One of the many good things that come out of our Farm City Field Day is working on demonstration projects with the farmer. This year we were able to do several. This gives us a chance to showcase some of the work the University of Kentucky has or is doing and also allows the farmer (and the public) to see exactly how the new practice or process works.
The Field Day is Thursday, July 12 and this year’s host farm owned by Sherman and Gail Peyton is about half wooded and half pasture or hayland. All the hay is harvested and stored under cover. One of the types of hay he puts up is alfalfa. This year he needed to retire some old plantings and start some new ones. Roundup Ready Alfalfa was just recently released so we decided to try that and see how it works.
There’s a six-acre field, planted half no-till and half conventional till. All was seeded with Roundup Ready Alfalfa. For weed control, some strips will be sprayed using Roundup while others a traditional broadleaf herbicide. Some control strips are also incorporated. We’ll get to compare the difference in control and costs. Hopefully by July 12th you’ll get to see the results.
This is one farm where agriculture and wildlife are both welcome. In fact, they even encourage wildlife. This year you’ll get to see a newly planted wildlife plot consisting of warm season grasses and flowers. These typically take several years to establish and they often look a little rough in the beginning. The Department of Fish & Wildlife is helping implement this stop.
Sherman has almost a closed herd, except for purchasing a bull, no other livestock enters the farm. This is good for disease prevention. He usually holds back and develops several heifers as replacements. This year we took the ones he had chosen and screened them.
A couple were eliminated because they were not mature enough for breeding. They were then synchronized and artificially inseminated with one of three high quality bulls. We’ll conduct a blood test to check for pregnancy, which is a relatively new option that is nearly 100 percent accurate. This way he gets a high quality bull for the heifers and his herd bull doesn’t have to be heifer acceptable. It will be interesting to compare the costs of buying versus raising your own.
Plan on attending July 12th and see these and more for yourself. The wagon ride tours start at 9 a.m. and should leave about every 10 minutes or so. The last tours won’t get to make all the stops since we try to get everybody back and in line starting around 11:30 for our steak meal.
I hope to see you there!