MPCD Summer News Brief
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MPCD Eco-Brief

MPCD Eco-Brief is an impromptu News Brief to inform you of important summer time news and happenings that did not make it into the Summer Eco-BiTs Newsletter I sent out a couple weeks ago. 

In this issue:  Weed Free Hay, Grass Sheave Contest, Herbicide Giveaway, Weed of the Week, Fall Fertilizer ApplicationDear Mark, Weed Mapping

Check out our updated website for more info.

Weed Free Hay Inspections Offered in Middle Park

Dave Abbott, certified Weed Free Hay Inspector, has now begun inspecting fields for Weed Free certification. If you would like to get your hay crop inspected for weeds, contact the Colorado Department of Agriculture at 303.239.4149 to schedule an inspection. The cost of inspection is approximately $50 plus $5 per acre. This charge includes the cost of weed free twine. You should plan your inspection date within 10 days of cutting.

Due to requirements for weed free hay by the National Park Service, US Forest Service, BLM, and CDOT, weed free hay is often sought out by hunters and adventure enthusiasts that wish to take horses into these areas.  With the cost of hay these days, producing weed free hay can be a profitable business venture.  

Check out the link below for more information.   


Grass Sheave Contest at

Middle Park Fair & Rodeo

The Middle Park Conservation District would like to educate you about the Grass Sheave Contest at this year's Middle Park Fair & Rodeo.  Due to the timing of fair during the first week of August, a Baled Hay Contest is impractical for most producers. Thus, the MPCD opted for the next best thing--a Grass Sheave Contest.  You can pick a bunch straight from the field, let it dry,  and bring it to the fair.   Please note that bundles are species specific (not mixed grasses).  

Entries for the Grass Sheave Contest will be accepted from 8am-8 pm on Tuesday, August 6th, at the Exhibit Hall on the Middle Park Fairgrounds in Kremmling. 

Rules for the Grass Sheave Contest will follow Colorado State Fair Guidelines depicted below.   

Check out for a complete list of fair events!

Sheaf or Bundle Exhibits:

Diameter of sheaves or bundles at center tie should be as follows:

- Sheaves, small grains & grasses: 3 inches

- Sheaves, sorghum, Sudan grass, alfalfa, clover, oats for hay, millet for hay:  6 inches

- Bundles, Sudan and forage sorghum: 8 inches

- Bundles, corn (the brace root should be showing but  do not include bottom roots), tied top and bottom: 6 stalks

-Sunflower Head with Stems 6 inches

Sheaves of small grains, grasses, clovers and alfalfa should be mounted on uniform size, thin building boards. Small grain sheaves will be judged on sheaf makeup, head type, straw quality and quality of grain.  Sheaves of alfalfa, clovers, grasses and sorghums will be judged for feed quality as well as sheaf makeup.


Classes: Sheaves, Alfalfa, Clover & other Legumes (one sheaf)

Variety Name Required (126-128)

126.    Alfalfa, for hay
127.    Alfalfa, for seed
128.    Clover, Alsike, Ladino, or White, for hay
129.    Clover, Red for hay
130.    Any other legume, for hay

Classes:  Sheaves, cultivated Grasses for hay (one sheaf)

151.  Timothy
152.  Red Top
153.  Orchard Grass
154.  Meadow or Tall Fescue
155.  Brome Grass
156.  Intermediate Wheat  Grass
157.  Pubescent Wheat Grass
158.  Western Wheat Grass
159.  Crested Wheat Grass
160.  Tall Wheat Grass
161.  Perennial Rye Grass
162.  Reed Canary Grass
163.  Tall Meadow Oat Grass
164.  Any other cultivated grass, named type

Contact 970.724.3456 for more info or if you have any questions. 
Hope to see you at the fair!

Weekly Herbicide Giveaway in Granby

The Grand County Department of Natural Resources is holding Weekly Herbicide Giveaways on Fridays from 9am-noon at the Granby Office (County Shop--469 E. Jasper). 

You must bring a sprayer to be filled up. 

Call 970.887.0745 for more info. 

Click here to learn about sprayer calibration. 

photos from Google Images

WOW: Weed of the Week


Field Bindweed, Convolvulus arvensis, is a rhizomotous perennial in the morning glory family.  It has arrow-shaped leaves and produces white to pink bell-shaped flowers.  According to the Colorado Dept of Ag Factsheet, bindweed plants can produce upwards of 300 seeds per year with seed viability lasting up to 40 years in the soil.  This weed is extremely competitive due to its deep tap roots that can reach depths of 20 feet and can branch out into many rhizomes. 

Control and eradication of bindweed is imperative but can be difficult.  Maintaining healthy pastures with minimal bareground can be effective in preventing weed establishment, including establishment and spread of bindweed.  Chemical control via 2,4 D, Tordon, and RoundUp may also be effective in controlling bindweed. 

Click the following link to read the entire Colorado Department of Ag Bindweed Factsheet.


photos from Google Images

Fall Fertilizer Application: 

Is it right for you?

As I alluded to in our last newsletter, animal nutrition is extremely important to herd health and productivity.  This article indirectly relates to animal nutrition by means of plant nutrition.  We've all heard the saying "You are what you eat," referring to the quality of food you eat....the more nutritious the food, the healthier you will be.   

The same theory applies to animals...they better food they eat, the healthier they will be.  The best way to ensure food health is by performing nutritional analyses of your hay/soil and then replenishing lost nutrients.  With each consecutive cutting, you remove nutrients from the grass and soil.  Unless you replenish those nutrients via natural means (feces and urine) or by artificial means (inorganic fertilizer), your cropland will likely continue decreasing in nutritive value.   

In a recent lecture by Dr. Joe Brummer of Colorado State University Soil & Crop Sciences, I learned that Nitrogen and Phosphorus are typically the two most limiting nutrients in the soil.  If any one nutrient is too limiting, it may hinder plant growth and production, thus reducing your net yield.  Nitrogen is often added to increase grass production, while Phosphorus promotes legumes.  Nevertheless, if Phosphorus is deficient in your soils, it may limit grass growth as well.

So, you may be asking yourself, 'Should you fertilize or not?'  The answer is complicated because it depends on several factors?  Has your soil test suggested that you have nutrient deficits in your soil?  Do you currently produce enough hay to meet your needs without fertilizing?  Is the cost of fertilization too prohibitive?  

Joe and his graduate students have performed several studies to determine the pay off of fertilizing.  In all of his studies, the net pay off was always positive (meaning that the producer always made money from fertilizing and never lost any money).  The amount of profit you make may vary with the type of fertilizer you use (Ammonium Nitrate vs. Urea) and climatic factors, but Joe's studies suggest a profit in all cases.  

In speaking with Junior from Frontier Station out of Craig, Ammonium Nitrate fertilizer is better than Urea because it is less volatile and does not evaporate or leach as easily as Urea.  You also have a larger window for application of Ammonium Nitrate and can apply it under dry conditions.  

Now the question comes, 'When should I fertilizer?'  In speaking with Mark Volt, District Conservationist  for the NRCS Kremmling Field Office, I learned that fall vs. spring fertilizer applications yield similar results as far as grass growth and productivity in Middle Park.  Joe concurred with Mark in that 'fall produces higher yields but spring produces more consistent yields'.  However, because Phosphorus takes longer to dissolve and move into the soil, Joe suggested that fall is better for Phosphorus application.    If applying fertilizer in the fall, you want to fertilize when soil temperatures  consistently drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit and the plants are dormant.  This typically happens after October 1st-15th.  Also, both Joe and Junior cautioned against spring grazing after fall fertilization or late spring grazing after spring fertilization.  

Thus, it comes down to a personal preference and fertilizer type as to whether you opt for fall or spring application.  Factors to consider are cost, availability of fertilizer buggies, and time constraints.  You may find that fertilizer buggies may be easier to get in the fall and you may have more time on your hands. According to Junior, costs of fertilizer also are expected to be about 10% less in the fall than they were this spring.

Joe Brummer said that it is best to perform soil tests every 5 years for your croplands.  The CSU Soil Testing Lab performs soil tests for $13 to $31 depending on the analysis package you choose.  Click on the links below for soil sampling instructions and a soil sample form.  FYI...We have a soil corer at our office if you need to borrow one.  

Soil Sampling Instructions

Soil Sample Form

Contact the MPCD/NRCS at 970.724.3456 with questions regarding fertilizer application.

Dear Mark...

Do you have at burning conservation related question you would like to ask our resident NRCS District Conservationist?

If so, send the question to me, and I will pass it along to Mark.  It may be featured in the next issue of Eco-BiTs or Eco-Briefs.

Weed Mapping:
Getting Ahead of the Game for 2014

My dear colleague, Mark Volt, suggested I write about the importance of weed mapping in preparing for next year's weed crop.  Weeds like wild caraway, oxeye daisy, wintercress, and herbaceous cinquefoil are already in full bloom right now and chemical control may or may not be effective if applied at the present moment.  Mark said that the best thing to do is map the areas of infestation so that next year you can spray them early (before they bloom).   Even if you don't have fancy mapping tools, like a GPS, a detailed hand-drawn map may be as effective.

       Wild Caraway                                                                Oxeye Daisy

Wintercress                                                        Herbaceous Cinquefoil    

photos from Google Images

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