If you’ve been paying attention while driving down the country roads this past summer you’ll have noticed corn and soybean fields springing up in pastures and hayfields. As a result, for the first time in a long time alfalfa production has declined in not only Kentucky but also the nation.
Corn got another boost last week when the EPA did not allow the waiver to reduce ethanol production. With continuing high grain prices there will once again be a lot of beans and corn planted here in our county. Undoubtedly, more pasture and hay lands will be planted in corn and soybeans.
With all this new ground going into row crop production we have a lot of experienced farmers growing grain for the first time (as opposed to ear corn or silage for cattle feed). 2012 was a not a good year to learn on as the drought made the learning curve even steeper.
UK has several aids for the new grain producer. One is an interactive budget online at http://www.ca.uky.edu/agecon/index.php?p=29. You can open it up and change the prices on all the inputs and variable costs to fit your specific practices. You can then see what your breakeven will be based on your projected price of corn or beans. This is really handy for those first-time growers who need to know what all the variables really are.
The next tool is the UK Early Bird Meetings to allow growers to start planning for the 2013 crop. This year the Central Kentucky session will be in Lexington at the Fayette County Extension Office off Red Mile Road.
It will be held this Tuesday Nov. 27 and starts at 1:30. Topics include: “How to Maximize Returns from Manure” by Edwin Ritchey, Manure Management Specialist; “Weed Control” with JD Green, Weed Specialist; Doug Johnson, Extension Entomologist will cover “Corn Rootworm, Invasive Stinkbug Update, and Insect Challenges with Warm vs. Cold Winters”; “Prevention of Corn Disease” by Don Hershman, Extension Plant Pathologist; Cory Walters, Extension Ag Economist will go over “Crop Insurance Risk Management for 2013” and finally Chad Lee, Extension Agronomist will finish with “Corn Seeding Rates and Planting Dates.”
Sessions should be done by 4:30.