Q. Why do I smell more skunks during this time of year than in the middle of summer?
A. It's probably because young skunks leave their mother's nest in search of their own territory and den to spend the winter. The skunks roam about until they find a suitable site. Also, young skunks are more likely to spray than older, experienced skunks, according to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. Learn more about skunks at http://wdfw.wa.gov/living/skunks.html. The link also provides information about "de-skunking" a pet or yourself.
Q. What is the most efficient grazing system I can use on an irrigated pasture?
A. It should be flexible enough to adapt to seasonal variations in production and easily changed when indicated by the monitoring of the forage plants and animals. Rotational grazing is recommended where animals are moved from section to section, allowing rest periods for the plants to regrow and restore nutrient reserves in the roots and crown. This closer control of grazing is the key to proper utilization of the forage resource.
For most efficient grazing, pastures should be divided into at least four sections to allow adequate time for regrowth. With good rotational grazing, more animals can actually be carried on the same acreage. Overgrazing is the most common reason for loss of vigor in pasture stands, resulting in poor quality and low-producing pastures.
Continuous grazing is the least efficient system of grazing, which results in lower forage production, wasted forage, soil compaction and uneven utilization of the forage plants.
-- Questions should be called in to the WSU Extension offices in Kennewick at 735-3551 or Pasco at 545-3511.