Q. Our kids are raising steers for the fair. It has been so hot outside lately that we are worried about the steers getting sick. What should we watch for?
A. There are several factors that can contribute to heat stress of your cattle. Temperature and humidity increases the risk. In Franklin and Benton counties, we typically don’t experience a lot of humidity in the summertime, but in areas adjacent to irrigation, the air can be surprisingly moist. The warning signs for heat stress include panting and breathing with mouths open. We never want to work, transport or move cattle during hot weather. Try to limit these activities to early morning. It also helps to feed less of the daily feed allotment in the morning and feed more in the late afternoon as the temperature begins to drop, as digestion causes heat production. A constant supply of cool, clean water also helps prevent heat stress. Fly control is important because the animal activity increases to get rid of pests. In addition, watch for respiratory disease brought about by wide variations in temperature from day to nighttime.
Q. We are wanting to learn more about the farm animals, but don’t have a space to raise any of them. Can we still do those projects in 4-H?
A. Yes, you can always do the project even without owning or having the animal. However, locally, we have a 4-H Leader of a Dairy Club who will allow youth to work with and maintain one dairy cow throughout the 4-H year, as well as exhibit that animal at the fair. But the leader keeps the animal at their residence, and after completion of the 4-H year. If you’re interested in this Dairy Project, please contact the WSU Franklin County Extension Office for the Benton-Franklin 4-H Program at 509-545-3511 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q. How late can I plant sweet corn in my garden and still get a crop before frost?
A. The window on sweet corn planting in the Columbia Basin is closing in, but if you choose the proper variety, you might still be in luck. On the back of the corn seed package, it should tell you how many days from planting to harvest. Choosing a variety with a relatively short growing period should allow you to plant sweet corn into middle of July and, depending on the fall weather, perhaps late July. For best results, plant sweet corn no later than July 15.
To submit a question, call 509-735-3551.