University of Kentucky College of Agriculture
 

Online Publications

Grouped by Author

Publications that include Higgins, Steve as an author


AEN-131
Farmstead Planning: Old Farm Buildings Repurposed for Better Farming: How to Develop a Complex
6/6/2016
The traditional farmstead planning process might have been ideal for farming operations set up on blank slate farms that were surveyed based on 640-acre sections. However, these concepts are more challenging for irregular shaped farms in Kentucky with existing structures built more than a half century ago. Older farm buildings may be underutilized because they were constructed using what would be considered obsolete technologies today. It is essential that producers take the time and obtain the necessary help to develop their farming operation plan in order to realize their potential and achieve their goals.
Web only | 3 pages | 1,648 words | PDF: 516 kb


AEN-130
Drought Risk Management for Beef Cattle Farms
2/25/2016
Once a drought occurs, it can be difficult to effectively manage your resources and overcome the conditions that drought creates. At the heart of effective drought management is preparedness. A systems-management approach is an ideal tool for drought preparedness, as its goal is to improve each component of the farming operation (soils, forages, facilities, stock, etc.) and improve the connections between the components (i.e. the system). The goal of this publication is to aid beef producers in implementing best management practices (BMPs) that take a systems approach to maximizing farm water use efficiency, while operating under the assumption that water is becoming an increasingly uncertain resource that is vital to the future of the farm.
Web only | 7 pages | 3,539 words | PDF: 2400 kb


AEN-125
Closing a Liquid Manure Storage Structure
8/11/2014
Liquid manure storage structures, such as a lagoon, holding pond, or pit, serve an essential purpose on an active livestock operation. However, when this structure is no longer actively managed it can become a major liability to the producer because of its potential to have a discharge. The discharge from a liquid manure storage structure can contain pollutants such as nutrients, heavy metals, hormones, pathogens, and agriculture chemicals, all of which can pose serious threats to human health and aquatic ecosystems. Because of the pollution potential, livestock producers ceasing their operation are required to close their liquid manure storage structure(s) as part of their Kentucky No Discharge Operational Permit. To help offset the costs of closing the structure, producers may want to apply for cost share funds through the Division of Conservation. Before beginning to close a liquid manure structure, the Kentucky Division of Water (KDOW) must be provided with a closure plan. This publication outlines the preferred practices and steps for closing a liquid manure structure to meet the guidelines of the KDOW.
Web only | 2 pages | 1,148 words | PDF: 106 kb


AEN-123
Lowering Somatic Cell Counts with Best Management Practices
5/14/2014
As health and food safety concerns grow, dairy producers are facing more stringent regulations. In 2010, the European Union (EU) set the somatic cell count (SCC) upper limit, an indicator of milk quality, for exported milk at 400,000 cells per milliliter. However, the current U.S. SCC limit is 750,000 cells per milliliter. As of January 2012, any U.S. milk used in export markets must meet the EU standards. It is projected that US milk processors will gradually adopt the EU upper limit, making it difficult for dairy producers to sell milk containing more than 400,000 somatic cells per milliliter. Dairy producers will have to find innovative and cost-effective ways to reduce the somatic cell count of their milk. This publication will discuss how agriculture best management practices can be used to lower SCC.
Web only | 4 pages | 2,808 words | PDF: 350 kb


AEN-121
Increasing Dry Cow and Bred Heifer Performance with Environmental Management
4/23/2014
Producers must understand that dry cows and bred heifers are the next milking herd, so focusing on their management can maintain or actually increase future profitability. This publication focuses on environmental management strategies that improve dry cow and bred heifer performance.
Web only | 3 pages | 1,606 words | PDF: 454 kb


AEN-115
All-Weather Surfaces for Livestock
3/21/2013
Improved surfaces, even those as easy to install as compacted gravel, have sufficient strength to support the needs of a successful livestock operation. The strength data for these improved surfaces explain why the National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) recommends heavy use area pads for lanes, and feeding, and watering areas.
Web only | 8 pages | 3,441 words | PDF: 6284 kb


AEN-113
Nutrient Management Concepts for Livestock Producers
3/27/2012
Nutrients are constantly cycling through farms. Nutrients come onto a farm in the form of feed, commercial fertilizers, manure, or compost, and they leave the farm with harvested crops, sold livestock, and off-site disposal of manure and other waste. Sometimes nutrients are even lost to the air, soil, or water. Nutrient management allows farmers to use nutrients (specifically nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium) wisely for optimal economic benefit with minimal impact on the environment.
Web only | 5 pages | 2,133 words | PDF: 345 kb


AEN-109
Sinkhole Management for Agricultural Producers
10/18/2011
A karst landscape develops when the limestone or dolostone bedrock underneath the soil dissolves and/or collapses due to weathering. A karst system can be recognized by surface features such as depressions, sinkholes, sinking streams, and caves. In karst systems, surface water and groundwater are interconnected: surface water runoff flows into sinkholes and sinking streams and recharges the groundwater; likewise, springs maintain stream flow in the dry season. Kentuckians living in karst areas need to be acutely aware that any pollutants that reach either surface water or any karst feature can pollute the entire groundwater system (also called an aquifer). In addition, the cave system that accompanies a karst aquifer can allow pollutants to contaminate miles of water resources in just a few hours.
Web only | 4 pages | 1,825 words | PDF: 487 kb


AEN-107
Paved Feeding Areas and the Kentucky Agriculture Water Quality Plan
7/28/2011
Kentucky's abundant forage makes it well suited for grazing livestock. Livestock producers can make additional profits by adding a few pounds before marketing calves; however, adding those pounds requires keeping calves during the winter months, when pasture forages are dormant and supplemental feed is required. The areas used to winter calves need to be conducive to feeding and need to avoid negatively impacting the environment, especially water quality.
Web only | 5 pages | 3,305 words | PDF: 260 kb


AEN-105
Pasture Feeding, Streamside Grazing, and the Kentucky Agriculture Water Quality Plan
7/13/2011
Kentucky's abundant forage makes it well suited for grazing livestock, but the pasturing and pasture feeding of livestock need to be managed. Allowing cattle to behave as they would naturally can lead to overgrazing, congregation in sensitive areas, buildup of mud, loss of vegetation, compaction of soils, and erosion.
Web only | 5 pages | 3,420 words | PDF: 284 kb


AEN-104
How to Close an Abandoned Well
7/7/2011
Abandoned wells are often the only structures remaining after an old house or barn has been removed. If left unmanaged in agricultural areas, these abandoned wells can pose a serious threat to livestock and human safety because of the large surface openings they often have.
Web only | 3 pages | 1,419 words | PDF: 400 kb


AEN-103
Stormwater BMPs for Confined Livestock Facilities
7/28/2011
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency states that agricultural sediment, pathogens, and nutrients account for more than 50 percent of water pollution in the United States. Animal confinement facilities, widely used for holding, feeding, and handling animals, are potential sources of that pollution. The pollution load of these facilities can be reduced by installing and maintaining best management practices. The BMPs may be implemented as part of permit compliance or may be used to ensure that a permit is not needed.
Web only | 5 pages | 2,881 words | PDF: 300 kb


AEN-101
Stream Crossings for Cattle
7/13/2011
This publication provides livestock producers with instructions on how to install a stream crossing that provides animal and vehicular access across streams. This best management practice (BMP) is intended for use with exclusion fencing that restricts cattle access to the stream. Implementation of a stream crossing with exclusion fencing will improve water quality, reducing nutrient, sediment, pathogen, and organic matter loads to streams.
Web only | 7 pages | 3,383 words | PDF: 1100 kb


AEN-100
Building a Grade Stabilization Structure to Control Erosion
6/15/2011
Gully erosion creates large eroded channels that become problematic for many farms. Gullies form in natural drainage swales when vegetation in the swale is lost through overgrazing or tillage practices. They cause valuable soil to erode, and they form large channels that drain runoff into streams. This runoff can carry sediment, nutrients, and pathogens that can degrade the water quality.
Web only | 4 pages | 1,614 words | PDF: 900 kb


AEN-99
Shade Options for Grazing Cattle
3/29/2011
Shade is a must for pasture-based grazing systems. It curtails heat stress, which is detrimental to cattle and causes a decrease in milk production, feed intake, weight gains, and fertility.
Web only | 8 pages | 2,376 words | PDF: 866 kb


AEN-98
Alternative Water Source: Developing Springs for Livestock
5/5/2011
Water supply is a key component in livestock production. One option producers have when providing water is to develop an existing spring, which occurs when groundwater running along an impervious rock layer hits a fracture and discharges on the surface.
Web only | 4 pages | 2,137 words | PDF: 814 kb


AEN-81
Grain Drill Calibration Procedures for Winter Wheat
1/30/2000

500 printed copies | 4 pages | - | PDF: 254 kb


ID-236
Providing Water for Beef Cattle in Rotational Grazing Systems
8/2/2016
Water is the most essential nutrient for cattle production. Water is used in almost every bodily function, including digestion, milk production, and excretion. Given the role and function of water in relation to animal production, health, and welfare, it is critical that abundant, clean water is available in any livestock production operation. Livestock must have immediate access to water within every paddock of a rotational grazing system to realize maximum efficiency and production.
Web only | 6 pages | 3,800 words | PDF: 3000 kb


ID-229
All-Weather Surfaces for Cattle Watering Facilities
7/28/2015
Strategically locating the watering facility will also provide production benefits such as increased forage utilization and improved access to water, and may possibly reduce the cost per pasture of providing water. This publication will provide guidelines for the location, design, and construction of all-weather surfaces for cattle watering facilities.
Web only | 6 pages | 2,612 words | PDF: 2980 kb


ID-211
Kentucky Nutrient Management Planning Guidelines (KyNMP)
3/4/2016
Nutrients are constantly cycling through farms. Nutrients come onto a farm in the form of feed, commercial fertilizers, manure, or compost, and they leave the farm with harvested crops, sold livestock, and off-site disposal of manure and other waste. Sometimes nutrients are even lost to the air, soil, or water. Nutrient management allows farmers to use nutrients wisely for optimal economic benefit with minimal impact on the environment.
Web only | 50 pages | 10,283 words | PDF: 3600 kb


ID-202
Feedlot Design and Environmental Management for Backgrounding and Stocker Operations
3/21/2013
Kentucky's cattle industry represents the largest beef cattle herd east of the Mississippi, ranking eighth in the nation for number of beef cows. This industry is extremely important to Kentucky's economy. This publication discusses site evaluation strategies, production area management techniques, and a variety of facility types for intensive cattle production that preserve natural resources and improve production.
125 printed copies | 12 pages | 6,071 words | PDF: 3800 kb


ID-200
Environmental Compliance for Dairy Operations
4/24/2013
Some farmers are reluctant to talk about the environment, but because farms are under increasing review by state and federal regulatory agencies, producers need to be familiar with environmental issues and regulations. Implementing best management practices (BMPs) can help farmers continue to protect the environment and increase productivity.
Web only | 6 pages | 4,179 words | PDF: 1000 kb


ID-189
Vegetative Filter Strips for Livestock Facilities
2/23/2012
An enhanced vegetative strip is a best management practice that can be installed to protect surface waters from pollution produced by animal production facilities. Most people think of a vegetative strip as a grassed area or waterway, but when intentionally installed and properly managed, an EVS can be much more effective than a simple grassed filter strip. If properly managed, enhanced vegetative strips can be used to trap, treat, and absorb pollutants, which can be removed from the designated area by harvesting or grazing.
Web only | 4 pages | 2,364 words | PDF: 380 kb


ID-188
Strategic Winter Feeding of Cattle using a Rotational Grazing Structure
8/4/2011
Winter feeding of cattle is a necessary part of nearly all cow-calf operations. In winter months, livestock producers often confine animals to smaller "sacrifice" pastures to reduce the area damaged from winter feeding. A poorly chosen site for winter feeding can have significant negative impacts on soil and water quality. Such areas include locations in floodplains, such as those along creek bottoms or around barns near streams. These locations are convenient, flat areas for setting hay ring feeders; however, their negative effects on water quality outweigh the convenience.
Web only | 4 pages | 2,255 words | PDF: 300 kb


ID-187
Woodland Winter Feeding of Cattle: Water Quality Best Management Practices
5/5/2011
Cattle maintain their body temperature in winter by burning more calories, which requires them to consume more feed. Livestock producers use wooded areas to provide protection for cattle from wind and low temperatures. That protection enables the cattle to conserve energy and eat less. Using wooded areas for winter feeding makes practical sense, but producers need to consider several environmental issues when planning for it.
Web only | 2 pages | 1,145 words | PDF: 273 kb


ID-176
Using Soil Cement on Horse and Livestock Farms
8/3/2009
Most farmers in Kentucky can identify with a myriad of problems associated with mud forming around high traffic areas, including areas around horse and cattle waterers, feed bunks, round bale feeders, walk paths and gate entrances. Mud is usually a result of animals congregating in and around these areas, but increased traffic can enhance the problem. In many cases, finding solutions to mud problems on farms is not the issue--the issue is determining how to make solutions economical.
Web only | 4 pages | - | PDF: 329 kb


ID-175
Riparian Buffers: A Livestock Best Management Practice for Protecting Water Quality
9/22/2009
In Kentucky, cattle on pastures are often watered by streams. Although this practice solves water requirements for cattle, providing livestock free access to streams and riparian areas can lead to a contaminated water supply and damaged ecosystems. A better solution is to implement riparian buffers with limited access points to streams or provide alternative water sources. This practice can protect water quality, increase herd production, and provide other landowner benefits. The purpose of this publication is to explain the role of riparian areas and how they can benefit the livestock producer, the herd, and the environment.
200 printed copies | 4 pages | - | PDF: 721 kb


ID-174
Options for Controlling Canada Geese
1/15/2009
The average Canada goose produces more fecal waste than a dairy cow on a per-weight basis. In addition, gaggles of resident Canada geese have been associated with problems of over grazing. Having large amounts of fecal waste around a riparian area that has limited vegetation can lead to the runoff of nutrients, sediment, and pathogens, which can contaminate ponds, lakes, and streams in Kentucky.
200 printed copies | 2 pages | - | PDF: 140 kb


ID-171
Using Dry Lots to Conserve Pastures and Reduce Pollution Potential
3/21/2008

300 printed copies | 6 pages | - | PDF: 860 kb


ID-170
Drinking Water Quality Guidelines for Cattle
3/26/2008

120 printed copies | 4 pages | - | PDF: 300 kb


ID-168
Composting Horse Muck
10/10/2007

2000 printed copies | 4 pages | - | PDF: 291 kb


ID-167
On-Farm Disposal of Animal Mortalities
5/6/2013
Animal mortalities are an expected part of animal production. Depending on the scale of the animal enterprise, animal mortalities can overwhelm the producer with a large number and mass of dead animals. This publication provides guidance to the producer for handling animal mortalities in accordance with Kentucky law.
Web only | 4 pages | 1,382 words | PDF: 1300 kb


ID-166
On-Farm Composting of Animal Mortalities
5/6/2013
On-farm composting can provide animal producers with a convenient method for disposing of animal mortalities and also provide a valuable soil amendment. In addition, the finished compost can be stockpiled and reused to help compost other mortalities.
Web only | 6 pages | 2,973 words | PDF: 2800 kb


ID-164
High Traffic Area Pads for Horses
7/15/2007

1000 printed copies | 4 pages | - | PDF: 348 kb


ID-161
Pervious Concrete as a Flooring Material for Horse Handling Areas
3/13/2007

500 printed copies | 2 pages | - | PDF: 243 kb


PA-1
Elements of PrecIsion Agriculture: Basics of Yield Monitor Installation and Operation
6/30/1999

500 printed copies | 10 pages | - | PDF: 234 kb