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COL Increased traffic leads to health risks

Spring brings increased traffic and people coming into farm yards. All the activity increases the chances that disease might be introduced to dairy herds, says Neil Broadwater, regional Extension educator-livestock, based in Rochester, Minn.

A disease management is a key factor in its prevention and control. A farm strategy designed to prevent disease is more than just a vaccination program. It must maximize disease resistance and minimize herd exposure to infectious agents, Broadwater said.

Everyone who arrives on the dairy farm should be wearing boots that are disinfected coming on and off the dairy. Visitors should park on a hard surface that isn't contaminated by dairy vehicles, he added.

Grass tetany can cause problems

Grass tetany, though not highly prevalent in Iowa, can cause serious problems to cattle with little or no warning, says Stephen Barnhart, Iowa State University forage specialist.

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Grass tetany occurs most often in spring and fall when forages are rapidly growing resulting in low magnesium amounts and therefore deficiency in cattle, Barnhart said.

Many symptoms -- including excitability, lack of coordination, grinding teeth and trembling muscles -- can indicate several illnesses and make diagnosis difficult.

"Because of the difficulty in detecting grass tetany in cattle before it has a substantial impact on animal health, it's important for producers to prevent low magnesium levels in forages before the herd is affected,'' said Barnhart.

For more information on grass tetany, call Barnhart at (515) 294-7835.

Roundup management options

Roundup has changed many management practices, says Joe Neubauer, Extension educator based in Hutchinson, Minn. It's made life simpler but has also caused some concerns with regards to weed resistance.

Researchers and farmers are beginning to see some weeds that stick around after the herbicide is sprayed, he said. University of Minnesota weed specialists recommends several management practices to make Roundup more effective.

Consider a sequential herbicide soil-applied to take care of early weeds. Use proper rates and avoid rotations in which other Roundup resistance crops, other than soybeans, are used. Spray at the recommended time and the recommended weed height.

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Delayed planting should lead to call

If weather delays or prevents planting, and you have Federal Crop Insurance, it is essential to immediately contact your insurance agent.

The University of Minnesota Extension Service has published "Federal Crop Insurance: Delayed and Prevented Planting Provisions.'' It was written by regional Extension educators Gary Hachfeld and Kim Lee of Crop Insurance Services, Mankato.

Delayed planting must be due to a weather event, not personal choice. Under the prevented planting provision, weather conditions that kept the producer from planting must be general and widespread to the area, Hachfeld said.

Contact your local Extension office for more information.

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