2015 Mid-Summer News Brief
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2015 Mid-Summer News Brief

In this issue~
Middle Park Hay Auction, Wildfire Mitigation Workshop,  Fall Tree Sale, Hay Testing, Fall Weed Management, Weed Workshop Review, What's with that Yellow Clover?Resource Concern Survey, Small Acreage Management Newsletter

Middle Park Hay Growers

The Middle Park Stockgrowers have once again decided to hold a
Middle Park Hay Growers Hay Auction
Saturday, October 10th
@ Noon

Kremmling Fairgrounds

Right now, we have a call out for producers in Grand or Summit Counties who wish to sell some hay.  You get to set the reserve price, and ten percent of sale price goes to the Middle Park Stockgrowers Scholarship.  There will be a tractor available on site for load and unload. 

Please contact Katlin Miller at 970.531.0127 or  with an approximate number and size of bales you wish to sell. 
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Wildfire Mitigation Workshop:
September 18th

The Grand County Wildfire Council, Colorado State Forest Service (Granby District), and the Middle Park Conservation District are hosting a FREE Wildfire Mitigation and Defensible Space Workshop on September 18th
 Classroom lecture will go from 9:30-12.  After a catered lunch, an optional field tour will last from approximately 1-3. 

Topics to be discussed...
  • Home Ignition Zone & Firewise Construction
  • Defensible Space
  • Ready, Set, Go
  • Firewise Communities
The workshop is FREE and
but please RSVP to with your name, phone number, address, and email address so we can get a head count for lunch. 

Remember, the time to plan and prepare for a wildfire is not when it is approaching your home.  The time is NOW, when you are calm, collect, and have the time to do it.
Fall Tree Sale
Get 'em while you can!  Sale ends August 24th!

Middle Park Conservation District and the CSFS Nursery have decided to do a Fall Tree Sale.  Fall can be a great time to plant trees because:
a) Seedlings have time to establish a good root system before summer
b) Seedlings can take full advantage of spring runoff
c) Less water is required initially because days are cooling off rather than warming up
d) You don't have to wait until the snow melts off to plant them (as is often the case in the spring)
Why Buy Trees?  They can help stabilize soil on barren ground and steep slopes, reestablish dead beetle-killed forests, and grow up to be living windbreaks for livestock and households.
If you would like to take advantage of our Fall Sale, see the attached Order Form.  Deadline to order is August 24th.  Trees will be delivered to Granby on September 3rd.  That way you can plant them over Labor Day Weekend.
We are selling most species that are typically offered in the spring, with the exception of the Bare Root Trees.  Also, the nursery has reduced the price of the "Trays of 50".  They are the hottest deal of the Fall at only $50.
For more information, call Katlin at 
970-531-0127 or check out  

Order Form

Please call Katlin when sending in your order form so that she knows its coming and can reserve your trees ahead of time.

Why Test Your Hay?  Lecture from Dr. Joe Brummer

At this year’s Hay Day on July 8th in Walden, CSU Professor Dr. Joe Brummer spoke about hay testing.  According to Dr. Brummer, the four main reasons to test your forage quality are…
  1. Visual evaluations do NOT tell the whole story
    1. Green is not always good
    2. Brown is not always bad
  2. It’s the only way to balance rations
    1. Prioritize feeding of different lots of hay based on nutritional needs of animals
    2. Different classes of animals have difference nutritional needs (i.e. dry cows vs. heifers vs. steers vs. bulls)
  3. It’s one measure of changes in hay management
  4. It can aid in marketing of hay for sale
Factors Affecting Forage Quality
  1. Maturity Stage: increased maturity equals decreased forage quality. 
    1. For cool-season grasses—Digestibilty can decrease by 0.33-0.5% per day after the first 2-3 weeks of growth until it reaches 50% or less. 
    2. Crude protein yield increases but the concentration of crude protein decreases due to nitrogen dilution.  The question because, can a cow eat enough forage to meet her nutritional needs or will she get full before that happens?
  2. Species differences:
    1. Legumes typically produce higher forage quality than grasses
      1. Legumes have higher protein content, lower fiber content, and better intake and digestibility rates than grasses. 
  3. Nitrogen Fertilization:
    1. Will most likely increase the productivity of the field in terms of yield (lbs/acre produced); however, the quality of the hay may or may not benefit from the added nitrogen.  Depending on the timing of harvest, the quality of the hay may actually decline.  As mentioned previously, the concentration of crude protein goes down as the grass grows taller.  The digestibility also decreases due to the increase in fibrous stems.  According to Joe, if you are planning to fertilize, the biggest bang for your buck in terms of pounds of Nitrogen put on, relating to pounds of forage produced, is 60-80 lbs of N/acre.  Mark Volt also says that you can expect about 25 pounds of hay for every pound of Nitrogen put on. 
  4. Rain during Curing:
    1. Decreased digestibility due to leaching of highly soluble molecules and prolonged respiration causing loss of carbohydrates. 
    2. Crude Protein may or may not change because protein is a bigger molecule and is less prone to leaching. 
    3. It is worse to have hay rained on days after cutting, rather than immediately following cutting, because cell walls have had time to rupture.  If rained on right after cutting, cell walls are still intact and nutrients are retained within the cell.
  5. Daily Fluctuations:
    1. Hay cut in the afternoon will have higher sugar content than hay cut in the morning because plants accumulate carbohydrates during the day but use them at night.  Foraging studies have backed this up by showing that cattle prefer afternoon cut forage over morning cut forage.
The Middle Park Conservation District has a hay corer for use by producers and also offers to send in hay samples for testing for only $20 a sample. 
We will get your results back and then help you understand the numbers and what they mean for your herd. 
Contact Mark or Katlin at 970.724.3456 for more information. 
Fall Weed

When most people think of Fall To-Dos, they think of fair-weather projects that must get done before winter really sets in.  Some even go so far as to prepare themselves to survive through the long, cold days ahead. 
Believe it or not, perennial and biennial weeds do the same.
As the temperatures begin to drop and we get our first few frosts of the season, the weeds start to go into survival mode.  They shift their efforts away from reproduction and into root growth.  It is these root reserves that will keep the p
erennials and biennials alive through the winter. 
Because of this innate survival instinct, fall is a great time to apply herbicide to those pesky weeds.  They will actively uptake the herbicide and shunt it down to their roots
Thistles, for example, are good candidates for fall herbicide application.

Keep in mind the following...
  • You need live leaves for the plants to absorb the herbicide. 
  • Plants will absorb more herbicide on warmer days than cooler days. 
  • Try to apply herbicide on days that have a low chance of precipitation.
Noxious Weed Resources

The Middle Park Conservation District and the Summit County Weed Department recently held a Noxious Weed Workshop on July 17th in Frisco.  We had 62 attendees.
I wanted to give all of you the same info we gave the attendees, so below you will find a link to the PowerPoint presentations and other resources. 
We are considering doing another noxious weed workshop in Summit next year as well as one here in Grand County.  Please contact me at to get on a weed workshop wait list. 
Also, keep in mind that the Grand and Summit County Weed Departments both have Herbicide Giveaway Programs presently going on.  Contact the County Weed Supervisors list below for more info.

Jennifer Scott (Grand): 970.887.0745
Ben Pleimann (Summit): 970.668.4218
Tom LaFleur (Summit Backpack Sprayers): 970.668.4252

Presentation 1--Ben Pleimann
Presentation 2--Katlin MIller
Weed Resources and Links
Stacking Round Bales
Because several of hay producers up here produce round bales, I thought it would be interesting to discuss the “right” way to stack round bales.  Ultimately, the “right” way will most likely be whatever way you can best stack your bales in your stack yard or hay shed.  Nevertheless, you may be able to incorporate some of these tips to improve your storage capacity and quality.

Stack bales under cover if possible.  You can minimize dry matter and nutrient losses by up to 25% by stacking hay in a barn or outside covered by a tarp.  Joe Brummer also spoke about a 60 year-old barn-stored bale that had nearly the same nutrient quality today as it did the day it was cut.  If tarping, it is recommended to tent the tarp at the top, thus allowing air flow over the top of the stack and reducing condensation on the inside of the tarp.

Stack bales in well-drained areas.  If possible, stack bales on pallets, old tires, a layer of crushed rock or sandy soil, or on a slight hillside.  If these options are not possible cut the grass in the stack yard before stacking to minimize moisture retention near the bottom of the bale.  If stored outside, stack bales in well-ventilated areas in the sun and away from trees.  Though the trees may protect against rain or snow, the shade will inhibit drying. 

Orient bales in a north-south direction.  This will maximize sun exposure and facilitate even drying throughout the bale, thereby reducing the nutrient loss differences on the east and west sides of bales.

Stack rows 2-4 feet apart.  By doing so, you will promote better air flow between stacks and quicker drying times. 

With regard to the design of the stack, I think the jury is still out as to which way is best.  A single row stacked butt-to-butt will shed water well, as long as bales are stacked tightly together.  Stacking on side in a pyramid design (3-2-1) may be easier to stab, but you may get moisture retention in crevices between bales.  You could instead make a  2-2-1 stack, with the bottom bales being stacked on end followed by middle and top bales being stacked on side (butt-to-butt).  With this design, the bottom bales may be more prone to wicking of ground moisture than bales stacked on side.  It may more difficult to maneuver bales with this stack (especially the bottom two bales); however, fewer bales touch the ground with this design (as opposed to the pyramid design) so it may pay off.

What’s with that Yellow Clover?

As some of you may have noticed, there seems to be a bumper crop of yellow sweetclover this year.  Yellow sweetclover is the tall plant you see growing throughout the county that has trifoliate leaves (3 leaflets) and racemes of small yellow flowers.  According to the book Principles of Field Crop Production, by Martin and Leonard, sweetclover originates from the Mediterranean region and was grown as a crop there over 2,000 years ago.  It was brought to the US for green manure, pasture, seed, silage, and hay the over 300 years ago, and now more than 2 million acres of sweetclover is grown annually in the United States.
Sweetclover is often planted for its forage and soil quality properties.  As a legume, sweetclover is a nitrogen-fixer; the symbiotic relationship it has with bacteria in the soil allows it to fix atmospheric nitrogen into usable nitrogen.  Because nitrogen is a fundamental element of amino acids and protein, legumes naturally have high protein content.  Furthermore, as an essential nutrient, protein is often used a gauge for forage quality; higher protein content equals higher forage quality.  Thus, sweetclover is good forage for most livestock and wildlife.  It also acts as a great pollinator species and has been known to make delicious honey.  Lastly, nitrogen fixers like sweetclover, contribute to the health of the soil in which they are planted by providing soil stability and reducing soil erosion, encouraging soil biotic activity, increasing soil water-holding capacity, and increasing soil aeration.  Accordingly, sweetclover has been added to reclamation mixes in the past thanks to these soil health qualities. 
Despite, these positive attributes of yellow sweetclover, there are some cons as well.  As a nonnative, it can reproduce and invade native areas.  Sweetclover is a prolific seeder, producing over 100,000 seeds in a given season, and those seeded remain viable for many years.  It is also drought, fire, and cold tolerant.  Because it is quick to establish on clear and disturbed sites and is easy to disburse, yellow sweetclover can often be found along roadways.  This presents a danger to motorists because it can grow to 6 feet tall and obscure wildlife hiding along the roadside.  Lastly, sweetclover contains a compound called “coumarin”.  When sweetclover gets stressed (i.e. frosted) the coumarin is converted into toxic dicumarol.  Dicumarol is an anticoagulant and vitamin K antagonist, thus decreasing the blood’s capability to clot and increasing the potential for hemorrhaging.  Keep in mind, fresh sweet clover is not toxic; it is sweetclover that has been subjected to stress or a hard frost that is prone to toxicity.

So, why then, is yellow sweetclover, so prevalent this year?  According, to Mark Volt, yellow sweetclover is doing so well this year because… 
  • We have had 2 wet years in a row, providing great soil moisture and growing conditions
  • There is a large bank of seed in the soil that has just been waiting for a good year like this year to germinate. 
Management of Yellow Sweetclover
Currently, yellow sweetclover is not considered a noxious weed in Colorado; however, according to Colorado State University Extension, it is under consideration for addition to the noxious weed list.  If you have yellow sweetclover you wish to control, a factsheet by the US Forest Service suggests that mechanical, prescribed burning, and chemical treatments can all be effective if done properly. 

Also, if you graze livestock, avoid grazing in pastures that have yellow sweetclover in them after the first good frost. 

You may also contact Jennifer Scott in Grand County (970.887.0745) or Ben Pleimann in Summit County (970.668.4218) for their specific recommendations as county weed directors.

Resource Concern

Colorado’s Conservation Districts and the Natural Resources Conservation Service have the common purpose of educating and assisting private landowners, within the District’s boundaries, on natural resource conservation concerns. This task includes plans and programs to help maintain healthy and wise use of land, water, wildlife, and forestry resources. 

NRCS and the Colorado Association of Conservation Districts have initiated a state-wide effort to get landowner input on programs offered by NRCS and each of the Conservation Districts.  Because summer is a busy time for everyone, we have decided to do a quick online survey rather than a Local Working Group meeting.  We ask that you please take 5 minutes to complete this survey regarding our programs and services.  Your voice really does count on this matter.  Thank you in advance for your time and consideration.
Take Survey Now!
CSU Small Acreage Management (SAM) Newsletter

For all the Small Acreage Landowners in Middle Park, click the link below for the Summer Small Acreage Newsletter produced by Colorado State University Extension.  You can sign up to receive this e-newsletter in your very own email box by clicking the second link below.  Otherwise, enjoy the read.  It is very informative. 

Some of the topics may even be beneficial for large acreage landowners.  

The content of this newsletter is for Educational Purposes ONLY.  We have attempted to site opinions, beliefs and viewpoints from various sources and professionals.  These opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the Middle Park Conservation District or its Board of Supervisors/Employees.  It is always recommended that you seek independent advice before implementing new management practices.
Copyright © 2015 Middle Park Conservation District, All rights reserved.

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