Barrick: No-till clinic a successThe No-till Clinic recently held in Mitchell drew a crowd of over 100 people. Cover crops are still a big topic. We had a plot near Tyndall this year and one at Lake Andes.
By: Roger Barrick, Extension Agronomy Educator
The No-till Clinic recently held in Mitchell drew a crowd of over 100 people. Cover crops are still a big topic. We had a plot near Tyndall this year and one at Lake Andes.
Master Gardeners Meet
I recently met with the new graduating class of Master Gardeners in Wagner. They seem to be an ambitious group with plans. I hope I can help them some in their plans, and I can always use any help I can get in answering those questions for the public.
Windbreak Fences for Livestock
It seems I get this question every year about this time and in the spring. The first snow or the first big wind gets people thinking about wind breaks. We’ve had both now.
The best windbreak is a shelterbelt. The problem is, the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. A shelterbelt is really the only way to reduce winds and trap a major part of the snow away from the farmstead. If you looked where your snow piled up last week, you'll know where a windbreak is needed now. The conservation district can help with the design.
A windbreak fence is the next best thing. You don't have to wait 20 years for it to grow. You can move your cattle lot and put up a new windbreak fence. There are a few guidelines to consider. An 80% solid fence (20% open) reduces wind speeds for the greatest distance and spreads the snow out for fastest melting. A solid fence does provide better wind protection for short distances, but snow accumulates near the fence. Winds passing over the solid fence usually drop or swirl downward on the downwind side, losing energy and dropping snow.
Rough cut or dressed lumber 6" to 10" wide works best for slotted windbreak fences. Plywood or metal roofing sheets are not as effective, because the slot has to be too wide to achieve a 20% opening. Slot openings greater than about 2 inches allow too much wind through at one location. Several narrow slots (less than 2") allowing the same total amount of wind through, provide better wind and snow protection. A minimum height of eight feet for solid fences and 10' for slotted fences is recommended for better wind control.
Horizontal or vertical slots in a slotted fence perform about the same. Leave a 4" to 6" opening under the fence for better drainage, drying and summer air movement. Close the opening below the fence with straw or snow in the winter to reduce drafts.
Attach boards on the cattle side of the fence. Install a horizontal rub rail if cattle have access to both sides of the fence. This should be about 3' 6" high. Use galvanized nails. Girts, which the boards are nailed to, should be about 18" apart.
You need a 20% opening. If you are using dressed lumber, a 1x4 isn't 4" wide, use the following spacing. 1x4= 3/4 inch spacing, 1x6= 1 1/8 inch spacing, 1x8= 1 5/8 inch spacing, 1x10= 2inch spacing.
Using metal roofing or siding is still the most popular question I get. These are about 3 feet wide. Remember only a 2-inch spacing is recommended. To get a 20% opening you would need a 4.8 inch wide opening, way too much. If you have a 2 inch opening with this wide roofing the snow is going to come over the top and drop down. A compromise would be to alternate the metal siding and 1x4's. That would help. Splitting the roofing to 1 foot widths would even be better. There is plenty of used metal siding around after past year's storms. Ask a contractor for locations of damaged tin.
A 20% porous fence (10 feet tall) is the best. If you had a 40 mph wind, it would drop most of the snow in the first 100 feet where the wind should be about 10 mph. In the next 50 feet the wind will be up to 20 mph and not much snow caught. Two hundred feet from the fence the wind will be at 30 mph and snow will be no longer caught. So you can see that a windbreak should be between 100 feet and 200 feet from feed bunks, waterers and buildings, or too much snow will pile up there. Now if you could just get the wind to blow from the right direction you'll be set.
Mark your 2010 calendars for the following Extension “crop production” programs in our area:
January 11 – Winter Wheat Clinic, Tripp
February 3, Crops Clinic, Yankton
Feb 4, Crops Clinic, Armour, PAT
March 2, Precision Ag, Pukwana
Private Applicator Certification dates in February are: 4th – Armour, 9th –Tripp, 11th – Platte, 23rd – Wagner, and 24th – Tyndall.