Kentucky proudly refers to itself as the "horse capital of the world." With that description, it's safe to say a significant part of the Commonwealth population participates in some type of horse activity. An important part of horse management is making sure the animals have a negative Coggins test to show they do not have Equine Infectious Anemia.
State regulations require a negative test for taking horses to different activities and those regulations are in place to protect your horses.
EIA is a viral disease that's often fatal and there is no cure or vaccine to protect your horses. The best thing to do is prevent the horses from becoming infected. One way to do that is to make sure the other horses at an activity do not have the disease. Horses testing positive are excluded from the activity.
Regulations specific to Kentucky may be different from other states. In the Commonwealth, all horses participating in any activities such as horse shows, races and trail rides need to have a negative EIA test within the last 12 months. Also, all horses moving due to a change in ownership need a negative EIA test within the last six months. If you're planning to go out of the state, contact your veterinarian or the state veterinarian to find out what regulations are for the state you're traveling to. Anywhere you plan to stop in any state, even just to take a short break, you need to be up-to-date with their regulations.
It's important to carry papers proving your horse's negative Coggins test with you at all times when traveling. All horses must be tested with an official test approved by the USDA. Local veterinarians can help horse owners get their horses tested. The only horses not requiring a negative Coggins test are unweaned foals, less than 6 months old, accompanied by their dams.
Even if your test isn't due for a few months, it's a good time to start thinking about renewing it now. It can sneak up on you. You don't want to be pulled over while traveling and not have current papers. Also, you don't want to be kept from participating in an event because your test expired last week or the day before. 4-H youth that plan to participate in 4-H Horse project events need to schedule their Coggins test soon, since this is one of the items that must be submitted at 4-H horse shows and horse camps.
Call the Grayson County Cooperative Extension Office at 259-3492 for more information.
Agricultural Foreign Investment Disclosure Act of 1978
The Grayson County FSA Office is notifying any foreign person who (A) Acquires or transfers any interest other than a security interest in agricultural land to submit a completed form ASCS-153 to the FSA Office not later than 90 days after the date of acquisition or transfer, or; (B) Held any interest, other than a security interest, in agricultural land as of February 1, 1979, to have submitted a report, to FSA not later than August 1979. Foreign person is defined as - any individual who is not one of the following: 1) A citizen or national of the United States. 2) Lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence or paroled into the United States under The Immigration and Nationality Act.
The information must be reported on Form FSA-153. This form may be obtained from the Grayson County FSA Office. Return the completed form to the county FSA Office in the county where the land is located. Any foreign person, who holds, acquires, or transfers any interest in agricultural land, who is determined not to have submitted a form ASCS-153 or who knowingly submitted a report that was incomplete, misleading or false is subject to civil penalty of not more than 25 percent of the agricultural fair market value of the land on the date the penalty is assessed.
Anyone having questions regarding the Agricultural Foreign Investment Disclosure Act of 1978 is encouraged to contact the Grayson County FSA Office.
All persons owing agriculture land in Grayson County are urged to keep the Grayson County FSA Office informed of changes in the nature of the land.
Some of the more important changes that need attention are: an increase or decrease in cleared acres, a change in the ownership of the land, all or any portion, a change in the appointment of the person in charge of any farming activity, the division of land that is involved in estate settlements, the change in address of any person associated with the land, an annual report of cropping activity on the land. All FSA programs are conducted on a nondiscriminatory basis without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, marital status or disability. If you have a physical disability, we will have an effort to accommodate your special needs if possible.
In other news, the Grayson County Conservation District will be administering a lime program for landowners in Grayson County. The landowner will be paid $4.50/ton flat rate up $500 according to soil test. Eligible land must have cropping history of forage, grain or horticulture. No farmland cleared within the last three years will be accepted. Also, acres that were previously limed in the original forage improvement program of 2002-2003 as well as acres enrolled in CRP or tobacco patches will not be eligible.
Those interested in participating need to visit the Conservation District Office, located at 115 Commerce Drive in Leitchfield, to pick up the application and soil test boxes. Office hours: 8 a.m.- 3 p.m. Monday thru Friday, 259-3738, ext. 101.
Quality cattle in spotlight at Kentucky Beef Expo
The 2004 Kentucky Beef Expo, set for March 5-7 at Louisville's Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center, will feature top quality show heifers, donor prospects and herd bulls for producers looking to improve their herd genetics.
About 700 head are scheduled at shows and sales. Breeds to be featured are: Angus, Beefalo, Charolais, Chiangus, Limousin, Maine-Anjou, Hereford, Red Angus, Red Poll, Salers, Shorthorn and Simmental.
The expo again will include a Pen Heifer Show and Sale. A Prospect Steer and Market Heifer Show will also be held.
For the third year, the expo will feature the popular "Bull Alley" where owners may display registered bulls or club calf bulls to promote the animals or their individual breeding programs; semen sales are permitted.
For more information on the Kentucky Beef Expo, contact KDA's Division of Show and Fair Promotion at (502) 564-4983 or log onto www.kybeefexpo.com .
Increase Consistency in beef cattle
By Jack Ewing, Grayson County Extension Agent for Agriculture & Natural Resources
Uniformity in cattle production gives you higher prices at the sale barn and a higher percentage of correctly finished cattle in the feedlot. Lack of beef consistency is a major problem, according to a National Cattlemen's Beef Association beef quality audit.
If you're a commercial cow/calf operator, you're looking for management practices to add overall consistency to your calf crop. Let's review some practices you can use to boost phenotypic consistency, or measurable traits such as calf weaning weights. Management practices are most effective in reducing calf variation.
The most effective tool to increase calf weaning weight uniformity is to have a limited breeding season. For example, if calves approaching weaning gained two pounds a day, it would take a difference of just 50 days in their birth dates to result in calves with 100 pounds difference in weaning weight.
To have a large number of calves born early, it's important to have cows and heifers in good health and condition going into the breeding season. Using estrous-synchronization programs may help tighten the breeding and calving season even more. In addition to uniformity in the calf crop, producing more calves earlier in the calving season gives you more pounds to sell.
It's important to sort cattle either going into or coming out of the feed yard to harvest them at the appropriate end point. Ultrasound technology is useful to project the expected finishing date of cattle to help you sort cattle into feeding pens.
When choosing sires, don't try to select individual bulls to reduce variation. This practice has little chance of success because many genes are involved to produce most traits of economic importance.
Using bulls that are related is one possible way to reduce variation in commercial herds where multiple sires are used. The closer the bulls' relationship, the less variation you expect to see in the calf crop. By mating the cow herd to bulls that are relatives, the cow crop will have a portion of its genetic makeup in common. On the downside, buying related bulls that cost more than non-related bulls of similar quality generally isn't cost effective.
Some commercial producers might be concerned that crossbreeding could increase variation. Research indicates that crossbreeding doesn't adversely affect phenotypic, or trait, variation. However, it may slightly increase genetic variation.
It's important to correctly implement crossbreeding systems to increase consistency. Don't use breeds with large production differences in your crossbreeding system, because this is likely to increase cow-herd variability and ultimately lead to inconsistency in calves.
Harvesting more cattle at the appropriate end time should boost consistency in several carcass traits, ultimately increasing consumer acceptance of beef. It's vital to produce a consistently tender product to increase the market share of beef.
While there's no "quick fix" to achieve uniformity, you can produce a consistently acceptable beef product by recognizing differences among those breeds and breed types available and managing cattle based on their potential.
For more information on increasing consistency in beef cattle, contact your G.C. Cooperative Extension Service at 259-3492.
For a copy of this article by Jack Ewing, please visit our web site at www.ca.uky.edu/grayson and follow this link for Agriculture & Natural Resources and click on News Articles.