Delaware State Fair 2021

Episode 21: The State Fair Returns!

(feat. Doug Crouse of Delaware 4-H / UD Extension and the Delaware State Fair!)

The 2021 State Fair is your passport to summer fun! Get the inside scoop with a very special guest: Doug Crouse (Delaware State Fair Executive Board Member / Treasurer and our very own Delaware 4-H State Program Leader!


Fall Pasture Workshop

While summer may be almost over and the main grazing season is concluding, the fall is one of the best times of the year to evaluate the condition of your pastures and complete some pasture management tasks that will pay dividends the next grazing season. Join Dr. Jarrod Miller , Extension Agronomy Specialist and Susan Garey, Extension Agent Animal Science for the University of Delaware for the final program in our Webinar Wednesday Pasture and Hay series as we discuss topics such as assessing your pasture, fall fertility and soil testing, overseeding, stockpiling of forage, weed control and grazing management going into winter.  Spend some time now before it gets cold preparing your pasture for spring growth.  Delaware nutrient management continuing education credits are available for this webinar.

Registration is free but required to receive the Zoom link.

Sponsored by Delaware Cooperative Extension, a joint effort between Delaware State University and the University of Delaware

Renovating Pastures


Join Dr. Amanda Grev, PhD – University of Maryland Forage Specialist for another program in our Webinar Wednesday forage series. Is your pasture in need of some renovation? How do you know if, when, or how to renovate? This webinar will cover the basics of pasture renovation, including an overview of some different types of renovation, steps you can take to determine if renovation is needed, and a step by step guide for the renovation process.

Sponsored by Delaware Cooperative Extension, a joint effort between Delaware State University and the University of Delaware.

This program is brought to you by University of Delaware Cooperative Extension, a service of the UD College of Agriculture and Natural Resources – a land-grant institution.  This institution is an equal opportunity provider.  If you have special needs that need to be accommodated, please contact us.

Weed Management in Pastures Webinar

Join Dr. Mark VanGessel, University of Delaware Extension Weed Specialist for another program in our Webinar Wednesday forage series. Managing weeds in pasture is a common question among horse owners and livestock producers. In this webinar you will learn about these plants we call weeds; why they are a concern for many owners and producers and what strategies you can use to control them. We will discuss both cultural and chemical methods for weed control and also briefly touch on the topic of toxic weeds.

To register:

Sponsored by Delaware Cooperative Extension, a joint effort between Delaware State University and the University of Delaware.

This program is brought to you by University of Delaware Cooperative Extension, a service of the UD College of Agriculture and Natural Resources – a land-grant institution.  This institution is an equal opportunity provider.  If you have special needs that need to be accommodated, please contact us.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020 at 7:00pm to 9:00pm

Virtual Event  

Forage Directory Available

Maryland/Delaware Forage Directory

Jarrod O. Miller, Extension Agronomist, jarrod@udel.eduDan Severson, Agriculture Agent, New Castle County,


To assist in the hay and forage market, the Maryland Delaware Forage Council (MDFC) has setup an online forage directory for buyers and sellers of hay ( This directory is available to the public to browse, but hay producers must be a member of the MDFC to post hay for sale.


The directory is separated by the Delmarva, Central, and Western Maryland regions to help those in search of hay. Any forage producer may list their hay by type (grass/legume/mixed) or bale size (large/square/other) and include any other information they would like the public to know.


If you would like to post hay for sale on the MDFC page (, membership can be done by mail or online and is only $25 per year for individual or business memberships.

Multi-Species Grazing

Multi-species Grazing: the How and Why for Soil & Animal Health
Online, Wednesday, June 24

Grazing multiple species both in terms of animals and plants offer many benefits to both animals and the soil. Learn about these benefits as well as considerations and helpful tips for implementing multi-species grazing on your property.

This virtual webinar is part of the Webinar Wednesday Forage and Pasture Series, brought to you by

Delaware State University

and the

University of Delaware


➡️ Register by June 23:

Some Thoughts on Halloween Hay

Many regions have now or will soon reach the point when significant alfalfa regrowth won’t occur if the crop is cut one more time. Research has historically shown that cutting when the chances for regrowth are low is safer from a winter injury or kill standpoint than cutting earlier in the fall when regrowth is still possible.

There are three primary reasons why farmers decide to cut alfalfa late in the fall. They are:

1. Don’t want to leave money on the table.

In the case where favorable weather has contributed to significant fall growth, it’s hard to leave an apparent high-yielding, high-quality crop out in the field. However, the reality is that late fall-cut alfalfa is rarely high yielding.

Yes, the crop can sometimes be tall, but the stems are usually small and there are fewer of them. What looks like a high-yield crop usually shrinks to nearly nothing when put into a swath or windrow. This makes for expensive forage when harvest costs are considered.

On the flip side, late fall-cut forage is almost always excellent quality. With the extended cool temperatures, there is low fiber deposition and plant digestibility stays high.

2. It will smother out if not cut.

There’s been a long-held concern by some that fall alfalfa growth will smother and kill a stand over winter. This simply does not happen with a legume such as alfalfa. Rather, leaves freeze and eventually drop off the plant. Stems, for the most part, stand erect. The old, fall aftermath growth may impact forage quality in the next year’s first cutting, but if harvested early enough the reduction in quality is minimal.

3. There’s a need for feed.

Following a year of severe winterkill or drought, sometimes alfalfa is cut in late fall simply to meet a need for additional feed. This may apply to many in 2019.

Is there risk?

Though the risk to cut alfalfa in the late fall has proven to be less than when regrowth potential is high, the practice is not without some downside. Already mentioned is the fact that yields are typically low; they will be even lower if the cutting height is raised as is often recommended for a late-fall cut.

Also consider that fields cut in the late fall generally break dormancy later during the following spring and have a lower first-cut yield compared to not being fall cut. The gain in fall yield is about equal to the loss in spring yield. This is not to say that the fields are winter injured but rather less vigorous come spring.

Leaving the fall aftermath growth over winter is beneficial to not just catching and holding snow cover, but it also has the effect of moderating soil temperature fluctuations during winter and early spring. It is extreme soil temperature fluctuations that may cause alfalfa to break dormancy too early or cause plant heaving.

Finally, consider the condition of the alfalfa stand before taking a late-fall cut. If it’s already been stressed by intensive cutting, pest issues, or low soil fertility, stress from an additional cutting will likely accelerate stand decline.

All factors considered, the need for feed prior to the next year’s harvest may be the only good reason to cut alfalfa in late fall.

FDA Proposes Banning Over-the-counter Antibiotic Sales

Milk splash. ( Farm Journal, Inc. )

In just a few years, you will no longer be able to buy over-the-counter (OTC) antibiotics from your local farm supply store or mail order catalogue.

In a draft guidance issued in late September, the Food and Drug Administration is proposing to ban the OTC sale of more than 100 animal drugs. Some of the more common OTC drugs on FDA’s list are formulations that include cephapirin, penicillin G procaine, sulfamethazine and tetracycline. The ban will take at least two years to implement—if not longer.

In effect, FDA’s proposal would require livestock producers to obtain veterinary prescriptions for these medications if they want to continue their use. Note: Some of these drugs might become unavailable if their manufacturers opt to pull them the market.

The purpose of the FDA action is to reduce the use of medically-important antimicrobials in animal agriculture and ensure that they are only used when necessary for the treatment, control or prevention of specific diseases. By moving these drugs to prescription-only, it assures the drugs will be administered to animals under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian.

The proposal sounds more ominous than it really is, say veterinarians and pharmaceutical companies. “Moving these drugs from over-the-counter to prescription will have a minor impact on dairy farmers,” says Ron Erskine, a veterinary and mastitis specialist with Michigan State University.

To start with, most of the antibiotics sold OTC are old drugs. Most, if not all, of the drugs on the list are decades old formulations approved prior to the mid-1990s.

Under the FARM (Farmers Assuring Responsible Management) program, dairy farmers are already required to have a valid, signed veterinary/client/patient relationship with their local veterinarian and have established written protocols for the use of antibiotics, he notes. “Everybody wants protocols in place for FARM audits,” Erskine says.

Drug residues in milk has become almost a non-issue, with residue rates dropping steadily over the past decade. In fiscal year 2018, just 364 tanker loads of milk tested positive antibiotic residues out of the 3,598,188 tankers tested. That’s a positive rate of 0.01%, reports the National Milk Drug Residue Data Base. A pilot project looking for tetracycline residues in raw milk conducted in 2017 and 2018 found just six positives in the 304,289 tankers tested, for a positive rate of 0.002%.

The bigger problem is antibiotic residues in cull dairy cows. When USDA veterinarians conduct follow-up investigations of carcass residues, they find the majority of farms investigated have not had veterinarian involvement or direction in the use of antibiotics to treat sick animals nor do the farms have appropriate treatment and drug withdrawal records, says Mike Lormore, Director, Dairy Cattle Technical Services at Zoetis.

Bringing all antibiotic use under the umbrella of the veterinary/client/patient relationship is simply prudent, responsible use, he says.

FDA is accepting comments on the proposal until December 24, 2019. The agency will then issue a final guidance followed by a two-year implementation period.

Prevent Pasture Damage During Wet Weather

It might seem odd to be thinking about preventing damage to pastures from  wet weather in mid- to late summer, but heavy, persistent rains across some portions of the country in July are posing potential problems.

In the worst case scenario, cattle can be moved to a sacrifice area and fed stored feeds until pasture soil returns to acceptable conditions, says David Hartman, a livestock Extension educator with Pennsylvania State University. “The area should eventually be repaired with tillage if necessary and then reseeded to either an annual or perennial mixture, depending on your goals,” he says.

The other key is to move cattle more frequently during wet weather. Some farmers prefer grouping cattle into a high stocking density area to contain damage to a small area. Others prefer to spread cattle out over a larger area. “Regardless of [your] management decision, moving cattle more frequently than usual helps to avoid or reduce the concentration of damage,” says Hartman.

He also urges farmers to maintain heavy sod conditions to withstand grazing pressure. Keeping stands thick might involve over-seeding, soil testing and maintaining adequate fertility and avoiding overgrazing, he says.

Using no-till seed establishment is generally recommended. “Cattle traffic during wet weather will be much less damaging on land that has been planted no-till versus with tillage,” Hartman says.

“Finally, good grazing management should always include leaving a considerable amount of residual forage when moving cattle to the next paddock,” he says. “Overgrazed pastures not only recover more slowly from grazing during droughty conditions, they also sustain more damage from grazing in wet conditions.”