Monday, August 20, 2012

Hay Quality

For most area cattlemen, hay feeding time is just around the corner.  When supplementing cattle with hay it is important to know the quality of the hay you are feeding and the nutritional requirements of the livestock consuming the hay.  Winter supplementation and hay production are significant production costs for Wise County beef producers, especially due to the increased hay costs due to the drought.  If your eye is on profitability, you should pay close attention to a cow’s body condition, forage (hay) quality and winter protein supplementation expenses.  Forage quality has a major influence on the type and amount of supplement required to meet a cow’s daily requirements.
            The continued drought conditions in June, July, and early August robbed many Wise County hay growers of at least one hay cutting and in some cases negatively impacted hay quality.  Though appearance and production history can provide some indication of quality, the only way to be certain is a laboratory analysis of your hay samples.  Random forage samples should be obtained that represent all harvest dates and all fields.  Use a probe inserted into the bale from the curved side of the bale.  Ten per cent should be sampled to obtain a composite sample.  Classifying hay based on its nutritive value would help you as a producer to know the class of livestock for which a particular lot of hay is suited.  For example a beef cow needs a minimum of 7% crude protein in her diet, while a broodmare needs at least 10% crude protein.
            From what I’m hearing prices for 20% breeder cubes could get very expensive this fall and these have been a common source for supplementing with marginal quality hay during the winter months. Producers will need to pay close attention to protein sources and costs thru fall & winter.
            If you are interested in having your hay tested, we have a hay probe and forage testing information here at the Extension office.  By testing now, you have plenty of time to adjust your winter feeding plans. 

Breakfast Brain Food

It’s that time of year again! School time! I hope that everyone’s year gets off to an exciting start. Being sure to take time to enjoy a nutritional breakfast is one of the ways that children and parents alike can keep that high level of enthusiasm throughout the school year or even just a regular work week.
When we don’t supply our brains with enough energy for the day we tend to become irritable, lethargic, and even develop headaches. The best solution to avoid these things is to make sure our body is taking in the calories and nutrients it needs to help us think clearly the whole day. The best place to start is with breakfast.
Breakfast literally means “to break the fast.” When we wake up in the morning it has been about eight hours or more since the last time we’ve eaten any food. A healthy breakfast can improve our attention and concentration on our morning tasks. This is especially important for school age. Teachers often report that children who don’t eat breakfast become restless and inattentive by late morning. Breakfast is also important because it provides about ¼ our daily calories and nutrients. A nutritious breakfast is exactly what a growing child or teenager needs, without it they are unlikely to make up this nutritional loss through other meals/snacks during the day.
A healthy breakfast can be as simple as a banana and peanut butter sandwich. Make that bread whole-grain and you have an even healthier meal. Low-fat milk and cereal, toasted cheese sandwich and orange juice, even a leftover slice of pizza will help you make it thorough the morning. Include some protein to help your breakfast last until your next meal.
And finally, be sure that as the parent you set a good example for your children. Parents serve as role models for healthy eating behaviors to their children. It is vitally important to make breakfast a part of your family’s daily routine.

To learn more about healthy breakfast options, contact Wise County’s Texas AgriLife Extension office at 940/627-3341.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Kitchen Boot Camp!

Most kids think that eating is fun. They also enjoy helping adults cook. Put the two together and you have the perfect recipe for learning. Kids learn best when they’re busy and interested in what they are doing. When kids are busy scrubbing, mixing, stirring, kneading, spreading, tossing, squeezing, and pouring, they don’t realize there’s a special ingredient that you’re adding: It’s called learning!
That is what we will be doing during our Wise County 4-H Kitchen Boot Camp scheduled for Tuesday, August 21 from 10 am- 2 pm at the Texas AgriLife Extension Service Wise County office. The participation fee is $5 for 4-H’ers and $15 for non-4-H’ers.
This program is designed to teach youth, 3rd grade - 12th grade, that learning how to cook can be a fun and useful experience.  The Wise County 4-H Family and Consumer Sciences Task Force plans to feature the following topics: Recipe Rally, Garnishing Tips, Knife Skills, Healthy Substitutions, and Cupcake Challenge. Each 4-H’er will have the opportunity to eat and enjoy what they have prepared.
 All Wise County 4-H’ers and those who are interested in joining 4-H are invited to attend to learn skills that will lead you to success in the 4-H Foods and Nutrition project.
For more information and to sign up for Kitchen Boot Camp, contact the Extension office at 940/627-3341. Space is limited. Educational programs of Texas AgriLife Extension Service are open to all people without regard to race, color, sex, disability, religion, age, or national origin.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Rancher's Gathering

Tomorrow is Rancher's Gathering and the office is all a buzz about it! Can't wait to eat some great food, see some new faces and learn something new!!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Prussic Acid Poisoning

             This time of year we always receive calls regarding the safety of Johnson grass for cattle and horses.  Actually, it’s not just Johnson grass producers who need to be concerned with.  Many sorghum and sudan type plants including Johnson grass can release a poisonous substance known as prussic acid or hydrocyanic acid.  This year even though we have had rain, we are still experiencing drought and the stress put on these plants can increase your chances, depending on when and how you turn in your cattle.  There are some losses of cattle almost every year due to grazing on the green plants.  Silage and hay can usually be fed without problems.
                The prussic acid content decreases as the plant approaches maturity.  Small plants, young leaves, and tillers are usually the highest in prussic acid.  In other words, the upper leaves will contain more acid than the older lower leaves.

            Drought stricken and second-growth plants are dangerous because they are small and consist largely of leaves, which are high in prussic acid.  Poisoning seems to be less likely to occur if animals eat some grain before they are turned into the pasture.

                The remedy for prussic acid poisoning is an intravenous injection of sodium nitrite and sodium thiosulfate.  However, if cattle are grazing contaminated pastures, death can come quickly.  Therefore, if you have pastures with Johnson grass present, it is advisable to have a sample sent to the TAMU diagnostic lab before taking an unnecessary risk.

Green Out

TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALL GAME ~ The Texas 4-H Foundation has on exciting opportunity for county/4-H clubs to earn funds for the 2012-2013 Texas 4-H year. What better combination than "America's favorite pass-time" and "Texas 4-H"....

The 3rd Annual "Green Out" 4-H Event with the Texas Rangers, is a great way to kick-off the 2012-2013 Texas 4-H year! The discounted tickets are on sale now for the Texas Rangers vs. Mariners game on September 15, 2012, at the Ballpark in Arlington. Start time is 7:05pm.

Every ticket holder will receive a FREE one-of-a-kind GREEN OUT t-shirt sponsored by the Texas Farm Bureau Insurance Company which will include the Rangers, 4-H, and Texas Farm Bureau Insurance logos. To receive your green out t-shirts, tickets must be purchased by August 30, 2012. T-shirts will be available in Youth sizes Medium and Large, Adult Sizes S - XXL. If larger than XXL is needed, let us know and we can verify availability.

Every County and 4-H club has the opportunity to sell GREEN OUT tickets as a fundraiser for their County 4-H program. Prizes will be awarded for the member, club or county 4-H that sales the most tickets. The Texas Rangers organization has been gracious enough to not only give us a discounted ticket rate, but is giving $3.00* for every ticket purchased to the County 4-H program that sells tickets. The more tickets you sell, the more money you can make for your County 4-H! Attached you will find the order form or you can download more information at the website.

Money Tips for College Students

In just a few weeks many Wise County families will send their high school graduate into the world of college. Going to college is an awesome experience and one that can definitely be enhanced when careful planning and wise spending stretch the bucks allotted.  Following are just a few money tips that I encourage families to share with their college student to help them get more for their money. This advice comes from the voice of experience, ‘don’t assume your child already knows the ins and outs of money management, because many times they don’t.’
1.                          Budget your money to last.  Know what you can spend and know when you’ve spent too much. Keeping your checkbook balanced will keep you from going overboard. Set a little money aside for emergencies.
2.                          Be price sensitive. Comparison shop to save money.
3.                          Use a debit card (check card) instead of a credit card to keep you from overspending. 
4.                          If you have subscribed to a full or partial meal plan at school, use it.  Don’t leave money on the table by not using what you’ve paid for.
5.                          Be careful about how much money you spend eating out.  Remember that beverages can really add to your cost-in fact, they may be the most expensive part of a fast food meal.  Get into the habit of ordering regular tap water with ice and lemon/lime to accompany your meal and you will save a lot of money in the long run.
6.                          Beware of “sales”.  There’s no savings if you buy things you would not have purchased unless on sale.
7.                          Get information from your financial aid office even if you do not have a student loan.  The offices usually stock information on budgeting, economizing and managing credit.
8.                          Pay your credit card in full every month.  Don’t charge everything.  Set rules for yourself.  People who use their credit card for “everything” tend to spend more money and often it is money that they do not have.
9.                          Be wary of credit card solicitations.  You only need one credit card.  Too much credit damages your credit history.  Comparison shop for a credit card if you don’t have one.  They are not all the same.  Look for a low APR, no annual fees and low/no extra fees and charges.  Pay special attention to how your interest rate will change if you are late in making a payment. 

   To obtain additional information about how college students can get more for their money during college, contact the Extension office at 940/627-3341.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


 jcpenney is continuing more than 80 years of support of 4-H with their 'jcp cares' program - a new charitable giving program that invites customers to round up their purchases to the nearest whole dollar and donate the difference. During the month of August, 4-H will be one of two featured charity partners, making it possible for more children to participate in life-enriching afterschool programs in communities across the country.

“For more than 80 years, jcpenney’s partnership with 4-H has provided millions of youth across the country the opportunity to learn from 4-H high-quality positive youth development programs,” said Donald T. Floyd Jr., National 4-H Council president and CEO.  “We are thrilled to be one of ‘jcp cares’ charity partners as this investment will strengthen and expand these 4-H programs that empower young people to create a positive impact in their communities that benefit their peers, families, and communities.”

Throughout jcpenney's history, 4-H has been an important part of its philanthropic focus. Mr. James Cash Penney himself was a long-time supporter of 4-H through active involvement with the organization spanning almost 50 years. From 1928 until his death in 1971, Mr. Penney generously gave his time, leadership and financial support to advance the mission of 4-H and help it grow into one of the world's most recognized and highly respected youth organizations. The company has continued this support even to this day.

Together with its customers, jcpenney has supported 4-H and its high-quality positive youth development programs by contributing more than $10 million over the past 12 years. Its support has provided for volunteer and staff training, curriculum development and increased capacity through afterschool access grants. Additionally, it made possible for families who were experiencing financial hardship to enroll or keep their children involved in 4-H afterschool programs. jcpenney's support has provided millions of youth with a safe place to learn, grow and become smart, strong and socially responsible citizens.