Oklahoma Drought Region Expanding Rapidly - Oklahoma State University


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Oklahoma Drought Region Expanding Rapidly - Oklahoma State University

  1. 1. Dewey County OSU Extension Center Box 188, Taloga, Ok 73667 580-328-5351 or 5375 July 2011 Oklahoma Drought Region Expanding Rapidly Derrell S. Peel, Oklahoma State University Extension Livestock Marketing Specialist The latest U.S. Drought Monitor confirms that the drought area in Oklahoma is expanding rap- idly. Over 48 percent of the state is included in the severe or worse (D2-D4) drought rat- ing. Most dramatic of all is the jump in the percentage of the state in the worst drought category (D4 or Exceptional) from 10.32 to 32.55 percent. The percentage of the state in the worst two categories (D3-D4) increased from 33.53 percent to 41.22 percent. The drought region is con- fined to the middle and western areas of the state with the eastern third holding on to decent moisture conditions. However, in the last 30 days the majority of the state has received no more than 20-40 percent of normal precipitation and the drought boundary is moving back to the east. Rains in late April and early May provided some relief, particularly in the middle part of the state, and appeared to be moving the drought boundary farther west. Though the La Niña ef- fects appeared to be weakening at that time, improved moisture conditions in the middle part of the state proved to be no match for recent hot and windy conditions as shown by the current ex- pansion in drought ratings. Producers face not only the continuing lack of production due to drought but also the threat of fires that may wipe out existing hay and forage stocks. Across the region extreme drought effects are increasingly evident. Weekly range and pasture condition ratings in Oklahoma and Texas showed 63 percent in the poor and very poor cate- gory. Drought conditions are expanding rapidly in the southeast as well with the percent of poor and very poor conditions increasing from less than 10 percent at the beginning of May to over 33 percent the last two weeks. USDA reported that hay stocks in both Oklahoma and Texas on May 1 were above the previous five year average. However, these hay stocks are likely being exhausted rapidly and hay production will be sharply lower than average this year. Limited forage will be a threat through next winter even if drought conditions ease late in the growing season. The lack of forage this spring has increasing impacts on the cattle industry. Since April 1, beef cow slaughter in federal region 6 (Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas) is 125 percent of the same period last year. This increase in region accounts for the 6 percent in- crease in entire country for the same period. Beef cow slaughter in the remainder of the country is down nearly one percent during this same period. Continued drought conditions in the south- ern plains and expanding drought conditions in the southeast have the potential to result in sig- nificant additional beef cow culling in coming weeks.Oklahoma State University, U.S. Department of Agriculture, State and Local Governments Cooperating. Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service offers its programsto all eligible persons regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age or disability and is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
  2. 2. Livestock Drinking Water Quality by Gene Parker, DVM, Oklahoma State University Area Food Animal Quality and Health Specialist Summer has arrived. There are many areas of Oklahoma that did not get enough runoff water toadequately fill the stock ponds. Many producers will be forced to move cattle looking for forage and wa-ter. When drought causes a great reduction in surface water available in farm ponds, the issue of qualitybecomes nearly as important as quantity of water available. Water is the one most important nutrient required by livestock! Decreased intake can adverselyaffect health, reproduction, and growth. Excessive salinity (salt) in livestock drinking water can upset theanimals’ water balance and cause death. Unsafe levels of salt and toxins depend on the age of the animal,its stage of production, and the amount of water consumed each day. Water consumption is dependent onmany factors, water intake for dry beef cows is around 1-1.5 gallons per 100 pounds of body weight andthis estimate can double for cows nursing calves.Oklahoma has many potential sources for run-off pond water contamination. • Soil minerals and salt leaching from the ground. • Oilfield drilling sites and saltwater disposal wells. • Agriculture application of nitrate and sulfate fertilizer. • Animal manure and human waste control systems. Suggested uses of livestock water containing different levels of contaminants are listed be-low: (remember 1ppm = 1mg/liter of water)Nitrates: 100 ppm or less should not harm livestock. 100-300 ppm should not harm livestock by itself,but beware of additive effects when animals are exposed to or grazing foodstuffs containing increased lev-els of nitrates (sudan, haygrazer, and johnsongrass).Sulfates: Water levels of 2000-2500 ppm and sulfate levels in foodstuffs allowing the animal to attain alevel of 4000 ppm or greater; can be associated with a neurological disease in cattle causing blindness.Total Salts: Less than 1000 ppm: These waters have a relatively low level of salinity and should present no serious burden to livestock. 1000-2999 ppm: These waters should be satisfactory for all classes of livestock. They may cause temporary and mild diarrhea in livestock not accustomed to them, but should not affect their health or performance. 3000-4999 ppm: These waters should be satisfactory for livestock, although they might very pos- sibly cause mild diarrhea or be refused at first by animals not accustomed to them. 5000-6999 ppm: These waters can be used with reasonable safety for dairy and beef cattle, sheep, pigs, and horses. It may be well to avoid the use of waters approaching the higher levels for preg- nant and lactating animals. 7000-10,000 ppm: These waters are unfit for pigs. Considerable risk may exist in using them for pregnant and lactating livestock. In general, their use should be avoided, although older animals may subsist on them for long periods of time under conditions of maintenance and low stress. Greater than 10,000 ppm: The risk of these high salinity waters are so great that they cannot be recommended for use under any conditions. A routine water analysis performed at a lab with the help of your county extension educator orlocal practicing veterinarian, can be very helpful and cost very little. This would take all the guess- workout of trying to decide which animals would be safe to drink the water and which pastures might be ableto be grazed? As ponds start drying up the concentration of salt and toxic ions begins to increase inthem. Do the young calves in the group have a mild diarrhea due to salty water or coccidiosis? Do thedistiller by-product feeds (which can be high in sulfur) have the potential to cause blindness if creep fed tomy calves? Are pregnant cows at risk while grazing sudan forage and drinking water possibly containingnitrates? All these questions might be answered by a simple, routine livestock water analysis.
  3. 3. Horticulture Tips July 2011 Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources Oklahoma State UniversityGARDEN TIPS FOR JULY!David HillockVegetable Garden • Make fall vegetable garden plantings in late July. Fact Sheet HLA-6009 gives planting recommendations.Lawn • Brown patch disease of cool-season grasses can be a problem. (HLA-6420) • Meet water requirements of turfgrasses. (HLA-6420) • Fertilization of warm-season grasses can continue if water is present for growth. (HLA-6420) • Vegetative establishment of warm-season grasses should be completed by the end of July to ensure the least risk of winter kill. (HLA-6419) • Mowing heights for cool-season turf grasses should be at 3 inches during hot, dry summer months. Gradually raise mowing height of bermudagrass lawns from 1½ to 2 inches. • Sharpen or replace mower blades as needed. Shredded leaf blades are an invitation to disease and allow more stress on the grass.Tree and Shrub • Control bermudagrass around trees and shrubs with Poast, Fusilade or Glyphosate herbicides. Follow directions closely to avoid harming desirable plants.Fruits• Continue insect combat and control in the orchard, garden, and landscape. (EPP-7306, EPP‑7313, EPP-7319) • Check pesticide labels for “stop” spraying recommendations prior to harvest. • Harvest fruit from the orchard early in the morning and refrigerate as soon as possible.Flowers • Divide and replant crowded Hybrid iris (Bearded Iris) after flowering until August.General Landscape • Water plants deeply and early in the morning. Most plants need approximately 1 to 2½ inches of water per week. • Providing birdbaths, shelter and food will help turn your landscape into a backyard wildlife habitat. • Insect identification is important so you don’t get rid of the “Good Guys.” (EPP-7307) • The hotter and drier it gets, the larger the spider mite populations! • Expect some leaf fall, a normal reaction to drought. Water young plantings well. • Have you visited The Botanic Garden at OSU in Stillwater for a group tour?. Be aware that some plants may need more water than others during the summer. Here are some ways thatyou can save water in the yard while maintaining a healthy llandscape.
  4. 4. Saving Water in the Yard During JulyCourtney Sidwell and Justin Quetone MossDon’t be discouraged if the heat is beating your plants this July. There are several actions you cantake in your landscape that will keep your plants looking good despite the lack of rain and high tem-peratures. Keeping an eye on your plants and giving them a little TLC when needed will help toavoid these problems. Be aware that some plants may need more water than others during the sum-mer. Here are some ways that you can save water in the yard while maintaining a healthy landscape. • Mow the lawn at the highest recommended height. Bermudagrass can be mowed at 1‑2 inches and tall fescue lawns can be mowed at 3 inches during the summer. • Use a mulching mower blade and leave grass clippings on the lawn. • Keep the mower blades sharp. Dull blades tear the grass as opposed to giving it a clean cut. • Avoid fertilizing cool-season grasses such as tall fescue in the summer. • Aerate the lawn when needed. Aerating is the process of taking small plugs out of the ground to increase oxygen flow, soil drainage, and nutrient intake. When the soil is healthier and can breathe, the water that is given to the turf can soak in better, an decreases wasted water due to runoff. An aerator machine can be rented from a farm equipment store. There are several types of aerators, but the best one to use is a core aerator because the spikes on the machine are hollow as opposed to solid spike aerators. • Use automatic pop-up irrigation sprinklers with a rain gauge. The rain gauge will tell the system to shut off when it has rained recently, avoiding excess watering. Pop-up sprin- klers also avoid the need to manually move the sprinkler around the yard, saving labor and time. They also go back into the ground so that the mower can easily go over them and foot traffic can easily walk across them. • Avoid watering when it has rained in the past 24 hours or it is going to rain in the next 24 hours. Always check the weather forecast and avoid unnecessary irrigation events. • Water early in the morning. Watering late at night can increase disease problems that happen when water sits on the leaves overnight. Watering during the heat of the day can lead to water loss through evaporation. •If you have flower beds or beds with shrubs, trees, annuals, perennials, and/or groundcover, here aresome tips to save water. • Use drip irrigation. Drip irrigation saves 80% more water than sprinklers. Drip irrigation slowly releases water into the soil, or drips on the soil. Slow water release allows the plant time to soak up all the water, eliminating runoff. Drip irrigation also releases water at the base of the plant, avoiding unneeded water on the leaves. Drip irrigation systems do have to be checked regularly for clogs or salt accumulation. Clogging can prevent water from reaching the full length of the irrigation line, and excess salt can kill the plants. • Water plants at the base. Water where the plant meets the soil to avoid wasted water on the leaves. The plant needs water in the roots, not in the leaves. • Mix compost into the soil. Amending the soil with compost in flower beds will add nu- trients to the soil and help the soil retain moisture, reducing the need to water.
  5. 5. • Add a 3- to 4-inch layer of mulch to flower beds. This will help retain moisture, reducing the need to water, will help maintain constant soil temperatures for the plants, and reduce weed growth. Pine mulch is best recommended because of its organic ability to break down into the soil, and for its dark color that absorbs the light as opposed to reflecting the light back on to the plant. Light colored mulches reflect light back on to the plant, which can sunburn the plant and also cause it to need more water. • Pull weeds when they are young. Weeds compete with bedding plants for water. Elimi- nating them when they are young will save water in bedding areas. • When planting plants, group them together in the landscape according to water needs. Plants that require a lot of water should be placed with other plants that require a lot of water, and vice versa. This tactic reduces wasted water, disease problems, and dead plants. When plants are randomly placed together and they receive the same amount of water, the plants that need very little water may get fungal and disease problems because they are receiving too much water, and/or the plants that need a lot of water may die be- cause they are not getting enough water. • Choose plants that can take the heat and naturally save water. There are many trees, shrubs, annuals, perennials, groundcover, and grasses that are drought tolerant in Okla- homa. • Water in the morning. Watering late at night can increase disease problems that happen when water sits on the leaves overnight. Watering during the heat of the day can lead to water loss through evaporation. • Water infrequently and deeply. Let the soil dry out between waterings. Overwatering can be harmful to plants by reducing available oxygen in the soil. • Check the soil to see if it is dry. Instead of watering on a schedule, check the soil to see if it needs to be watered. Check at a 3-inch depth, and if it’s dry, it’s time to water. This can be done with your finger or with a trowel or shovel. • Place plants that need a lot of water in places that tend to naturally collect a lot of water. Pay attention to areas in your yard that collect more water than others, and plant the plants that need more water in those areas.Wondering what to do with Damaged Crapemyrtles and other Shrubs?David Hillock We continue to get questions from the public regarding plants damaged this past winter.Plants such as crapemyrtle, photinia, and some of the hollies have been the plants most talked about,especially the crapemyrtles. By this time you should be able to tell what is alive and what is not.Some plants have surprised us and have done much better than I anticipated; others have not fared sowell. Due to the heat we are currently experiencing, I would not recommend any drastic pruning atthis time. However, it is okay to remove any dead wood. Remove dead limbs or branches back tolive wood avoiding damage to any new shoots if possible. Next year, late winter/early spring, you can do any shaping or training necessary to encourageyour plants to return to their original splendor. Crapemyrtles that were once large, multi-trunkedshrubs or small trees will need time, patience, and tender loving care to help them return to what theyonce were. As time goes on, select the healthiest of about five new shoots to become your newtrunks and thin out the rest. For training and pruning tips of trees and shrubs see OSU Fact SheetsHLA-6415 Training Young Shade and Ornamental Trees and HLA-6409 Pruning OrnamentalTrees, Shrubs, and Vines.
  6. 6. Heat StressDavid HillockWith the brutal temperatures remaining over 100 degrees many landscape plants are really struggling.Trying to keep them properly hydrated can be a challenge. A general rule for watering is to apply about1 to 2 inches per week per application. This generally moistens the soil to at least a 6 inch depth, encour-aging deeper root growth. However, with the intense heat, and depending on other factors such as theage of the plant, soil type, exposure to wind and sun, and the water needs of the plant(s), watering mayneed to be more frequent. The key though, is to water deeply when you do water and try to avoid fre-quent shallow irrigation that results in shallow roots more susceptible to stress.Rigging up a shade structure to protect a plant or a small group of plants from the hot afternoon sun maybe helpful for newly installed plants.With all that said, be careful not to over water. Over watering tends to be a problem when it is very hotand dry and will result in root loss and thus the same symptoms of water stress - wilt. If plants are wilt-ing when you water them, and they remain wilted or don’t respond by perking up within a few hours,then it is possible they are receiving too much water. Poke around in the soil near the plant to see howwet the soil is several inches down. If it is real wet stop watering.Another frequently asked question when it is hot like this is, “Why are my cottonwoods or river birchesdropping leaves even when it seems adequate water is being applied?” This is called cladoptosis (orkladoptosis), the dropping of leaves or twigs under conditions of stress. Cladoptosis is a natural defensemechanism of plants under drought or other stress conditions. The leaves may turn yellow before drop-ping, mimicking fall conditions. Many deciduous species will drop leaves under stress, but the conditionis most commonly seen in birches, cottonwoods, and willows. Over watering, under watering, excessiveheat, or root damage may all cause leaves to drop. Nitrate Toxicity After a Drought-easing Rain Glenn Selk, Oklahoma State University Emeritus Extension Animal ScientistOklahoma summers often bring “high pressure domes” that cause 100+ degree days and no rain. Theresulting heat stress can cause nitrate accumulation in summer annual forage crops. Producers are verycautious about cutting or grazing the drought-stressed forages and for good reason. However, when thefirst drought-easing thunderstorm comes along, cattlemen are anxious to cut the forage or turn in the cat-tle on the field that has just received rain.This practice can lead to a potentially dangerous situation. As the plant starts to grow and turn greenonce again, the nitrate uptake is accelerated. Plant enzymes (such as nitrate reductase) are still not pre-sent in great enough quantities or active enough to convert the nitrate to plant proteins. Therefore theplant nitrate concentrations become even greater in the first few days after the first rain.Producers should exercise caution and test forages before cutting or grazing shortly after a drought-easing shower. Some of the greatest concentrations of nitrate in forages will be recorded at thistime. Usually by 7 – 10 days after a “good” rain, plant metabolism returns to normal and nitrate accumu-lations begin to decrease. Be sure to test the forage before cutting and storing a large quantity of poten-tially poisonous hay.
  7. 7. SEVENTH ANNUAL OKLAHOMA - KANSASWINTER CANOLA CONFERENCESJULY 19th 2011 Hoover Building, Garfield County Fairgrounds, Enid, OklahomaJULY 20th 2011 McMahon Centennial Complex, Cameron University, Lawton,Oklahoma3.5 CCA CEUsDOOR PRIZES TO BE GIVEN AWAY BY SPONSORS / There is no charge for registration, food, or drinks.8:00 Registration, Coffee and Doughnuts – Sponsored by ADM8:20 Welcome and Introductions – Roger Gribble (OSU) and Leon Fischer (Cameron University)8:25 Canola vs. Wheat Prices – Kim Anderson (OSU Ag. Economist, Enid) and Monte Johnson (ADM,Lawton)8:35 Soil Preparation and Planting – Mark Boyles (OSU Canola Specialist)8:50 Canola Varieties – Chad Godsey (OSU Cropping Systems) and Mike Stamm (KSU Canola Breeder)9:10 Insects / Diseases / Weeds – Tom Royer, Sarah Donelson, Kris Giles (OSU Entomologists), JohnDamicone (OSU Plant Pathologist) and Mark Boyles (OSU Canola Specialist)9:40 WinField Solutions, Answer Plot Update – Jay Bjerke (WinField Solutions/Croplan Genetics)9:50 Johnston Enterprises Update – Van Schuermann (W.B. Johnston Grain Company)10:00 Oklahoma Oilseed Commission and Great Plains Canola Association Updates10:10 Break / Visit Sponsors Booths- Refreshments Sponsored by Livingston Machinery Co. and Johnston Enterprises10:35 Canola Crop Insurance Update – Phil Hamilton, Risk Management Specialist (USDA – RMA)10:50 Fertilizing Canola – Brian Arnall and Hailin Zhang (OSU Soil Scientists)11:10 Economics of Wheat and Canola Rotations – Eric DeVuyst and Francis Epplin (OSU Ag. Econo-mists)11:25 Harvesting Options – Heath Sanders (PCOM) and Josh Bushong (OSU Canola Extension)11:45 Grower Panel Discussion – Josh Bushong (OSU) at Enid and Todd Baughman (TAMU) at Lawton12:15 Lunch is Sponsored by Monsanto at Enid and PCOM at Lawton- Drawing for Industry Sponsored Door Prizes – Joe Armstrong (OSU Ext. Weed Scientist)1:00 Oklahoma Oilseed Commission (OOC) Meeting – Brent Rendel, Chairman- Enid only2:00 Great Plains Canola Association (GPCA) Meeting – Jeff Scott, President- Enid onlyPLEASE THANK THESE SPONSORS FOR THEIR SUPPORT AND DOOR PRIZESADM, American Farmers and Ranchers, Bayer CropScience, Bunge, Croplan Ge-netics, Great Plains Canola Association, Johnston Enterprises, Livingston Ma-chinery Co., MacDon, Monsanto/DeKalb, Oklahoma Oilseed Commission, Pro-ducers Cooperative Oil Mill, Syngenta, and Western Equipment.
  8. 8. As Summer Heats Up, So Do Water Toxicity Issues By Dave Sparks D.V.M., Oklahoma State University Food Animal Quality and Health Extension Specialist, (Edited in 2011 by Glenn Selk) The 2011 Fourth of July Holiday brought warnings for humans about “Blue-green algae” in one ofthe large Oklahoma lakes used for recreation. Blue-green algae has often been a concern to livestock pro-ducers in late summer in Oklahoma. With the June heat wave that has caused water temperatures to warmsooner than usual, cattle producers need to now be aware of the potential problem. Blue-green algae indirty and drying ponds and flood overflow areas can cause fatal toxicity in all domestic animals that drinkfrom these ponds. The culprit is not really an algae and may not even be blue-green. The problem is caused by agroup of organisms known as cyanobacteria, or bacteria with photosynthesis capability. The colors rangefrom blue to bright green but may also be red or purple. Often these organisms will show up like a paintscum on the surface of the water. When these organisms are present in small to moderate numbers they don’t present a prob-lem. When the pond “blooms”, however, they create toxins. Blooms occur when the right conditions aremet, including warm water temperatures and the presence of large quantities of nutrients, especially nitro-gen and phosphorous. Water temperature goes up as water volume goes down, due to consumption anddehydration. Water temperature also rises as air temperatures go up. Water temperature goes up muchquicker and higher in shallow, stagnant sources. Water temperature goes up higher in bodies of water thathave bare ground around them than in ponds that have grass and weeds up to the water. Nutrient levels inponds rise due to fertilizer or manure run-off. Cattle spend more time standing in ponds as the air tem-perature increases. When cattle are allowed into the water, their urination and defecation contribute as amajor source of nitrogen and phosphorous. Cattle grazing fescue pastures in the summer may also spendmore time in the water because the endophyte on the fescue causes the cattle’s body temperature to riseabove normal. The result from the higher temperature and nutrient availability is that the pond blooms andthe water goes from relatively clear to looking like green paint in just a few days due to the production ofmillions of bacterial bodies. There are two toxins produced. The first is a neurotoxin that affects the central nervous systemand causes very rapid death to the animal. Dead cattle are often found lying at or near the pond wherethey drank. Deaths can occur in large numbers if the concentration of toxin is high. The second toxin is ahepatotoxin, or toxin that attacks the liver. This results in slower death and signs include jaundice andsevere sun-burning. It is not as common as the sudden death syndrome. Once the animals have con-sumed the toxic water, there is no treatment. Often the wind pushes the organisms and the resulting tox-ins across the pond where they become concentrated. An early warning sign is the presence of dead mice,snakes, or other small animals on the downwind side of the pond. When you have a suspicious water source you should collect a sample of water, preferable fromthe downwind side. If it looks clear there is very little chance of a toxicity problem. Only a relatively feworganisms found in water cause toxicity, so if your sample is colored or murky, it should be sent to a vet-erinary diagnostic laboratory for examination. Your veterinarian or county extension educator can helpyou submit the sample. If in doubt, keep livestock away from the pond until you have an answer. In the past ponds have been treated with copper sulfate to kill the organisms. This practice is,however, somewhat controversial. Livestock must be kept from treated ponds for two weeks because thechemical can also be toxic, and in this time usually the bloom is over and the water is safe anyway. Sometoxicologists feel that when the bloom is killed by chemicals, more toxins are released. If sampling re-veals that your pond is a potential danger, consider keeping all livestock off for two weeks and then retest-ing. The guidance of your local veterinarian is the best help in planning a course of action. In summary blue-green algae may be a problem when ponds bloom. There is no treatment for poi-soned animals. The problem can be at least partially prevented by avoiding fertilizer run-off, keeping ani-mals out of ponds, submitting samples of questionable water, and providing alternative water sourceswhen ponds are blooming.
  9. 9. Taloga, OK 73667-0188 PO Box 188 Dewey County Cooperative Extension Service Oklahoma State University Oklahoma Cooperative Extension ServiceThe Dewey County OSU Extension Agriculture Newsletter is published quarterlyby the Dewey County Extension Office. It is for educational purposes and noendorsement is implied.The Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligiblepersons regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age or handicap,and is an equal opporutnity employer. Dewey County OSU Extension Center Editor: 111 S. Sexton Taloga, OK 73667 (580) 328-5351 http://countyext.okstate.edu/dewey/ Mike Weber Extension Educator Ag/4-H Dewey CountyThe Dewey County OSU Extension Center has moved to its new location. Weare now located at the fairgrounds in Taloga, OK. 111 S Sexton