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Join the crew of Extension302 as they dive into current topics affecting YOU — the people of Delaware! Brought to you the University of Delaware Cooperative Extension, this podcast offers unbiased scientifically-based conversation featuring guest experts! Topics range from agricultural sciences to nutrition, mindfulness, financial literacy and more! 

This program is brought to you by the University of Delaware Cooperative Extension, a service of the UD College of Agriculture and Natural Resources—a land-grant institution. This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

Episodes

2021

Episode 20: Got Dairy?

(feat. Charmayne Busker of Jenamy Farms)

Milk, cheese, butter...ice cream! What's not to love about local dairy? The Extension302 team sits down with Charmayne Busker and our own Dan Severson to explore their favorite topic.
 

Resources

  • Dairy research at UD - Research focusing on the general areas of dairy nutrition - with an emphasis on forage and silage production and rumen fermentation - and dairy cow health.
  • UDairy Creamery - Educating students by producing and selling premium ice cream made from the milk off the farm of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Delaware.
     

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or simply listen via Youtube, below!

Video: Got Dairy podcast audio.: youtube.com/watch?v=tYnV4tmPG7k

Episode 20 transcript


Dan Severson:

Welcome to Extension302, where we are dropping knowledge, keeping Extension real, reliable, and relevant. I am Dan Severson along with Dr. Jake Jones and Mr. Blake Moore. Hey guys, this is the first episode that we're all on the same link together. I don't know about you guys, but man, I'm digging this vibe.

Jake Jones:

It's weird, but I'm happy to be here.

Dan Severson:

All right.

Blake Moore:

It's been a long time coming, but here we go, starting getting back towards normal.

Dan Severson:

Yeah. Who would have thought that we'd be so excited to be doing this in June of 2021? You guys?

Blake Moore:

It's just hard to believe that it's been over a year since we've had this to do the podcast, actually sitting in our own homes, in our own rooms, and now we get to do it together. This is awesome.

Jake Jones:

I forgot how to talk to people. It's good practice.

Dan Severson:

Well, so it's June and June is dairy month. Since it is dairy month, we thought, why not talk to a dairy farmer? I could not think of anybody better than our guest today, but Ms. Charmayne Busker of Jenamy Farms in Harrington, Delaware. Ms. Charmayne is involved in the family dairy there. She's Secretary of the Delaware Holstein Association, and anything else related to dairy industry in the State of Delaware, it's all about Ms. Charmayne. Charmayne is like Madonna or Prince or Cher. It's just one name.

Continue reading transcript >

Dan Severson:

If anyone says you need to talk to Charmayne, you just know, right? I've known Ms. Charmayne and her family since I started showing cows. Back in the early eighties, I guess it's when I first met you guys. And the folder that's on my computer for all the Holstein dairy stuff is actually named Charmayne. So, when I need to go to my computer and look for dairy stuff, I like Charmayne. She's a big supporter of our Extension program. And Ms. Charmayne, welcome to Extension302.

Charmayne Busker:

Well, thank you, Danny. It's nice to be with you guys. It makes me feel old when I've watched you all grow up, but we won't go there.

Dan Severson:

Well, you're only like 32.

Charmayne Busker:

That's right. That's absolutely right. Yep. And you guys are still 13, so it's okay.

Dan Severson:

That's right. Since you're known by one name, most music and entertainers, like Madonna and those are known by one name, who's your favorite music artist.

Charmayne Busker:

Oh, that's pretty funny. No. See, I'm too old for that. Well, the cows used to listen to country music.

Dan Severson:

So we'll just say you're a country music fan.

Jake Jones:

Ms. Charmayne, can you give us the current state of the dairy industry? And that's both the positive and negative aspects of it.

Charmayne Busker:

Most farmers are pretty good at talking about doom and gloom. It's certainly been a very challenging last 18 months for us. Just like it's been for every aspect of agriculture in any other business. The challenges with the dairy business don't really change. The biggest challenge right now, for us and probably for any other business, is labor. I think that's what drives an awful lot of the folks that have left the business, it's because labor is a very tough thing to deal with. We continue to deal with really slim margins and then the volatility of prices. We've been through a real tough time with restaurants and schools closing, and a big change the marketing of all kinds of dairy products. And that's been reflected in our prices.

Charmayne Busker:

But you can't stay a dairy farmer unless you are enthused by the opportunity to continue to change things, to be better, to make the margins a little wider. And not a dairy farmer out there that doesn't enjoy working with good cows. And there's a lot of pride in that. And you have to love the business to be in it. That's why some of us are still in it, fewer and fewer all the time, certainly not just in Delaware, but everywhere. But the folks that are still here are doing it because of it's a part of agriculture that they certainly enjoy dealing with.

Dan Severson:

The state of the industry, I guess in Delaware, is we're looking at about 18 dairy farms in the state, 3,800 cows in lactation. We have four creameries, we got Woodside, we have the university, we have [inaudible 00:04:23] and we have Hopkins down there. What kind of breeds of cattle are out there?

Charmayne Busker:

There's a little bit of everything, but predominantly Holsteins in Delaware. The Jerseys compete equally well with Holsteins because they're higher components and solids. And that's one of the reasons in the very beginning that Woodside was so successful because that Jersey milk makes really good ice cream. There are very few of the Swiss or Guernseys. There are a few milking Shorthorns kind of mixed in here. And there're predominantly Holsteins. And then a few Jerseys.

Blake Moore:

It sounds like since the Holsteins are the major breed here in Delaware, it seems like Delaware Holstein Association is there to help dairy farmers in Delaware. Can you explain what the Delaware Holstein Association is, and what people can expect from it?

Charmayne Busker:

Well, Holstein Association is sort of a misnomer these days because we're very inclusive. That was the corporate name way back, and we've certainly just maintained that. But our membership supports whatever dairy folks are out there. I went back and checked because I knew we had just celebrated our hundredth anniversary in 2018. So that Association has been around a hundred years, probably more focused in the beginning with helping folks with supporting registered cattle, registered Holstein cattle. There was a lot of emphasis in the seventies and eighties on marketing. The National Association had a really active marketing association and helping people with buying and selling cattle.

Charmayne Busker:

Our membership right now is probably down to less than 50. The dues are minimal. It gets you a subscription to a quarterly Southeastern area Holstein magazine and a bunch of emails from Charmayne throughout the year about activities. Typically there's an annual Holstein meeting that includes a farm tour. We sponsor a spring dairy show for 4H and FFA, which was postponed last year. Middletown FFA kind of put that together this year on the Cook Farm. That's a primary activity. And then we support the cow camp program that 4H handles and then a bunch of the dairy activities at the fair. It's more a fellowship of dairy farmers that get together to do different things through the year, more so than a marketing organization that helps with registrations or anything like that. Those kinds of things are still sort of handled at the national level. But it's more a commodity organization for the dairy folks.

Blake Moore:

Well, it sounds like you guys do quite a bit of good work for dairy farmers in Delaware. What type of relationship do you have here with Dan, the dairy man, here at Extension? You guys worked together with him quite a bit? And what types of things you guys do?

Charmayne Busker:

Well, I send him all our emails, so he gets all that [inaudible 00:07:36]. And then Danny is a wonderful resource when you need something materials for a cow camp program at the fair, you send them to [inaudible 00:07:48]. Danny is a wonderful resource for us to have.

Blake Moore:

I'm glad to hear that because now we have that on record that Dan does good work.

Dan Severson:

Yeah. I'm not going [inaudible 00:07:56], that utter was ridiculous. And ask Susan, because I think we buried it in her garden afterwards. Speaking of that, you touched on some of the advantages, the fair, do some county shows down there, some 4H shows, fundraising, but one of the big things you guys do is your cow camp. Can you just give us a little bit more things you do there for cow camp and how that all came about?

Charmayne Busker:

Well, that started back in the dark ages before you guys were probably even born. for a couple of years, we had an event here on the farm where kids came and we had a bunch of heifers that were broken to lead and they had the day to get those ready to show. And then we had a little show at night. We did that here for a few years. We did it at the university. I think we were at mom and dad's one year. And then for awhile, that didn't happen. And then back in 2000 or somewhere around in there, we went to the fair with it and turned it into an overnight camp where kids bring in the animal. And we work with them throughout the weekend, with different fitting and showmanship activities.

Charmayne Busker:

But then an awful lot of other educational activities about the dairy industry, whether it's careers or how we develop feeding, we've done a farm finance or monopoly kind of game, just trying to expand it so it includes not just a set of clippers and a wash bucket and a showholder, but it shows kids a lot of other aspects of the dairy industry over that weekend.

Charmayne Busker:

So we've done that for quite a while. Of course, last year we were [COVID'ed 00:09:38] out. And it sounds like this year on just Saturday, July 3rd, we're looking at the possibility of putting together just a single day workshop where we'd have... Kids wouldn't bring their calves, but we would have a few animals here and work through some different educational workshops through the day. So that's still kind of up in the air, like so many things that we're working through this year. But hopefully that'll be back again next year. We've had as many as 65 kids there for that, which is too many, but a group of 30 or 40 makes for a really great weekend and learning experience for the kids. And we certainly enjoy supporting that.

Dan Severson:

I remember cow camp, Ms. Charmayne, because I remember going to your place. It was the first time I've ever... I think my dad took me out your place. That was the first cow camp I ever went to. I don't remember how old I was, but it had to be '83. It was a great-

Charmayne Busker:

Right. Yeah. Could have been.

Dan Severson:

[crosstalk 00:10:49] in my career path, I guess.

Charmayne Busker:

And then we had to come back as a judge. So see what happens, right?

Dan Severson:

Yeah. It's in your blood, you get hooked. They won't let you go.

Jake Jones:

Ms. Charmayne, can you tell us about the Delaware Dairy Princess, exactly what that is and who's eligible and the whole process, I guess? I've seen it in the paper once in a while, but I'd like you to walk us through it, if you would.

Charmayne Busker:

Actually set it up just as another marketing avenue for the dairy industry to support. Each year, they select a young lady that's willing to spend some time promoting the dairy industry to groups that don't often see that connection. Typically they spend a lot of time doing day camps. They go into some schools, whatever opportunities they have to have an audience that they can speak to and talk about the benefits of dairy products in everybody's diet and also to provide some learning experiences for folks about the dairy business. That one goes back to 19... over 50 years ago. [Anne Sheetz 00:12:03] was the first dairy princess in 1969.

Charmayne Busker:

The current princess is [Bethany Knutson 00:12:11], and Bethany is doing something interesting this summer. Half a dozen, I think, dates they've set up where they're going to have an on-farm camp that she's hosting and have kids come to the Knutson's farm and spend a day on the farm milking cows and doing all different kinds of things. But certainly that's something that she's doing as as an outreach to explain to other people that don't spend time on farms, kind of what it's like day to day. So that's kind of a neat program that she started.

Charmayne Busker:

They're also available as speakers or presenters, if folks have a need for something like that. And then she'll certainly be very visible at the fair presenting awards and doing some other promotion activities at the fair. But it's just a very traditional program that's been in place for a long time that lets young ladies promote the dairy industry. Eligibility is anybody 16 and up. And I don't think there are... You don't have to grow up on a farm, you don't have to live on a farm. You just have to be willing to understand the material and be willing to promote the dairy industry. [Laura Emerson Greer 00:13:38] is the coordinator of all that. So if there are some folks that are interested in learning more about it, the contest is typically in the spring. For the last few years, it's been in conjunction with the Holstein annual meeting. So it would be something in the spring of '22, but Laura would be the contact for that.

Jake Jones:

Well, that sounds like an important program for the industry and for those young people who are getting practice as becoming advocates for agriculture. So I think it's a pretty good program and hopefully people will look into that and get up with [Laura Emerson Greer 00:14:17] if they need more information. So I did have another question. What kind of fundraising do you do at the state fair?

Charmayne Busker:

It's all about tradition, right? We have had a calf raffle program. I don't know how long ago that went into place. But anyway, fun thing at the state fair, we have a fairly young calf, a couple months old maybe, and it's right there for folks to walk by. And then they have the opportunity to buy a raffle ticket. At the end of the week on Saturday night, we'll draw the winner of the raffle ticket. And then those folks would have the opportunity to take the calf if they want, or there's also a cash option. It's just a wonderful fundraising opportunity for the Holstein Association because the tickets are a dollar and tugging on mom or dad, please, please, please buy a ticket. I want to take that calf home. The reality of it is that an awful lot of the time, the winner of the calf is someone that has a place to put it. And then when that doesn't happen and then people selected the calf, we've had ways to work that out or find somebody to buy it or whatever. But typically we can... we certainly didn't do it last year. Not sure how it's going to be handled this year, but it's been an ongoing source of income for the association for a very long time.

Jake Jones:

That's neat. I remember seeing that calf at the fair.

Charmayne Busker:

Danny Severson has never won that calf. I don't know if he's not bought enough tickets or what-

Dan Severson:

Because it's a Holstein. I don't want a Holstein. Put a Jersey out there.

Charmayne Busker:

Branch out there, a little bit, Mr. Severson.

Dan Severson:

You all Holstein breeders need to branch out a little bit.

Blake Moore:

I'm sure we could do a whole episode just on the back and forth between that. So it sounds like you've been involved your entire life in the dairy industry here in Delaware, and you're a great ally to the industry. We really appreciate you joining us today. And I don't have a ton of experience around agriculture throughout my life, but I can tell you, I've had plenty of experience with dairy. It's in my daily life, whether it's at breakfast, whether it's dessert, it's just all around us. And we want to make sure that we help raise up the industry here. What is the take home message for either the dairy industry in Delaware and for the general public in Delaware that you would like to give?

Charmayne Busker:

Well, I certainly appreciate your perspective on that, that there's always milk at the table when you sit down and that's what we need for our part of agriculture, just like any other, to survive. It's now a supply and demand issue. And for us to be profitable, there needs to be a demand for our product. So dairy farmers have been very successful in learning how to be excellent producers of the product [inaudible 00:17:27] that we can ramp up production. And we've been able to be very successful at producing an abundance of the product. We need to be more successful at creating demand on the consumer side for that product. And that's a challenge that we face every day.

Blake Moore:

Ms. Charmayne, we really appreciate it. Well, I hope you all enjoyed listening to Charmayne talk about the dairy industry here in Delaware. And then we still have Dan the dairy man here with us on Extension302. So Dan, just tell us a little bit more about Dairy Month and how it came to be and why it's so important.

Dan Severson:

Dairy farmers, they get their milk check, but out of every a hundred weight of milk, they get a checkoff dollars are pulled out. So they take some of this checkoff dollars and it's used to help promote the dairy industry, dairy products and combat the imitation almond milk and soy milk. But getting back to your point of the question is, Dairy Month was originally established it as a grocery milk promotion in 1937, as National Milk Month. And it was like I said, to promote dairy when production was at surplus, because you're thinking of May, June what's happened? You got green up. Green up equals forage for these cows, which equals abundance of milk, which milk of plenty. So you got schools out, you got all this milk, they were just finding a way to get rid of surplus milk, and plus it's very nutritious for us. So 1939, they established it as National Dairy Month. I know, it's a little bit of useless knowledge, but it's kind of useful for today.

Blake Moore:

I think it's great knowledge. And I also liken it to things like, I mean, I can think of some of the things back in the day that got me drinking more milk. It was the milk mustache or, "Milk, it does a body good", those types of things.

Dan Severson:

Got milk, so simple.

Blake Moore:

Yeah, exactly.

Dan Severson:

Now, it's Fuel Up 60 or something like that. Yeah, yeah.

Blake Moore:

So it seems like a lot goes into promoting the dairy industry and it's kind of strange that it's struggling right now. And is that kind of the imitation milk is... Do you think that's one of the main reasons why we're dealing with that right now?

Dan Severson:

Imitation milk or non dairy products are always going to have a part on the shelf. They're always going to have a percentage of the sales visit. Is that the problem with the dairy industry? In my honest opinion, no. I think if the USDA would follow up with their definition of what milk is and follow the law of the definition, then it can't be soy milk, it can't be almond milk because milk comes from a lactational animal, a mammal.

Dan Severson:

So it all depends on that, but I think the biggest issue we're dealing with is, it's hard work. People don't want to do it. Labor's an issue. Regulations are an issue. The pricing system we have, as far as farmers are getting paid for milk, needs to be reevaluated. There's tons of issues. And I'm pretty sure I can spend a whole podcast on my opinions, but I don't have any skin in the game. That's up for the dairy farmers to decide.I'm just there to help them when I can, man.

Blake Moore:

It seems like you're doing a pretty good job. You got the respect of the industry here in Delaware so far. Everybody knows Danny.

Dan Severson:

If you do call me Danny, that means you have known me a long time.

Jake Jones:

Well, the labor issues aren't just in dairy. So maybe that's a topic we should cover in another episode. Labor issues in agriculture.

Dan Severson:

I think you nailed it there, Jake. Vegetables, crops, chicken. Yeah. Every industry is hurting for labor. Period. During what we're going through. There's plenty of jobs out there, just can't fill them.

Blake Moore:

Well, I know this, I know that the dairy industry to be successful because I got to have my ice cream and I have to have my milk in my cereal because I'm not going to be like the movie Friday and put some water on that stuff.

Dan Severson:

Yeah, though, you don't want to be like Craig [inaudible 00:21:16] Friday. No, but I'll tell you what Delaware in the dairy industry, we're losing cows, we're losing farms. But I'll tell you what, we've got some of the best ice cream, we've got one of the best ice cream trails you can think of.

Blake Moore:

I was going to say, how impactful has that been, having creameries reason and having that agritourism? Has that kind of help keep the dairy industry alive?

Dan Severson:

I will let the farmers that have their creameries speak for that, but the testament to them, if it didn't work, we wouldn't have four of them.

Blake Moore:

Got that right.

Dan Severson:

So somebody is doing something right.

Collapse

Episode 19: All about that Pasture

(feat. Dr. Amanda Grev, UMD Extension Specialist, Forages and Pasture Management)

Find out what plants you should use, how to identify and manage a healthy pasture, and learn the industry jargon you need to know!

 

Resources
 

 

Listen now
 

APPLE PODCASTS SPOTIFY AMAZON
Google Podcasts  IHEARTRADIO  FACEBOOK

or simply listen via Youtube, below!

Video: All about that Pasture podcast episode: youtube.com/watch?v=_uQzDYdDOqw

Episode 19 transcript
 

Blake Moore:

Hello, my name is Blake Moore, Natural Resource's Extension agent.

Dan Severson:

Hey, I'm Dan Severson, AG agent.

Jake Jones:

Hi, I'm Jake Jones, Kent county AG agent for the University of Delaware cooperative Extension. Welcome to Extension 302.

Dan Severson:

Welcome to Extension 302, we are dropping knowledge, keeping Extension real reliable and relevant. I'm Dan Severson and with me today is snakes.

Why does it have to be snakes, Dr. Jake Jones? I thought I saw him once, but it turned out to be a Yeti. Mr. Blake Moore, our special guest is winner. You call this a winner, Dr. Amanda Grev, and we're going to talk about why the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. Hello and welcome.

Dr. Amanda Grev:

Thank you for the welcome and thank you for having me today.

Dr. Grev joined the University of Maryland in 2019 and is the pasture management specialist at the University of Maryland, Western Maryland research and education center. Originally from Minnesota, she completed her undergraduate degree at North Dakota State University with a double major in equine and animal science. The Bisons have a real good football team, and they just got knocked out of playoffs by Sam Houston state. And you know, who is the coach at Sam Houston, state Casey Keeler, and Keeler used to be the football coach here at UD. Let's get back to Amanda. She also has a master's and a PhD in animal science from the University of Minnesota, where her research focused on the interaction between animal nutrition, forages, and pasture management. She's currently sitting on the board of directors for the Maryland-Delaware forage council. Dr. Crab, you went from being a bison to a golden gopher, and now a Terrapinn. Out of those mascots, who would win in a foot race and please explain your answer?

Dr. Amanda Grev:

That's a great question. I think I would have to say the bison because I'm pretty sure they're going to be a lot faster than the gopher, the Terrapins, and also have to say they're a little bit more intimidating when it comes to mascots for sports and stuff.

...

Continue reading transcript >

Dan Severson:

Okay. I was going with the turtle, the Tortoise and the Hare.

Dr. Amanda Grev:

True. I guess it depends what kind of race you have. Is this a sprint or is it a long distance marathon?

Jake Jones:

So Dr. Grev, can you tell us what the ideal pasture would look like to you?

Dr. Amanda Grev:

Yeah, so that's a great question and a really good place to start. I think that the ideal pasture of course, will depend a little bit on your individual situation. You know, what kind of livestock you have, your location, your soil type and things like that.

Dr. Amanda Grev:

As a whole, or in general, an ideal pasture is going to be one that is growing well and producing good yields of high quality forage because that's the point of having a pasture, right? We want good forage for our livestock or animals to eat. So, the ideal pasture besides being, good yielding and high in quality, we're also going to look for things like good ground cover. So, little to no overgrazing or minimal bare spots throughout the field. A good or ideal pasture will be relatively weed free. So, no toxic weeds or plants present that might cause problems for the livestock. Then, we also have to think about what's going on below ground or below the surface of the soil. So, we want to see good growth below ground, good root growth that can get those plans through drought or other hard times and good healthy soils with good soil bacteria present. So we want kind of that whole picture of a healthy pasture.

When you have a healthy pasture here in Delaware and Maryland, what are some of the species of grasses and maybe some legumes that will make up a healthy pasture?

Dr. Amanda Grev:

Yeah, so it kind of gets overwhelming I think for a lot of people because there are really a lot of different species when it comes to grasses and legumes and even expanding into other things like brassica or forbes. When it comes down to it, there are a handful of ones that are more common, that we see in this kind of Mid-Atlantic region. We have a lot of cool season forages here so those are forges that grow better in the cooler wetter weather. They have a lot of growth in the spring and in the fall of the year and some of the common ones that we see, in this region are things like orchard grass, tall fescue, timothy, kentucky bluegrass, maybe some brome grass in there. Those are a lot of the common cool season grasses. From a legume standpoint, some of our most common cool season legumes would be things like alfalfa, red clover, white clover, maybe some birds foot tree foil.

Dr. Amanda Grev:

Those are kind of the predominant perennial species that we see. Then you also might see as you're driving around, or as you're thinking about forages for your pasture, you might see some annual forges or hear about people planting annual forages for pasture. This is becoming more of a common thing to do, having a certain area of your pasture that you plan to annual forges. It could be summer annual forages like a sudan grass or a millet. There are also winter annuals that people use for grazing things like triticale or crimson clover. So really there's a lot of opportunity in a lot of different species to choose from. So, it really depends a lot on your conditions and your soil type and what's going to work best for your operation.

Jake Jones:

So how many months out of the year do you expect most pastures to be able to accommodate livestock?

Dr. Amanda Grev:

Yeah, so that is kind of a loaded question because it's going to be really weather dependent. In order to have a really productive pasture, one of the things that we also need to rely on is mother nature. We need rain to make those forages grow, but I would say in this region, usually at least for our perennial species and we can expect to start grazing sometime around like March or April timeframe and we'll get a lot of growth in that spring season.

Again, because we have a lot of those cool season forages here. So we'll probably have more growth than we can even use in that spring season. Those forages will probably go through just a little bit of a summer slump in the summer as things heat up. They kind of go through a little bit of a summer dormancy. We'll see a little bit less growth during those hot summer months, and then we'll see more growth happening in the fall when things cool off again and we usually have a little bit more rain. Depending on your management and if you use any other strategies like stockpiling, which I think we're going to talk about a little bit later, you can extend that grazing season easily into the fall or late fall months, sometimes even into the winter, if you're incorporating different forges and doing a good job with your stockpiling.

 Jake Jones:

So Dr. Grev, you mentioned weeds. Weeds are there too. They're part of the population in the pasture. What are some of the common problem weeds we have and how can we manage these weeds in our pasture setting?

Dr. Amanda Grev:

Yeah, so we get a lot of questions on different weeds that people are seeing in their pastures and really this fluctuates depending on the time of year. So just like our forges have different periods where they grow better or when they're dormant. Different weeds have different growth schedules as well. So this time of year when we're kind of in the spring to starting to get into the early summer, what we're seeing out there is a lot of our winter annual weeds. So things like, our common chickweed purple dead nettle, the purple weed that you see out in those fields as you're driving around. We've been seeing a lot of penny crests or you might see some of the mustard species, those kind of tall growing ones with the yellow flowers. Then as we kind of reached the end of the life cycle for those winter annual weeds, we'll probably start seeing some more of the summer annuals popping up.

Dr. Amanda Grev:

So, we have a few of the kind of summer annual grasses, like crab grass or fox tail that might be coming up. Some of our other summer weeds that we may start seeing a little bit more are things like lambsquarter or pigweed showing up as the weather starts to heat up a little bit. Then of course, we also have weeds that have kind of more of a perennial life cycle. So these are more of a year round presence and we have common ones that you'll see everywhere, like a Dandelion or Canada Thistle. Buttercup is a really common question and a lot of people notice those pretty yellow flowers out in their field. Things like that are kind of more of the perennial species that we commonly see in this area.

Jake Jones:

What about toxic plants? Are there some toxic plants out there we should be aware of, especially dealing with livestock?

Dr. Amanda Grev:

Yeah, so there are a few toxic plants that we should kind of be on the lookout for. It depends a little bit on the plant and also on the management system that you have set up. So for example, Buttercup is a really common weed, like we just said, and it does have some toxic properties, but for the most part, our animals will avoid it as long as they have other forages available and really this kind of holds true for a lot of our more toxic weeds. So, some of the more common kind of toxic weeds are things like Jimsonweed, Milkweed, Nightshade, maybe Poison Hemlock. But again, a lot of times if we have other forages available to those animals, they'll tend to avoid it most of the time, but not always.

Dr. Amanda Grev:

So I think I kind of skipped over actually management and when it comes to management, of course there are a lot of different ways to control weeds, both for the toxic ones and the non toxic other weeds. The real thing to remember is that these weeds are all very opportunistic, right? So they'll see a hole in that pasture, they'll see an opportunity and they'll go for it. People like to say that mother nature doesn't like any bare earth showing, right?

Dr. Amanda Grev:

So really when it comes down to it, kind of the best method for weed control is going to be out competing those weeds with a really healthy, dense stand of desirable forages. So, if you're having a lot of weed issues and you're seeing a lot of these weeds popping up into your field, yes, you should and can look into control options, but also think about the reason behind those issues. So, is your field a little bit overgrazed? Is it in need of fertilizer or other renovations? Really, these issues are going to be needing to be corrected in order for you to fully kind of eliminate those weed problems.

Jake Jones:

Dr. Grev, can you give some indicators or signs of a good pasture versus a bad pasture?

Dr. Amanda Grev:

When we think about a good pasture, I kind of alluded to this a little bit at the beginning, but a good pasture is going to be one that has good vegetative cover. So we have a thick, dense stand and not a lot of thin areas or bare spots. A good pasture is going to be one that has a high percentage of desirable forages. So, things that we want to see in our pasture, like some of those cool season grasses and legumes, we talked about a little bit earlier. A good pasture is going to have good vigor and good regrowth following a grazing bout, after those animals have maybe moved on to a different area. We get good regrowth from the area where they just grazed and we're going to have good forage diversity. So, we're going to have a mixture of species present some different grasses and different legumes, and that will help keep that pasture healthy and strong.

Dr. Amanda Grev:

On the flip side of that, bad pasture is going to be one that is more short, maybe overgrazed, the stand is going to be thinner, patchier. We'll probably see some bare spots. We might see some signs of soil erosion present in different areas and a bad pasture is also going to have a much higher percentage of undesirable species or weeds. So some of those weeds that we just listed or other undesirable species, a higher percentage of that is indicative of a pasture that's a little bit worse for the ware.

Jake Jones:

Why is it important that we keep our pastures healthy? Can you give us some information as to why we need to look for our good, keep our pastures in good shape?

Dr. Amanda Grev:

A healthy pasture is important really because it comes down to providing good quality forage for our livestock. You know, again, that's really the point of why we have pasture, right, is to be a good feed source for our livestock. So, we want a lot of good quality forage for our livestock to consume and this will help limit the need for feeding of hay or other supplemental feeds that we might need to add. If we can provide a lot of that nutrition from the pasture itself, we won't have to purchase other feed sources for those livestock. The other thing for a healthy pasture, is that a good, healthy pasture will also have more longterm and better integrity in the longterm. So, the lifespan of that pasture will be longer. It will be productive for a longer term and it will really build up kind of the soil and limit things like erosion or nutrient losses that we're trying to avoid.

Jake Jones:

Whenever we're speaking about pastures and anything to deal with agriculture, there's always a lot of professional jargon that we use and buzzwords that some of the listeners who aren't heavily in the agricultural sector may not know. So, what are some of the jargon that you use in reference to pasture such as animal units, rotational grazing, stock density, stockpiling, things like that.

Dr. Amanda Grev:

Yeah, so we do have a lot of terms that can get kind of confusing for people especially if you're just getting started. So, we'll go through kind of a couple of the main ones. So, if we start with animal units, basically the point behind this is there are different sized animals. As we know, for example, an 800 pound cow is going to be consuming a different amount of forage than a 1200 pound animal. So, in order to standardize this, we use something called animal units. So, one animal unit is basically the equivalent of a mature animal that's around 1000 pounds. So, if we have one mature 1000 pound cow, that gives us one animal unit. If we have a smaller animal, maybe a yearling heifer, that's 500 pounds, we'll have 0.5 animal units.

Dr. Amanda Grev:

It's just a way to kind of standardize based on different sizes, different weights so we can kind of equivalate those animals and their intake a little bit better. I think the next one that you said was rotational grazing. So, rotational grazing is basically the practice of subdividing one larger field or larger pasture into smaller areas and rotating our livestock or our grazing animals through each of those smaller areas. From paddock to paddock or from area to area and keep them out of the other areas so that those other areas have a chance to rest. So it kind of, as the name applies, rotating our animals through that area. Docking density is kind of to relate the number of animals that we have to amount of acreage or the amount of area that we have.

Dr. Amanda Grev:

There's really kind of two different terms that are tied into kind of stocking density. One is stocking rate, which is easy to confuse with stocking density, but basically stocking rate is our entire number of animals on the entire area for the entire season. So, if we have a 100 acre farm and we have 80 cows on there, we have 80 animals per 100 acres. That's our total stocking rate. The stocking density is to kind of look a little bit more specifically at a time point within that entire season, instead of the number of animals on the area across the whole season, It's the number of animals on a specific area for a specific period of time. So, this is where this is kind of more tied with that rotational grazing, as you're rotating, you may have those 80 cows on just a portion of your entire acreage. So the stocking density number will usually be a little bit higher because you're looking at just that specific moment in time compared to kind of the entire grazing season as a whole.

Dr. Amanda Grev:

Then finally, the other one that you had mentioned was stockpiling, and basically stockpiling is kind of allowing our forage to accumulate in order to graze it at a later period or later on. So, a lot of times as we kind of mentioned earlier, this is done in the fall, so we can stockpile forges in the fall. We can set certain pastures aside and not graze them and allow that for it to accumulate and then graze it at a later time point. So, maybe later in that fall or in the wintertime, after those forges have gone dormant, we'll have standing forage in that field for those livestock to graze, even though the grasses aren't actively growing anymore.

 Dan Severson:

It's springtime and grass here is growing like crazy. Can you discuss some of the best management practices for our pastures? I mean, such as mowing, baling, fertilizing, clipping, dragging. It's go time right now.

Dr. Amanda Grev:

There's a lot to be done when it comes to pasture management, but I think what I'll do is kind of break it down into a few of the key kind of best management practices. So, we're going to start off kind of below the soil surface. So, one of the first things we want to do is look at the soil fertility. So, if you're not sure of the fertility status of your soil, taking a soil test is always the best place to start there. We know that soil fertility plays a role in a whole bunch of different factors. You know, the root growth of our forage, the nutrient uptake, how much yield we're going to get, how long that stand is going to last, all of these things can have an impact or can be impacted by our soil fertility. So a couple of things to look at when it comes to soil fertility are the soil pH.

We know that the soil pH is going to affect the availability of the other minerals. So, we want to kind of keep that pH in an optimum range, which for most of our kind of cool season is somewhere between the 6-7 pH range. Then we're going to take a look at that soil test that we've done, and we're going to see what of the other nutrients are limiting or low in supply and we're going to supply those nutrients as needed. You know, some of the common nutrients are things like phosphorus, potassium, but it's really important to see the status of our soil. So we know whether or not we need to apply those nutrients.

Then for pasture in particular and for grazing, one of the advantages is we know that a lot of our soil nutrients are recycled through those animals.So those animals are consuming nutrients as they consume that forage and they're recycling that back out in their manure and their urine. Another question is how uniformly are they distributing those nutrients across the field? You know, they've done studies that have looked at the distribution of manure across a field and in a continuous grazing system, it can take 20 plus years for, to get a manure pile or a redistribution of manure across every square yard in that field. This can be decreased substantially if we're using some of those good practices like rotational grazing, we can get that down to only a year or two to get one manure pile per square yard.

So that's really, the second kind of key thing is using something like rotational grazing. We're, we already kind of defined rotational grazing, but we're controlling the amount of time that the animals spend in that one given area. So that in the rest of the areas, the forages, the water, the soil can all have time to recover, regrow, rejuvenate and this also gives us that advantage of having a little bit more, even grazing. A little bit more even manure distribution.

The third kind of key is allowing for adequate rest, which goes kind of hand in hand with rotational grazing. In a continuous system, so where the animals have access to the entire field, for that entire time or entire season, those animals are going to kind of go back and repeatedly graze a lot of the plants every three to seven days. This is really detrimental for the health of that plant. So, what we really need to do is allow those plants time to rest by using rotational grazing. This gives them the time that they need to kind of regenerate their carbohydrate reserves, allow the roots to regenerate and redevelop so those plants can remain strong and continue growing throughout the season.

You mentioned things like mowing or clipping. So, one of the other kind of keys, especially this time of year, is to try and keep our pastures in more of a vegetative state. So less mature, more leafy. Those forges are going to be higher in quality if they are kept kind of more in that vegetative or actively growing state. And we know that animal preferences vary and this often results in different variations throughout the field. So, you can use things like mowing or clipping to help keep your pastures in that vegetative state and help keep them kind of actively growing.

If you have more forage you can handle, especially, again, this time of year when things are growing really rapidly, some people like to set aside a pasture or a field or two and actually make one cutting of hay off of that field. So, fill that forage up and save it for later use to kind of help them stay on top of the rapidly growing forages.

Then the final thing that I'd like everyone to kind of keep in mind is making sure that we're keeping some green greenleaf material there in the field. You know, really when it's time for regrowth, plants get their energy for regrowth from kind of one of two main areas. So, we have the amount of leaf area remaining on that plant that can continue to photosynthesize and produce energy for that plant and we have stored carbohydrates in that plant. So, if we're grazing our forages really low, or we're cutting our forages really low with a mower, there's not only, less leaf material remaining in that field for photosynthesis, but there's also less stored carbohydrates remaining. A lot of those cool season forages store, much of their carbohydrates in the lower 3-4 inches of the stem. So, if we're eating that forage down to the dirt, we're really depleting that plant of its energy source.

So, if we use a little bit higher grazing height, we leave a little bit more in the field. There's going to be a little bit more leaf area remaining for photosynthesis. There's going to be a little bit more stored carbohydrates remaining and those plants are going to really bounce back faster and be healthier and more productive kind of in the longterm. So, that's where you hear that kind of rule of thumb when it comes to grazing, take half leave half or, takes grass to grow grass. Those kinds of sayings are ways to remind people that we really don't want to be overgrazing or grazing our fields too short.

 Dan Severson:

That's a good reason to know what you actually have in your pasture, as far as your species, because growing points are different between species, legumes and grasses. Correct?

Dr. Amanda Grev:

Exactly. Yep. So, legumes like alfalfa tend to store kind of more of their energy down in the roots. So, if you have an all alfalfa hay field, you can cut that field a little bit lower compared to something like a cool season grass like orchard grass, which really relies on the base of that stem as the storage point for that plant. So, it's important to know, like Dan said, what species we have and how we need to manage those species appropriately. So they will succeed.

Jake Jones:

We know how an agricultural important that is. How often do you recommend pasture management to do the soil test? And if they do it every several years, what are some, are there some visual signs that your pH is off since so important?

Dr. Amanda Grev:

The answer will vary a little bit on kind of if you're just getting going in the management process and kind of working towards building things up, or if you really have an established routine and a rhythm down. So soil testing, you can do often as you'd like. Most people do somewhere between every year to every three years. So, if you have like I said, an established field and it's been productive, it's doing pretty well and you only want a soil test, every couple of years to kind of check on things, that is perfectly acceptable.

Dr. Amanda Grev:

If you have a field that you're trying to renovate, you're trying to increase the production of that field, you might want to keep a little bit closer, eye on it and do it maybe every year, just for a little while or at least to start with. Then, for other things that you can kind of keep an eye on in between, like I said, that there are different, visual cues that we can look at in a pasture, how well that pasture is producing is a good indicator. If we have areas of the field that are turning really yellow, that can be an indicator of a lack of nitrogen supply to those forges. There are signs that we can look for, for specific deficiencies, if we're worried about a given thing.

Jake Jones:

Is there any particular plants that show up if like the pH is low, if you have an acidic soil?

Katie Young:

Yeah. So, that's another thing where, we talked about weed management and weed control. A lot of our weeds are kind of more undesirable forges that thrive, or do better at a lower soil pH or a lower soil fertility. So where something desirable like orchard grass might not be able to thrive, some of those weeds can do well at a low pH.For example, we mentioned buttercup earlier, buttercup is a forage that, or a weed that tends to do well on more of a poor fertility soil or an overgrazed soil. So, that can be an indicator.

Katie Young:

Another common one that we may see is something like broomsedge. Broomsedge does well also on a lower pH soil or a more poor fertility soil. So, if you're seeing a lot of those kind of weeds or weedy grasses showing up, that can be a clue that you need to be doing some checking on your soil fertility.

Jake Jones:

Now I'm sure listeners are thinking about their own pastures and deciding whether or not they're falling in a healthy or unhealthy type of category. So, can you give, can you give us an idea of how to know if your pasture needs renovation and then describe the process of renovating your pasture?

Dr. Amanda Grev:

Kind of to start off really, there are a few really common causes for low productivity. One, is a lack of adequate fertility, which we kind of just talked about. Another is poor grazing management, which we've also kind of talked about a little bit. The third is kind of unproductive species. So you don't have kind of the right species to thrive in your environment or your soil type, but referring back to kind of what we said earlier, when it comes to renovation, this can mean reseeding or kind of redoing a pasture, but it can also mean just making improvements in our management. So, if our pasture is not doing well because we're using poor grazing management, changing that alone can really help renovate that field and get it back to kind of a more productive state.

Dr. Amanda Grev:

So again, keep in mind some of the reasons behind why you may be thinking your pressure needs some renovation and what may be causing that. When it comes to deciding if it's time to renovate or not, there are some methods that we can use to kind of assess the condition of our fields. I highly suggest using something that's more quantifiable or measurable where you can assign a number or a score to that field. That allows you to do that assessment on several different fields and maybe compare them against each other to See which one is the worst and etc.

Dr. Amanda Grev:

So, a couple of the options for different methods that we can look at are something called the step point method, which you may have heard of before. If you haven't, basically this involves walking through each pasture in kind of a random zigzag pattern and noting what species is growing or if there's a bare spot that there's bare dirt at different locations throughout the pasture. So, for example, you zigzag your way across the field and say every 20 steps you stop and look down at the toe of your shoe and make a note of what exact forage species is growing there. Is it a white clover plant, is it an orchard grass, is it a weed, is it a bare spot? You do this for say 100 different places throughout the field and you can actually calculate the percentage then of desirable forage species, the percentage of weed spots, the percentage of bare dirt and get an idea of kind of the cover throughout that field.

Dr. Amanda Grev:

Another common guide or measure for assessment that a lot of people like to look at is the NRCS has something called "the Guide to Pasture Condition Scoring." This includes something similar to the step point method where it looks at the plant cover and the percent of desirable forges in that field. But, it also includes things like plant diversity, the vigor of that field, the percentage of legumes or different forges, signs for erosion. There's kind of 10 different indicators and there's scoring on there so you can score each of your fields for each of those 10 different indicators and come up with a final score and kind of make that decision if that field is going to need some renovation or not.

Jake Jones:

I like that way of thinking, if you change your practices, it can be considered a renovation. Because when I, when I was asking the question, I was thinking of like a dramatic receding and everything, but I like that if you just change some of your management practices, it can actually benefit the pasture pretty easily.

Dr. Amanda Grev:

Yeah. Yeah. A little bit of good management can really go a long way. Of course, there are times when we do need that full kind of receding or that kind of big renovation process to happen. Periodically, You know, this is a thing to do. So, when it does come time to do that actual renovation process, there're several steps that you kind of want to go through and check off your list as you're going through the renovation process.

Dr. Amanda Grev:

First and foremost would be to check the soil fertility. Again, that's kind of a big underlying cause for a lot of things. So, if it is off, we want to correct that before we're planting our new pasture or new seeding into that because that's going to affect how those seedlings are going to grow. So that's always the first thing to check.

Dr. Amanda Grev:

The second thing is to look at weeds. If we need to control some weeds or do some weed control measures before we get to the seeding stage, that's important because again, we don't want those weeds to out-compete those new seedlings. We want to give those seedlings the best opportunity that we can for them to grow and thrive in that field. Selecting well adapted species is important. So, when it comes time to renovation and you're looking at options for things to plant and we really want to kind of match the forges and their different growth types to our soil and our site characteristics. It can be a little bit overwhelming to try to do, but its important things to really consider as we're choosing a forage species for our different pastures or different fields.

Dr. Amanda Grev:

When it comes time to the actual seeding to happen, one of the things that's really important, especially if you're using a no-till seeding or using a no-till drill, is to graze or clip that field really closely or really tightly to kind of suppress that existing vegetation. So this is, I always kind of chuckle a little bit when I say that, because this is really the only time you'll ever hear, a forage specialist or a pasture person say to overgraze or clip something close, but the point of that is to kind of suppress what's there so we can again offer opportunity for those new seedlings to grow and to thrive in that field.

Dr. Amanda Grev:

Now, if you're using a tillage or more of a conventionally prepared seed bed, then of course you want to be sure to prepare the proper seed bed. You know, we want that soil to be firm, not overworked, not too many clods, but not too soft, kind of find that nice, like happy, happy medium balance for that.

Dr. Amanda Grev:

And then for seeding, they always say things like seed at the proper time, seed at the proper rates, seed at the proper depth. So, it's really important that we're looking at the timing for our Mid-Atlantic region. When we're looking at cool season forages, at least, usually the best time to seed is sometime in that mid August to mid September timeframe, maybe a little bit earlier if you're more Southern Maryland, on the shore, or over that way. A little bit on the later side if you're more towards the Western side of the region. Then, for the proper rate and the proper depth that all comes down to drill calibration. So, choose the proper rate depending on what you're going to plant and make sure you're calibrating that drill. Don't just go by the chart that says a recommendation because there is so much variability in seeds, seed size, seed weight, seed coatings. So really, it's important to check the drill and make sure that we're calibrating that for both seeding rate and seeding depth.

Dr. Amanda Grev:

Then the final step, is to manage it once we've established it. So if you seed a new field and four weeks later, you see some growth out there and you decide to turn your livestock out on that field to graze, those seedlings aren't going to do very well and they're not going to last very long because they haven't had time to really establish and set down good roots. So, we really need to manage carefully that new seeding and that established seeding and let those forages grow and really get some good roots established well in advance of letting animals graze that field.

Jake Jones:

Pastures are, are a living resource. And it seems like throughout this podcast, we've mentioned that with proper management, with the proper timing on management, there's a certain resiliency there that helps pastures last longer than they might If the timing's off. We've also talked about how mother nature has a lot to do with it. So, each year is going to be different whether it's precipitation, whether it's temperature. All of those different types of things. So where is it that pasture managers can go to find out up to date information on when they should be doing what?

Dr. Amanda Grev:

Yeah, so when it comes to kind of timely resources, that's where you can start to look to your local Extension office. It's going to kind of rely on your Extension agents as a resource. If you're looking for kind of more printed things, I know both the University of Maryland Extension and the University of Delaware Extension submits or puts out several newsletters that have kind of timely articles depending on the month or the week or the time of year. I also manage a Facebook page that's called Maryland Forges and I try to post timely tips on the Facebook page. So things you should be doing kind of at different times of the year, considerations and other suggestions, or helpful information on there. So, there's a lot of different resources that you can look to in Extension and in other, in other ways.

 Dan Severson:

Dr. Grev, if you're not a very good pasture manager, I know the Maryland Delaware Forge Council has a hay directory that you can go to, to possibly purchase or maybe if you become a member you can list take, is that correct? And can you give us any take home messages to wrap this up?

Dr. Amanda Grev:

The Maryland Delaware Forage Council is another great resource. They have a website online where they post newsletter articles and also, other timely information. We did just start a hay directory on the website. So we will have, hay listings, hay that's available for sale posted on there and if you're a member of the council, you are able to list your hay or post your hay as an option for selling it, for looking for customers. So that's a really great resource and then again, of course your local Extension office, the University of Maryland actually just redid their entire Extension website and we now have a forage Extension page that myself and several others are managing. So, it's brand new. There is some content on there, but we will be adding a lot more in the upcoming months. So, check that out as a resource.

Dr. Amanda Grev:

I mentioned the Maryland Forages page on Facebook. There's also a YouTube channel that's associated with that where we have videos from past webinars, forage conferences, different things as a source for kind of helpful information and a resource for you to use as you would like.

Dr. Amanda Grev:

Then when it comes to a summary or a take home message, I guess I would say that good pasture management really does require good management. You can't just leave it and expect it to grow and continue to do well on its own. If you could kind of wrap everything that we said up into three kind of main keys or three takeaways, I would say, ensure that you have good soil fertility and that you're supplying those nutrients that are needed to those plants. Use some sort of rotational grazing that allows those pastures to rest and helps in multiple other ways. Then finally, make sure that you're not overgrazing or grazing those forages too short, but that you're leaving enough residual matter for those forges to be able to continue to photosynthesize and regrow quickly. So that's kind of the summary. You know, if you, if you could put pasture management in a nutshell, that's what I would say.

 Dan Severson:

Well, thank you. It seems like an awful lot goes into growing grass. There's definitely not a lack of information out there for everybody that wants to learn how to do it and do it properly from what you've listed. So I appreciate it. Thank you, Blake, Jake, anything to add?

  Blake Moore:

Thank you for joining us. This was excellent. I have always learned something new. Every time we do a podcast and I'm hoping our listeners do the same.

Katie Young:

We hope you've enjoyed today's episode and will join us next time. In the meantime, visit us online at udl.edu/Extension. Join our mailing list and join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube at UD Extension.

Katie Young:

This program is brought to you by the University of Delaware Cooperative Extension, a service at the UD college of Agriculture and Natural Resources, a land grant institution. This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

 

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Episode 18: Cicada mania!

(feat. Brian Kunkel and Dr. David Owens)

You've heard rumors about the impending Brood X emergence...but what is Brood X, and what does that mean for us here in Delaware?

 

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Episode 18 transcript

INTRO (00:00)

Blake Moore (00:22):

Thank you for taking in another episode of extension302. I am Blake and with me as always are Dan Severson and Jake Jones, everyone. Today, we're going to talk about a topic that you may have been seeing in the news lately. The impending periodical Cicada, emergence brood X, or brood 10, whichever tickles your fancy. And we will get to the bottom of when to expect them and what to expect from them. So helping us bring science to you today is Dr. Brian Kunkel. He is the integrated pest management specialist for the university of Delaware cooperative extension horticulture team.

David Owens (00:57):

What up

Dan Severson (01:00):

Ag scene counterpart Dr. David Owens. So, and then without further ado, here is Dan. Hey guys, I'm pretty sure neither one of you guys are native Delawareans, but now you do a lot of work for most of your work is in Delaware. So when you first got here, moved here, what is one of the things that you thought was very odd? And when you got here now just seems kind of normal.

...

Expand


David Owens (01:21):

Well, I'd have to say scrapple.....Blake has some deep Scrapple roots going on there, I sure do. My family is worked at the scrapple plant in Bridgeville. Um, my mom actually worked there and so did my sister as well. And so we sampled plenty of Scrabble. I love it. And thank you so much for bringing it up.

Dan Severson (01:38):

Dr. Kunkle?

David Owens (01:39):

Pumpkin Chunkin. I had no idea what the hell that was.

Dan Severson (01:44):

Yeah, that is, that is a typical, yes, that's a good one.

David Owens (01:47):

Yes. I think you guys nailed Delmarva. Pumpkin chunking scrapple there you go. Yeah.

New Speaker (01:53):

Catapulting pumpkin's across the field...

Dan Severson (01:58):

What is the difference between dog day cicadas that we typically see every summer and the periodical Cicada, which is brew X or brood 10

Brian Kunkle (02:07):

Dog days cicada or annual Cicada green or a black-ish green and white on the belly of it is kind of light in coloration. That's one thing that'll help you tell the difference from the periodicals periodical Cicada is a reddish orange and black, and typically a little bit smaller. I don't know if David, do you wanna throw anything else in there in terms of maybe when they come out?

New Speaker (02:37):

Sure. So the, the annual Cicada or the dog day cicadas, they, they typically start making their appearance towards the end of June and they emerge all summer long through the end of September, beginning to end of September, depending on where you are in the state. Whereas the periodical Cicada, what makes them really special is that they're the species that make up the periodical Cicada group or bird 10 in our area. They're all synchronized when they emerge. They're all going to emerge in a very short period of time here at the, probably early to middle of may. And by the end of June, they will be going completely.

Blake Moore (03:20):

Do they make the same sounds? Would you expect to hear like, it just kind of confusion of like, I'm used to hearing that sound in the, in August, but now I'm hearing it this year in, in May and June, do they make the same sound or is there going to be a difference there?

Brian Kunkle (03:34):

As far as I'm aware is going to be similar. It's just go. ing to be more intense because there's going to be so many periodical cicadas for us up North. And those that are in sussex county and probably part of Kent County, you're probably going to need to take a trip up.

New Speaker (03:56):

The dog desiccated tends to make a more constant whining, buzzing noise. Some of the periodical cicadas, they will make a noise. That's more like a —WHOOOWO WHOOWHO — so it tends to be a little bit different, but it's to what Brian said, it's going to be loud. It is that they're mating. Cool. Absolutely. They have one purpose in life when they emerge out of the soil and live for three weeks. And that is to find a mate and lay eggs.

Blake Moore (04:27):

Thank you guys, David, I'm glad you got to do an impression because I was going to ask you if you wanted to. Brian, do you want to compete with David's impression or do you want to move on to the next question?

David Owens (04:37):

I don't have the vocal range to be able to compete with that. So I'm going to have to say no.

Blake Moore (04:43):

Okay. Where in Delaware would you expect to see populations of the periodical Cicada?

Brian Kunkle (04:50):

Okay. Allude to, I think, I think it's mainly going to be North of dover. I wasn't here. I'm from Kentucky. And last time there were any broods/cicadas active I was in Georgia. And so I kind of missed them, especially for here. I totally was. I didn't get here until a couple of years after they emerged, but the impression I had and talking to people that are from here is that they are farther North than Dover. And you may have seen one South, but not in the numbers. And like, you don't have that egg laying and damage the potential damage to trees and like around campus. Um, for whatever reason, like if I'm not mistaken that has something to do with soil types or soil types plays a role. I was talking to someone in Maryland at the university there, and they were saying that they thought it was similar on the eastern shore of Maryland. That the further South you got on the Eastern shore, there were little to no periodical cicadas, whereas with the annual dog days cicadas you'll have them throughout.

Blake Moore (06:14):

Okay. So about the Northern half of Delaware, then what are the, are there any expected, like high concentration pockets or is it just going to be a lot of cicadas in the whole region, like you said, and then fizzle out the further South you go?

Brian Kunkle (06:29):

Uh, Dave, do you know much about their population distributions? Like do they, are they more random? Uh, as far as I know, it's just going to be Northern part now....do you know any more about that?

New Speaker (06:48):

Unfortunately, I was not here for the previous brood emergence, but what I can say is, you know, they, they spend their lives for 17 years underground feeding on deciduous tree roots. So if you've got an, a large area of fairly undisturbed woods, you've got a lot more potential for them then, and areas that have been cleared or areas that have since grown up in those 17 years, they, they don't feed on pine trees. And we've got a lot of pine trees down here in Sussex County. You will be looking for are large areas that have a lot of hardwood trees. And I've been that way since 2000 then.

Jake Jones (07:35):

Well, thank you guys. And, and 2038, we'll have this conversation again about what, where they're going to be. And hopefully they're still in the same areas.

David Owens (07:45):

We do have another brood, a much smaller bird that could be in parts of Northern Delaware that could emerge as early as I think, 2031. But bird 10 is the, is by far, in a way, the largest, both in terms of population size and geographical distribution.

Brian Kunkle (08:05):

So we had actually a couple periodicals emerge couple of years ago with, within a brood you would have some that emerged early comparing to the mass emergence that you get. And you often may have some that will emerge a little bit later. So there outliers, I would say it was 2019, 2018, 2019. We were seeing some of these already starting to come out. Hit and miss. Got a couple of them on the campus. So I'm imagine we're going to have a fair number of them this year. There's other rooms in our area that occasionally, may be seen. They're by far the largest and all encompassing of the County.

Dan Severson (08:54):

Alright guys,. So I do remember 2004 when the cicadas emerged. Cause I was actually, I was at Fair Hill races and we were making, um, Cicada shooters with jello. So I do remember, but can we talk about what is the lifecycle of these periodical cicadas and then go a little bit more in depth than the life cycle brood X there's 17 years underground, or can we go through that life cycle for me please?

Brian Kunkle (09:18):

I think it's relatively simple and you can jump in here wherever you want. David, as he had mentioned, uh, they come out and have a three week long party in which they, uh, drink plant fluids, mate and lay eggs. The females, when they lay their eggs, they, uh, use their ovipositor, which is kind of like a, it has some serration. So it'll cut into thin branches, lay the eggs. Constantly when the eggs hatch then drop to the ground, burries in on roots and does that 17 years. And then they send out a text and see if everybody's ready to get her 17 years later. Anoth4er email. Uh, can you stack some, wasn't a big thing 17 years ago I guess so probably email. Not really.

David Owens (10:14):

Instant messenger.

Brian Kunkle (10:14):

Yeah. There you go. Made sure that everybody that's on the right page come out and they did. And so this time when they laid 20, 38. Hard to tell them, you know, how they're going to be getting the message to eveybody. And I think the whole feeding underground, they kind of get on. Soil temperatures were pretty consistent with feeding on probably relatively consistent nutrition. I don't know what sort of cues they may use to synchronize their emergence. I think it may just be hard to take that long to get in. David May have some more insight to that.

New Speaker (11:02):

Well, so the emergence and how they synchronize themselves, that is still an area of active research. You know, we, we don't fully understand how they do that. Once the soil temperatures get nice and warm and they're going to do that pretty quickly here in, as we move into mid and late spring, once the soil temperatures get above 60, 64 degrees, that's, that's when they are ready to go. And so they're, they're starting to work their way up to the surface now.

Dan Severson (11:33):

All right. So they're just basically going to party like it's 1999 Or 2004. Yeah.

Blake Moore (11:41):

And so what a, what type of damage do they cause? And let's start with, with you Brian.

Brian Kunkle (11:46):

So on mature trees, you'll occasionally have some of the thinner branches or smaller diameter, uh, branches like twins and whatnot. They may break off or snap and hang down, not completely off of the plant. Um, and he makes these, some of the trees, foliage wilt from where the branches snap that's where, where the female has cut into the twigs with her ovipositor to attach ...hat's her eggs. Um, and we call her flagging on the church. Trees. It's rarely an issue trees that have been recently planted usually a year or two on ones that have most of their branches are kind of, thin. You can have a fair bit of flagging on those and it may impact the appearance of those plants in a negative way. For fruit trees I'm sure that you have thin branches there that are damaged and begin to flag. It may impact the health of the plant and potentially production. I'm not a hundred percent sure on the, those in him. They're like the Apple trees and the cherry trees on whatever peach in their backyard garden, trying to grow a little bit of fruit from the trees that they've been planted within the past year or two. You may want to consider letting some of your trees during that timeframe to limit access, the female's access to the branches that try to reduce flagging that you seeing. I'm not aware of any serious mortality impacts. It's more disfiguring in the tree and definitely stress the tree. You're losing portions of branches on the smaller trees that are trying to establish, make it a little more difficult, but the flagging is the big thing we had the damage. And again, it's more of an issue for a younger or more recently installed plant.

Blake Moore (13:58):

The homeowners don't necessarily need to do a whole lot to protect their trees, unless like you said, you've just recently planted them. Um, and I guess if you have a small amount of trees and you can net them, uh, that's something you might want to do. But other than that, it just sounds like that it's just going to be a little bit of aesthetic damage and that's about it.

Brian Kunkle (14:15):

Yeah. That's general brush impression that I have. So I'm seen a couple of brood emergences now, not the brood x couple of times, but two other broods. And I've never really seen lots of damage. Apparently here in New castle last time it was a common report where people would send samples into the diagnostic one with twigs or branches and breakage, and it was due to sort of Cicada damange. But in terms of overall impact on the top of your clients, it's mature. It's not that big, it's younger than you might consider.

Dan Severson (15:04):

How about in the ag sector there, David, I'm not hearing a whole lot going on there. Is there anything that anybody needs to worry about on that regard?

David Owens (15:11):

Well, you know, that's, that's interesting and Brian actually covered it quite well from the homeowner's standpoint, from a more production ag standpoint, they are a potential concern for recently planted orchards, but that's it in some parts of the country where there's a greater concentration of tree fruit and a greater overlap with brood 10, the recommendation is to not plant a new orchard within two years of the brood emergence. And that's because when they are ovipositing positing and damaging the, the outer small diameter twigs, it can mess up the trees, architecture from what is desirable on an orchard level standpoint. That's the primary concern. The trees themselves will be fine and they do not go after any sort of field or vegetable crop.

Jake Jones (16:10):

So, David, I think you covered this before, but how long will they be around? It might feel like a long time for people when they're screaming in their backyards, but can you go over that one more time for us

New Speaker (16:20):

When they start emerging, they're all going to be synchronized in the area and, and their life cycle as adults only lasts for about four weeks. Uh, it's fairly short, especially when you consider how long they've been underground waiting for, or their time to shine. So to speak

Dan Severson (16:39):

Around this part of the country for the last appearance of the, the cicadas brood X or whatever we want to call them. So what are you most excited to see or witness this time?

Brian Kunkle (16:51):

The noise. Yeah. I mean, cause it's going to be impressive much. Like you hear it, you hear the annual cicadass. With the dog day cicadas, you hear one or you hear some here. It's not that big a deal. It's not... it's almost like background and, uh, nostalgic family times growing up as a kid and you heard the insects and whatnot and no big deal. These: you won't be able to avoid hearing them.

Dan Severson (17:23):

And David, what do they sound like, David?

New Speaker (17:28):

WHOOO-OO!

Dan Severson (17:28):

What are you most looking forward or excited to see?

David Owens (17:30):

Well, you know, I'm, I'm really looking forward to just seeing their numbers. You know, this is something that I've been looking forward to for a very, very long time. And I lived for time in North Carolina, but when I moved to North Carolina, I moved just a couple of weeks after they had a brood emergence. And so I missed it entirely and that was kind of a bummer. So I'm just, I'm really looking forward to seeing it and hearing their numbers. They've got, it's essentially like an entire summer's worth of dog days cicadas compressed into a couple of weeks. It's going to be impressive. And the other thing too, with the cicadas is it is a massive food source for all sorts of animals or they, they come out in such massive numbers that it does not matter how many of them get eaten by birds or raccoons. Raccoons can grow very fat in a couple of weeks eating cicadas. And there's just so many. It does not matter.

Brian Kunkle (18:29):

The other thing is in the evenings when they start coming out and emerging, the sides of buildings, sheds, homes, whatever, if they were around in 2004 and or this spring, they're going to just be coated with exoskeletons and the insects come crawling up out of the ground in mass...and start clinging to the sides of buildings, fences, whatever, and popping out the back of the nymphal skin tobecome an adult. And then they sit there change in the middle of the night. It's, it's pretty cool to see that massive number of skins everywhere. Just really impressive to see. The first time I saw it was in the eighties and I was very much into fishing and using them for finishing bait, I would go nightcrawler and get my own worms from stores. The first time I saw a big, massive group of insects crawling up the trunk of the, it was just, it was incredible.

Dan Severson (19:36):

You guys have any other closing thoughts you'd like to add?

Brian Kunkle (19:39):

In my past, in different areas where I've had, broods pop up, various entrepreneurial groups, will offer them as food — like for people. Uh, it's a protein source. It's just a little crunchy. You only try it once every 17 years depends on how much of a party you're into. I guess

Blake Moore (20:03):

I think the question is, have you tried them?

Brian Kunkle (20:06):

I have not because I have not had the opportunity to most of the time when I have been in one area it's been in transit much. Like I was just too late. I'd rather have been there too towards the end or in the beginning and then moved away. So I haven't had much of an opportunity to actually try and do something this time.

Dan Severson (20:30):

Gotcha. So we're going to go, we're all going to go to Dan's house and we're going to have a, what else? Shooters Dan. I am there, I'm waiting on my invitation.

David Owens (20:40):

They probably do a fairly decent deep fraud,

Brian Kunkle (20:44):

I would imagine.

Blake Moore (20:45):

And do you have any other additional are David,

David Owens (20:49):

But you know, these, these, the kids, they, they really are a special treasure on really on the, on the entire planet. This is the only spot where we have cicadas on a 17 year cycle. They all come at the same time. And so, you know, when we are looking and just marveling at the sheer numbers and quantity of these cicadas, we also, you know, let's take the time to think about how that landscape will look 17 years from now. If we take a section of woods or natural area out and put a strip mall on top of it, you know, we are impacting that population for hundreds of years later, they, you know, they're, they're in the ground for 17 years. They don't have the ability to move or replenish their numbers in that period of time. So all of the landscape changes that occur between now and 2038 will impact 2030 eights population, especially here on, on Delmarva. I've think about how much has changed in the landscape in the last 17 years.

Blake Moore (22:02):

Yeah. I'm glad you brought that up because conservation and preservation of our natural lands, this is just another reason, uh, that we need to keep on working on that. So I really appreciate you bringing that up. And, you know, I really hope this episode is also going to show, show folks the, uh, the passion of entomologists here in Delaware. Um, you know, to have both of you guys on, on staff and, and serve and Delaware is pretty awesome. And it's been fun so far. I appreciate it.

Dan Severson (22:28):

Thank you guys.

David Owens (22:29):

I really appreciate the time that you've let us, uh, spend together today discussing these cicadas there. They're pretty awesome. And I'm very much looking forward to seeing them here in a couple of,

Katie Young (22:43):

We hope you've enjoyed today's episode and will join us next time. In the meantime, visit us online at udel.edu/extension. Join our mailing list and join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube at UD extension. This program is brought to you by the university of Delaware cooperative extension service at the UD college of agriculture and natural resources, a land grant institution. This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

 

 

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Episode 17: What is a Master Gardener?


The Master Gardener concept originated in Washington State in 1972 as a strategy for handling an overload of home gardening questions and Delaware launched its own program in 1986. Today, our state has nearly 300 Master Gardener Volunteer Educators who volunteer more than 20,000 hours each!

Find out how you can become a Delaware Master Gardener with this information-packed episode featuring Carrie Murphy (UD Extension Agent) and Megan Pleasanton (Delaware State University Extension Educator)!
 

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Episode 16: Ag Day 2021: One World, One Health
Feat. Lillie Binder (Ag Council President) and Christy Mannering (CANR Digital Communications Specialist)

For many decades thousands of people headed to the University of Delaware's south campus on the last day of April to celebrate Ag Day. This year's theme is "One World, One Health" and will highlight college-wide research on this concept. Find out how you can enjoy the many speakers, tours and activities virtually from Monday, April 19 - Saturday, April 24!

 

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Episode 16 transcript

 

Jake Jones:

Hello, everyone. Welcome to another episode of extension three Oh two. Today we are covering ag day at the University of Delaware's college of agriculture and natural resources, annual community event. Ag Day first occurred in the spring of 1975 under the guidance of the ag college council and their advisors, Dr. David Fry and the late Dr. Paul Sammelwitz. Their motivation was to introduce other students and the community to the college of ag and their activities at South campus. Originally, it was held on the green, but later moved to the Townsend hall parking lot. Where now is an annually held as a full-blown festival with hay rides, exhibits, speakers, food, and of course ice cream today. Dan Blake and I are joined by Lillie Binder, the current ag council, president, and senior pre vet student and Christie Mannering digital communication specialist with the college of ag. Welcome everyone. Thanks Jake. Welcome. Hi.

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Lillie Binder:

Hi. The first Ag Day was in 1975. So we're introducing the college up campus, kids to animals on the farm. You guys, Lillie and Christie. What farm animal are you scared of and why? Probably the beef cattle, because they don't like being socialized with people that much. So we were taught from square one, animal science, 101 to keep our distance and let them have their space less scared, more respectful of their boundaries. Respect is a good word. Yes.

Christy Mannering:

I'm going to branch off of Lillie's respect because my mom grew up with all kinds of animals and she told me a story about chickens that has terrified me further life and how you do not go interrupt chickens when they're with their babies and try to play with their babies because they will fly up and down you pecking. And so I am not going to get anywhere near chickens or their talents or their beak any time soon. I'm sure you're not alone.

Jake Jones:

There's a lot of people out there that have phobia of the chickens. Yeah, that's interesting. So as a kid, my mom told me a story. I don't remember this because I was too young, but I guess I was messing around near a pony and, you know, think of a pony would be that dangerous, but apparently she saved me from barely getting my face bit by one of these, these ponies that didn't like me and his space. So you gotta, you gotta respect those up. There's farming animals for sure. The last in-person ag day that we had was 2019. And I was there for that, had a really, really good time. And it's something that I look forward to every year. Can you tell us about the traditional ag day?

Lillie Binder:

So in a traditional year, we get to kind of bring together the best of what the college of agriculture has to offer and showcase a lot of what the community has to offer. We get a chance to bring in a lot of alumni who have their own businesses and have their own organizations that they get to highlight on ag day. For example, we usually get a free flying bird demonstration from Fung Lu, which is a really big draw for the community kids, especially because it's a really great way to kind of get acquainted with interacting with animals in like we were just talking about a very respectful way and kind of helping people understand, you know, helping people get better acquainted with animals and everything that the college of ag has to offer

Christy Mannering:

The traditional idea. Well, I have been fortunate to be part of 14 ag days and they have all been amazing. I think what I love most is that the students each year have such pride in showing off what they do and what their student organizations and programs are doing. And seeing them being able to show the community like, look, we're not just about cows and plows. We do all of this other research and we are passionate about it. And I agriculture science means something to the environment and there's a lot of people working on it. I, so I think the biggest part for me as an employee who's involved is to see the students really come up to bat and make it such an amazing event.

Lillie Binder:

Right? And I think one of the best parts is watching the students build off the faculty, the faculty, both off the community and the community kind of feeding off of that energy and everybody coming together to have a great ag day.

Jake Jones:

That was exactly how I remember it. And I love the usage of the word energy there because that's kind of what I remember feeling, you know, getting up there. I had to wake up at about five in the morning to get up there the last time, but it was just that energy that wakes you up. And no you're going to have a good day this year. And last year, both, we haven't been able to hold an in-person ag days. What does ag day gonna look like in 2021?

Christy Mannering:

Well, I am disappointed that we will not be in person again for the second year. So last year with the pandemic, we weren't unable to have ag day, even though we had planned it for months and months and months and trying to throw together something digital just wasn't going to happen. There were too many things up in the air. So this year I'm super excited that working with the students, we're able to bring everything online. My vision and Lillie can correct me if this isn't her vision is to just imagine that you're stepping on campus or walking towards Townsend hall. You see all the cars, you hear all the festivity, and you're going to be seeing the gardens. You can enter from all different areas. And you're going to be amazed at all of the tents and tables. And so we are going to be building a virtual environment that will have our so-called tents, each one labeled with research or extension or student organizations.

Christy Mannering:

And then inside those tents will be videos, which I'm my analogy is that those are the tables. So you would walk into a tent, you would walk up to a table and you would get your elevator pitch from whoever's at the table of, this is what we do here. This is what we're doing in the community. This is what our students are studying, or this is the research that's helping people in Sussex County or whatever it might be. And so the videos will be up to five minutes and they're going to be in a grid format. And underneath the videos, you'll see links to resources. So on a typical ag day, we would have 80 to 90 vendors. There are hopefully going to be maybe not 80 videos, but quite a bit of videos. I'm some that have been prerecorded by our videographer staff. Who's been amazing. So we'll have information about one health. We'll have information about what ag day is from our interim Dean, but really ag day is an opportunity to showcase what CANR means to the community. So hearing from the students directly hearing from researchers in their labs and hearing from people who work on the farm is going to be really important. And I think the virtual tents and, and video tables is going to be a great opportunity to learn and then repurpose that content leader. And I'm really excited to be able to watch it.

Jake Jones:

I think that's great that after having to take a year off, you guys came up with this great idea of how to keep that kind of tent and table view.

Lillie Binder:

I mean, I totally agree with everything Christy said, and I just really think this week, this year, well, it's a unique challenge in that everybody's getting very fatigued with all of the virtual things that we've had to get acquainted to in the past year. I think it's a good opportunity to kind of get everybody out of their shell and to get everybody excited about community event in whatever capacity we can get it done.

Dan Severson:

Virtual tent and table set up just sounds like an awful lot of work, but for the record, I'm going to tell you that the best ag day and the best ag president was back in 1994. So you guys got to top that one, your theme for this year is one world one health. Can you explain the idea that?

Christy Mannering:

Health is a triad concept? It's, it's going to show about the health of people, animals, plants, and how all of them are connected in a shared environment. And the students chose one world, one health as the theme, because it seems timely a timely way to highlight one of the college's unique strengths and it connects all of the departments of the college of agriculture and it connects the programs in cooperative extension. And if you think about it, agriculture is really the heart of one health. I mean, it truly represents an intersection of human health, environmental health, animal health, and as one of the unique strengths for the college we have such comprehensive research and so much outreach expertise through extension to develop a better understanding of this in Delaware, but really regionally and nationally and across the world. And so I think if you think about the COVID pandemic and think about one health under that lens, it's helping people to prepare should anything like this happening again. And then also making people think critically about how to respond. So one world, one health, it's the people, it includes policy and collaboration from agriculture sciences, and really to all sciences beyond that.

Lillie Binder:

I mean, I think one of the great things about incorporating one health is that while it's an integrated approach, it also kind of helps to show how there are ways to relate to it in any field you're in. And also like Christy said, it's, it's one of the main focuses of the college of ag. So I thought it was a great year to highlight it, especially because like she said, the themes involved with one health are incredibly poignant now. And I felt like it was one of the best ways to address the elephant in the room in a more proactive and less daunting way.

Jake Jones:

So it sounds like you guys have put a lot of effort and thought into providing those virtual tents and tables. And so who were some of the speakers and student organizations that are going to be Manning these tables and tents that ag day, this year, Lillie?

Lillie Binder:

Our keynote speaker is the 2021 Worrilow award winner, Sue Barton. And she'll be giving a talk called gardens are good for you. I think. And I thought that incorporating somebody who with expertise in kind of a site, an area of science that not a lot of people would probably think relates to one health is probably the best way to show how important it is and how it does touch every aspect, how it does touch so many different subjects and some of the, so some of the aspects of ag day that we'll be able to keep as similar to a normal year as possible are a lot of our demonstrations, like Christy said our videographer stuff has been going around and filming a lot of demonstrations that normally we would have been able to have in person, like for example, one of our entomology professors, Dr. Delaney, is going to be able to have a demonstration that she would normally give on ag day. We'll be having a milking demonstration from the animal science club and a sheep shearing demonstration from Larry Armstrong who works on web farm. In some ways it will be as close to a regular ag day as we could possibly get it. And in other ways, we'll have really new and exciting opportunities to get to know other aspects of the farm that would kind of be shut down for an ag.

Jake Jones:

College of agriculture and natural resources includes the students. Of course, the faculty and staff, and then there's cooperative extension kind of thrown in that umbrella too. Can you discuss how they all come together and can benefit the community in Delaware? And I know that's what ag week or ag day is kind of all about, but

Christy Mannering:

We are going to be working with the city of Newark. They're interested in putting together a video with resources from the city about different parks and environments in the city and green spaces. We're also going to be using coloring book pages from the Brandywine Conservancy and museum of art. They've allowed us to be able to link to different coloring pages they have about native plants, which really coincides with Dr. Barton, Sue Barton's talk about gardens are good for you and valuing a sense of place which is Thursday, April 22nd, by the way, at 6:00 PM. And I think that the environmental health safety group across the university will also be tuning in and providing us with the video. So there's the central UD components there and Newark as a city wanting to be involved. And then we have cooperative extension, which I really feel is like an umbrella unit.

Christy Mannering:

It is the college, every department that is in the college of agriculture is also part of cooperative extension. And the research that our faculty do sometimes doesn't make sense. I mean, to me, I'm a digital person, so I'm putting that research online, but I feel like I learned through us Moses when I'm listening to extension agents, because they take that research and they put it out into the community. They are the outreach into the community. So we have that component. And then we have the departments, entomology and wildlife ecology applied economics and statistics, plant soil, sciences, animal, and food sciences, all of those tie into one health really well. And all of them also have student organizations and clubs that are super passionate about the topics that they learn about. And we also have the UDBG Botanic garden that is right on campus, which people are normally able to walk through. But instead we'll have pictures. We have their virtual catalog for the plant sale that they usually have in person. And then of course we have the students, which the students are the CANR community. I mean, they are the future of agriculture science. They're the future of Delaware. So they're leading the way

Jake Jones:

Is this ag day and how can our listeners join this virtual table?

Lillie Binder:

Virtual ag day will, the website will be active from for the week of leading up to April 22nd, which is when Sue Barton's talk will be taking place in six to 7:00 PM. Every single day of that week, we'll be highlighting a different part of the website or a different demonstration or video that we think is particularly representative of the college of agriculture, natural resources.

Christy Mannering:

Just reiterate what Lillie said. It begins Monday, April 19th, and it will run through that week leading up to Saturday, April 24th, which is when Ag Day, would have been in person we're celebrating extra special with the live talk with Dr. Sue Barton on earth day, April 22nd. So each day, Monday through Saturday, we'll be highlighting different things. So we're very excited to launch the virtual tents, the video tables, and have everyone come in. So to speak to the browser window, pull up a seat, take a listen, and hopefully grab some really fun activities about bats and native plants for the kids and celebrate the whole week. So you have a webpage. I'm happy to tell you the address. It's

Jake Jones:

Very easy. Go right ahead.

Christy Mannering:

It's www.udel.edu/agday

Jake Jones:

Awesome. Well, we appreciate you guys joining us today. Lots of great information. And you know, like I said, in the face of adversity with the pandemic still going on and having to go virtual guys seem to have done

Christy Mannering:

A great job in getting this together. And what are some final thoughts you wanted to send to the listeners to make sure that they don't miss out on this year's ag day. I would like listeners to know that they can follow you the cooperative extension on social media and @UDCANR on social media and sign up for our newsletters through the website. Make sure you get those emails, make sure you're checking in on Twitter. You're checking in on Instagram and Facebook because that's where we'll be pushing out the material. And most importantly to say, thank you to Lillie and the students on the committee, because you know, some of them are seniors. This is their last year. Their last hurrah would have been really great to have them in person. And they're still putting in a lot of work and effort, and I'm really grateful to have them on the team.

Christy Mannering:

I would just say, I hope that people enjoy everything that we've been trying to put together. And, and that people feel as though this is as close to a regular ag days we could get for this year. And I hope that people do enjoy everything that we've put together. Absolutely. I have no doubt that it will be a great time. And then, you know, we also still have in the future, there will be ag day every year going forward. So don't miss it this year and then come back when we start having an it person again. It's well, yes, it's always the last Saturday of April. Mark it on your calendar and advance. Absolutely. So Dan and Jake, do you have any last things to add? No, Dan. Thank you!

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Episode 14: High Tunnels with Dr. Rose Ogutu (DSU)

We're kicking off the 2021 podcast year with special guest Dr. Rose Ogutu, Horticulture Specialist with Delaware State University! In this episode, the team explores the uses, benefits and challenges of using High Tunnels.

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Blake Moore:

Hello, my name is Blake Moore, Natural Resources Extension Agent.

Dan Severson:

Hey, I'm Dan Severson, Ag Agent.

Jake Jones:

Hi, I'm Jake Jones, Kent County Ag Agent for the University of Delaware Cooperative Extension. Welcome to Extension302.

Dan Severson:

Welcome to Extension302. It may be cold outside right now. However, we have some farmers are already putting seeds out. I'm Dan Severson, along with Blake, the Yeti Moore and Jake, the snake Jones. We're going to investigate high tunnels. Our special guest today is Dr. Rose Ogutu, who is the horticultural specialist at Del State University. So Dr. Rose, before we get started, we want to ask you a personal question. What was your least favorite vegetable as a child?

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CONTINUE READING

Dan Severson:

It's unheated, it's still kind of same material, metal, tubing, plastic. What's the cost on those high tunnels? Is there cost shares available out there for people that were interested in high tunnels?

Dr. Rose Ogutu:

Yes there are cost shares available. Actually, if you visit your local NRCS offices, they are able to give you a whole lot about what there are. So the financial assistance is actually by, I mean, through the Environmental Quality Incentive Program, and it's still active even now. So anybody who is a farmer who would like to have a high tunnel on the ground can go to the NRCS offices, they can check whether they're eligible and they help cover part of the cost of the high tunnel.

Blake Moore:

What are some of the challenges and the advantages and disadvantages of growing in a high tunnel? Can you explain those?

Dr. Rose Ogutu:

Now, some of the advantages of growing in a high tunnel, remember I said that it's a covered structure. I would say that it develops [inaudible 00:03:55] season in that because it keeps heat inside. When the cold temperatures hit the ground, the high tunnels are still rather warm. So then, you know what? It extends the growing season. So you can have your crops growing longer than normal in the high tunnel. Now the high tunnel also can be used as a protector because it protects the crops, gives them shade, protects them from heat and sunscald. So some of the fruits that you really need them to look nice and not sunscalded, can be protected by the high tunnels. And that's why sometimes we get very good quality of tomatoes, for example, from high tunnels. Now, high tunnels can also, they support other materials like row covers, materials that can be used to protect crops from pests.

Like it's easier to use lures or traps in high tunnels. They lend themselves very well to some of the biological controls of the use of beneficial insects because there are enclosures. So, we would say that they are IPM friendly. You can easily practice IPM in the high tunnels. You can also have insects cream that can be integrated to exclude some of the insects, for example, the cucumber beetles. And that would also help you curb bacterial wilt. That means that high tunnels have the advantage of helping curb some of those diseases and pests. They're very versatile and you can grow anything in the high tunnel. Remember I told you that you can even have trees. There's a grower down Sussex County who grows cherry trees in high tunnels. So you can have small fruits growing in there, flowers, all kinds of vegetables. So another advantage of the high tunnels is that you can easily move them, especially, if consider crop rotation. If you have a moveable high tunnel in place, you can easily move it from ground to ground.

Although this also normally forms a disadvantage, especially if you can't move it from a location to the other. Because that means you have to keep using the same spot to grow crops over time. I would say high tunnels are great. People thought that they are a magic, you can perform some magic just using the high tunnel. Although over time you realize that they have certain problems too, but they are great. Most of these advantages outweigh the disadvantages. So growers really, really love the high tunnels. Because one of the things is that the small growers who actually grow their crops for sale can extend their season and they can have a quick return on their crops, especially if they use the right high tunnel. And then they grow the right crops and use the right principles. So, they can reap back their money really in good time because they always hit the market when people need the crops most.

Blake Moore:

It sounded like a lot of positives, very few negatives there. So thank you.

Jake Jones:

You mentioned the variety of crops that are grown in high tunnels. What's the most successful crops that you see growing in high tunnels here in Delaware?

Dr. Rose Ogutu:

Well, in Delaware, the number one crop and just like most of the neighboring state is tomatoes. Tomatoes are really a good high tunnel crop. Others are cucumber, lettuce and some pepper crops. And of course in the winter we have the carrots, the lettuce, and raspberries and blackberries are also picking up. So to answer your question, actually, tomatoes are the number one crop. Very popular.

Jake Jones:

And I know you mentioned that part of that is because of sun scarring and things like that, is moisture a factor in that as well? I know I have a problem growing tomatoes in my backyard because I get too much moisture on them. So does that help growing them in a high tunnel as well?

Dr. Rose Ogutu:

Yes. Moisture is a factor in... Remember that the high tunnels have coverings on them so, it doesn't rain in the high tunnel. So, you don't get that water coming directly in contact with the fruits. And then at the same time, tomatoes are also very sensitive when it comes to the amount of water that goes in the roots. In the high tunnel, you fertigate. So you can easily measure the amount of water that you release to the roots of the plant. So you don't get a lot of flooding unnecessarily. You can actually regulate the amount of water that the plants get.

Dan Severson:

Ain't that real good too. You were talking about high tunnels and how they extend the season. We're in February and it's cold. High tunnels can be used to start the season early. You were talking about tomatoes and stuff like that. What are some of the farmers doing right now? What are some of the planting dates or like rotations they could be doing to cover some of the disadvantages you were talking about as far as like you're planting the same ground over and over again, if you can't move your tunnel.

Dr. Rose Ogutu:

So right now I would say that growers who are using their high tunnels actually have some of the winter crops in there. Some of the crops that withstand the cold, like kohlrabi, I just visited a grower who had kohlrabi in his high tunnel. Crops like lettuces, crops like carrots. Carrots that are grown in the winter, they're really sweet. I don't know, they accumulate a lot of sugars, I guess, because of the long period of growth. So remember that around this time too, we have very limited life. So, growth of the crops is probably very slow even in the high tunnels, but for growers who really want to extend the season, they have the cool crops in the high tunnels. Now talking about the earliest time that you can start your crop through the high tunnels, that means that you're looking into the summer to start early.

For example, people who want to hit the market with the earliest tomatoes for summer, before the summer period, they have to start early. But at the same time, you remember that the temperatures are very altered. Some of the crops that we need to be early, like the tomatoes, actually cannot stand temperatures higher than, I mean, below 55°F when you're starting them. So, that means that you have to make sure that the soil temperatures are warm enough for you to start the early summer. So right now I would say farmers are mainly monitoring the ground temperatures. If they have plant directly, they're monitoring the ground temperatures and if the ground temperatures are higher than 65°F, then we know they can comfortably start planting.

And for tomatoes, I would say adequately 65°F. And that's why people, some of in the Sussex County even start earlier, their soils are sandy and they don't cool out as much. They heat up faster. So they can even start earlier. Talking about the rotations, the principles of rotation are just the same as any other vegetable production. Because you don't want to plant the same plant all through the season. So right now, probably some of the growers are having their high tunnels, lying fallow, or they have some cover crop in it awaiting for the major crop to come in, in the summer.

Jake Jones:

Dr. Ogutu, what is the best way to weed in a high tunnel? And I can ask you all of them at once, but basically what are the best production practices in a high tunnel? So weed, water fertilizing.

Dr. Rose Ogutu:

So weeding in a high tunnel... High tunnels normally they're enclosures and they're kind of are smaller in acreages compared to the field. You would say, well, it's just easy you go into a high tunnel and pull weeds, but at the same time you want to intensively use the space. So what happens in the high tunnel is mostly people use plastic covers. They made plastic and that helps to curb the weed especially around the plant. And then they also use a lot of mulches in the high tunnel. Now, the problem with some of the straw mulches is that they keep a lot of insects, right? And I've had that problem with the high tunnel so, that's why sometimes in the winter like this, you would like to just leave the... Open up the high tunnel so that you get the place as cold as possible to get rid of some of the pests. Or weeding, I would say that not too many people use herbicides in the high tunnels.

You'll probably find the little space, with plastic laid on the ground and then maybe mulches in between the plastic. So, that's normally the very common procedure when it comes to weeding. Now, when it comes to fertilizing, fertigation, the drip tape, they use the drip tape to irrigate the crop under the black plastic or whatever plastic they're using. So then that length the plants, it becomes easier for them to fertigate, to passing the fertilizer through the drip fly. But then, there is caution to that. Before you lay the plastic, you should probably amend your soil. You should amend your soil with adequate manure or whatever fertilizer that you want to put in before you lay, you put in the drip tape. Now this is because not all fertilizers can be put in through the drip tape.

So that's normally a challenge in the high tunnels, especially for people who live in places where the water is very alkaline. When the water is too alkaline, normally it blocks the emitters on the drip tape. That's one of the caveats that the high tunnel producers have to deal with. So for fertigation too, they use mostly the water soluble fertilizers, pass them through the drip line and one of the things to make sure that you don't do is to use maybe the fertilizers with salt, with high salt in because it doesn't rain in the high tunnel, you have salt accumulation in the soil, in the high tunnels. And this pretty much shows very fast in your crops, three or four years down the line, you see a lot of problems with saltation of the soil. And then a lot of burning across, I mean, on the edges of the leaves of plants. So that's also a challenge, but mostly fertigation, that is using the water soluble fertilizers and the drip line. And that helps a lot in the high tunnel.

Dan Severson:

So Jake, I thought one time we went down around Smyrna and we were looking at some strawberry plants in a high tunnel and come back and we thought it was a salt toxicity that was going through the strawberry plants because of like Rose was just saying, there's no rain to dissipate it.

Jake Jones:

Yeah. And it was, just like she described, it was like his fourth year with the cover on. So he hadn't had any rainfall and you could see the salt accumulation right on the edge of the leaves. I think that was like an easy diagnosis for us. And apparently it's common in the high tunnel. So, thank you Rose for pointing that out.

Blake Moore:

And what do you do to mitigate the salinity buildup there? Or to amend the soil to make sure that it doesn't affect the next crop?

Dr. Rose Ogutu:

Say mostly, kind of some rotation helps. For example, you would have to plant a crop that can use up that salt or the recommended practice is to remove the cover of the high tunnel and let it rain in it, or just to flood it with water. There's a way in which you flood the soil with water to kind of try and wash the salts into deeper layers in the ground. I would say that to mitigate the high salts, you probably need to change or rotate your crop so that you're not using the same fertilizer or the crop that you're using next is going to use up the, I mean, it's salt tolerant. And sometimes people even plant grafted crops, for example, a tomato farmer who doesn't have any other grounds to rotate plants, they would probably now still plant tomatoes, but use a rootstock that is more salt tolerant. Something that some growers elsewhere are already practicing.

Dan Severson:

And can you highlight some high tunnel projects that you're working on either at Delaware State University or regionally or maybe in partnership with the University of Delaware?

Dr. Rose Ogutu:

Currently we are working on IPM or Integrated Pest Management in high tunnels. And we are looking into how we can use beneficial insects or some biologicals to kind of help us with the aphids, the whiteflies, spider mites that are a very big problem in the high tunnels. Now remembering the high tunnels because of the heat and the high humidity, some of these pests are really explosive. You can have them overwhelm you within a short time. So, we were trying to do that and trying to also include trap cropping together in the mix. Now for the trap cropping, we're trying to let the pests get onto a plant that is not economically important but it's kind of loved by the pest. So the pest can... It attracts the past better than the economical plant that you're growing.

For example, if you were growing cucumbers, for example. And then you had a problem with cucumber beetles, there are certain trap crops that are really, for example, Amaranthus. The cucumber beetle love Amaranthus. So they'd rather go and eat your Amaranthus than get onto the cucumber. So we are trying to incorporate trap crops inside the high tunnels so that we are able to kind of mitigate some of the pest problems. We're also trying to use some netting to exclude certain pests, but that depends on the size of the pest and we are doing that, making sure that we are not adding onto the ventilation problems of the high tunnel because it can really be humid in the high tunnel. We want to keep the ventilation going too.

Now, some of the projects that we had earlier on was strawberry production in the high tunnel, is still going on and we still have it some data going and we realized that for a strawberry grower to even be successful in growing in a high tunnel, you probably have to have all those varieties going, the late varieties, the early varieties so that you have as much production within the year, as much as possible. We've also done tomato production, which was our first project. And it's one that we've gotten into trellising the tomatoes, getting to demonstrate to the farmers the best way of trellising tomatoes, and even getting to show the growers the best varieties that grow in the high tunnels. Right now, the BHN series are very good for the high tunnels because they don't grow as tall. You can manage them pretty well in the high tunnel. Other projects were, like for the small-scale growers who were asking whether they could start some of the planting material in high tunnels, like Dan asked before, right now it's the winter and so what are the growers doing?

So sometimes you might want to start some of your plants in the high tunnel. For example, a potato grower, you might want to start some potato slips in the high tunnel, they will grow well and then by the time the late spring comes up, you have like vines to actually plant in the field. So instead of buying a whole lot of potatoes, potato vines to plant in the field, by the time the fields are ready, you can have your slips scattered in the high tunnel. And that was a really very successful project. So we continue having programs in our projects in our high tunnels. And it depends on some of the queries that the growers have.

Now, most of the growers who started their high tunnels about 10 years ago when we had our high tunnels erected at Smyrna Outreach Center now want to stop growing on the ground and maybe start growing on containers or even just put out some heat in the high tunnels. They want to move higher than from where they were, because when they got the high tunnels, they probably had NRCS fund them. And one of the requirements is that you only have to grow in the ground. So now we have our growers, they've already finished or they're already through with the three year requirement by the NRCS. They want to start looking into container production in the high tunnels and so forth. So we kind of growing with the growers, getting to where they want to be by asking us questions. And then we try to kind of carry out those projects in our high tunnels and have workshops around them and have them come over to see what's going on.

Ask about what we're doing with, yeah like UD. Yeah. I visited UD sometime back and I was really... They were taking care of the weeds in the high tunnels using solarization as a process. And that was really neat, instead of using herbicides or anything, if you're not planting anything in your high tunnel, and you want to get rid of the weeds, you probably solarize it. And that is just taking some polythene transparent polyethylene and then covering the high tunnel ground with it, and it helps really kill some of the soil fungi and bacteria as much as get rid of the weeds.

Blake Moore:

A lot of great work going on there. So we really appreciate that. And thank you for joining us talking about all this great work that you guys are working on.

Dan Severson:

Hey Dr. Ogutu, my grandma, she always had a garden and we always planted eggplants and it was like a bunker plant. That's where we always found the insects first. So we knew that we had issues. So it's funny my Nana knew that stuff way back when-

Dr. Rose Ogutu:

Yeah. It's interesting that some of these things that we are touting, they're practices that they've been there for some time. It's only that we are now trying to just have them in the mainstream and recommend them to growers. But yeah, growers who've grown over time, they actually have the principles of growing at their fingertips.

Dan Severson:

A great presentation. Do you have any final words or thoughts or take home messages? And if you're willing to give out your contact information, if people want to reach out to you and get more information on high tunnels and how you can help them.

Dr. Rose Ogutu:

Yeah well, my closing remarks, I would like to say that we at Delaware State University and Cooperative Extension at large, always work with growers to take care of their needs. And we also try to learn from them in a lot of ways. And for me working at Del State High Tunnels has been one of the major farming, I would say something that keeps me going. I've really liked working with high tunnels, and I really want to appreciate some of the high tunnel growers who've been very, very open into letting me use their high tunnel, letting me release biologicals in their high tunnels. And anytime that I want to take any temperature data, they help me, I mean, they allow me to put my HOBOs in there to track the temperatures and then I can go in anytime and download the data, that has been really helpful.

So I would say that high tunnels, as much as they are becoming popular, we've had a lot of other problems with them too. Some of the challenges, remember I talked about salt build up and then another thing is the structure itself. If you don't use the right strength of metal, have the right depths and have the structure really rooted and then have the sites that you have the high tunnel on, if the site is not right, I'm telling you, it will always be very devastating because most likely the winds are going to come and really tear up that plastic or rip the plastic or even bend the structure and so forth. We've had site problems going and I think that is one of the discouragements that has been there for the growers.

However, for a grower, a high tunnel grower to be successful in the first case, they really have to pinpoint a site that is very, I wouldn't say secluded, but a site that the wind is not going to rip out your high tunnel. The drainage is fine, you're growing very versatile by taking care of the soil quality because the soil drains well. So, and then of course when you were sourcing your high tunnel, you have to know where to do that. And the type of high tunnel you want to build and especially with respect to the type of crops you want to grow. It's very, very important because once you have all those things mailed down, then growing in the high tunnels is always a pleasure, it's always a pleasure and it's very rewarding. Okay. Now, for sources of... So, where would a grower or anybody get some information on high tunnels. So Cooperative Extension in various places have got very, very good projects going on with high tunnels.

One of the things that I encourage growers to do is to join some of the list CFAPs Of high tunnel growers. Now there's a list CFAP right from Kansas State and it contains a whole lot of farmers. In fact, almost all over the USA. And they're always talking about their experiences with high tunnels. And sometimes they ask questions and they have experts there asking them their questions. So if you join that list CFAP if you're a grower who really wants to know or learn from the fellow growers and join that list CFAP. We also have other universities that have been championing some research on high tunnels, Penn State, for example. I've had a lot of Penn State people come and talk in our workshop. So they have wonderful, wonderful projects on high tunnels. Otherwise, you can visit our website at Delaware State University, and that's desu.edu, the Cooperative Extension, and you'll be able to also get some of the stuff that we do here at DSU.

Dan Severson:

Blake, Jake, anything else you have to add?

Blake Moore:

Yes. Thank you very much. It seems like there's a lot of great information out there when I was doing research on this podcast. And it looks like you're connected to almost all of it. So I appreciate your work and effort in this and hope to learn more from you in the future.

Jake Jones:

Yeah. I just want to say thank you too, and I know how important high tunnels can be for beginning farmers and opportunities there, NRCS to help people get their businesses going. So I hope people learned a lot from this podcast. So thank you Dr. Ogutu.

Dan Severson:

Yes. Thank you Dr. Ogutu. And without our producers, we wouldn't be there to support them because we wouldn't have anybody to support. So thank you for our producers as well. Thank you. We'll call that a wrap.

Dr. Rose Ogutu:

Thank you so much.

Katie Young:

We hope you've enjoyed today's episode and will join us next time. In the meantime, visit us online at udel.edu/extension. Join our mailing list and join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube at UD Extension. This program is brought to you by the University of Delaware Cooperative Extension, a service at the UD College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, a land grant institution. This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

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Episode 15: Camping out with 4-H! (with Kaitlin Klair and Jenny Trunfio)

4-H summer camps are an incredible opportunity for Delaware's youth to have fun, explore various interests and grow into the leaders of tomorrow! Listen to learn all about Delaware 4-H's annual camp opportunities.

Learn more:

  • About Delaware 4-H — 4-H is the place where learning is fun, whether it takes place in your school, at camp, in your community or at the University of Delaware. There are plenty of exciting adventures that you can have in your community, state, country and all over the world.
  • Join Delaware 4-H on Facebook, Twitter (@Delaware4H) and Instagram (@Delaware4H)

 

Listen

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Episode Transcript



Dan Severson:

Welcome to extension 302. Today, me, Blake, and Jake are going camping. Joining us today is Kaitlin Klair and Jen Trunfio are both working in 4-H in the Newcastle County office. But first a little ice breaker for you guys. I've been working with Kaitlin for a few years and the holiday season she comes around and gives me a little Christmas treat of home baked goods and jellies and jams. Very, very, very delicious. And I know my family recipes are very cherished. You guys, what's your favorite or most cherished family recipe that you have in your recipe box?

View full transcript

Jenny Trunfio:

So I will say sour cream coffee cake. It is baked in a bread pan. It's the cake that all of my brothers, I have three older brothers, all of my brothers request for their birthday cake.

Kaitlin Klair:

I would say I probably have two. So we do homemade applesauce every year.

Dan Severson:

I love it.

Kaitlin Klair:

I grew up doing that with my grandmother and my aunt and my mom and I, my sister still carry that out every year. And then my second would have to be Great Grandmother's molasses cookies. They are really good. We don't make them as often as we should, but they are just one of those things where you just have to get the lard out and it's just like old home cooking food.

Dan Severson:

Yes.

Blake Moore:

So you're going to make some for us so we can sample it and then we can give you a review on the podcast the next time we do it. Is that kind of what's happening here?

Kaitlin Klair:

I can't, I have applesauce. I can give you applesauce. The molasses cookies, I will have to whip those up for you.

Blake Moore:

I don't know about you, Dan, but my mouth is watering right now. So yeah.

Dan Severson:

Yeah, the applesauce is to die for. I got some for Christmas. I think we met in the parking lot and I don't even think, one jar didn't even make it home.

Dan Severson:

Okay, we're here to talk about camping. And we had Doug Kraus on here talking about 4-H a while back, but give us a little recap about 4-H before we get into the 4-H camp.

Kaitlin Klair:

4-H is open to youth, boys and girls, anywhere between the ages of five and 19 years old. They take a project or multiple projects where they focus in anything from computer science, cooking, sewing, livestock projects, robotics, gardening. We have a wide variety of different projects.

Kaitlin Klair:

They can be active on a club level, a county level, a state level, and a national level. We give them options to go to national summits throughout the state. They go to National Congress where they get to meet different kids across the country, have those leadership interactions, and build the public speaking skills that they need, that they will take on into the workforce. Jenny, do you have anything to add?

Jenny Trunfio:

We also provide opportunities within the county to visit other states. We do an interstate exchange where our 4-H teams have the opportunity to visit another state for a week. They stay with 4-H'ers in another state, get to learn about 4-H there and about the state. And then the following year, those 4-H'ers stay with our 4-H'ers here in our state. So that's another opportunity for our older 4-H'ers.

Jake Jones:

Now that we know a little bit about 4-H can you guys explain the upcoming 4-H camps in Delaware?

Jenny Trunfio:

So we have multiple opportunities for youth to participate in 4-H camp. We have day camps and we have an overnight camp opportunity as well. I will talk about day camps a little bit, and then Kaitlin can talk about state camp.

Jenny Trunfio:

So our day camps are usually run a week long. We provide opportunities. First of all, our day camps are run by our 4-H teens. They are our counselors. They go through counselor training. So in New Castle County we have the Camp Counselor Club. It's called C3 for short. They start meeting in January and meet every month. And then they have a weekend, typically a weekend activity, in May where they get together and learn additional things. So during this camp counselor training, they are learning how to interact with youth, some behavior management styles and skills, and they also plan the day camp lessons and activities.

Jenny Trunfio:

So day camp itself runs a week long. During day camp we provide two or three classes each day, and usually the campers are in the same class every day. So they're developing additional skills over a longer period of time.

Jenny Trunfio:

We also then have programs where outside, whether they're people in other agricultural fields come in or health and nutrition areas, they'll come in and give presentations to our campers. And then we usually take a field trip, visit the pool, go swimming, have fun. All of our campers are put into people groups where they develop relationships with their people group leaders and each other. And the end of the week culminates with a council circle campfire. You know, it's during the day, so you have to use your imagination where they present songs, and skits, and yells, and work together to put on a show for their parents to see everything that they've learned for the week.

Kaitlin Klair:

So we also do a C.I.T. program, it's called Counselors In Training. So they come for a week and they learn a lot about leadership skills, how to plan a class, how to build those skills to teach in front of other kids, to build a lesson plan, the basic behavior management skills. So we work with them on that and how to react and not to react to different things. Which is a good learning skill that they can take on for when they go to college, workforce, all of those types of things.

Kaitlin Klair:

And then on the state level, we have two different state overnight camps. We have one that's called Environmental Camp. It is a three-day camp. It's short, it is for kids ages eight to 12 years old. It's a taste of going away from home. It's that age where kids are like, "Oh, I want to have sleepovers", but at the same time, they're not fully committed. They can get to try the sleepover away from mom and dad or meet new kids. It's environmental based, hence environmental camp. So we have people come from the DENIN school on UD campus, they're grad students, they come down and teach all of the classes. So they learn about water quality, different types of soils, all of those type of environmental science things.

Kaitlin Klair:

And then we also have a week long, it's called State 4-H Camp or Delaware 4-H State Camp. And that is held at camp Barnes every year. Last year was the first year we were virtual due to COVID and campers between the ages of 10 and 19 can come. And then we have a group of counselors. It's typically about a hundred campers to 15 to 20 counselors. And they stay in a cabin for a week long. We use eight to 10 cabins, two counselors in every cabin. They have a neutral bath house. They do classes throughout the day, have meals together, have rec time where they can play volleyball, go to the pool, go kayaking. And then every evening we have a counsel circle where they go down to the council circle and they sing songs and do skits. And it's a fun week long camp. A lot of kids look forward to that every year and it is a once in a lifetime experience for sure. And as Doug Crouse would say, "Once you drink the Kool-Aid you're addicted".

Jake Jones:

Well, thank you. I think Blake, Dan, and I are a little jealous that we're too old to attend these camps, but it sounds like very busy weeks, and you guys have a lot of moving parts.

Dan Severson:

Yeah, I'm going to echo what Jake said, and I was going to ask you guys, if you have any plans in the future of making state camp for 39 year olds. Just checking on that and see if that's in your wheelhouse somewhere. But yes. [crosstalk 00:08:01] Hey, I'd be all for it. I'd be your first...

Kaitlin Klair:

We have a lot of people interested. I can only imagine.

Jake Jones:

I imagine myself.

Blake Moore:

So this definitely sounds like a really impactful program for youth, and like you said, once in a lifetime, life changing experiences. So it's awesome that you guys are able to do that. So can you explain when is 4-H camp, typically during a normal year without COVID restrictions? When can people expect to hear about camps and when to sign up and then what are you planning for this coming year?

Kaitlin Klair:

For our statewide overnight camps, they are typically in June. For this year, the first week of camp is June 14th through the 19th, and the second week is June 21st through the 26th. Our environmental camp is usually the weekend before our first week of camp. So this year it will be June 11th through the 13th. It's a Friday, Saturday, Sunday type of event. Registration in a non-COVID year typically opens to 4-H members first as of March 1st, and then after March 15th, then we open it up to others outside of 4-H. It does fill up quickly, so anymore it typically doesn't get open to people who are non 4-H'ers, but environmental camp is one that non 4-H'ers can apply to as soon as it opens on March 1st. And then Jenny, if you want to talk about day camps.

Jenny Trunfio:

So in New Castle County, our day camp will be June 21st through the 25th. And then we have an animal science day camp, which is August 2nd through the 6th. Kent County, their day camp is July 5th through the 9th. And Sussex County has two different camps. Their first one is June 28th through July 2nd, and that is called an experience extension camp. And then they have one August 9th through the 13th. And for day camp, at least in New Castle County, we hope to open registration April 1st. However, due to the current health restrictions, we are in a holding pattern right now. Once we get permission to do in-person programming and have a better idea of where we are, we will advertise on our county webpage, on the extension calendar, once that opens.

Jake Jones:

Kaitlin, is this kind of the same way that state camp is right now?

Kaitlin Klair:

Yeah, so environmental and state are both... We're planning to open registration April 1st. And I think we're going to open registration regardless if we do have approval or not. And then we do have a letter out to all of the 4-H families across the state saying that we are pending in-person camp, if it gets approved by the University.

Dan Severson:

So guys with all this, changing health restrictions, where can people go to sign up for 4-H camp and find updated information as far as you know, in person virtual and changing dates and events? Where can they go to sign up and get more information on that?

Jenny Trunfio:

So our website is udel.edu/4-h. And that is the state website. From there, you can go to your county webpage. So there's Kent County, New Castle County, Sussex County. Once you click on that, there are tabs for camps and all of our updated information will be there. Once we open registration, the registration will be on the county page as well as on the University of Delaware events calendar.

Dan Severson:

Then the state page, the state 4-H page.

Jenny Trunfio:

Yes.

Kaitlin Klair:

Yes, and we'll also have it in all of our news blogs, our newsletters, you can find those located through the county for each page.

Dan Severson:

Yeah, and I imagine you guys would do a social media blast as well to get the word out.

Kaitlin Klair:

We will.

Dan Severson:

You guys cover all bases, I know that.

Jake Jones:

You've covered this a little bit, but can you walk us through again who can attend 4-H Camp, because from what I'm hearing, it's just about everyone.

Dan Severson:

Except for Blake.

Jake Jones:

Except for the three of us.

Kaitlin Klair:

So for environmental camp, you can attend if you're between the ages of eight and 12. For state camp, it's between the ages of 10 and 19. You can be a counselor if you're over the age of 19 or graduated high school, then you can be a counselor up until you're 23 years old. And then for day camp, we have three different types of day camps. Our Cloverbud day camp is for kids between the ages of five and seven. Our traditional day camp is between the ages of eight and 12. And then our C.I.T. day camp is between the ages of 13 to 15.

Jenny Trunfio:

I was going to say, and our older 4-H'ers are 13 year olds and up and have the opportunity to become counselors at our day camps. So you can be any 4-H'er, and even a little bit older than 4-H'ers, can be involved in our camps.

Blake Moore:

Also you covered this a little bit as well, and I know state camp is hosted at Camp Barnes, but where are some other locations that some of the day camps and environmental camps are run?

Jenny Trunfio:

I can say in the past, the New Castle County day camp has been held at Townsend Hall on campus. We may be looking for a new location for that. So if anyone has any thoughts on that, they can reach out to me. Kent County day camp is held at the Harrington Moose Lodge in Harrington, Delaware. The Sussex County camp, I believe the extension camp was held at the office.

Kaitlin Klair:

Yes. So the extension County camp is held at the office and then their traditional, just 4-H camp, is held at a church in Georgetown. I can't remember the exact name of the church, but it is in downtown Georgetown. And then for state camp and environmental camp this year, and in the few past years, they have both been held by Camp Barnes, and we have a great partnership with them where we are able to use their facilities for the first three weeks of the summer, two and a half weeks of the summer. So they let us use the facilities and we have a great relationship with them and we would not be able to hold camp there if we did not.

Jake Jones:

So the Sussex County office is the Carvel Research and Education Center? Is that what you're talking about?

Kaitlin Klair:

Yes.

Dan Severson:

All right. Blake, Jake, anything else or Kaitlin, Jen, any take home messages?

Kaitlin Klair:

If you're interested in joining 4-H or signing up for any of our camps, please visit our website. Like Jenny said, it's www.udel.edu/4-h. And we will be happy to set you up with a camp or a club or any questions you might have.

Dan Severson:

Yeah. Check it out early and often, as you know, we're in these changing health restrictions, so things can change fast.

Blake Moore:

I do have question and this for both Kaitlin and Jenny. Jenny, I know you said you attended 4-H camp in Pennsylvania, but still we'd like to hear an impactful experience you had as a camper when you were attending 4-H camp.

Kaitlin Klair:

My experience in 4-H and through camp actually led me to my job where I am today. It's where I got my passion for 4-H and the changes I saw my extension agent made through attending camp, and she used to be in charge of camp. And so the things that she did and the impact she had on my life and other people's life really encouraged me to become a 4-H agent, and that has been my goal since high school. So I'm really happy to be able to hopefully give that back to kids the same way that it was given to me when I was younger.

Dan Severson:

That's very nice and touching because I think 4-H people are a very special type of people.

Kaitlin Klair:

We're unique. We're very passionate about what we like.

Jenny Trunfio:

I grew up in 4-H in Pennsylvania. So my mother was an organizational leader and I have three older brothers and they were in 4-H. So when I started 4-H there were no such things as Cloverbuds, but my youngest brother is four years older than I am. So when he was in 4-H at eight years old, and I was four, I was going to 4-H meetings.

Jenny Trunfio:

So I learned everything from... I did show beef cattle when I was very young. So I learned everything from how to clip my Beef Shorthorn. His name was Silver. How to clip him, to prepare, to show, to how to plant my garden, to learn how to sew, and at camp, I would say my most impactful experiences at camp, were once I was able to become a counselor. At my camp was a little bit different. Our counselors were our teens. So kind of like our day camps, we were teen counselors.

Jenny Trunfio:

My most impactful experiences at camp were meeting those younger 4-H'ers, getting them to feel comfortable in their camp environment, those young eight year olds who were away from home for the first time, helping them to assimilate to the routines and learning how to do things and getting them involved in all of the activities. I would say that those were my most impactful experiences with 4-H camp.

Blake Moore:

That's awesome. And I really feel like you guys keep mentioning the experience about getting away from home and spending time away from home. My first time considerably away from home was basic training. And let me tell you, I would have liked to have a little bit of experience other than that, to lead up to that. Because it was a little bit of a process getting used to that type of thing. So it's great that you guys are able to provide that experience.

Dan Severson:

Thank you for your support, sir.

Jake Jones:

I want to say thank you to Jenny and Kaitlin. I think you guys are doing very important work, especially with COVID and the remote, how hard it is to maintain relationships for these kids. But I did want to ask, can someone explain what the four H's are in 4-H for me?

Kaitlin Klair:

Yes. So 4-H stands for head, heart, hands, and health. And so we try to encompass all four of those into everything we do.

Jenny Trunfio:

So it's head for clearer thinking, heart for greater loyalty, hands to larger service and health to better living. So those are the important parts of 4-H.

Dan Severson:

For my... [Crosstalk 00:18:06].

Kaitlin Klair:

My community.

Jenny Trunfio:

My community, my country, and my world.

 

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2020

Episode 13: 2020 Year in Review

The tables are turned and our hosts are placed in the hot seat to recap and review topics, trivia and Extension memories from one of the wildest years we can remember. Travel back with us through the creation of this podcast, revisit some of our earliest episodes and find out about what's to come in 2021!

Learn more:

  • Commodity Challenge "Fantasy Grain Marketing" — Commodity Challenge is a grain trading game that features real-time cash, futures and options quotes for corn, soybeans and wheat. (Want to be part of a Delaware Commodity Challenge team? Send an email to Jake Jones at jgjones@udel.edu
  • Nutrient Management information — The University of Delaware Nutrient Management Program offers certification and continuing education programs in accordance with the 1999 Delaware Nutrient Management Act.
  • Delaware Agriculture Week is now Delaware Agriculture month! We will offer the same sessions, expertise and credits you rely on, now online in a virtual format. Virtual sessions begin Jan. 11, 2021! This event is brought to you by University of Delaware Cooperative Extension, Delaware State University Cooperative Extension and the Delaware Department of Agriculture. 

 

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or read the episode transcript below!

Episode 12: Quick Guide: Avoid foodborne illness this holiday season

Each year, an estimated 48 million Americans become ill (and 3,000 die) as a result of eating food contaminated by harmful microbes. You might think you know how to avoid foodborne illness, but chances are, you're routinely committing one — or a few — dangerous food prep or serving mistakes. (We just learned we are!)

In this episode, the crew sits down with Extension Agent and FCS Program Leader Kathleen Splane to review important food safety tips to keep your family safe and healthy this holiday season. 

Learn more:

 

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Episode 11: Managing Nutrients / Improving Water Quality

The proper handling of nutrients is an essential step to improving Delaware's water quality while maintaining profitability for producers. The Extension302 crew sat down with UD Extension's Nutrient Management team to learn more. 

(Recorded via Zoom to maintain required COVID distancing.)

—Learn more: www.udel.edu/007831

—Register for Crop School 2020: https://sites.udel.edu/agronomy/cropschool/

 

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Episode 10: Five grain marketing mistakes to AVOID!

To kick off the harvest season, the crew explores the "Five Common Mistakes in Grain Marketing" with Ed Usset, Grain Marketing Economist for the Center for Farm Financial Management at the University of Minnesota.

(Recorded via Zoom to maintain required COVID distancing.)

Learn more about Ed Usset, his publications and the Commodity Challenge >

 

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Episode 9: Optimize your health during quarantine!

The spotted lanternfly is an invasive insect introduced to Pennsylvania in 2014 and now found in New Castle County, Delaware. As this insect makes its way further south into our state, they feed on a variety of host plants, posing a threat to our commercial crop industry. To learn more, the Extension302 crew virtually "sat down" with our resident Ornamentals Integrated Pest Management Brian Kunkel and DDA CAPS Coordinator, Stephen Hauss.

 

Additional information

 

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Episode 8: Optimize your health during quarantine!

Have you stopped working out and eating well during quarantine? UD Family and Consumer Science Extension Agents, Gina Crist and Diane Oliver, share their tips and tricks to maintaining your health when your usual routine is disrupted.

 

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Episode 7: Delmarvalous poultry

The crew interview UD Extension poultry agent, Georgie Cartanza, about the poultry industry on Delmarva, pollinator buffers, and the impact of the recent pandemic.

 

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Episode 6: A fair to remember (Your guide to the 2020 Delaware State Fair)


The 2020 State Fair begins this Thursday, July 23rd, and we have the latest inside information for you! Today’s special guest, Doug Crouse, is not only UD Extension’s State Program Leader for 4-H, but also an executive board member and the treasurer of the Delaware State Fair.

What changes will you see at the state fair this year and how has the pandemic affected 4-H, FFA and other participants? Listen to find out!

 

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Episode 5: What's the deal with Dicamba?

A federal court has recently withdrawn the conditional usage regulations for the common herbicide Dicamba. Why did this happen and what does this mean for Delaware's farmers?

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Episode 4: CFAP: What you need to know!

Have questions about the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program? So did we—that's why we interviewed Robin Talley, District Director with Farm Service Agency (FSA) in Delaware. Listen in to find out what CFAP is, what it covers and how to apply. 

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Episode 3: Scams in the time of COVID

Have scams become a bigger issue during the pandemic? How can consumers identify a scam online? This episode features special guest Delaware's Auditor of Accounts, Kathleen K. McGuiness.

 

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Episode 2: The Label is the Law

Find out how the PPE shortage is affecting farmers in Delaware and how it might be addressed. This episode features special guest Kerry H. Richards, Ph.D., Coordinator with the University of Delaware's Pesticide Safety Education Program. 

 

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Episode 1: Coronavirus

Special extended episode / early release

What is coronavirus, where did it come from and how is it affecting Delaware's agriculture and food industy? The Extension302 crew takes a look a COVID-19 with special guests Dr. Calvin Keeler (Professor of Molecular Virology at the University of Delaware), Dr. Gordon Johnson (UD Extension Fruit and Vegetable Specialist) and Secretary Michael Scuse (Secretary of Agriculture, Delaware Department of Agriculture).

 

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Introduction: So...what is Extension, anyway?

What is Cooperative Extension?

What does it do?

Why should I care?

If you've ever wondered what goes on at your local extension office, you've come to the right place! We'll answer all these questions and explore the history of the service with special guest, Director of UD Cooperative Extension, Dr. Michelle Rodgers. We'll also have a quick chat with four current staff members, representing Extension's four focus areas.

 

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