Gardening with Cover Crops

A free class will be offered on Thursday, October 17th for homeowners interested in learning how they can incorporate cover crops into their home garden. Cover crops, or green manures, are any plants that will grow during the fall or winter that will be tilled under in the spring before vegetables are planted. During this time they can prevent soil erosion, provide nutrients, increase organic matter and reduce soil compaction. Participants in this class will learn what cover crops to plant and when to plant them, as well as several tips and tricks to managing cover crops in their garden. Andy Luke, Field Specialist in Agronomy with MU Extension, will be prepared to help you take your garden to the next level with the use of cover crops. The class will take place from 6:00 to 7:30 on Thursday, October 17th at the North Central Career Center in Bethany. To register for this class, contact the Harrison County Extension Center at (660) 425-6434 or email Mary Ward at

Nitrates and Prussic Acid

Several calls have come in from producers recently who have planted forage sorghum or sudangrass this summer, and want to know whether they can graze it safely. Their concerns are that the crop has accumulated nitrates or prussic acid that could be dangerous to the grazing animals. These concerns are valid, but in certain circumstances their risks will be reduced.

Nitrates can accumulate in several summer annual crops such as sorghum, sudangrass and pearl millet. Accumulation generally occurs when adequate soil nitrogen is present and a plant is stressed, such as after drought or frost. Nitrates are in higher quantities in the lower stalks of plants, and very rarely are concentrated in the leaves. Several University of Missouri Extension offices have a quick nitrate test kit that can indicate whether nitrate is present in the stalks. Based on the growing season that we have had and the quick tests that I have conducted, it is unlikely that nitrate poisoning will be an issue for grazing animals at this time.

To read the full article, or listen to the MP3.

Alfalfa Webworm

Many growers have noticed damage in their alfalfa fields lately, with leaves being eaten and webs in the top several inches of the plant. These signs likely mean that alfalfa webworms are present in your fields.

Alfalfa webworms are a small, green caterpillar that can infest alfalfa as well as soybeans. As they grow, alfalfa webworm larvae turn dark green and reach 1 to 1 ¼’’ long. They have stripes extending down the length of their back, with three dark spots on each side of their body on each segment. Webworms generally feed in the upper canopy of the plant by encasing the top leaves in a webbing and consuming the leaves within the webbing. As they grow larger, they may feed outside the webbing as well. Telltale signs of an alfalfa webworm infestation are defoliation of the upper leaves and webbing in the upper canopy filled with black specks of fecal matter. Alfalfa webworm infestations can lower the hay quality with webbing and fecal matter while severe infestations can even reduce alfalfa stands.

To read the full article>   or to listen to the MP3

Gates Family Scholarship Application

The Gates Family from Daviess and Harrison County, Missouri has graciously donated money to award three annual scholarships. Each scholarship is for $250.00 and will be awarded on behalf of the Gates Family (Daniel G. Gates, Effie W. Gates, and George O. Gates) Applications can be found by clicking this link or at the Harrison County Extension Office, 1505 Main, Courthouse Basement, Bethany.

Completed applications need to be returned by August 1, 2019 to:
Katie Harvey
North Central Career Center

1401 Daily Road
Bethany, MO. 64424

If you have any questions, please call: (660)-425-2196 Office, (660)-833-9511 Cell

Field Specialist, Andy Luke

Agronomy Report-June/July
Agronomy Report - May 2019

Community Economic Development
Ag Business -May Report

May Programs and Activities Report

Missouri Farm Labor Guide

This guide is meant to share general information about developing an approach to human resources management. The material in the guide should not be used in place of legal, accounting or other professional opinions. Agricultural employers are encouraged to engage an attorney, accountant and other necessary professionals to ensure that their specific policies and human resources systems satisfy all necessary labor laws and business standards.

This guide can be found at the Harrison County Extension Office and on the web at:

2018 Cash Rental Rates in Missouri

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) reports that 35 percent of Missouri farmland is rented. That means that about 9.8 million acres of Missouri agricultural land is rented. To help both landowners and farmers, the University of Missouri has periodically surveyed landowners and farmers to detect trends in rental rates. The latest survey was taken in the summer of 2018. MU Extension Publication G427




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