Saturday, January 3, 2009

New Year's Resolutions for Ozarks Farmers

By David Burton
University Extension

Research shows that about 50 percent of all American's resolve to make some type of change or improvement when a new year begins.

The most common New Year's resolution is to lose weight while the second most common is to pay down or get out of debt.

Bob Schultheis, a natural resource engineering specialist with University of Missouri Extension in Webster County, has several changes he would recommend as good 2009 "resolutions for area farmers."

1. I will soil test my fields before applying lime or fertilizer in order to save money.

2. I will cut my fescue hay by mid-May instead of mid-June to maximize forage nutrient content.

3. I will test my forages before feeding to be sure the animals are getting proper nutrition.

4. I will "shift up and throttle back" my tractors and trucks whenever possible to save up to 30 percent on fuel.

5. I will clean dust and dirt on off machinery fans, motors and lights to make them run more efficiently.

6. I will not allow riders on tractors, farm equipment, riding lawn mowers or all-terrain vehicles, in order to protect their safety.

7. I will shut off running farm equipment before working on it.

Ed Browning, a natural resource engineering specialist with University of Missouri Extension in Jasper County, offers these possible resolutions for farmers:

1. I will make my children under age 18 wear a helmet when riding an ATV and I will wear one myself.

2. I will check that all shields are properly installed and in good working order on all farm equipment.

3. This winter I will inspect and make any needed repairs to my equipment in order to have everything ready to go come spring.

4. I will check my farm-stored grain every two weeks for quality and condition.

Brie Menjoulet, the MU Extension agronomy specialist that serves Hickory, Dallas, Webster and Greene County, offers these farm-related resolutions for 2009.

1. I will scout for and attempt to control invasive weed species on my property.

2. I will implement buffer zones to help reduce nutrient runoff.

3. I will calibrate my sprayer and replace nozzles if needed

Finally, Eldon Cole, a livestock specialist with MU Extension, says he would recommend the following New Year's resolutions for area beef producers.

1. I will register for my premise number.

2. I will tag my cows and calves and record birth dates of calves thus making them eligible for age and source verification program.

3. I will sell my old, cull cows before they die of old age since we no longer have a rendering service in southwest Missouri.

4. I will rotate my pastures at least once a week.

5. I will attempt to establish some legumes in my fescue fields.

For more information on these suggestions, contact the nearest MU Extension center or the following MU Extension specialists: Cole at 466-3102, Browning at 358-2158, Menjoulet at 745-6767 and Schultheis at 859-2044.

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