Pervasive, Toxic Weed

Cressleaf groundsel is a winter-annual weed that has shown up throughout Ohio for some time. But, each year, a few additional hay producers experience it for the first time and should be made aware of its toxicity to animals, says Mark Loux, Ohio State University Extension weed science specialist. He provides resources on the weed, how to control it and why it's important to do so.

"Under typical grazing conditions in Ohio, it is unlikely that animals will consume significant quantities of the S. glabellus (cressleaf groundsel) because of the availability of higher-quality, more palatable forages. Poisoning could result under unusual conditions, such as drought, where good-quality forage is not available. Hay containing significant amounts of the plant may pose a greater risk. Poisoning usually occurs as a result of consumption of the plants over several days to several months."

Homemade Herbicide

Can a homemade herbicide work as well as glyphosate and be less toxic? A recipe for it and a debate on its effectiveness have been circulating online, so Andrew Kniss, University of Wyoming weed scientist, decided to see if the concoction really rivals glyphosate.

"Comparing effectiveness between the two herbicides is difficult; they both have a potential fit depending on the situation. But what about the “inexpensive” and “safe” claims? I did a little homework to see how the homemade herbicide mixture compares to glyphosate with respect to cost and toxicity," Kniss writes in Control Freaks, a blog on weed science.

Farms Getting Bigger Isn’t Bad

In her blog, Carrie Mess -- also known as Dairy Carrie -- tells why she believes farms are getting bigger and why that's not a bad thing. Mess considers herself a "small farmer," so has an interesting perspective of the issue.

"I see small farmers complaining about big farmers gobbling up land. I see people in the city lamenting the passing of the picturesque red barn farms. I see a lot of talk about big ag and small local (farms) and very few people seem to really understand what’s going on," Mess writes in "5 Reasons Farms Are Getting Bigger."

Still Need Winterkill Resources?

Producers from Michigan to the Southeast have had to deal with winter-damaged forages this spring. Kim Cassida, Michigan State University Extension forage specialist, offers several answers to common winterkill questions, including whether growers should thicken a damaged alfalfa stand by interseeding with more alfalfa.

"No. Michigan State University Extension does not recommend this practice because interseeding more alfalfa to thicken a uniformly thin stand will often fail. If surviving alfalfa plants are less than 18" apart or the pre-existing alfalfa plants in the gaps reached physiological maturity (capable of flowering) before dying, autotoxic compounds from the alfalfa itself may prevent establishment of new alfalfa seedlings for up to a year."