The 2006 Beef IRM Management Calendars have finally arrived at the Barren County Extension Office. Several producers use these to plan their herd management activities throughout the year. Stop by our office to pick one up.

– Private Pesticide Certification

If you need to be certified as a Private Pesticide Applicator, a training program for certification will be offered on Thursday, Feb. 16, beginning at 6:30 p.m. The training will be held at the Barren County Extension Office, 1463 West Main Street, Glasgow.

To be able to apply for Private Pesticide Applicator certification, a participant must be present before the beginning of the training session and participate until the session is complete. Applications will be made after the training, for certification. So, don’t be late!

– June Dairy Celebration Committee Meeting

The June Dairy Celebration Committee will meet on Monday evening, Feb. 20, beginning at 7. The meeting will be held at the Barren County Extension Office. Anyone interested in serving on this committee is invited to attend.

– State Alfalfa Conference

As I am sure you are aware, we have been hosting the State Alfalfa Conference for many years. Since we were fortunate to host the recent Heart of America Grazing Conference, the state committee decided to move the State Alfalfa Conference to another location for 2006. This year, the State Alfalfa Conference will be held at the Fayette County Extension Office in Lexington on Feb. 23. If you need details, I have those now available at the Barren County Extension Office.

– Kentucky Dairy Conference

The Kentucky Dairy Conference is scheduled to be held on March 7 at the Cave City Convention Center. Pre-registration information is available at the Barren County Extension Office. Pre-registration ($15/ person) deadline is Feb. 25. Regular registration at the door will be $20/ person.

– New KY Beef Program

Export markets for U.S. beef are demanding more detailed information about the animals from which the meat comes. A new national program was created to help U.S. beef producers document the source and age of cattle to make their herds ready for export markets.

The Beef Export Verification program will help to ensure that exported beef comes from cattle younger than 21 months of age.

A similar program already exists in Kentucky called the Value-Added Targeted Marketing program. The VATM program was implemented by the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture with funds from the Kentucky Beef Network.

Through the VATM program, calves are sold in trackable lots – lots of 50 to 80 calves that move through the feedlot as a group.

The calves can be sold directly or through CPH sales. Producers interested in the program place an electronic identification tag in each calf’s ear. Cattle with electronic ID are eligible for the Beef Export Verification program. Producers who want to certify the age of their calves can do so by keeping records and participating in the Kentucky Beef Network program.

The program monitors the development of the calves. When they are harvested, a grader is sent into the plant to collect detailed information about the quality of the beef.

Then the data is sent to cattle managers so they can use the information to improve their management practices. It only costs about $10 per head for the electronic ID and the cost of the grader. The producer can potentially share the cost with the VATM program.

Currently, about 2,000 head are being tracked each year and Kentucky cattle seem to be performing very well. In an example of the cattle tracked, sickness and death loss are about one-fourth the level of a USDA cattle survey.

Likewise, quality is very high. In 2004 cattle, 10 percent more graded choice than the U.S. average. Preliminary data for 2005 indicates even better results.

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