AgEBB-MU CAFNR Extension

David Burton
Civic Communications Specialist
2400 S. Scenic Ave.
Springfield, MO 65807

February 10, 2017

Agriculture Conference in Marshfield on Jan. 28
Explored Fescue, Biosecurity, VFD, and Weed Control

MARSHFIELD, Mo. - Seventy people from nine counties participated in the 93rd Annual Webster County Diversified Agriculture Conference held in Marshfield on Jan. 28.

Tim Schnakenberg, agronomy specialist with University of Missouri Extension, opened the concurrent sessions by giving a history of where KY31 fescue originated, then covered its benefits and the negative effects the endophyte fungus in it has on livestock.

"He outlined options for hair testing of cattle to determine toxic fescue tolerance," said Bob Schultheis, county program director for Webster County MU Extension. "He explained how to manage fescue to dilute or eliminate the toxic effects by improving soil fertility, overseeding legumes, and renovating fields to novel endophyte fescue varieties."

Bill Pittenger, poultry health program manager with the Missouri Department of Agriculture, delved into the biosecurity practices needed to protect poultry flocks from disease, giving examples how the different strains of influenza viruses attack different species of animals. He emphasized restricting access to birds, preventing contact with wildlife, keeping pets out of barns and coops, keeping everything clean, and controlling rodents and insects which spread disease.

"Pittenger cautioned the group to clean and disinfect vehicles, cages and equipment after visiting poultry farms, sales or shows, and quarantine any new birds brought on the farm," said Schultheis. "I also pointed attendees to a variety of resources on housing options, predator control and management practices to benefit small poultry producers."

Following a break for participants to visit with sponsoring vendors, Dr. Craig Payne, MU Extension state veterinarian, covered the changes to antibiotic labeling and the federal veterinary feed directive (VFD).

Payne explained how public perception of the use of antibiotics in animals creating resistance to them in humans helped to drive the creation of the VFD. But of the 211,000 samples taken across all species, only 0.05 percent of samples tested positive for a violative residue and these carcasses never entered the food supply.

Payne then detailed how the VFD is now required for the purchase and use of feeds, including supplements, mineral blocks and milk replacer, that contain medically important antibiotics. A prescription (Rx) is now required for purchase and use of medically important water-soluble antibiotics, and a Veterinary Client Patient Relationship (VCPR) is required before a veterinarian can write a VFD or prescription.

Schultheis shared tips on improving the effectiveness of weed control using sprayers and weed wipers. Factors such as plant stage of growth, ambient temperature, drought, quality of spray water, wind, chemistry of the pesticide, time of exposure in the spray tank, temperature of the spray water, and proper equipment calibration all affect the pesticide effectiveness.

He encouraged the group to test their spray water for pH and hardness and adjust according to label directions. Schultheis also covered the steps for calibrating boom and boomless sprayers and the pros and cons of various types of weed wipers.

Rounding out the day of presentations, Sarah Kenyon, MU Extension agronomy specialist, addressed the topic of johnsongrass, sericea lespedeza and other problem weeds. She pointed out the good, the bad and the ugly of johnsongrass, including its poisonous effects from nitrates and prussic acid.

Sericea lespedeza was introduced to the U.S. in the 1890s for a wildlife food source and erosion control. The best control can be achieved with herbicide applied when sericea is 12 or more inches in height or from the bud to flowering stage. Control options for broomsedge bluestem, perilla mint, maypop passionflower, horsenettle, thistles, honey locust, spotted knapweed and yellow nutsedge were also provided.

The group then enjoyed a hot fried chicken dinner, ice cream, and drawings for door prizes.

To assist those who attended and those unable to attend, the speaker presentations and related resources are available online at the Webster County MU Extension website at, or a printed copy (for a nominal fee) is available from the Webster County Extension Center in Marshfield. Call 417-859-2044, email, or go to the website at for more information.



Source: Bob Schultheis, (417) 859-2044

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