Penn State Extension welcomes Kelli Agler, Former 4-H member and current 4-H Leader as our 4-H Summer Assistant!
Quick Tips for a Better Lawn Vegetable Families and Why They're Important What's the Fuss About Native Plants? Beyond Honeybees: Protecting Our Native Pollinators IPM and How to Practice It
The direct-to-consumer farm marketing season is upon us – the potential target audience for our production was identified many months ago, we planned and grew to meet the target audience demands, and now it’s time to actually present our farm products to this buying (hopefully) public and see what happens.
Penn State Nutrition Links is an umbrella administration for two federally funded nutrition education programs for limited resource audiences in Pennsylvania. EFNEP – Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program was initially part of the Smith Lever Act of 1969. The program focuses on helping families with children improve behaviors in: dietary intake as recommended by the Dietary Guidelines and MyPyramid, food resource management skills and practices, nutrition practices and food safety practices.
We re-ran the carbon balance model based on the weather data and forecast for Biglerville, Pennsylvania, and it shows several windows of carbohydrate stress in May 2011 when thinning may have been very strong. Based on the forecast as of Tuesday morning, May 31, 2011, the model predicts that there will be a block of time over the next three days when fruits will be very sensitive to chemical thinning because the temperatures are so high.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010 are the best science-based advice on how to eat for health. The Guidelines encourage all Americans to eat a healthy diet and be physically active. Improving what you eat and being active will help to reduce your risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, some cancers, and obesity. For more information, go to: • www.DietaryGuidelines.gov • www.ChooseMyPlate.gov • www.Health.gov/paguidelines • www.HealthFinder.gov
It has been a tough spring for gardeners, first with prolonged wet and cool weather, and more recently with heat spells. If the weather got you a little behind in planting this year, and if you have some extra space, consider growing a few winter squash varieties.
A number of grape types are native to North America, specifically the Concord types. Grapes are relatively easy to grow, but they are susceptible to diseases that can make their fruit unusable. The most common disease found on backyard grapes is black rot.
Penn State Cooperative Extension will be offering the StrongWomen strength training program in Carlisle in June and July.
As much as we do not want to admit it, the brown marmorated stink bug, (BMSB), Halyomorpha halys (Stål) (Heteroptera-Pentatomidae) has established itself in our surroundings and most likely this insect pest will continue to pose an extremely serious threat to our agricultural systems for years to come. During the last two years researchers and extension specialists from throughout the Mid-Atlantic states have documented the enormous potential of this insect to destroy the quality of various fruits, vegetables and some agronomic crops such as soybean and corn. According to information recently gathered by Mark Seetin, the U.S. Apple Association Director of Regulatory and Industry Affairs, the estimated losses during the 2010 season for this region’s fruit growers exceeded $37 million.
Q. Is brown marmorated stink bug likely to be a problem on any of the berry crops, and if so, what materials are available to control it? (Tim Elkner, Penn State Cooperative Extension, Lancaster Co.) A. I was noticing a few brown marmorated stink bugs creep across the window as Tim was asking me this question, which wasn’t boding well. Last year, the berry crops most affected in the mid-Atlantic region were the ones that ripened later in the season after stink bug populations had increased, and I’d expect a similar seasonal effect this year as well. So, this would mean BMSB will likely inflict little or no damage on June-bearing strawberries, summer-bearing red and black raspberries, and early blueberry cultivars, and more damage on later-maturing varieties of blueberry and blackberries. Fall-harvested raspberries, blackberries, and day-neutral strawberries would be the most at risk.
Despite a relatively slow start for 2011, the degree accumulations base 43° at the Fruit Research and Extension Center (FREC) in Biglerville as well as the Penn State Research Center in Rock Spring (Centre County) are already the second highest for the last 6 years.
Expert advice, in the form of a farm energy audit, is the best method to find ways to improve your farm’s energy efficiency. Unfortunately, energy audits are often quite expensive and typically cost $1500 or more. Through the Pennsylvania Farm Energy Audits Program, USDA will offset the cost by paying 75% of the energy audit, leaving only 25% of the cost to the farmer. The audits are carried out by Penn State agricultural energy specialists or specially trained private consultants, depending on the location of the farm and availability of personnel. Dan Ciolkosz, the Penn State Extension energy specialist who is coordinating the program, let me tag along during one of the audit visits at a tree fruit orchard operation in Adams County last month. Dan was conducting the audit along with George Hurd, the Environmental/Resource Development Extension Educator from Franklin County. We first sat down with the orchard owner and asked questions about all of the different energy sources on the farm (e.g., electricity, fuel oil, wood, diesel, etc.) and looked over the farm’s electricity bills from the last few years. The owner also shared information about his use of and plans for improving and upgrading various buildings, cold storage rooms, and a three-phase electric system installation.
Faced with uncertainty about the future of brown marmorated stink bug populations and their impact on crop production, researchers at Penn State recently launched a stink bug mapping tool in collaboration with the PA Department of Agriculture. John Tooker, assistant professor of entomology in the College of Agricultural Sciences developed the tool with Douglas Miller, associate professor of geography and director of the Center for Environmental Informatics in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences. The tool, housed at http://stinkbug-info.org, will help the researchers gather widespread data to study brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) population dynamics. The BMSB is an invasive pest discovered in Pennsylvania in the late 1990’s. Although native stink bug species exist in the state, they have largely had a minimal impact on crop production. However, population explosions of the BMSB in southern Pennsylvania in 2010 caught many growers off guard, leading to questions about the biology and behavior of the pest. The researchers hope statewide tracking efforts will help them develop better management recommendations, as well as warn crop growers of impending damage.
This has been one wet and cool spring. For many, planting has been delayed because fields are too wet. This article describes how transplant age affects yield of bell peppers, tomatoes and summer squash.
Angular leaf spot, caused by the bacterium Xanthomonas fragariae, seems to be a problematic in numerous strawberry plantings this spring. This disease is favored by cold, wet conditions, so given the weather conditions we’ve had across the state this spring, it’s no surprise that we are seeing problems. The bacteria get spread within a planting by splashing of water droplets. Needing to use overhead irrigation for frost protection can make the problem worse.
News and information within the beef industry.
News within the sheep and goat industry.
Watershed-level management efforts are growing and supported by federal, state, and local policy. The intent of these efforts is to create partnerships among local officials, state and county agencies, community groups, and residents that will address environmental concerns.