UT Extension celebrates Extension Month with upcoming meetings

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University of Tennessee Extension, meeting sponsors and partners are proud to announce the upcoming events celebrating The University of Tennessee Extension Month.

Horse Night will be held on Thursday, March 14th sponsored by Cannon County Walking Horse Association. Middle Tennessee State University Graduate Student, Naomi Oliver will discuss findings from her Master's Degree. The meeting will be held at the Woodbury Lions Club Bldg. beginning at 6:30.(612 Lehman Street, Woodbury TN 37190). Everyone is invited to attend, whether you're a horse owner, enthusiast, wanting to own a horse, whatever the case we invite you to attend.

Several meeting concerning Beef production will begin on March 21st with Dr. Andrew Griffith and Marshall LaFever. The first meeting will target Market and Grading and held at the Warren County Livestock Market at 1378 Old Smithville Rd. This meeting will kick off the Advanced Master Beef classes. These classes are for those producers that have never attended an Advanced Master Beef course or attended an AMBP course prior to 2016. Producers that attended an Advanced Master Beef certification prior to 2016, will not qualify for the 50% TAEP cost share. Please contact the Cannon County Extension Office to verify when you attended the most recent AMBP course.

If you are planning to participate in this certification, please drop by the Extension office and register for the Advance Master Beef sessions. (615-563-2554). The cost is $75 and we will need your BQA number when you register. If you do not have a current BQA number, no worries, we will provide this certification at one of the AMBP sessions. Please help us spread the word on the upcoming AMBP sessions and the Tennessee Ag Enhancement program. The complete schedule is listed below;

March 21: 6 p.m.
Marketing and Grading

Dr. Andrew Griffith and Mr. Marshall LaFever
Warren County Livestock
1378 Old Smithville Rd., McMinnville

March 25: 6 p.m.
Calving Seasons - Why worry with it? and BQA Certification
Scott Swoape and Chris Binkley, UT Extension
Centertown Community Center
92 Gilbert St., McMinnville

March 28: 6 p.m.
Soil Fertility and Weed Control and Industry Issues
Cole DeLong and Eddie Clark
Centertown Community Center
92 Gilbert St, McMinnville

March 30: 9 a.m.
Herd Health and Farm Pond Mgt/Field Day
Dr. Mark Turney and Mr. Ronnie Cowan
Hyatt Haven Lane, Bradyville

The meeting on the 30th will be held at Hyatt Haven farm located at 2727 Bush Road, Bradyville, TN. One of the highlights of the morning will be burning (weather permitting) of the 40 acre native grass stand. The annual burn of last year's growth is a recommended practice. We plan to start the burn at 7:00 a.m. on the morning the field day with the field day speakers to begin at 9 a.m.

Other topics we plan to showcase on the 30th is pond management. Ronnie Cowan, UT Area Pond Management Specialist will discuss stocking and weed management practices in ponds. We will wrap up the day with pink eye management tips with Dr. Mark Turney. This field day is sponsored by the Cannon County Cattlemen's. Please call Kathy Hyatt, Davy Sneed, Heath Nokes or Bruce Steelman (615-563-2554) if you plan to attend the event so we can plan or lunch.

Everyone is welcome to attend any meetings hosted by the Cannon County UT Extension. These meetings provides an opportunity to viewed researched based information from The University of Tennessee. Your local Cannon County Extension Office is the outreach department of the University. This program, like all UT Extension programs, is open to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age, religion, disability or veteran status.

Spray for Buttercup and Thistle

During the middle of the winter, any thoughts we have about forages usually revolve around hay feeding rather than managing pastures. Pasture management probably won't enter our mind for another couple of months. Now is a good time, however to walk or drive across your pastures and hayfields to find out what kind of winter weeds are present.

Weeds like buttercup and musk thistle are easily controlled in a tall fescue or orchardgrass field, as long as they are sprayed before they bloom. The key to getting good control of these weeds is to spray early.

If you find buttercup and thistle in your pastures or hayfields, here are a few important facts that will be helpful for you.

1. When should I spray? Buttercup and thistle can be sprayed this month, if the weather cooperates. Three days of 60 degrees for the high will stimulate these weeds to grow, resulting in an effective herbicide application. If these warm days do not occur, wait until March or April to spray. Remember that the plants need to be sprayed before they bloom.

2. What should I spray? The ester formulation of 2,4-D is very effective in buttercup control. There are several brand names for this chemical, so read the label to make sure you are getting the right herbicide.

3. How much should I spray? Once again, this depends on which brand of 2,4-D ester you get. Most of the brands are formulated with 4 pounds of the active ingredient per gallon of herbicide. This will mean that 2 pints of 2,4-D per acre will be used for buttercup control. Apply the chemical in 20 to 25 gallons of water per acre. The sprayer should have a pressure of 25 to 30 psi. It is important that the label is read carefully, and all instructions are followed, including avoiding drift to sensitive crops and waiting periods for hay cutting.

4. Will this kill my clover? This rate of 2,4-D will not kill established white clover. It will kill all of the seedling white clover and red clover in the pasture. One of the strong points with a December application of 2,4-D is that all residual activity of the herbicide will be gone, and clovers can be planted in February without any problems.

5. Will this kill all of the weeds? This rate of 2,4-D will control buttercup, musk thistle, marestail, and several other weeds. Certain weeds, such as henbit and chickweed will not be controlled. It is important to remember that 2,4-D is only one step in effective weed control. Fertilizing and liming to soil test, and efficient utilization of pastures or hay fields are the primary way to decrease weed pressure.
If you scout the fields now, you won't be surprised in May when you see all of those yellow buttercup flowers or purple thistle heads.

Grass Tetany Prevention

Spring is just around the corner with lush green pastures that cattle long for at the end of a long winter. These grasses will be lush and your cows will tear a fence down to get on the green pastures, but these grasses will be full of moisture and potentially diluted of minerals. This can lead to a condition known as grass tetany.


Grass tetany is a highly fatal disease associated with low levels of magnesium (Mg) in the blood.

Grass tetany can affect all classes of cattle but older cows with calves on their side during late winter and early spring are most at risk. Cattle store Mg in their bones and muscles, but cannot readily access and utilize these stores when needed. The animal constantly loses Mg in urine, feces and milk, so when grazing lush green Mg deficient grass, cattle need Mg supplements to meet daily requirements. A cow in peak lactation (6-8 weeks following calving) needs a constant source of Mg to replace the large amount lost from the body in milk. Some causes of grass tetany are:

Mg levels are lower in cool season grasses and legumes.

Mg levels are low in grasses grown on leached acid sandy soils.

Mg levels are low when potash and nitrogen fertilizers are used and growth is lush

High moisture content in grass causing rapid gut transit and low uptake.

Reduced absorption of magnesium resulting from high rumen potassium and nitrogen and low rumen sodium.

Low energy intake, fasting or sudden changes in feed.

Transport stress

Low intake of phosphorus and salt.


Animals suffering from grass tetany are often found dead. There may be signs of struggle on the ground beside the animal indicating they were leg paddling before death. Early signs include some excitability with muscle twitching, an exaggerated awareness and a stiff gait. Animals may appear aggressive and may progress through galloping, bellowing and then staggering. In less severe cases the only signs may be a change in the character of the animal and difficulty in handling.


Blood magnesium levels must be restored. Veterinary administration of an intravenous calcium and magnesium solution produces best results. However, in acute cases where time is critical, producers can administer an Epsom salt solution via an enema while waiting on the veterinarian.

Producers should also provide oral sources of magnesium to affected herds to prevent relapses. These include:

Magnesium oxide in minerals

Magnesium lick blocks

Addition of magnesium to concentrates or pellets

These products are available from your veterinarian, feed supplier/retailer.

Prevention and control

The goal of a well-managed prevention program should aim to:

Eliminate factors which reduce magnesium absorption and provide a magnesium supplement.

Immediate actions:

Increase energy and roughage intake. Good quality hay or silage are suitable.

Pellets or grain can be added if introduced carefully

Provide salt if a natural source is not available.

Move lactating cows (especially older animals) to high legume and high dry matter pastures.

Reduce stress factors

Provide magnesium supplements

Long-term management:

Correct soil acidity with lime or dolomite (dolomite contains some magnesium).

Plant clovers.

Apply phosphate fertilizer.

Limit potash and nitrogen applications until soil acidity is corrected and clovers are established.

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