TOPEKA (KSNT) – Gary Fike, the director for the Riley County Extension and Research Office, joined the KSNT 27 News Morning show to share details on the upcoming calving season and what people and landowners should be on the lookout for heading into spring.
One of the warnings he gave was concerning an invasive plant species called, serecia lespedeza, or better known to most people as a “noxious weed.” Fike emphasized the importance of controlling the spread of this species, but he explained why it can be difficult.
“The problem is, a lot of the times when you burn in the spring, it doesn’t do a good job of controlling serecia,” Fike said. “This is because the seeds drop to the ground after the burning and it may actually end up increasing your problem.”
Fike recommends that landowners use things like herbicide to control the spread of the weed, instead. However, burning pastures is typically something that is positive for re-growth and healthy land.
Fike said it’s important to practice pasture-burning around this time of year, as early to late-April is when warm-season grasses need to be burned to encourage optimal re-growth.
“Of course, with the weather we have and the dryness we have, you have to be sure that the fires are well controlled and that the proper authorities are notified when you are going to do a prescribed burn,” Fike explained.
Fike also talked about the troubles farmers, ranchers and landowners can experience, as calving season nears.
“Our producers are getting up early, in the middle of the night, going to check and make sure that things are proceeding normally,” Fike said. “If not, they might have to call a veterinarian who also get a lot of sleepless nights this time of year with difficult births.”
On top of those sleepless nights, it can be stressful helping heifers that are going through this process for the first time.
“This is a really busy time for our cow-calf operators, especially with heifers because there’s always concern with the first calf,” Fike said. “So, if they’ve never done this before, many of the heifers don’t know what’s going on.”
Fike also mentioned how calves are marketed, as we are in a high-cattle market right now.
“Consumers are seeing that at the marketplace, at the grocery store and the meat market.”
To learn more about the topics discussed in this article, you can watch the full interview above.