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Ag Issues and More

A few ag-related questions that have come in to the office these past couple weeks include: mint weed concerns, army worms, and sprayer calibration.

Nashville, Ark. – I first want to thank each and every one who helped make my first Howard County Fair a success! It was a great week and I am really proud of all of the exhibitors and their livestock and craft entries. We have some very talented kids here in Howard County and I am so grateful to be able to work with them. The weeks following County Fair have been full of organizing and getting back on track in the office. I learned quite a bit throughout fair week and am making plans to help make County Fair even better for next year.

A few ag-related questions that have come in to the office these past couple weeks include: mint weed concerns, army worms, and sprayer calibration. The most important point to remember when spraying pests is to always, ALWAYS follow the label directions. This means even making sure that the sprayer is calibrated accurately so that it is applying the amount that the producer has intended.

Also, the excessive rain from August has caused over $46 million in total losses for farmers around the state. Rice crops have taken the hardest hit estimating a loss of more than 4.1 million bushels. Randolph, Greene, Lawrence, Craighead, Independence, Jackson, and White counties were the hardest hit areas in the state.

Mint weed, aka Perilla Mint or purple mint (Perilla fruticosa) is toxic to cattle. Cattle typically do not prefer to eat it, but when there is very little valuable forage left in the pasture, they may be tempted to nibble on it. Mint weed contains a ketone toxin that leads to severe respiratory problems, often causing their lungs to fill with fluid. The question was asked: If mint weed is cut and baled into hay, will it cause the same effects as eating it green out of the pasture? The answer is most definitely yes! While sometimes the effects could be lessened, it is never worth taking the risk. If there is mint weed in your pasture and you are ready to cut hay, try to avoid cutting the mint weed. If it is already in the bale, my best advice would be to discard those bales. The best way to remove mint weed from pasture is to spray them before they are 12 inches tall (or taller); then bush hog larger plants and be prepared to spray again in early spring.

Army worms: there are still a few areas with infestations. Remember, these worms are not all at the same larval stage, at the same time, so spraying at multiple intervals is suggested.  Most of the producers in the area that I have spoken with have sprayed at least twice.

Sprayer calibration is essential. Incorrect application of nitrogen, can lead to plant injury or death. Incorrect application of pesticide, for instance, for army worms can lead to an uncontrollable infestation. Both of these effects leaving a lack of nutrients for cattle and thus, money lost for the producer as he must buy hay or other feedstuffs. For more information on sprayer calibration or for a “how-to” please call or come by the office. 

All of this information has been obtained from UACES resources.

By Kaycee Davis
County Extension Agent - Agriculture
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Media Contact: Kaycee Davis
County Extension Agent - Agriculture
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
421 N. Main Nashville AR 71852
(870) 845-7517


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