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Northeast Missouri Ag Connection Newsletter, July 2019

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Northeast Missouri Ag Connection

Volume 6, Number 7 - July 2019

This Month in Ag Connection

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Repairing Flood-Damaged Fields

There are some important things learned from the past about bringing flooded fields back into production, even if flooding is short term. Following are three stages to repair flood-damaged fields.

1. Remove Debris and Sediment
Debris can be grouped into two general categories: plant material and other debris. The type of "other" debris will make a difference on how it is handled.

Plant material, primarily corn stalks and trees, can be burned on the tract of land where it was found and the ashes buried.

If a layer of corn stalks or other crop residue is not too deep, it can be incorporated into the soil with normal tillage operations. One concern, and this will be a recurring theme, is to not perform tillage when the soil is too wet. This will cause compaction and create more of a problem. Also, burying high-carbon crop residues may temporarily tie up nitrogen in the soil as microbes break it down.

Other debris floating into a field can vary from items such as tires, posts, boards, propane tanks, and appliances. In Missouri, a majority of these items can be taken to an approved landfill. Further information and guidance regarding debris can be found at: the Missouri Department of Natural Resources website to by contacting the Regional Missouri DNR Office.

Sedimentation from floods can pose a challenge for crop production on agricultural land. The difference in texture of the deposition and the native soil below can cause major production issues. In the past, deposits have varied from an inch or two to over 30 feet deep. The depth of the deposition will determine how it is best handled:

Tillage of the soil should be the depth of the sand plus 1.5 times the depth of sand; for example, one would till 10 inches deep for 4 inches of sand [4 + (1.5 x 4) = 10]. Avoid tillage or other field operations until soil is dry enough to reduce the chance of compaction.

2. Repair Erosion
The degree of erosion can vary from a few inches to many feet and different levels need to be managed differently.

If sediment depositions are used to fill eroded areas, use native soil from another area in the field for the final three feet to avoid droughty areas.

Avoid field operations until the soil is dry enough to reduce chances of compaction. After major erosion repairs, sample the soil in the repaired area. Consider sampling from both the repaired area and undisturbed area to determine if fertility should be managed differently in each. Use traffic lanes if making multiple trips in the same field to correct erosion.

3. Manage Other Factors
Soil Crusting - Surface soil texture changes and the loss of structure can cause effects resembling compaction. This can restrict root penetration and reduce water infiltration. Tillage should remedy a shallow (less than 2-inch) crust.

Wind Erosion and Planting Cover Crops - Sedimentation and the removal of crop residues from the soil surface may lead to wind erosion. The easiest way to reduce this is by seeding a cover crop as soon as conditions permit. There are several options:

Other Crop Management Practices
There are many other management decisions such as tillage, fertility recommendations, cover crop termination, inoculation, seeding practices, and weed control that may also require special consideration following a flood.

Information for this article was adapted from University of Nebraska Crop Watch - Repairing Flood-Damaged Fields by John Wilson - Extension Educator -

Source: Kent Shannon, Natural Resource Engineer

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Selling Local Foods

As the growing season progresses, local food producers are busy meeting the demand for locally produced food. Demand has steadily grown as consumers want to know where their food comes from and how it is produced. Consumers want higher quantity and quality of fruits and vegetables, less carbon footprint and to support the local economy.

One marketing outlet, Farmers' Markets, has grown from 2,000 to 8,720 markets throughout the U.S. with 7% of this increase since 2013 and annual sales of $1 billion, according to USDA Agricultural Marketing Service. This upward trend has followed in Missouri, which has over 200 markets. Missouri Department of Agriculture has a website with current market offerings and prices This timely data is collected June through October by MU Extension Specialists around the state.

Other forms of direct to consumer local food sales have also increased. Roadside or farm stands, often tied with agritourism, and Community Supported Agriculture or CSAs are two alternatives. Farm or roadside stands make efficient use of labor if they are at the house or production area. There is no or little transportation cost, low overhead, and no additional business licenses required unless reselling product purchased wholesale. This avenue also has the opportunity to combine sales with tours or agritainment, which can increase overall farm income. The biggest disadvantage is the lack of separation between business and home. Customers may come to the site early, late, and on weekends. Check with your insurance company to ensure liability insurance covers this activity. Many policies will require an additional business rider.

CSAs have grown in popularity, especially in areas within an hour's drive of an urban or affluent area. Most CSAs operate on a subscription basis. Before the growing season begins, producers sell a subscription for a share of the production to be delivered throughout the growing season. This is usually weekly or every two weeks depending on the products and the time of year. The consumer shares in the production risk and helps the producer cash flow by paying before inputs are purchased. Subscriptions vary greatly in cost and product.

While direct to consumer sales realize more profit for the producer and often, more job satisfaction, other marketing outlets could also be a part of a marketing plan. These include institutions, restaurants, grocery stores, and produce auctions. The first three may require a liability insurance policy and training or certification such as Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) or Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs). Produce auctions may have volume requirements and wholesale prices, so it is important to know production costs.

Before planting in volume, research on potential markets; know costs of production; know limitations such as labor and land; and connect with people who can help navigate some of these marketing channels. This could include farmers' market managers, grocery store produce managers, food service directors at institutions, and experienced producers.

Whether buying or selling local foods, it is a rewarding experience. To further research potential markets, go to

Source: Darla Campbell, Ag Business Specialistt

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Egg Production in the Backyard

Maintaining a small poultry flock is growing in popularity. Backyard flocks can provide eggs, meat, and an opportunity for all family members to participate and learn animal care. The majority of backyard flocks are raised to provide eggs for the family. Excess eggs can be a source of additional income. To insure egg quality in small backyard flocks, producers must learn to properly handle the eggs. This article will focus on handling eggs for high quality and safe for consumption.

Collect eggs as frequently as possible, preferably 2-3 times per day. Frequent collection will help prevent accumulation of dirt and stain on the shells. Most flocks will lay the majority of eggs by 10:00 am. Eggs are more likely to get dirty or broken the longer they lay in the nest. Interior quality also decreases the longer the egg is left in the nest.

Dirty eggs should be washed before being stored in the refrigerator. Wash dirty eggs with running water (no immersion) that is 10 degrees warmer than the temperature of the eggs. The warmer water will cause the contents of the egg to swell and push dirt away from the tiny pores on the shell surface. When eggs are washed, the protective layer called the cuticle is also washed from the shell surface; therefore, bacteria have an easier time entering the egg after washing. Dry and cool eggs quickly after washing. Keep the eggs at a constant temperature until they are washed. Never cool eggs rapidly before then. Unwashed eggs can be held at room temperature for up to 30 hours after being laid. Eggs stored properly in a carton should hold quality of Grade A for at least four weeks.

Eggs can be packaged into previously used cartons as long as the carton is clean and in sound condition. All markings that do not pertain to the eggs currently in the carton must be removed, if selling to marketing outlets. Cartons of all eggs sold in the United States must contain the following safe handling instructions: "To prevent illness from bacteria: Keep eggs refrigerated, cook eggs until yolks are firm, and cook foods containing eggs thoroughly." In order to package eggs, producers must have either a dealer or limited retailer's egg license. All cartons must have either the approved license number or the name and address of the person packaging the eggs, the size, grade, and the date the eggs are packaged.

Eggs should be placed with the small end down and stored at 40-45 degrees. Eggs should never be stored with materials that have an odor. Eggs will take in the odor, which can alter the taste of the egg. Store eggs in the back of the refrigerator where it is colder, and not in the door.

For more information on backyard flock and egg production contact the local livestock specialist or visit For more information on the rules and regulations for selling eggs in Missouri, visit

Source: Heather Conrow, Livestock Specialist

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July Gardening Tips





Resource: Missouri Botanical Garden

Source: Jennifer Schutter, Horticulture Specialist


Happy Independence Day
July 4th


Publishing Information

Ag Connection is published monthly for Central Missouri Region producers and is supported by University of Missouri Extension, the Commercial Agriculture program, the Missouri Agricultural Experiment Station and the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources. Managing Editor: Kent Shannon.