UCCE Silage Day is July 8 at Modesto

A University of California Cooperative Extension Silage Day will be held July 8 at the Stanislaus Ag Center, Modesto, Calif.

Registration begins at 9:30 a.m., with the program at 10 a.m.

Topics include:

• Are You Paying Too Much for Corn Silage? by Jennifer Heguy, UCCE Dairy Farm Advisor – Merced, Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties

• California Corn Silage Piles – Adventures in Measuring Real Shrink, by Dr. Peter Robinson, UCCE Dairy Nutrition Specialist

• Silage Management Practices on California Dairies, by Dr. Noelia Silva-del-Rio, UCCE Dairy Production Medicine Specialist

• Keys to Planning for a Successful Harvest – Grower and custom harvester panel

The program concludes with an industry-sponsored lunch.

A California Dairy Quality Assurance Program drought meeting will follow lunch.

There is no charge to attend, but pre-registration is appreciated to plan for lunch and handouts. To register, e-mail jmheguy@ucdavis.edu or phone 209-525-6800. For more information, click here.


First online CDQAP class coming soon

The California Dairy Quality Assurance Program (CDQAP) is finalizing its first electronic education class for dairy farmers, allowing them to get up-to-date information about environmental issues with a click of the button.

The online class is expected to be available later this summer, featuring 11 segments ranging from 3 to 16 minutes to complete. Each segment focuses on a unique topic, walking dairy farmers through practical information needed for compliance with the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board’s Dairy General Order.

With its online availability and short-segmented packaging, dairy farmers now have the flexibility to obtain important compliance information at their convenience. They can complete the two-hour curriculum at one time or view a single segment wherever there’s an Internet connection.

CDQAP recommends each person on a dairy charged with collecting samples or using records associated with water quality compliance participate in the online training. Individual who complete all 11 segments of the class will receive two hours of CDQAP education credit in Environmental Stewardship

Source: Western United Dairymen


Texas A&M developing technology to detect water fecal contamination

Technology capable of sampling water systems to find indicators of fecal matter contamination that are thousandths and even millionths of times smaller than those found by conventional methods is being developed by a team of researchers at Texas A&M University.

Working with a team of collaborators, Vladislav Yakovlev, professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, has developed an ultrasensitive detection method that can detect molecules associated with human and animal fecal matter in water systems. These extremely small indicators, he explains, have been traditionally difficult to detect but can signal greater levels of contamination, which can lead to illness and even death.

The team’s research is funded by the National Science Foundation and is featured in the journal “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.” It details the development of technology that Yakovlev characterizes as affordable, highly sensitive, easy to implement and capable of delivering analysis of water samples in real time.”

Contamination events might be mitigated or even avoided if samples from water systems are more thoroughly analyzed, Yakovlev said. Finding trace amounts of contaminants can help sound the alarm for a more serious contamination event, he noted.

Detecting trace amounts isn’t easy, especially in a timely manner, Yakovlev said. High costs, sample-size limitations and lengthy analysis times have prevented environmental researchers from employing highly sensitive techniques that can deliver real-time analysis.

Yakovlev and his colleagues are poised to change things with an innovative approach to detecting urobilin, a byproduct excreted in the urine and feces of many mammals, including humans and livestock.

Urobilin molecules are small and diffuse quickly. In addition, urobilin possesses another interesting property: it glows – or more accurately, it can be made to glow. When mixed with zinc ions, urobilin forms a phosphorescent compound, Yakovlev explained. This means if urobilin is present in a water sample – and zinc ions have been added – the sample will give off a greenish glow when examined under an ultraviolet light.

Yakovlev and his team have developed technology that allows them to detect extremely small amounts of urobilin in large samples of water. The technology provides actual concentration levels of the contaminant, and does it much quicker than other methods.

The technology can be produced for a few hundred dollars, and Yakovlev and his team are working to commercialize it. It has the potential to work like a smoke detector for a water faucet.


Texas benefits from rain, but drought remains

Nearly all of Texas continued to receive rain after Memorial Day storms, further improving the prospects of spring crop plantings and existing pastures and rangeland, according to Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service reports from throughout the state.

In some areas, accumulations were heavy. From May 27 through June 10, some parts of the Coastal Bend and East Texas received 8 inches or more of rain, according to the National Weather Service’s precipitation analysis

Amounts were less for other parts of the state, according to the analysis, but 2- to 4-inch totals were common throughout the Rolling Plains, South Plains and Panhandle.

Despite the rains, extreme to exceptional drought conditions persisted throughout the plains regions, while Central Texas remained in the grip of severe to moderate drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

But condition reports from AgriLife Extension county agents showed planting continuing and crops progressing. Warmer weather in conjunction with the moisture improved pasture and rangeland as well, and stimulated the growth of warm-season annual grasses. In some instances, farmers who had been holding off planting in dry soil were rushing to meet crop insurance deadlines.

“We are getting close to being done with planting,” said Tom Yeater, AgriLife Extension agent for Howard County, northeast of Midland. “Area farmers have been burning the diesel this past week trying to get all the planting done by June 10 for insurance. So far so good.”

Mark Brown, AgriLife Extension agent for Lubbock County, reported, “Producers worked hard this week to complete 2014 planting operations. The vast majority of cotton fields were planted by the June 5 insurance planting deadline. Rainfall amounts for June 7 ranged from 1 to 2 inches across the county.”

From AgriLife Extension in Scurry County, Gregory Gruben reported, “Cotton planting really got going this week, producers are planting as fast as they can. We have a chance of rain this weekend. We will see what happens, but we still need more rainfall.”

More information on the current Texas drought and wildfire alerts can be found on the AgriLife Extension Agricultural Drought Task Force website at http://agrilife.tamu.edu/drought/ .