example of how this new tax law affects farmers is Section 179, expensing deduction for first-year depreciation. This deduction increases to $100,000 beginning Jan. 1, 2003 for the years 2003-2005. This means equipment purchases such as drain tile or single purpose farm buildings can be expensed up to $100,000 the first year. The fact sheet also includes info on first-year bonus depreciation, child tax credit, tax rates on dividend income, and marriage penalty change. For a free copy, call our office and ask for the fact sheet "Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003." "Don't Bag It" A local homeowner who enjoys his yard sent me a news clipping from Austin, Texas. It regards a promotion to leave grass clippings on the lawn rather than bagging and removing clippings. The article points out how this saves time, money, landfill space, and make lawns greener because nutrients in the clippings are returned to the lawn. Clippings do not contribute to thatch that can develop over time and cause disease problems. Bagging is not necessary if lawns are mowed with a sharp blade and never more than one-third of the growth is cut off. Clippings break down rapidly and eventually convert to fertilizer. Leaves and grass clippings don't belong in landfills. All yard wastes should be composted in one form or another and returned to our lawns and gardens.