May 2016 click on the date to open the newsletter



Master Beekeeper Course Starts in Springfield July 16



SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - University of Missouri Extension's newly developed Certified Master Beekeeper program will debut from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday, July 16 at the Springfield Botanical Center, 2400 S. Scenic Ave., Springfield, Mo. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m.

"Basic Beekeeping for Beginners" will focus on the principles of beekeeping. Those principles include the history of beekeeping, honeybee biology, plant and pollinator relationship, and essential equipment and requirements.

"We are excited to bring the Master Beekeeper program to Southwest Missouri," said David Burton, county program director for Greene County Extension. "This high-quality program will offer both classroom instruction and mentoring opportunities for participants."

The Missouri Master Beekeeper certification program consists of six levels: Beginner Beekeeper, Apprentice Beekeeper, Journeyman Beekeeper, Junior Master Beekeeper, Master Trainer, and Master Beekeeper. By the end of this first course, individuals will be able to help experienced beekeepers in the management of hives.

Individuals must have one year of experience rearing bees and join a local beekeeping club before taking an exam to move up to the next level. Experienced beekeepers can test up through the first two levels of the program if they have three or more years of experience.

The "Basic Beekeeping for Beginners" class is for any individual interested in learning beekeeping. There is no minimum age for the program, although children age 12 and younger may find examination questions difficult.

The course costs $61 which includes a beekeeping book. Classes are taught by experienced local beekeepers. Payment must be made by July 14 and can be made by check or cash to Greene County Extension, 2400 S. Scenic Ave., Springfield, Mo. 65807

Registration can be done online at or by calling Greene County Extension at (417) 881-8909.







Fescue Seedhead Alert for Southwest Mo Cattle Producers



MT. VERNON, Mo. — Fescue seedheads begin appearing in southwest Missouri fields during early May and by late May cattle will be stripping them from the fescue stem.

"If you've followed research and extension reports on managing fescue you know that seedhead management is important. The highest concentration of the toxic alkaloids, especially ergovaline, occurs in the stem and seedheads," said Eldon Cole, a livestock specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

In southwest Missouri, cattle seem to start the stripping by mid-to-late-May. As the plant matures, they reduce their interest in the seed. Consequently, a management tool MU Extension specialists encourage is to clip the heads off earlier than late-May or June.

"Early clipping also can change the reproductive growth of the fescue plant to more vegetative growth. This change improves the future nutritional value of the plant," said Cole.

The friendly endophyte fescue varieties — of which there are numerous ones nowadays — produce very little or no ergovaline. However, all fescues and other cool season grasses, as well as small grains, may be subject to another fungus, ergot.

"Ergot is easily visible in a plants seedhead. It appears as a kernel-like object on the seedhead in place of the regular seed produced by the plant. Some describe the appearance as tiny mouse droppings on the seedhead," said Cole.

Ergot typically appears in early June and shows up in southwest Missouri fields every year but is much worse some years than others. According to Cole, 2015 was an extremely bad year for ergot in southwest Missouri fescue fields that were allowed to go to seed.

"We do not know the severity in 2016 yet," said Cole.

The symptoms of ergot alkaloids and the ergovaline produced by "hot," fescue are similar: heat stress, increased respiration rates, elevated body temperatures, and failure to shed their winter hair coat. All-in-all, those symptoms result in poor growth and reproductive performance.

According to Cole, clipping fescue seedheads is also valuable as an aid in reducing ergot toxicity. Timely application of certain herbicides that retard seedhead development has shown similar results but it is now too late for those in 2016.

"Research has shown that cattle genomics are involved in the fescue toxicity dilemma but in all likelihood, there are numerous other factors that combine to make the problem worse. For instance, I wonder if all cattle "strip" seed or if different ones have different tendencies in that regard," said Cole.

For more information, contact any of the MU Extension livestock specialists in southwest Missouri: Eldon Cole in Lawrence County, (417) 466-3102; Andy McCorkill in Dallas County at (417) 345-7551; Dr. Randy Wiedmeier, in Howell County at (417) 256-2391; or Dr. Patrick Davis in Cedar County at (417) 276-3313.







New laws that may impact you will take effect December 31, 2016

What is VFD?

How will I obtain VFD feed?

Do I need to have VFD feed? Why?

Answers to these questions and more can be found here.