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All aboard for a bus tour

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Column by Doug Shepherd, Hardin County Extension agent

The annual motorcoach tour sponsored and coordinated by the Hardin County Cattlemen’s Association is scheduled for Sept. 30-Oct. 2. The tour is open to anyone interested, you don’t have to be a member of the HCCA or a cattle producer to participate. Typically families from Hardin, LaRue, Meade and Nelson counties participate in this enjoyable and educational tour.

This year the tour mainly includes stops in Ohio and offers a wide variety of agricultural destinations and some “tourist-type” stops. Cost of the tour is $320 per person which covers all transportation, lodging and meals. Your only other costs are incidentals and/or souvenirs. A non-refundable $100 deposit is due at registration, with the remainder due prior to departure.

If you intend to participate we’d like to know your intentions no later than Friday, Aug. 30 so we can adjust various reservations. However, we will accept reservations up to and including Sept. 16 or when the maximum is reached, whichever comes first.

The theme of this year’s tour is: “It’s all about Families,” and you meet and experience some great ones on this three-day tour. The first day includes stops at the Kentucky Speedway in Sparta; lunch at the Beckett Ridge Golf Club in West Chester, Ohio; a tour of the Neil Armstrong Air and Space Museum; tour and dinner at the Winegardner Cattle operation in Lima, Ohio.  The group is staying in Lima that evening.

On Tuesday, the group departs for Greenhorn Cattle Co. in Waynesville, has lunch at the famous Golden Lamb Inn and Restaurant, tours the Cargill Corn Milling Plant in Dayton that afternoon, and Select Sires in Plain City. The evening meal and lodging is in the London, Ohio, area.

Wednesday begins with a tour of EBY Trailer manufacturing plant, then a tour and lunch at H&S Saler, a cattle and large grain farming operation. A stop at the world-famous Jungle Jim’s International Market in Fairfield follows.  The group returns to Elizabethtown that evening after dinner.

For more details and to register, contact the Hardin County Extension Service at 270-765-4121 or register online at www.hardinext.org. As of this writing there are several spots left on this tour, but please register as soon as possible.

Master Marketer: Registrations for the Kentucky Heartland Master Marketer program are being accepted on a first- come, first-served basis until the maximum of 35 is reached. The class is filling up fast. The program is open to any interested cattle producer in Hardin, LaRue and Meade counties.  The program is set up in five, two-and-a-half-hour sessions  on Thursday nights beginning Sept. 19. All sessions begin at 6:30 p.m. with a meal, and are at the Hardin County Extension Service, 201 Peterson Drive in Elizabethtown. All sessions are conducted by University Extension specialists and industry personnel 

The first session focuses on feeder cattle quality, price discovery and sale day considerations. Second and third sessions look at using futures and options to manage risk in feeder calves. The fourth session deals with cattle marketing in the real world, including finishing and end product phases. The last session is on decision making for stocker operations.

There is a $75 per person registration fee which covers all course materials, meals, out-of-state speaker expense and refreshments. Register by calling either of thew three county Extension offices or online at www.hardinext.org.

Red corn leaves and stalks. According to Dr. Chad Lee, UK Extension grain specialist, corn plants in many fields are turning red and that is not a good sign. The color is coming from a build-up of sugar in leaves and stalks. The build-up of sugar is a result of too few kernels developing.

During plant growth and development, a plant produces sugar through photosynthesis. That sugar is used to build new plant parts, to fuel growth and development and to help produce seeds. Each plant produces the sugar necessary for expected yields. When those expected yields don’t happen, the sugars remain in leaves and stalks and, eventually, turn the plants red to reddish-purple. To paraphrase a poor pun from one of my colleagues, “red corn plants are a red flag that seed development has gone wrong.”       

 This season, a lot of corn in central Kentucky reached full height — or close to it — and looked relatively healthy from the road. But, much of that corn tried to pollinate when temperatures were above 100 degrees during the day for about seven consecutive days. Heat stress during pollination is the primary culprit of red leaves in these fields. In western Kentucky, much of the corn made it through pollination, but the kernels did not make it through early seed set and aborted. In those fields, kernel abortion led to the red leaves. In either case, poor pollination or kernel abortion, the producer is left with low yields.

Douglas W. Shepherd is a Hardin County Extension agent for agriculture and natural resources.