Wednesday, August 31, 2016

NMSU center at Corona serves as key site for range, livestock research

NMSU center at Corona serves as key site for range, livestock reseach If you want to learn more about livestock management or range management, you may want to visit the Corona Range and Livestock Research Center. Part of New Mexico State University, the CRLRC is centrally located in the state. As the center’s superintendent Shad Cox said, if you draw the letter “X” on a New Mexico map, Corona is at the center of that “X.” Located in both Lincoln and Torrance Counties, the CRLRC specializes in research and graduate student education. Areas of focus include natural resources, livestock nutrition, livestock reproduction and wildlife habitat. Cox has worked at the center for 22 years. He has served as superintendent for the past 10 years and was the senior research assistant before that. He wears many hats in his leadership capacity, from coordinating outreach events to serving as head cook for the United States Beef Academy. An annual event held in July, the beef academy is for young men and women who are interested in learning about the beef industry. Attendees learn about genetics, nutrition, reproduction, animal health, livestock handling and marketing. Major sponsors of the academy included NMSU’s Cooperative Extension Service as well as Zoetis and Texas A&M’s AgriLife Extension program. This was the second year CRLRC hosted the event. The plan is for the center to become the beef academy’s permanent home. The CRLRC has been home to other events as well, including: – Cowbelles district meeting – Grassfed Livestock Alliance annual meeting – New Mexico Department of Game and Fish annual officers training program – Beyond the Roundtable ranchers’ educational discussions Stirling Spencer, member of the CRLRC/Southwest Center for Rangeland Sustainability Advisory Committee, said the center’s ability to host real-life experiments is one of its greatest values. “The center is a real-life testing ground for theories and laboratory experiments that need to be evaluated against actual environmental and real-time conditions,” Spencer said. “It’s a place where professors, researchers and agencies can test assumptions and theories that can affect the efficiencies and management of rangeland, wildlife and environmental issues.” Advisory committee member Scott Shafer said the center offers very diverse programs for the public. “We’ve created programs that focus strictly on agriculture, as well as renewable energy and water projects,” Shafer said. “We fall in line with NMSU’s Extension Services’ purpose by getting information out – not just to producers – but to people with various backgrounds from all over New Mexico.” Cox hopes that more people will be able to attend multiple-day outreach events at the center if funding is secured to increase overnight accommodations. “With our centralized location in New Mexico, it would be a great opportunity if NMSU is able to provide overnight accommodations for outreach programs,” Cox said. Right now the center only has one cabin on site, which can host four to six people. Two miles down the road is an apartment, and five miles away are two trailers. But Cox said the center would be able to host more educational programs with everything in one area. “We’re developing a campaign to find some outside funding to construct additional cabins and a laboratory to add to the Southwest Center for Rangeland Sustainability, which is our classroom,” he said. “The plan includes four new on-site cabins and eight new cabins in the future.” Spencer agreed increased housing is needed to create a more efficient operation. “My vision is to expand both the center’s capability of long-term housing for researchers and the site laboratory,” Spencer said. Shafer said increasing accommodations for outreach opportunities falls into NMSU’s land-grant mission. “If we can secure funding to add residential structures, groups can come in for multi-day education events and youth camps,” Shafer said. “We’d also be able to improve our working laboratory for scientists and graduate students.” Aside from overnight accommodations, Spencer hopes to see an increased involvement from other entities. “I would also like to involve more governmental agencies, agriculture groups and the members of the public that are involved in environmental and rangeland decisions and policy,” he said. Rolando Flores, dean of NMSU’s College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, said the center has potential to have an impact beyond New Mexico. "This is an example of dedicated management and participation of our advisory board for the benefit of the university, as well as economically as a benefit for agriculture in the state of New Mexico," said Flores. "The center is already internationally known as an outstanding place. This is an opportunity to turn this into a major center for international instruction and research in rangeland sustainability." Established in 1988, the CRLRC operates in coordination with the NMSU Department of Animal and Range Sciences. Discover more at www.corona.nmsu.edu. - 30 -

Imagine what you could learn if a rangeland cow wore a GoPro camera

NMSU engineering students design cow camera to assist researchers DATE: 08/31/2016 WRITER: Kristie Garcia, 575-646-4211, kmgarcia@nmsu.edu CONTACT: Laura Boucheron, 575-646-7420, lboucher@nmsu.edu Imagine what you could learn if a rangeland cow wore a GoPro camera. What does the cow eat? How much does it eat? How often does it eat? And how much land does it cover in one day? Four New Mexico State University electrical engineering students are designing a camera prototype that may provide the answers. Seniors Zach Abbott, Christian De La Pena, German Montes and Adrian Palos are in the process of developing a camera that can be affixed to a harness around a cow’s neck. The students are part of the two-semester-long senior capstone design class advised by Laura Boucheron, assistant professor in the Klipsch School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. They’re all seniors and expect to conclude their design project in December. “We want our students to take the concepts they have from all of the courses that we’ve taught them and synthesize them together and design something,” Boucheron said. “The idea is that they’re taking concepts from a variety of different subdisciplines in their engineering, putting them together, learning how to present to a variety of audiences and actually building something that they can test and demonstrate.” The purpose of the camera is to help researchers learn about cattle at the Jornada Experimental Range northeast of Las Cruces. Rick Estell, research animal scientist with the Jornada Basin Long Term Ecological Research program, is part of a team studying Raramuri Criollo cattle. “Raramuri Criollo is a biotype that’s pretty rare,” Estell said. “It originated in Northern Africa and came over with the Spaniards in the 1500s into Central America. They went through this process of natural selection for 500 years or so before gradually disappearing except in isolated areas.” About 10 years ago, Estell’s colleague brought 27 Criollo cows to the Jornada Range from Mexico. Now, the population on the range is about 200. “What we’re doing is comparing these animals to the standard black baldies that most producers in this area use,” Estell said. “There’s hardly any information on Criollo, so we want to know what they’re eating and how they distribute themselves on the landscape.” The engineering students and Boucheron went to the Jornada Range earlier this month to take some measurements. Several factors must be taken into consideration, such as the circumference of the cow’s neck and the distance from the camera location to the vegetation on the ground. The electronics of the camera are complete at this point, and the next step is packaging the camera. The students will need to come up with a design that can withstand weather and force. Regarding placement, they need to consider any obstructions that may arise. “At this point in the project, the biggest challenge is going to be designing an enclosure for the device,” Abbott said. “It will need to contain all the systems and meet our durability requirements.” If the prototype works, Estell hopes that eventually cameras on multiple cows will help him and other researchers gather useful information. “The idea is that these are hardy animals that are very adapted to harsh environments,” he said. “And some of the larger cattle we use nowadays can be a little bit harder on the landscape than what we want them to be. So we’re looking for something that’s a little bit more matched to this fragile ecosystem.” At this early stage, researchers do not know whether there are significant advantages of Criollo cattle. “It’s all hypothetical right now,” Estell said. “But if it turns out that they’re a better fit, producers and ranchers might have another option. There are some drawbacks to these smaller animals, so marketing is another part of this whole thing that we’d have to work out before it’s a viable option. But that’s what we hope – that it might give producers some more flexibility.” Operated by the Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service, data have been collected on the Jornada Experimental Range since 1915. Data have been collected for the LTER project, administered by NMSU, since 1983.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Statement from Agriculture Secretary Vilsack on Farm Income Forecasts for 2015 and 2016

Statement from Agriculture Secretary Vilsack on Farm Income Forecasts for 2015 and 2016 WASHINGTON, Aug. 30, 2016 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack issued the following statement today on the Farm Income and Financial Forecasts for 2015 and 2016, released by USDA's Economic Research Service. "Today's farm income forecast underscores the unique ability of American farmers and ranchers to plan ahead and make sharp business decisions in a challenging market, as net farm income for 2015 was revised up significantly to $80.7 billion-an increase of 43 percent since the February forecast. Falling production expenses, including the price of fuel and inputs, was the largest contributor to this latest rally by farmers. Just last week, farm exports for 2016 were revised up to one of the highest levels on record, demonstrating that U.S. farmers and ranchers continue to beat expectations. Overall, farm income over the last five-year period reflects the highest average five-year period on record. Although net farm income for 2016 is forecast to decline relative to 2015, the 2014 Farm Bill has provided for a comprehensive farm safety net that will ensure financial stability for America's farming families. Farm Bill program payments-including Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC), Price Loss Coverage (PLC), and the Margin Protection Program for Dairy (MPP)-are forecast to increase nearly 25 percent to $13.5 billion in 2016. For producers challenged by weather, disease and falling prices, we will continue to ensure the availability of a strong safety net to keep them farming or ranching. "The estimates today also showed that debt to asset and debt to equity ratios-two key indicators of the farm economy's health-continue to be near all-time lows. In addition to strong balance sheets, median household income for farming families remains near historic highs. In 2016, higher off-farm earnings are expected to help stabilize losses due to low commodity prices. "The trend in strong household income reflects work of the Obama Administration since 2009 to make significant and targeted investments across the United States toward building a more robust system of production agriculture, expanding foreign markets for U.S. farm goods, bolstering local and regional food systems across the country, and creating a new bio-based economy in rural communities that today supports more than 4 million American jobs. At the same time, rural communities have been infused with billions of dollars to build schools, hospitals, and public safety headquarters, and businesses of all sizes have availed themselves of USDA's business loans and grants to spur growth that complements the agricultural economy. Other key investments made by USDA since 2009 include new or improved high-speed internet service to 6 million Americans in rural areas, along with investments in electricity, water and wastewater, and clean power, that will continue to strengthen rural communities for generations to come. "Outside the United States, demand for American-grown food and agricultural products remains strong. Agricultural exports have surpassed $1 trillion since 2009, besting all previous records in terms of value and volume and acting as an engine for America's farm economy. USDA will continue to ensure American farming families have open markets and a level playing field by working to remove unfair barriers to trade and negotiating trade agreements, such as the Trans Pacific Partnership, that benefit all of agriculture." Full Forecast: www.ers.usda.gov/topics/farm-economy/farm-sector-income-finances/highlights-from-the-farm-income-forecast.aspx #

NMSU to host livestock water symposium in Albuquerque

NMSU to host livestock water symposium in Albuquerque DATE: 08/30/2016 WRITER: Kristie Garcia, 575-646-4211, kmgarcia@nmsu.edu CONTACT: Nick Ashcroft, 575-646-5394, nashcrof@nmsu.edu If you want to learn about issues related to stock water, you won’t want to miss this event. The New Mexico State University Range Improvement Task Force is hosting a livestock water symposium Sept. 10 in Albuquerque. The symposium is from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the MCM Elegante Hotel at 2020 Menaul Blvd. RITF is holding the event in response to concerns about drought and limited understanding related to livestock water rights and water policy. Topics will include: - New Mexico water law and ranching - Pre-basin versus state-engineer permitted water rights - How and why you need to file on your water rights - Livestock water allocations - The special nature of livestock water and challenges in transferring water rights - How special designations impact water - Livestock water records NMSU Range Extension Specialist Nick Ashcroft will provide the introductory remarks. New Mexico State Engineer Tom Blain is the guest speaker. Register online at http://aces.nmsu.edu/register/water-conference/. Pre-registration is $25. Registration at the door is $30. The fee includes lunch and attendance to all symposium sessions. For more information, contact Ashcroft at 575-646-5394 or nashcrof@nmsu.edu.

Public Meeting to discuss Epizootic Hemorrhagic Diseses in Mule Deer

What is EHD: Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease Around this time each year, common to have headlines about dead deer near water sources start popping up in other parts of the United States. However it is a little odd here in Eddy County and in New Mexico. The result in other parts of the country is often deer suffering from one of two hemorrhagic diseases (HD): epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) or bluetongue virus (BTV). So what are these hemorrhagic diseases and what do they mean for deer populations and hunters this fall and associated livestock? To find out, I turned to Kerry Mower of New Mexico Game and Fish, Dr. John Wenzel, DVM NMSU Cooperative Extension Veterinarian and Dr. Sam Smallidge Extension Wildlife Specialist. Dr. Wenzel says in short “EHD is a viral disease and most common in whitetail deer but has been reported in mule deer as well. It’s transmitted by biting midges, commonly called ‘no-see-ums’, and it happens in whitetail deer areas every year.” During the first few days, the infected deer might look and act normal or possibly show minor signs of illness. After the first week symptoms become more apparent and can include depression, fever, swelling in the head, neck, tongue or eyelids, difficulty breathing, loss of appetite and the deer could lose its fear of man, according to Dr. Samantha Uhrig DVM. Then it gets worse. Some deer develop ulcers on their tongue or have the thick pad on the roof of their mouth begin to erode. To make matters worse, fluid can build up in the lungs, and the lining of the rumen can scar. As the symptoms worsen, fever sets in, and the deer seek out water; that’s why infected deer are usually found dead around water sources. If you look at this from a glass half full point of view, there is a bright spot. Kerry Mower of New Mexico Game and Fish wildlife disease specialist says “not all deer that get the disease die. If they don’t die, they develop antibodies.” Antibodies can help deer that have been previously exposed to a mild case of HD, but in many cases a deer that is exposed to HD for the first time dies within five to ten days. While it’s possible that some deer will survive, there is no vaccine or cure for HD today. HD also knows no boundaries. Other animals, like bighorn sheep and pronghorn antelope, domestic cattle and sheep are also able to contract the virus. Since it was first reported in 1955, HD has been confirmed in more than 30 states. While the virus is most prevalent in the Southeast, it’s also found in the Northeast, Midwest, southern Canada, the west coast and Eddy County, NM. It was reported in NM in the early 1980’s in fact I did some research on it when I was at the NMSU Livestock Veterinary Entomology Laboratory. All common ruminants are susceptible to infection experimentally, but natural infection in cattle is not common. There will be in informational meeting on September 6 in the Eddy County Extension Office at 7:00 pm. Veterinarians and other specialist will be available to answer questions. The office is at 1304 West Stevens Carlsbad NM. There is not much that can be done to control the disease without controlling the insect vectors. Eddy County vector control is very good at what they do and have expanded their control efforts to meet this challenge but the recent rain will make that more difficult. Livestock producers are encouraged to maintain approved fly control measures. Subscribe to Eddy County Ag news at: http://nmsueddyag.blogspot.com/ Eddy County Extension Service, New Mexico State University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer and educator. All programs are available to everyone regardless of race, color, religion, sex, age, handicap, or national origin. New Mexico State University, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Eddy County Government Cooperating.

Public Meeting to discuss Epizootic Hemorrhagic Diseses in Mule Deer

What is EHD: Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease Around this time each year, common to have headlines about dead deer near water sources start popping up in other parts of the United States. However it is a little odd here in Eddy County and in New Mexico. The result in other parts of the country is often deer suffering from one of two hemorrhagic diseases (HD): epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) or bluetongue virus (BTV). So what are these hemorrhagic diseases and what do they mean for deer populations and hunters this fall and associated livestock? To find out, I turned to Kerry Mower of New Mexico Game and Fish, Dr. John Wenzel, DVM NMSU Cooperative Extension Veterinarian and Dr. Sam Smallidge Extension Wildlife Specialist. Dr. Wenzel says in short “EHD is a viral disease and most common in whitetail deer but has been reported in mule deer as well. It’s transmitted by biting midges, commonly called ‘no-see-ums’, and it happens in whitetail deer areas every year.” During the first few days, the infected deer might look and act normal or possibly show minor signs of illness. After the first week symptoms become more apparent and can include depression, fever, swelling in the head, neck, tongue or eyelids, difficulty breathing, loss of appetite and the deer could lose its fear of man, according to Dr. Samantha Uhrig DVM. Then it gets worse. Some deer develop ulcers on their tongue or have the thick pad on the roof of their mouth begin to erode. To make matters worse, fluid can build up in the lungs, and the lining of the rumen can scar. As the symptoms worsen, fever sets in, and the deer seek out water; that’s why infected deer are usually found dead around water sources. If you look at this from a glass half full point of view, there is a bright spot. Kerry Mower of New Mexico Game and Fish wildlife disease specialist says “not all deer that get the disease die. If they don’t die, they develop antibodies.” Antibodies can help deer that have been previously exposed to a mild case of HD, but in many cases a deer that is exposed to HD for the first time dies within five to ten days. While it’s possible that some deer will survive, there is no vaccine or cure for HD today. HD also knows no boundaries. Other animals, like bighorn sheep and pronghorn antelope, domestic cattle and sheep are also able to contract the virus. Since it was first reported in 1955, HD has been confirmed in more than 30 states. While the virus is most prevalent in the Southeast, it’s also found in the Northeast, Midwest, southern Canada, the west coast and Eddy County, NM. It was reported in NM in the early 1980’s in fact I did some research on it when I was at the NMSU Livestock Veterinary Entomology Laboratory. All common ruminants are susceptible to infection experimentally, but natural infection in cattle is not common. There will be in informational meeting on September 6 in the Eddy County Extension Office at 7:00 pm. Veterinarians and other specialist will be available to answer questions. The office is at 1304 West Stevens Carlsbad NM. There is not much that can be done to control the disease without controlling the insect vectors. Eddy County vector control is very good at what they do and have expanded their control efforts to meet this challenge but the recent rain will make that more difficult. Livestock producers are encouraged to maintain approved fly control measures. Subscribe to Eddy County Ag news at: http://nmsueddyag.blogspot.com/ Eddy County Extension Service, New Mexico State University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer and educator. All programs are available to everyone regardless of race, color, religion, sex, age, handicap, or national origin. New Mexico State University, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Eddy County Government Cooperating.

Monday, August 29, 2016

ALFALFA CUT WORMS

ALFALFA CUT WORMS By Woods Houghton Eddy County Agriculture Agent Alfalfa fields across south Eddy County have been slow to recover from the third, fourth or fifth cutting. Some fields have no re-growth and in other fields the re-growth has been slow and plants are pale green and droopy. So what's going on? I think there are two main problems. The pale green, droopy plants nearly always are in fields that have had abundant rain. So much rain in fact, that the soil has remained saturated with moisture for many days in a row right after cutting. Alfalfa doesn't like wet feet. This is especially true right after harvest. For alfalfa to re-grow, oxygen must be available in the soil. Water-saturated soils have little or no oxygen available for the plants. As a result, re-growth is very slow because plant roots are suffocating. This reduces nutrient and water uptake by roots as well as metabolic activity for re-growth. These plants act just like plants that have not had water and they are weaker and more susceptible to insects and disease. The other problem has been insects. From alfalfa weevil larvae to army worms to cutworms to alfalfa caterpillars, it seems like everybody, somewhere has had enough of each of these insects to hurt re-growth from feeding on the newly developing buds. It only takes 3-5 cutworms per square foot to be considered economically damaging. Using insecticides to kill these bugs is about the only solution for any sizable acreage. Synthetic pyrethroids ,usually give the best control. Most producer like to use two different classes of insecticide after the 2010 infestation. If these worms aren't controlled, alfalfa yield and stands will suffer. I observed 4 worms per stem eating the green off the stem. These stands have been hit hard and some may not recover. Cutworms develop on rangelands or weedy fallow fields and move into alfalfa usually after the first cutting. Cutworms are nocturnal insects which feed at night and hide during the day in soil cracks and under debris and loose soil. Growers, pest control advisors, and crop consultants should vigorously scout for the worm at night or early in the morning. Light traps can be a useful tool to estimate the population based on the adults the traps attract. Irrigation or harrowing may help reduce the population at these high populations control will have also include insecticide applications. Subscribe to Eddy County Ag news at: http://nmsueddyag.blogspot.com/ Eddy County Extension Service, New Mexico State University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer and educator. All programs are available to everyone regardless of race, color, religion, sex, age, handicap, or national origin. New Mexico State University, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Eddy County Government Cooperating.