Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Soils Workshop Set for Columbia, Aug. 13-14

“Rebuilding Soils for a Changing Climate” is the theme of the Aug. 13-14 Soil Health Exposition at the University of Missouri Bradford Research Center.

MU’s College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) are sponsors for free the event. The expo runs 9 a.m.-5 p.m. both days.

“Climatic changes are bringing about increased drought events and harder rains, both of which can have long-lasting effects on soil productivity,” says MU research specialist Kerry Clark. “If we are going to save our soil resource and increase our agricultural productivity, changes in farming practices are going to be necessary.” Many of those practices will be discussed at this expo.

The keynote speaker on Aug. 13 is Terry Taylor, a longtime no-till farmer in Illinois. Taylor has used cover crops on claypan soils. Other speakers will discuss soil biology, planting cover crops and economics of soil health practices.

Farmer Keith Berns of Bladen, Nebraska, speaks on cover crops on Aug. 14. Berns developed the SmartMix Calculator, an online spreadsheet for planning cover crop mixes. Linus Rothermich and Luke Linnenbringer discuss efforts to improve soil health on their mid-Missouri farms on Aug. 14 as well.

Representatives of MU, NRCS and the USDA Agricultural Research Service will be available to discuss soil health practices.

“Farmers can attend one day or both,” says Clark. “Each day will have unique presentations and will be packed with information for producers.”

Vendors include equipment and seed dealers. Lunch is available for purchase at the center. For more information, contact Clark at  573-884-7945, or click here.

Bradford Research Center, part of the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, is east of Columbia. Part of Highway WW, so directions have changed:

From I-70, turn south at Exit 133, Highway Z. Go to the first stop sign, jog left to the next stop sign and turn right on Rangeline Road. The farm is 4 miles ahead.

From Columbia, go east from Highway 63 South at the AC exit onto New Haven Road. Go about 5.5 miles to Rangeline Road and turn right 1 mile.

Bridge construction will keep Highway WW closed for about 45 days, affecting field days at the MU research center.
(by Linda Geist, Writer, MU Extension)

Monday, July 21, 2014

IPM Survey for Missouri Producer Needs

If you produce commercially produced fruits and/or vegetables in the field / high tunnel / greenhouse, the Lincoln University IPM program needs your help. We are trying to address important needs for extension in Missouri through an online survey funded by an Extension IPM grant. You can access the survey at http://tinyurl.com/IPM-Farmer-Survey

Please help us understand your fruit and vegetable production by answering the following questions. Your responses are confidential. Survey responses will not be reported or identified individually but will be combined with all responses and reported in aggregate. The survey will be available for only 2 weeks, so your input is greatly appreciated.

The purposes of the survey are to: 

(1) learn about the diverse farming practices used in the state to produce fruits and vegetables
(2) determine what are the biggest challenges faced by farmers in their production systems
(3) identify the most significant pests that can cause economic damage in the various production systems
(4) learn about farmer’s use of IPM, IPM needs, and ways in which farmers prefer to receive IPM information from extension and research personnel.

If you have questions about the survey, please direct them to Jaime Pinero at 573-681-5522.

Friday, July 18, 2014

2nd Organic Field Day at MU Bradford Farm

The University of Missouri will be hosting it’s 2nd Annual Organic Field Day on Friday, August 1st from 11 am to 5 pm.  Topics and tours will include organic fruit production, organic pest and weed management, vermicomposting, mycorrhizal fungi, beekeeping, no-till challenges, benefits of organic certification, soil nutrients, permaculture and cover crops.  There will also be an opportunity for you to test your own soil for active carbon.  Bring a plastic ziplock bag with DRY soil from your field for testing and learn why active carbon is important.

There is no charge for attendance however pre-registration is needed so enough snacks made with local organic ingredients can be provided.  Lunch will be available for purchase.

RSVP to Kerry Clark at 573-884-7945.

Organic Field Day Agenda (20 mins per speaker) each tour starts on the hour listed

Tour 1- Wagon - start at 1 pm, 2 pm, 3pm
Organic no-till - Dara Boardman
Organic Grains - Margot McMillan
Permaculture - TBA

Tour 2- Wagon or walk - start at 1 pm, 2 pm, 3pm
Trap cropping - Terry Woods
Pest Management - Wayne Bailey
Mycorrhizae - Carrie Hargrove

Tour 3- Conference Bldg - start at 11 am, 12 am, 1 pm
Why get certified - Beth Rota
Soil Nutrients - Manjula Nathan
Being an organic Grower - Liz Graznak

Tour 4- Wagon - start at 11 am, 12 pm, 2 pm
Composting - Dr. Johnson
Biochar - Tim Reinbott
Fruit Production - Jim Quinn

Tour 5- Walk - start at 11 am, 12 pm, 1 pm
Cover crops - Leslie Touzeau
Weeds - Reid Smeda
Beekeeping - Bob Brammer

Tour 6- Walk - start at 2 pm, 3pm, 4 pm
Soil Pit - Kerry Clark
Rain infiltration - Kerry
Crimper - Kerry

11 am - tours 3, 4, 5, 2
12 pm - tours 3, 5, 4
1 pm - tours 1, 2, 3, 5
2 pm - tours 1, 2, 4, 6
3 pm - tours 1, 2, 6

4 pm - tours 6, people could also see organic no-till, Biochar, cover crops

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Sheep and Goats Need Special Care During Summer Heat and Humidity

Management of sheep and goats in summer heat can be a challenging task for some producers, especially those producers with wool sheep, according to Dr. Jodie Pennington, small ruminant educator with Lincoln University Extension.

“The two most critical factors are to provide access to shade and water at all times for the animals,” said Pennington. “The extreme heat is compounded by the relatively high humidity that we experience here in southwest Missouri.”

Signs of Heat Stress
Signs of heat stress in goats and sheep include bunching in the shade (if it’s available), slobbering, high respiratory rates (panting), high body temperature, and open mouth breathing.  In severe cases of heat stress, lack of coordination, trembling, and down animals may be seen.

“If you see many or severe signs of heat stress, minimize the stress immediately, but handle the animals gently to avoid increasing their stress even more,” said Pennington.

Some animals may be affected more than others. Animals with other stresses such as heavy lactation and past health problems may be more affected by heat stress. These animals will often be the first and the most severely affected in the herd.

Dark animals are more susceptible to heat stress than light colored sheep and goats.

If an animal’s health problems are on-going, administer treatment with extra care and consider culling,” said Pennington.

What to Do
One of the best things to do for goats and sheep is to offer shade and water.  Shade will reduce heat loads, and water will help dissipate heat.

According to Pennington, water consumption is driven by environmental temperature. At 90 degrees Fahrenheit, water consumption may be almost twice that at 70 degrees and 50 percent greater than at 80 degrees.

“Always keep good quality fresh water in front of the sheep and goats,” said Pennington.

Heat stress can be lessened by providing water via sprinklers and using fans to aid in evaporating the water.  Use care with a sprinkler as misting can add to the humidity.  With sheep, water can make the wool less able to dissipate heat.

“Mature trees provide excellent shade (and shelter) and are usually the least-cost alternative. If natural shelter is not available, many sheep and goat producers use wooden or metal huts, plastic calf hutches or movable structures to provide shelter for grazing animals,” said Pennington.

Simple shade structures can be constructed from shade cloth, mesh fabric, tarps, canvas, or sheet metal. Movable shade structures are suitable for intensive rotational grazing systems.

“All livestock should be able to lie down in the shade structure or area at the same time. Lying down in a cool spot provides additional relief from the heat,” said Pennington.

Avoid Overwork
Avoid overworking the animals if they are heat-stressed.   Body temperatures of sheep and goats tend to peak in the early evening, then decline in the night to reach a low point in the hours after sunrise, and then slowly building throughout the day.

Pennington says to work the animals in the early morning, and avoid afternoon/evening work when body temperatures are already high. If possible, under prolonged heat stress conditions, avoid working the animals at all.

“If at all possible, avoid transporting sheep and goats during periods of heat stress. If transportation can’t be delayed, do it during the cooler evening or early morning hours to avoid any additional stress,” said Pennington.

Goats tend to tolerate heat better than sheep.  Goats with loose skin and floppy ears may be more heat tolerant than other goats. Angora goats have a decreased ability to respond to heat stress as compared to sheep and other breeds of goats. The heat is especially hard on fat animals.

(by David Burton, MU Extension)

Monday, July 14, 2014

Herbicide Carryover in Garden Mulch and Manure

During the summer, MU Extension offices get phone calls from homeowners as well as farmers asking what is wrong with their vegetables.  Not always but at times, vegetables show herbicide damage even on vegetables that have not had any sprayed herbicide nearby.

Herbicide carryover has become an increasing problem in gardens and greenhouses. Depending on the active ingredient in the herbicide and weather conditions, herbicide effects can linger in the soil for years.

Tomatoes and other garden plants are especially sensitive to herbicides. Typical signs of herbicide damage include: distorted leaves, plants and fruits, and cupped leaves.

“These are the same signs one would see in a case of spray drift from herbicides, however if there is no possibility of spray drift, herbicide carryover in mulches and manure compost introduced from another location should be considered,” said Jill Scheidt, agronomy specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

According to Tim Baker, horticulture specialist with University of Missouri Extension in Daviess County, there are two instances where he has observed irregular herbicide carryover in mulches and manure compost.

The first situation is that of herbicides surviving the intestinal tract of an animal, in a high enough concentration to cause crop damage.  In this case, a broadleaf herbicide is sprayed on a pasture, creating lush grasses for the animal to feed on.  When the manure is collected, the herbicide is still there. The second situation is the possibility of herbicide being applied to a field, and then manure collected for composting.

In order for most chemicals to speed the process of breaking down, sunlight, air and water must be in the equation. Wet, warm weather promotes the process of chemical breakdown. If there is contamination in a covered greenhouse, consider opening the greenhouse to the outside elements.

If that is not an option, Baker suggests using activated charcoal to absorb the herbicide. In some instances, herbicide can take a number of years to leave the soil, plants may improve, but slight signs of injury can still be seen.
(by David Burton, MU Extension)

Friday, July 11, 2014

Tune-Up Your Farm Market Booth to Boost Sales

A webinar to assist farmers who direct market at farmers’ markets will be held July 22nd from 11-11:30 am.  The "Tune-Up Your Farm Market Booth to Boost Sales" webinar will b, presented by the eXtension and the Women in Agriculture Learning Network.  The mid-summer is a great time to change up your vending display to draw in more customers.

Join University of Vermont’s Extension Community Economic Development Specialist Mary Peabody for practical tips on low-cost ways to create eye-catching displays that encourage sales.

This 30-minute webinar starts at 11 am Central Time. To join the webinar, go to https://connect.extension.iastate.edu/womeninag about 10 minutes prior to the start time. Click on "Enter as a Guest" and type your name in the space provided, then click on "Enter Room."

For best results, we suggest you use Firefox or Internet Explorer as your web browser. Prior to participating in this Adobe Connect event, please go to the following URL to confirm ability to log on to the Connect server:   www.extension.iastate.edu/testconnect

Here are a few more resources from U of VT

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

FDA to Re-open Comment Period on Food Safety Modernization Act Rules

After initial review of over 17,000 comments submitted to the docket, the FDA plans to re-open key provisions of the proposed Produce Rule for comment this summer including:

  • Water quality standards
  • Raw manure and compost
  • Mixed use facilities
  • Procedures for withdrawing the qualified exemption for certain farms

This means you will have another opportunity to make your voice heard! We highly encourage your participation in this process. The FDA greatly values your insight in drafting a document that better suits the needs of produce farmers across the country.  You will see announcements on this blog when the proposed rule has been re-released for comments, including information about where and how to comment.  However you can also sign up to receive notifications directly from the FDA E-mail Updates site.