Monday, April 29, 2013

Raising Backyard Chickens Does Require Some Basic Knowledge, Basic Shelter

Contact: Jesse Lyons, small flock specialist
University of Missouri
Tel: (573) 882-0247

Interest in keeping chickens in the backyard as a source of eggs and meat is on the rise among both urban and suburban dwellers according to Jess Lyons, a small flock specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

Chickens can help with pest control around the yard and be fun to watch but they do have some requirements that are not widely known.

For starters, Lyons says owners need to be aware of basic brooding needs in the first three to four weeks of a chick’s life. These include clean water, quality chick starter feed, clean litter (pine or cedar shavings are recommended) and a circular confined area to keep the chicks from wandering from the heat source.

Owners also need to provide a building large enough for proper air circulation but small enough to keep chicks from getting too cold in winter. Providing chickens with outside runs will reduce the building space needs if the pen area provides shade.

“For home flocks, plan to have a minimum of two feet of floor space per adult chicken, more space usually simplifies management. Housing should provide easy access to feed and water and provide nesting areas for hens in egg production,” said Lyons.

Although not mandatory, it is also a good idea to provide perches. These allow birds to stay off the floor, particularly as they roost at night and this will provide training for young layers to jump up into their nest when they begin egg production.

“Manure tends to accumulate in greatest concentration under the roost area keeping the rest of the bedding material cleaner. Allow six to 10 inches of linear perch space for each chicken housed,” said Lyons.

Manure will tend to build up most under the roosts and around feeders and waters. These areas will need the most attention and frequent cleaning.

Lyons says it is also important to provide nest boxes as furnishings for a hen house so she has a secluded place to lay eggs. Commercial or homemade boxes both work.

Box height and width should be 12 to 15 inches by at least 12 inches deep or more for heavy breed hens. One nest box is required for each four to five hens. Place nest boxes no less than 18 inches above the floor. Very heavy hens may need lower nests and lower roosts.

Add at least two to three inches of clean, dry shavings to reduce egg breakage and minimize the number of soiled eggs.

Another essential consideration is the water needs for poultry. If inadequate water is available, not only will eating decrease, but so will egg production and growth.

“Fountain-type drinkers are affordable and easily moved. Water should be changed frequently in order to prevent bacterial growth, over-warming in summer or freezing in winter,” said Lyons. “It is a good idea to also provide at least two or three additional drinkers as a buffer against spillage or leakage.”

Poultry owners also need to make sure that feed is not stale, rancid or moldy. This can cause disease or nutritional deficiencies if consumed.

“Plan to purchase new feed at least every two months, feed the appropriate feed for the age of your chickens, and follow feeding instructions available from the feed tag,” said Lyons.

Always store feed away from heat, moisture and direct sunlight and protect it from rodents.

Feeders come in a variety of sizes and designs and different sizes are needed depending on whether you are feeding young chicks or adult chickens. Feeders should also be raised off the ground and protected from moisture, wild animals and free-flying birds.

It is common for egg production to decline during very hot or very cold weather, and hens lay fewer eggs as they get older. Most hens will also go out of egg production and lose feathers during a molt. It is a process that owners need to understand, along with the role of roosters.

“Hens do not need roosters present to produce eggs. Increasing day length, not the presence of males, stimulates egg production. A rule of thumb is that four to five hens will supply two to four eggs per day during their production cycle,” said Lyons.

But most importantly, urban and suburban dwellers raising chickens need to be good neighbors by keeping chickens confined to their property and properly disposing of used poultry litter.

“Although chickens pose a relatively low risk of giving disease to humans, there are a few infections that can be transmitted back and forth. Proper care and handling of eggs and processing of poultry carcasses are critical to avoid problems,” said Lyons.

For more information, contact Jesse Lyons at (573) 882-0247 or visit the nearest county MU Extension Center for guide sheets on the topic of raising poultry.

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Friday, April 26, 2013

Health Benefits of Resistive Training Outweigh the Risks for Most Adults

Dr. Lydia Kaume, nutrition and health education specialist
Tel: (417) 682-3579

Beyond slowing the physiological age clock, scientists have demonstrated indisputable evidence that the health benefits of staying physically active outweigh the risks for most adults.

The recommendation of the American College of Sports Medicine is for adults to have a regular exercise program that encompasses cardiorespiratory, resistance, flexibility, and neuro-motor exercise training beyond activities of daily living.


Two major components of physical activity are strength training and aerobic exercise.

“Resistive training or strength training is a key component of overall health and fitness. Although aerobic exercise has enormous health benefits, because it maintains the heart and lungs and improves cardiovascular fitness and endurance, it does not strengthen muscles,” said Dr. Lydia Kaume, nutrition and health education specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

Scientific research shows resistance exercises are safe for women and men of all ages and can preserve and increase muscle mass and bone density.

These exercises use weights and resistance bands. The recommendation is for adults to have resistance exercises two to three times per week for each of the major muscle groups, and neuromotor exercise involving balance, agility, and coordination.


“Flexibility exercises are usually part of the routine as they are crucial to maintaining joint range of movement,” said Kaume.

These recommendations are not one size-fit all according to Kaume. Since individuals vary in their habits, physical function, health status, and goals, they are modifiable.

“Adults are advised to consult their doctor before starting any exercise, but highly encouraged to incorporate all components of physical activity in their daily lives as they are essential in maintaining an individual’s physical, mental and emotional health,” said Kaume.


Benefits of Regular Strength Training include improving sleep, maintaining a healthy state of mind, improved glucose control, proper maintenance of weight, strengthening of bone, arthritis relief, restoration of balance, and reduction of falls.

“In essence, strength training can be powerful in alleviating signs and symptoms of several chronic illnesses,” said Kaume.

Obesity: Individuals build muscle in weight training providing up to a 15 percent increase in metabolic rate. Muscle unlike fat tissue is active and consumes calories while stored. By comparison, stored fat uses very little energy.

Arthritis: Studies have shown that the potency of strength training in alleviating arthritis related pain is the same as, if not better than, medication.

Diabetes: Consistent strength training can produce dramatic improvements in glucose control that are comparable to taking diabetes medication.

Osteoporosis: Strength training increases bone density and reduces the risk for fractures especially in adults aged 50 and over.

Depression: Improvements seen in depressed individuals after weight training are similar to those of individuals taking anti-depressants. Strength training is associated with improved self-confidence and self-esteem.

Insomnia/sleeping problems: Individuals that strength train enjoy improved sleep quality comparable to treatment with medication but without the side effects or the expense.

Cardiovascular disease: Strength training helps individuals gain aerobic capacity, which is vital for heart health. Moreover, when individuals achieve leaner bodies due to weight training, they reduce their risk for cardiovascular disease.


For more information on nutrition, go online to or contact one of the nutrition and health specialists working in the Ozarks: Dr. Lydia Kaume in Barton County, (417) 682-3579; Dr. Pam Duitsman, in Greene County, (417) 881-8909; or Cammie Younger in Texas County, or (417) 967-4545 Christeena Haynes, in Dallas County, (417) 345-7551.

Weather Raises Concerns About Septoria, Freeze Damage and Timing of Corn Planting

Contact: Jill Scheidt, agronomy specialist
Tel: (417) 682-3579

According to Jill Scheidt, agronomy specialist with University of Missouri Extension in Barton County, septoria has been found on wheat in southwest Missouri.

Septoria begins as light yellow flecks or streaks; expanding into yellow to reddish-brown, irregularly shaped blotches. Dark brown specks may be scattered within the centers of mature lesions.

“Yield losses are seen when the flag leaf is present and a fungicide may be economical when the wheat is in or past the flag leaf stage. Most wheat is jointing now,” said Scheidt.


With temperatures possibly dropping below 32 degrees, there is concern for damage of the wheat head.

According to Bill Wiebold, MU State Specialist, wheat is the most sensitive to freezing temperatures when the heads are coming out and flowers are beginning to form.

“To check for freeze damage, wait three days after the low temperature occurs, cut the stem open and locate the forming wheat head. It is normally white or a pale green or yellow color. If the head inside the stem has turned a brown color, freeze damage is likely to have occurred,” said Scheidt.

According to MU State Specialist Peter Scharf, the recent rains may have taken nitrogen deeper into the soil profile, so any farmer planning to take credit for last year’s leftover nitrogen should proceed with caution. Fields may need normal amounts of nitrogen as opposed to lower than normal amounts of nitrogen.


According to Wiebold and Brent Myers, MU State Specialists, producers should not be overly worried about planting corn in late April. Significant yield losses in corn are not seen until planting after the first of June.

“Potential yield losses occur slowly in corn planted during May and potential yield losses increase in corn planted in June due to non-ideal weather conditions occurring in July and August,” said Scheidt.

Myers and Wiebold say data indicates switching out of corn may not be wise even if planting is delayed until the end of May.

The weekly field scouting report is sponsored by University of Missouri Extension and Barton County Extension.

For more information on this scouting report, or to learn how you can receive it a week earlier by telephone, contact the MU Extension Center in Barton County at (417) 682-3579.

Greene County Extension Delegation Rates Legislative Day as a Success

Contact: David Burton, civic communication specialist
Tel: (417) 881-8909

About 400 people attended the 39th annual University of Missouri Alumni Alliance Legislative Day on April 3 at the State Capitol in Jefferson City. Volunteers were urged to talk with legislators about MU Extension’s work and the importance of HB202 and SB9, which would authorize extension councils to form districts to fund programming.

The event, sponsored by the UM Alumni Alliance and MU Extension, is held to thank legislators for their support of the university and MU Extension and to share examples of how extension improves the quality of life, creates jobs and contributes to Missouri communities.

During an in-service education session, 103 attendees learned about the value of creating extension county business plans as a tool for building community support. The business plan developed by the Greene County Extension Council was a focal part of the meeting. Council chair Carl Alison and David Burton, county program director, were on the discussion panel.

The Alliance of Alumni Associations and Extension is made up of 40 members from the four University of Missouri campuses and extension. The UM Board of Curators created the group to foster cooperation among the system campuses and Extension was added to the Alliance in 1994.

The Greene County Extension Council had two delegates attend this year.

“We were well received. Eric Burlison, one of our state representatives, took us down on the house floor to meet with all of our representatives on the floor. He (Eric) had each one come over to us and talk about the bill. It was a great experience. Charlie Norr seemed very sympathetic to our cause and said he would help any way he could,’ said Susie Joplin.

“As a new council member I enjoyed the trip to legislative day. We were able to make contact with one State Senator and six Representatives in person. The elected officials we visited with were courteous, attentive and asked excellent questions. I would say the investment in time was worth it and look forward to another legislative day in the future,” said George Deatz. “The last legislative day I attended was when I was in the Missouri JC's during the mid 1970's. It didn't seem like much had changed in the halls of the Missouri State Capitol.”

The Greene County delegation was able to meet and visit with the following Representatives: Jeffery Messenger, Sonya Anderson, Charlie Norr, Eric Burlison, Elijah Haahr, Lincoln Hough, Kevin Austin and Lyndall Fraker as well as State Senator Bob Dixon.

Since 1914, Greene County residents have sought help from Extension in areas related to agriculture, gardening, 4-H youth, nutrition, families, business and community development. Members of “Friends of Greene County Extension” contribute financially to make it possible for Extension to continue having a positive impact on the quality of life in Greene County. To learn how you can help go online to or call (417) 881-8909. The Greene County Extension Center is located inside the Springfield-Greene County Botanical Center, 2400 S. Scenic, Ave., Springfield, Mo.

“Friends of Extension” Campaign Brochures Available at Various Greene County Businesses

Contact: David Burton, civic communication specialist
Tel: (417) 881-8909

Thanks to the hustle of a Greene County Extension Council member and the interest of some area businesses, copies of the “Friends of Greene County Extension” campaign brochure can now be found all over Greene County.

Mary Sue Joplin is the council member that has invested her time in placing and servicing local businesses in the county.

The businesses in Greene County have agreed to display and pass out the Friends of Greene County Extension brochures: Schaffitzel's Greenhouse, Inc., Wickman's Garden Village, Carson's Nurseries, Nixa Hardware and Seed Co., Orscheln Farm and Home in Republic, Richart's Stone and Garden, SoMoFarm and Ranch Supply, Race Brothers Farm and Home Supply, Steinert's Greenhouse, John Deere Landscapes Branch 182, Native and Organic Garden Center, Hummert Seed and Supply, Mama Jean's South, Chesterfield Family Center in Springfield, O'Quinn's Orchid & Nursery in Springfield and Lily's GardenCorner in Springfield.
“Please say ‘thanks’ to the owner or manager of our new supporters when you are in any of them making a purchase,” said George Deatz, vice-president of the Greene County Extension Council. “If you know of any businesses that would be willing to place a dozen or so of our tri-fold brochures for their customers just let us know, we have a good supply at the office.”

Since 1914, Greene County residents have sought help from Extension in areas related to agriculture, gardening, 4-H youth, nutrition, families, business and community development. Members of “Friends of Greene County Extension” contribute financially to make it possible for Extension to continue having a positive impact on the quality of life in Greene County. To learn how you can help go online to or call (417) 881-8909. The Greene County Extension Center is located inside the Springfield-Greene County Botanical Center, 2400 S. Scenic, Ave., Springfield, Mo.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Learn QuickBooks for Small Business at Extension Workshop in Kimberling City on May 22

Contact: Chrystal Irons, business development specialist
Tel: (417) 546-4431

“Introduction to QuickBooks,” a hands-on workshop covering this popular computerized bookkeeping system, is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Wednesday, May 22 at First Christian Church, 5 Hilltop Dr., Kimberling City.

A registration fee of $129 is being charged to cover the cost of materials. Table Rock Chamber of Commerce members will receive a discounted fee of $99.

To register, contact the Table Rock Lake Area Chamber of Commerce at (417) 739-2564. For more information on the class, contact Chrystal Irons, the business development specialist for University of Missouri Extension at (417) 546-4431 or Email:

“QuickBooks boosts the accuracy of your small business accounting. In addition to keeping more accurate business records, the QuickBooks reports help owners and managers make better business decisions.” said Irons.

Attendees will learn how to navigate in the program and how to set up a new company. Irons will guide participants through setting up a company file, writing checks and understanding asset and liability accounts.

In addition, the class will cover basic bookkeeping functions like sales/invoicing, customer receipts, paying bills, generating standard reports, and bank reconciliation.

“We’ll also cover the reports, charts, and graphs QuickBooks can create for you. We will review how you can customize reports for specific business and managers. Before the day is over, attendees will learn how to customize invoices and statements to include your logo and messages to customers,” said Irons.

This workshop is funded, in part, through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration.

University of Missouri Extension and Table Rock Lake Area Chamber of Commerce are jointly offering this workshop.

Historical Success of Show-Me-Select Replacement Heifer Program Makes May 17 Sale a Popular Event

Contact: Eldon Cole, livestock specialist
Tel: (417) 466-3102

The Missouri Show-Me-Select (SMS) Beef Heifer Development Program began in 1997 as a tool to improve the on-farm heifer development practices around the state. The program was the idea of Dr. Dave Patterson, University of Missouri Extension beef reproduction specialist.

According to Eldon Cole, a livestock specialist with University of Missouri Extension, Patterson had developed a similar effort in Kentucky.

“He saw the potential for improving Missouri’s beef industry. Missouri has the reputation of being a seedstock state and the tested bull program has been highly successful since the 1960's,” said Cole.


The next SMS sale in southwest Missouri will be at 7 p.m., May 17 at Joplin Regional Stockyards, Carthage. The sale has 350 head consigned that will calve from early August through November. Over half of these heifers carry calves out of AI service.

Heifers will be screened the day prior to the sale by graders from the Missouri Department of Agriculture and USDA. Heifers weighing under 800 pounds, those with small frames, light muscling and poor temperaments will be removed from the sale.

The average number of heifers per draft will be 4 head with a range from 1 to 10 head. All heifers have been BVD-PI ear notch tested and found negative and have been vaccinated for brucellosis.


In addition to the use of nutritional, reproductive, genetic and health practices to improve heifer development, the SMS program provided a marketing component. About one-third of the heifers that go through the various practices from weaning to third-stage pregnancy are offered for sale, either privately or at auction.

The Southwest Missouri Beef Cattle Improvement Association was one of the first groups around the state to test the SMS program and held the first SMS sale in November, 1997. At this inaugural sale, 175 bred heifers sold for an average of $864 per head. Since then, 27 sales have been held. According to Cole, the average price at the November 2012 sale was $1974 per head.

“Sales have become a profitable, added-value market for consignors,” said Cole.

As for the buyers, Cole says they realize SMS tagged heifers have been through a comprehensive program and should easily calve the first time and breed back regularly in the future.

“Buyers have also discovered that buying, high-quality heifers may be more economical than raising their own,” said Cole.

Surveys taken after every sale show the overall assist rate for the heifers is around 10 percent. The two factors contributing to calving ease are pre-breeding pelvic measurements and the use of bulls that meet calving ease expected progeny difference (EPD) requirements.


Cole recently visited the farm of Philip Brooks near Exeter. Brooks was an early buyer of SMS heifers (1999, 2000 and 2001).

“We went to one pasture and found four of his older SMS purchases. They still look sound and Philip says they’ve calved on-schedule every year. He has seen the merits of the program and now is developing 10 heifers to be in the November, 2014 SMS sale,” said Cole.


Catalogs for the spring sale may be obtained from University of Missouri Extension offices or accessed online Video of a portion of the heifers may be seen nearer sale day at Phone contacts maybe made at 417-466-3102.

For more information on getting involved with the SMS program, contact any of the MU Extension livestock specialists in southwest Missouri: Eldon Cole in Mt. Vernon, (417) 466-3102, Andy McCorkill in Dallas County at (417) 345-7551 or Logan Wallace in Howell County at (417) 256-2391.

Sheep and Goat Grazing Workshop in Neosho has May 24 Deadline

Contact: Dr. Jodie A. Pennington, region small ruminant educator
Tel: (417) 455-9500

Lincoln University Cooperative Research (LUCR), University of Missouri Extension, and Crowder College are conducting a “Grazing Workshop for Small Ruminant Producers,” Friday, June 7 and Saturday, June 8 at Crowder College in Neosho.

One of the workshop speakers will be Dr. Frank Pinkerton, a world famous goat researcher, author, and retired professor and extension goat specialist. Dr. Pinkerton will talk about the evolution of goat production and marketing over the last 40 years.

“We are excited to be able to offer this kind of educational opportunity for producers,” said Dr. Todd Higgins, workshop director and associate professor. “There are over 5,000 producers in Missouri raising small ruminants. This workshop is designed to have a significant impact on their management grazing practices. This, in turn, may help them lower production costs to have a positive impact their bottom line.”

The workshop consists of two days of classes and hands-on exercises. Workshop participants will hear presentations by grazing specialists, veterinarians and researchers as well as network with other producers. There will also be field exercises, demonstrations and vendors.

The Grazing Workshop for Small Ruminant Producers is open to all interested producers and vendors. There is a fee of $150 for one person or $195 for two. The workshop fee includes a booklet and many free items for the attendees, including meals.

For more information and to register, contact Ms. Laurie Gilles by May 24 by calling (573) 681-6189 or email

Friday, April 19, 2013

Successfully Recruiting and Working with Volunteers Keeps Community Organizations Rolling

Contact: David Burton, civic communication specialist
Tel: (417) 881-8909

Without volunteers, many community organizations and groups would not be able to function. That includes University of Missouri Extension programs like 4-H, Master Gardeners and county extension councils.

Volunteers are the essential wheels that keep an organization rolling.

Whether your organization already uses volunteers or is thinking about developing a volunteer program, specialists with MU Extension have experience in working with volunteers and can offer programs for being successful.

MU Extension specialists offer up these six tips as the most important ones to remember.

Prepare before bringing on volunteers. Be sure your organization has addressed any liability issues regarding volunteers and has a volunteer screening program in place.

Recognize the contributions of your volunteers. Consider internal recognition since not all volunteers want their photo in the local paper. Some are happy to receive public recognition and public recognition also increases awareness of your organization and can be an effective recruiting tool for new volunteers.

Set a level of expectations. An organization should have clear expectations for volunteers. What are the different roles volunteers can fill? Are there any special qualifications needed? How much effort and time will the project require? Is there an amount of volunteer time too small to accept?

Who knows your organization needs volunteers? Leaders in community groups often complain about a lack of volunteers. When that is the case, the first question to ask is, “who knows you need volunteers?" Before volunteers can take advantage of the opportunity to give their time, they need to know there is a need.

Respect a volunteer’s time. Time is a valuable commodity. Your volunteers are giving of themselves as well as giving their time. No one is just a volunteer. Make good use of their time but do not abuse the time they give.

Retention of volunteers. Address volunteer burn out before it happens. Volunteers need time off, too. Your organization does not want to have the reputation of exhausting their volunteers.

For more information on developing volunteers and board members contact any of these MU Extension specialists in southwest Missouri: Dr. Jim Wirth (417) 881-8909, Renette Wardlow (417) 581-3558 or David Burton, (417) 881-8909.

MU Extension Livestock Specialist Says Growing Interest in Branding Giving Rise to Common Questions

Contact: Eldon Cole, livestock specialist
Tel: (417) 466-3102

Southwest Missouri beef cattle producers have shown a great interest in branding their cattle this winter and spring following several instances of cattle theft.

With that growing interest in branding, there has also been a number of commonly asked questions, according to Eldon Cole, a livestock specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

“It seems a lot of cattle owners have the same basic concerns and questions. It is good that so many cattle owners are now considering branding It just makes sense to invest a few dollars to provide a bit of insurance to guard against cattle thieves,” said Cole, who has over 40 years of experience as a livestock specialist.

In a special interview session, Cole offered answers to common questions he has received the last few months.

Q: How big does the brand need to be?

A: “The law states the brand must be 3 inches or larger in diameter and have 2 or more characters,” said Cole.

Q: How can a person look at some brands currently registered in Missouri that might help them design their own brand?

A: “The printing of the last official brand book happened in 2012. Copies may be found in some county sheriff offices, county recorder of deeds, some MU Extension Centers and some livestock markets,” said Cole. The brands may also be viewed online at:

Q: Which is best -- a freeze brand or a hot iron brand?

A: According to Cole, freeze brands require much more time, patience, a set of clippers, a coolant and they have variable results. The brand can also be altered with coloring for a short time. However, they are very attractive on dark haired animals and freeze branding does inflict less hide damage than the hot iron brand. The hot iron will require less time. It also gives a higher degree of readable brands when used by a good brander. “Clipping the long hair off a brand site improves readability on both types of brand. Stocker operators lean toward a hot iron brand. This is because they will own the animal for a short time,” said Cole. “Just remember, it is a personal preference for the individual cattle owner.”

Q: What’s the best source of heat for a brand?

A: “There is a bit of personal preference involved. Electric is more popular now, so long as you have power or a generator at the corral. Some have devised effective propane heaters, but a wood fire still works also,” said Cole.

Q: What does an electric, 2-character iron cost?

A: “Between $100 and $125 in the catalogs I’ve seen,” said Cole.

Q: I run cows and calves. When should I brand the calves?

A: “The traditional age is from 2 to 4 months,” said Cole.

Q: Will the brand get excessively large if I brand the calf when it is young?

A: “The brand grows some and I’ve visited with veteran branders about how much they expand. Some believe there is an animal to animal variation as well as the location on the animal. One said the brand that is 4 inches on a young calf’s hip will probably end up about 6 inches at maturity. I know of some producers that use irons of different size for young calves or yearlings,” said Cole.

Q: Would it be best to use a 2-inch brand on little calves?

A: “I would not recommend it, especially if you have what I call a brand that is too busy. A 2-inch brand could end up with poor clarity,” said Cole.

Q: Do I need to apply something to the hot iron brand to speed healing?

“Most do not, but it might make you feel better and cause the brand to heal more quickly. Various oils or ointments would work,” said Cole.

Q: I’m from a neighboring brand state but since I plan to lease Missouri pasture for my cows, should I register my brand in Missouri?

A: Yes.

Q: Do I need to clip the brand location if I’m using a hot iron?

A: “It depends on the amount of hair on the animal. Removing long hair will give you a clearer brand but is not necessary if hair in that location has already shed,” said Cole.

Q: The increased interest in branding is likely due to theft protection. What are other reasons to brand?

A: “Brands help settle ownership disputes between neighbors. Brands serve as the animal’s return address in case of theft or straying. Producers of quality feeder cattle or breeding stock should view the brand as their mark of pride. It really can enhance their marketability,” said Cole.

Q: Are there any restrictions on branding numbers on my cattle for within-herd identification?

A: “The brand law states that the in-herd ID must be at least 10 inches apart from the ownership brand. Otherwise, there are no restrictions,” said Cole.

Q: If I buy branded cattle how can I protect myself?

A: “Request a bill of sale from the seller. It should describe the brand, cattle type and sale date. The county where the animals are located determines which Sheriff investigates ownership disputes. He may call on the services of a veterinarian, approved by the director of agriculture, in reading the brands,” said Cole.


For more information, contact any of the MU Extension livestock specialists in southwest Missouri: Eldon Cole in Mt. Vernon, (417) 466-3102, Andy McCorkill in Dallas County at (417) 345-7551, Dona Goede in Cedar County, (417) 276-3313 or Logan Wallace in Howell County at (417) 256-2391.

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Test Pressure Canner Gauges Now and Get Prepared for Home Canning

Contact: David Burton, civic communication specialist
Tel: (417) 881-8909

Spring is here, which means it is time to get canning supplies and equipment checked and ready to use. It is also a good time to brush up on safe canning techniques.

Before using it, be sure to get the dial gauge of your pressure canner tested. The spring in the dial gauge can get worn out or stuck, so it needs to be tested annually.

Any low acid foods, like vegetables, meats and some tomato products, need to be canned under pressure in order to reach the temperature required to destroy the disease-causing microorganisms that could be present.

If a pressure gauge is not accurate, it could create an environment inside the canning jar that is not only unsafe but is instead the perfect breeding ground for growing the pathogens. The contamination cannot be seen, smelled or tasted, so the only way to ensure that the food is safe is to preserve it in the correct way.


Pressure canner gauges can be tested at many MU Extension offices in southwest Missouri. For a complete list of county locations visit online. Some county extension offices have a minimal charge to test gauges.

One exception is the Greene County Extension Center which no longer tests gauges. Staff there sends all inquiries to Star Appliance, 1774 S Grant Ave, Springfield, Mo.

“We don’t have the equipment to test in Greene County,” said David Burton, county program director. “But also, it is a convenience to send clients to Star Appliance because they will test gauges for free and if there is a problem, they have parts for repairs. That way you only have to make one stop to get both things done.”


MU Extension has guides and publications explaining how to get started canning and step-by-step instructions on how to use a pressure canner online and at most offices.

MU Extension guide sheets cover topics like canning vegetables, fruits, jams and jellies, tomatoes and tomato products, pickles and pickled products, and meat, fish and poultry.

For those wanting to learn pressure canning or need recipes, the Greene County Extension Center also sells the 196-page book, "Complete Guide to Home Canning” for $18.


For more information on nutrition contact one of the following nutrition specialists: Dr. Lydia Kaume in Barton County, (417) 682-3579; Dr. Pam Duitsman, in Greene County, (417) 881-8909; or Cammie Younger in Texas County, (417) 967-4545. Information is also available online

Aphids and Nitrogen Loss Remain Biggest Concern to Wheat Growers in Southwest Missouri

Contact: Jill Scheidt, agronomy specialist
Tel: (417) 682-3579

According to Jill Scheidt, agronomy specialist with University of Missouri Extension in Barton County, most wheat in southwest Missouri has started to joint.

“If wheat has begun jointing and nitrogen has not been applied, flying nitrogen over with a plane may be advised in order to reduce damage to the wheat head,” said Scheidt.

Wheat may also be a little behind due to the cold weather but rainfall could have a more costly impact.

“Recent rainfalls may cause loss of nitrogen that has been applied due to leaching that may occur in sandy soils. It is unlikely that there will be enough nitrogen lost though to justify a second application of nitrogen,” said Scheidt.

Scheidt said aphids were seen above threshold levels in wheat that she scouted. Threshold levels for Bird Cherry Oat aphid and Greenbug aphid are 6 aphids/ft. Greenbug and Bird Cherry Oat Aphids vector barley yellow dwarf virus and should be treated for until the flag leaf is present. Recommended treatment for aphids is 3.2 oz/A Warrior or 3.6 oz/A Mustang Max.

“Apply insecticide when temperatures are at or above 60 degrees, when insects are active,” said Scheidt.

Bird Cherry Oat aphids are olive green with red-orange patches along the rear, near the cornicles, which look like tailpipes. Greenbug aphids are pale yellow to pale green with a prominent dark green line running down the length of the back.

“As the season progresses, aphids become less tolerant of cold weather and may die due to extreme changes in temperature. So be sure to scout for aphids on a warm day before applying an insecticide,” said Scheidt.

The weekly field scouting report is sponsored by University of Missouri Extension and Barton County Extension.

For more information on this scouting report, or to learn how you can receive it a week earlier by telephone, contact the MU Extension Center in Barton County at (417) 682-3579.

There are photos available for free download to accompany this story. The photos can be found in the “Field Crop Scouting for 2013” set on the regional MU Extension photo library at

Clover Mites Begin Home Invasion as Weather Warms

Contact: Patrick Byers, horticulture specialist
Tel: (417) 881-8909

Every year at about this time, small red clover mites begin invading homes in large numbers.

Thousands of them can appear during the spring or fall. Clover mites often crawl around through cracks and tiny openings around windows and doors.

A heavy growth of well-fertilized grass growing against the foundation of a home is often the source of an infestation.

“Clover mites are plant feeders and they get nutrients by sucking plant juices. Damage to plants generally is minimal. For that reason there is seldom a need for control,” said Patrick Byers, horticulture specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

Clover mites do not bite people or pets and cannot cause damage to home structures. They can leave unsightly stains on light-colored walls, carpet, fabrics, or papers when crushed.

The south, southwest, and east sides of a building are most susceptible to the critters due to quick warming from the sun.

“Prevention is the best step in controlling populations of clover mites. Creating a zone free of grass and weeds around the foundation of the home is important,” said Byers.

To prevent movement into the home, exterior cracks around doors and windows or holes in the foundation should be caulked.

Once inside, there are really only two options for removal: vacuuming them or killing them with a direct contact pyrethrin aerosol spray.

For more information, guide sheet “G7358 Clover Mites” is available through the University of Missouri Extension Centers or online

For more information, or answers to your specific lawn and garden questions, contact one of the following Master Gardener Hotlines in southwest Missouri: Barton County, (417) 682-3579; Christian County, (417) 581-4853, Greene County, (417) 881-8909; Jasper County, (417) 358-2158; or Stone and Taney counties, (866) 357-6812.

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Unique Food Preservation Books Available at Greene County Extension Center

Contact: David Burton, country program director
Tel: (417) 881-8909

Individuals wanting to learn research-proven best ways to preserve their garden produce will benefit from either of two books available for sale at this summer at the Greene County Extension, located inside the Springfield-Greene County Botanical Center, 2400 S. Scenic, Springfield.

Persons interested in taking food preservation classes (canning, jams and jellies and others) can contact the Greene County Extension Center by telephone (417-881-8909) or email ( to be added to a list that will be informed as soon as dates are set.


The 112-page “Seasonable and Simple” cookbook is available for sale for $15. “Seasonable and Simple” is a guide that helps readers select, store and prepare fresh fruits and vegetables. The recipes use simple preparations and seasonings, so you can taste the goodness of a fruit or vegetable at the peak of its flavor.

The “Seasonable and Simple” book lists fruits and vegetables by their growing season — spring, summer and fall. Nutrients and associated health benefits are listed with each fruit or vegetable. This guide can also help you choose fruits and vegetables in season and get all the benefits — food that tastes good, is good for you and is reasonably priced


For those wanting to learn pressure canning and would like some recipes as well, the Greene County Extension Center is also selling the 196-PAGE book, "Complete Guide to Home Canning” for $18.

This book from the U.S. Department of Agriculture includes research-based recommendations for canning safer and better quality food at home. It contains seven home canning guides that cover topics like: scientific principles on which canning techniques are based, canning equipment, proper use of jars and lids, basic canning ingredients and procedures, how to achieve safe canned products, deciding how much to can, selecting and preparing foods for canning, and procedures for canning all types of fruits, vegetables, tomatoes, meats, jelly, pickles and more.

For more information, call the Greene County Extension Center at 417-881-8909. Information and order forms are also available online at

Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program in Greenfield Starting May 13

Dr. Lydia Kaume, nutrition and health education specialist
Tel: (417) 682-3579

The Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program is a group format course offered by trained leaders in six-week increments. Topics covered include range-of-motion, flexibility, balance, strengthening and endurance-building activities; relaxation techniques; and health education topics.

University of Missouri Extension is offering this program at the Greenfield Senior Center in Dade County on Mondays and Wednesdays from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., from May 13 and to June 19. Participants must register in advance by calling 417-637-2112.

The instructor for the course will be Dr. Lydia Kaume, a nutrition and health education specialist for University of Missouri Extension.

“Scientific studies have shown that physical activity can reduce pain and improve function, mood, and quality of life for adults with arthritis. Physical activity can also help manage other chronic conditions that are common among adults with arthritis, such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity,” said Dr. Kaume.

MU Extension and the Southwest Missouri Regional Arthritis Center (SWRAC) are partnering to deliver this program. SWRAC is one of seven regional centers established in Missouri by the Department of Health. For a complete schedule of courses offered visit

The mission of the Missouri Arthritis Project and the Regional Arthritis Centers is to reduce the burden of rheumatic disease by promoting optimal health and quality of life for all Missourians affected by arthritis, rheumatic diseases and related musculoskeletal conditions through prevention, early intervention, education, service and collaboration.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Master Gardeners of the Ozarks Hosting “2013 Garden Tour” Saturday May 18 in Forsyth

Contact: Tim Schnakenberg, agronomy specialist
Tel: (417) 357-6812

The Master Gardeners of the Ozarks garden tour in 201 promises to be a fun learning experience in a unique setting.

The tour event runs from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, May 18 at the “Five Oaks Farms” in Forsyth. This will be a day of gardening demonstrations, lunch, and a guided tour of the estate.

Tour participants will be able to meander along the rock paths and explore the rose garden, perennial beds, shade garden, vegetable garden, and greenhouse.

Demonstrations during the day include rose gardening, perennial flowers, shade gardening, workings of a greenhouse, creating container gardens, and vegetable gardening.

The tour costs $22 per person and includes lunch. Individuals must register in advance at or by calling the Stone County Extension Center at 417-357-6812

All proceeds benefit the scholarship fund for horticultural students at The College of the Ozarks.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Try and Help the Greene County Extension Center

Just trying a new way to send office postage can earn the Greene County Extension Council $20.

As of April 16, 2013, 11 individuals and businesses had already signed up for the program at and used this code to benefit Greene County Extension: C-BNR8-W7G.

But the benefit would not be possible if a key piece of office equipment had not broken and caused David Burton, county program director for Greene County Extension, to search for a cheaper solution online.

"Our postage meter at the Greene County Extension Center stopped working. We called for a repair which was going to cost us $200 for a service call and $200 for what they thought was the right part to fix the postage meter," said Burton.

With recent budget cuts, the office is watching money closely. Burton had already done some preliminary research on mailing options since the rental contract for the postage meter would be ending in November.

" is easy to use, less expensive than an office postage meter ($16 a month), and in many ways easier to use," said Burton. "One of the features we really like is the ability to add postage to our online account with a credit card instead of writing and physically sending a check."
Some supplies, like "net stamps" do need to be purchased but it is also possible to print postage directly to envelopes. Postage for most packages can be printed on store-purchased mailing labless.

Any business or individual that decides to try and signs up under the “sign a friend” campaign will receive an additional $20 in free postage and earn the Greene County Extension Center an additional $20 also.

Sign up can be accomplished at
 Be sure to use this code to benefit Greene County Extension office: Tell-A-Friend Promo Code is C-BNR8-W7G  

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Friday, April 12, 2013

Christian County Master Gardener Plant Sale April 20 in Ozark

Contact: Dr. Gordon Carriker, agriculture business specialist
Tel: (417) 581-3558

The annual Christian County Master Gardener Plant Sale will be from 8 a.m. to noon, Saturday, April 20, at the OTC-Richwood Valley Campus, located between Nixa & Ozark on Hwy 14.

The sale will include perennials, bulbs, annuals, herbs, trees, shrubs, vegetable and flower plants, flower seeds and ornamental grasses.

“The plants at this sale are always very healthy and high quality and will be bargain priced,” said Gordon Carriker, agriculture business specialist with University of Missouri Extension and local coordinator for the Christian County Master Gardeners.

Plants have been raised by Master Gardeners or gathered from gardens maintained by them. Those same Master Gardeners will be available to answer questions or help with plant selection.

“Garden of Eatin’,” a cook book compiled by the Master Gardener’s in Christian County, will also be available at the sale.

“This annual fundraiser is always very popular and the best selections will be available early,” said Carriker. “The mission of the Missouri Master Gardener Extension Program is helping others learn to grow.”

The money raised from the fund raiser will help develop and maintain demonstration gardens at OTC-Richwood Valley Campus, Christian County Judicial Center, the Clever, Garrison Springs, the Nixa Community Centers, the Nixa Xeriscape Garden, and at outdoor science classrooms at elementary schools in the county.

Master Gardeners also provide a hotline, free seminars, booths and literature to the community.

For more information, you can call the Christian County Extension office at (417) 581-3558.

Time to Take Action Against Bagworms is Now

Contact: Patrick Byers, horticulture specialist
Tel: (417) 881-8909

Right now is a good time to take action to control bagworms according to Patrick Byers, horticulture specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

Bagworms are actually the larvae of a moth. The larvae cover their bodies with a protective layer of plant parts. In the fall, the larvae pupate within the bag. Males then emerge and mate with females, who never leave the bag. The female lays her eggs inside the bag then dies.

Bagworms overwinter as eggs inside the bag. The eggs hatch and larvae start to feed in late May or early June.

The favored host plants are conifers (pine, spruce, arborvitae, junipers, eastern red cedar), black locust, maple and sycamore. According to Byers, attacked plants can lose part or all of their foliage, which can weaken the plant and render it unsightly.

“If you have bags present on your plants now, you will likely have bagworms this season,” said Byers.

The best way to manage the bagworms is to remove the overwintering bags. Handpick the young bagworms. This can be done several times although it is not very practical on larger plants.

Byers notes that chemical sprays are most effective when larvae first hatch and emerge. He recommends spraying in May with bacillus thuringiensis, Sevin, or other sprays designed for use against bagworms.

For more information on bagworms, call the Greene County Extension Center at 417-881-8909 or visit the office website at

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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Master Gardener Hotline Volunteers Answer Public Questions for the Love of Gardening

Written Jeanne Duffey, Master Gardeners of Greene County

“What can be more fun than talking to gardeners about gardening?,” says Anise Butler, one of dozens of trained and certified volunteers who staff the Master Gardeners of Greene County Hotline. The Hotline crew answered about 2,000 questions from home gardeners last year, and is now into the second month of the new fulltime season, staffing the phone and office from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, March through October.

During the off-season, the Hotline is available on a part-time basis. In addition to help given over the phone, the public can e-mail Or stop by the Hotline office in the west end of the Springfield-Greene County Botanical Center located in Nathanael Greene/Close Memorial Park, 2400 S. Scenic Ave., to bring in a diseased branch, leaf or a pest for identification. The phone number is 417-881-8909, ext. 320.

There is no charge for this service provided by Master Gardeners of Greene County, one of the few chapters in the state to host a hotline.

“Problems can be as simple as one gentleman’s who has tried growing vegetables from seeds, whose plants germinate well, but after a few weeks, dwindle and die,” said another Hotline volunteer, Fred Hamburg. “He did not realize that seed-starting media does not contain nutrients and that he should fertilize when the plant has its first set of true leaves.”

Hamburg adds that some questions “can be much more difficult and require research to answer appropriately. These questions always increase my knowledge, so are beneficial to me as well as the caller.”

Hotline volunteer Karen McDonald enjoys “interacting with some of the interesting personalities of callers who are often involved in unique projects. I often feel that I learn as much as they do from answering their questions. Helping solve their problems or identify bugs or plants is rewarding.”

Pat Swackhammer says she learns so much more than the people who call: “By the time I research their questions, I have been exposed to a wealth of information that I am more apt to retain.” Another Hotline volunteer, Ken Turner, agrees: “The best thing I like about working the Hotline is that you learn a lot. There are so many different types of questions, and, after you do your research, you tend to learn about something you didn’t have a clue about.”

The Master Gardener Hotline is recognized as a designated representative of the Botanical Center with the Sentinel Plant Network, a USDA-sponsored collaboration of the American Public Gardens Association and the National Plant Diagnostic Network. The Hotline is one of three core projects of the Master Gardeners of Greene County chapter. The other two are demonstration gardens in Nathanael Greene/Close Memorial Park and on National Avenue south of Sunshine Street. For more information, go to

Spring Frost Advisory Means Some Plants May Get Nipped; Extension Specialist Suggests Some Precautions

Contact: Patrick Byers, horticulture specialist
Tel: (417) 881-8909

With warnings about potential frost on Friday and Saturday in the news, now is a good time to remind gardeners that on average the last expected frost in southwest Missouri is on April 17.

“It really is best to wait until the frost date has passed to plant,” said Patrick Byers, a horticulture specialist with University of Missouri Extension. “Especially with flowers, some folks will wait until May 1, which is typically our last frost date.”

A heavy April frost can damage foliage on annuals, perennials and trees in the yard as well as vegetables in the garden.

Homeowners can protect vulnerable plants with protective covers at night. Just remember, freezes can vary across local terrain. Low temperatures can vary by more than 10 degrees from the bottom of a valley to a nearby hilltop. Urban areas tend to be warmer than rural areas.

What type of damage can occur with a frost? Flowers are often the tenderest part of a plant, and the first to be damaged by frost. This is certainly the case with strawberries, peaches and apples.

“I get lots of calls from gardeners wanting to know what can be done to deal with frost,” said Byers. “There are three things. First and foremost, plant at the proper time to avoid most frost. Second, cover plants with row cover or other protective layers. Third, pull back mulches and moisten the soil.”

Do not use plastic to cover plants. Always use paper or bed sheets or something similar to keep them a little bit warmer.


The harm in 2007 came as a result of the record breaking warm temperatures in late March followed by record lows April 4 through 9. Because of the earlier warm weather, plants were fully activated and not prepared for freezing cold temperatures.

“There is no way to know how the remainder of the spring is going to go weather-wise. The weather in the winter of 2007 had been the third warmest on record and then along came the devastating week of the Easter freeze,” said Byers.

The Easter freeze of 2007 was when several days of record cold temperatures (from April 4-9) damaged trees and fruit crops which had leafed out and bloomed early.

In 2007, MU Extension horticulture specialists advised patience. In most cases, it took a couple of weeks to really determine how much damage occurred to the plants.

Most perennials were able to overcome problems from the freeze at that time and trees did rebloom.


“Gardeners seem by nature to be optimistic risk takers. When the weather warms up, even if it is in February, some gardeners go ahead and plant,” said Byers. “That is okay if you don't mind needing to replant if the weather turns cold.”

The best rule is to follow the advice given in MU Extension’s vegetable planting calendar. The calendar gives lots of information on when to plant, how much to plant per person, and suggests varieties that grow well in this area.

This guide is available at It will also be available at the nearest county extension center or at the MU Extension’s Master Gardeners office in the Botanical Center at Nathaniel Greene Park, 2400 S Scenic, or telephone 417-881-8909.

Vegetable Planting Calendar a Must for All Gardeners

Contact: Patrick Byers, horticulture specialist
Tel: (417) 881-8909

Both first time gardeners and seasoned professionals can benefit from the “Vegetable Planting Calendar” guide available from University of Missouri Extension. The guide provides a complete list of planting dates and varieties that do well in southwest Missouri.

“Everything from asparagus to zucchini that is listed in the planting calendar represents the varieties that provide the best yield, quality and disease resistance under Missouri conditions,” said Patrick Byers, horticulture specialist, University of Missouri Extension.

The guide also deals with when to plant certain vegetables by giving planting dates for south, central and north Missouri.

“If you live within the Ozarks plateau, you may want to follow the north Missouri planting dates due to the possibility of late spring frosts,” said Byers. “If you follow the south Missouri planting dates for spring plantings, be prepared to cover plants for frost protection.”

The guide also provides information on the following: how much to plant per person; how much seed to purchase for a 100 foot row; row spacing; inches between plants in the row; depth of planting; days from planting to eating; and vitamin content of the vegetable.

If you need additional gardening and horticultural advice, or want to obtain a copy of the Vegetable Planting Calendar (Guide sheet 6201), contact the Master Gardener Hotline at (417) 881-8909, download the file online at or contact the nearest MU Extension center.

When visiting MU Extension online at, use the search box to find either "vegetable planting calendar" or "guide sheet 6201." Both plain text and PDF versions of the guide are available online.

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Flowering Trees Add Beauty to the Landscape

Contact: Patrick Byers, horticulture specialist
Tel: (417) 881-8909

Flowering trees are important because they add beauty and seasonal interest to the landscape according to Patrick Byers, horticulture specialist, University of Missouri Extension.

"In the landscape, flowering trees are secondary in importance to shade trees that provide framing, shade and background. However, flowering trees do provide interest that few shade trees can match," said Byers.


The flowering tree bloom intensity and color may vary each year. That is why Byers frequently gets asked about what factors may influence a tree's bloom performance.

"One of the biggest factors is the growing season the previous year. Flower buds are formed and set during the past summer growing season. Weather conditions or drought play a significant role on bloom intensity next spring," said Byers.

Harsh winter conditions -- such as extreme cold temperatures or early spring frosts -- can influence plant performance the following spring.

Cool spring temperatures during the bloom period will actually prolong the colorful beauty of the tree according to Byers.


When selecting flowering shrubs and trees for your landscape, Byers says there are several factors that should be considered.

For starters, the size, form and overall appearance of the tree should be considered as well as the season of blooming, intensity, duration and the flower color.

"Perhaps the most important consideration is the planting site. Most flowering trees will perform best in fertile soils that are well drained. Modify soils with compost and elevate the planting area if drainage seems to be a problem," said Byers.


In southwest Missouri, there are several popular flowering tree types to choose from that will also perform well.

Flowering crab apple trees are popular but Byers recommends choosing disease resistant varieties. Callery pear trees, like the new Aristocrat, Redspire, and Cleveland Select, are also popular.

"Some of the favorites in the Ozarks remain Eastern redbud, flowering dogwood, flowering plums, flowering peach and flowering cherry trees," said Byers.

For more information, contact Greene County’s Master Gardener Hotline, (417) 881-8909.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Gooseberries Native to the Ozarks, Easy to Grow, and Tasty to Eat Says Extension Specialist

Contact: Patrick Byers, horticulture specialist
Tel: (417) 881-8909

Gooseberries are a late spring-early summer favorite in the Ozarks according to Patrick Byers, a horticulture specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

“Gooseberries also have roots in the Ozarks hills. They are actually native to much of southern Missouri,” said Byers.

How difficult are gooseberries to grow? According to Byers, gooseberries are easy to grow. The small shrubs are useful in landscapes and reach three to four feet in height. The plants are relatively carefree (as far as pests) and one plant may produce up to 25 pounds of fruit.

“For the best results, I recommend planting the Pixwell, Poorman or Welcome varieties,” said Byers.

When are gooseberries ready to harvest? Pick gooseberries when the berries are fully sized. Gooseberries may be picked when they green and tart, which is when they are best for pies or cakes. Gooseberries may also be picked when fully ripe, purple or red or color, with some sweetness, for use in preserves or sauce.

“Most gooseberries are thorny plants so be sure to harvest with gloves,” said Byers.

How should gooseberries be handled after harvest? First, remove the stem and the calyx then refrigerate the fruit until used in cakes, jams, preserves or sauces.

For more information on gooseberries, or answers to your specific lawn and garden questions, contact Patrick Byers, horticulture specialist, University of Missouri Extension or the Greene County Master Gardener Hotline at (417) 881-8909. Information can also be found on the Greene County Extension website at

Bird Cherry Oat Aphids Found at Threshold in Area Wheat Fields while Powdery Mildew Concerns Lessen

Contact: Jill Scheidt, agronomy specialist
Tel: (417) 682-3579

Bird Cherry Oat Aphids were seen at threshold levels in wheat fields when Jill Scheidt, agronomy specialist with University of Missouri Extension in Barton County, scouted area fields on April 10.

“Bird Cherry Oat Aphids are small green insects identified by a red ring around their rear with cornicles which appear to look like tailpipes,” said Scheidt.

Threshold levels for Bird Cherry Oat Aphid are 10 /ft if wheat is 60 days or more past emergence. A rate of 3.2 oz/A Warrior or 3.6 oz/A Mustang Max is recommended to control aphids.

“Bird Cherry Oat Aphids vector Barley Yellow Dwarf Virus, which causes stunting of plants and possible yield loss and should be treated for until the flag leaf is present,” said Scheidt.

Powdery mildew continues to fade in area fields and is unlikely to need treatment. Look for powdery mildew, a gray to white mold on leaves, during the flag leaf stage. If a disease is present on the flag leaf or moving up the plant toward the flag leaf, a fungicide application is recommended.

Yellowing was also seen in low areas of wheat fields due to temporary nutrient deficiency caused by excessive water in low areas.

“The majority of wheat is looking healthy and green and may begin jointing soon. Jointing stage is identified by locating the main stem and running your fingers along the stem, beginning at the base, until you feel a bump. Jointing has begun when the bump is easily identified and if the stem is cut open, the wheat head can be found beginning to form,” said Scheidt.

Alfalfa weevils have been seen at threshold levels. According to MU state entomologist Wayne Bailey, to determine threshold levels collect 10 random stems and bang them in a bucket. If you collect 1weevil/stem or close to that treatment is justified. A medium rate of Warrior II, Lorsban or Pincap is suggested.

The weekly field scouting report is sponsored by University of Missouri Extension and Barton County Extension.

For more information on this scouting report, or to learn how you can receive it a week earlier by telephone, contact the MU Extension Center in Barton County at (417) 682-3579.

MU Extension Hosting “Strong Women Healthy Lives Expo” in Summersville April 20

Contact: Cammie Younger, nutrition and health specialist
Tel: (417) 967-4545

University of Missouri Extension and the Summersville Community Center are hosting a “Strong Women Healthy Lives Expo” from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on April 20. The goal of the conference is to educate women on the importance of all aspects of their health.

The “Strong Women-Healthy Lives Expo” will include the very best in shopping, beauty, health, nutrition, fitness, financial planning, home décor and children’s products while placing an emphasis on the fact that a woman’s physical, financial, mental and emotional health matters.

The Expo will be held at the Summersville Community Center, 98 Youth Center Avenue in Summersville. The day’s activities will include several physical activity demonstrations, a presentation from Farmers Insurance “Life 101.” The presentation will focus on life insurance and financial options for all women.

“Women should find out their value, what they’re worth to their family and how to provide for their self and their family not only in death but in life,” said Cynthia Jones-Ramsey, a Farmers Insurance agent from Willow Springs.

The “Strong Women-Healthy Lives Expo” will end with a fashion show at 1 p.m. that will focus on fashions that can be purchased locally.

There will be a tea room inspired lunch provided from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. for a $5 charge. All proceeds will go toward the Community Center in Summersville.

Expo attendees can also register to win a trip for themselves and a girl friend to Las Vegas for the “Ultimate Girls Get Away.”

“You’ve been balancing a busy life and it’s time to grab your girlfriends and enjoy a day that’s all about you,” said Cammie Younger, nutrition and health specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

To learn more about the event or any of the classes being offered, call the Texas County Extension office at 417-967-4545, email or find more information online at

Warts and Ringworm on Cattle Surface in Late Winter

Contact: Eldon Cole, livestock specialist
Tel: (417) 466-3102

Area cattle owners have probably noticed some funny spots on the head or neck of their cattle from time to time.

According to Eldon Cole, a livestock specialist with University of Missouri Extension, novice cattle producers may not recognize those mystery spots as either ringworm or warts.

“Both of those conditions seem to surface in the late winter. That’s probably because during the winter, cattle are in close proximity to one another at feed bunks and hay racks. Adult animals seem to have fewer skin problems than calves and yearlings,” said Cole.


Ringworm symptoms are caused by a fungus. The fungus is passed from animal to animal when they come in contact with one another or when they rub on feeders, posts and trees.

“Cattle that are in poor nutritional condition or heavily parasitized are more often affected. A deficiency in certain vitamins can contribute to the skin problem,” said Cole.

The ringworm lesions normally clear up in two or three months as warm weather arrives.

“Treatment is not usually necessary unless you have cattle going to a show or sale,” said Cole.

Since ringworm is a condition that can be transmitted from animal to animal, veterinarians must complete a health paper. Cole says if the ringworm problem appears active the veterinarian would not be able to complete the health paper.


Warts are caused by a variety of viruses. They can spread, like ringworm or humans can aid their spread, if proper sanitation isn’t followed.

“A perfect example is placing a tattoo in the ear and when you go back a few weeks and try to read the number you find a cluster of warts in the ear. If the tattoo equipment isn’t disinfected several animals will show warts in their ears,” said Cole.

Bulls can get warts on their penis, but most warts are found around the head and neck. Some warts are not much bigger than a pea while some grow to fist size or greater. Animals have the ability to develop immunity to the wart virus after exposure to a new strain.

As with ringworm, Cole says treatment is not advised unless the cattle are being moved and require a health paper.

“If the cattle are easy to get hold of, individually removing a few warts can be done. It seems the removal of warts encourages the animal’s immune system to create antibodies that help speed the recovery. There are commercial wart vaccines that can be given, but their effectiveness varies,” said Cole.


For more information, contact any of the MU Extension livestock specialists in southwest Missouri: Eldon Cole in Mt. Vernon, (417) 466-3102, Andy McCorkill in Dallas County at (417) 345-7551, Dona Goede in Cedar County, (417) 276-3313 or Logan Wallace in Howell County at (417) 256-2391.

Friday, April 05, 2013

Visual Pinterest Can Complement Marketing Strategies for Most Any Business Says MU Extension Specialist

Contact: Kathy Macomber, business development specialist
Tel: (417) 682-3579

According to Kathy Macomber, a business development specialist with University of Missouri Extension, Pinterest now ranks as the third most popular social media site behind Facebook and Twitter.

“Pinterest is a free social media site and, when used correctly, it can complement other marketing strategies that most any business or organizations has in place,” said Macomber.

The site acts like a visual bulletin board where users “pin” an image or video to their “board.” The boards are visible to other Pinterest users who can comment and re-pin the image to their own boards. All pins and repins link back to the original source.

“As a business owner, your goal is the re-pin, the viral component of Pinterest,” said Macomber.

For example, a restaurant owner might use photographs of signature dishes and a clothing boutique could use photos of a fully accessorized outfit. Users who want to remember the image and site will re-pin it to their boards.

“Because all the pins backlink to the source, using Pinterest can increase your search ranking with Google and other search engines as these back links drive traffic to your website. It may also increase the potential customers visiting your bricks and mortar location,” said Macomber.

One key to success, according to Macomber, is to remember that Pinterest is highly visual.

“If you upload your own pin, be sure to list your website in the description. You can also add a ‘pin it’ button to your website to make it easy for Pinterest fans to add your image to their board,” said Macomber.

Information and tools are available at

“Any business what wants to grow needs to consider adding this social media tool to their marketing toolbox to increase exposure to potential customers,” said Macomber.

For more information or assistance related to a current or future business, contact one of the MU Extension business specialists in the Ozarks: Chrystal Irons at (417) 546-4431, Kathy Macomber at (417) 682-3579 or Willis Mushrush at (417) 256-2391. There are also three Small Business and Technology Development Centers in southwest Missouri: Missouri State University in Springfield at (417) 836-5685, Missouri Southern University in Joplin at (417) 625-3128 or Missouri State University in West Plains at West Plains, (417) 256-9724.

Summer Fun for the Family is Mentally and Physically Healthy

Contact: Renette Wardlow, human development specialist
Tel: (417) 581-3558

Childhood obesity is a common problem in many American families. To avoid future health problems, children need a minimum of 60 minutes of exercise each and every day.

“For that matter, the entire family will benefit physically by getting out and spending some quality time with one another,” said Renette Wardlow, human development specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

Warmer days, children out of school, green grass all around, and flowers blooming everywhere are indicators it is time to get outside and have some summer fun.

“A couple of menaces of the previous months include a reduction in physical activity and a change in eating habits. It is easier to snack on rich, fatty foods when the weather is cold than it is on a beautiful summer day,” said Wardlow. “Those foods that are the unhealthiest seem to satisfy us most when we have little else to do.”

Changing exercise and food habits today will allow all family members to feel better about self, change attitudes, and allow for better health. To get started, sit down, as a family and plan activities that everyone can participate in.

It is important to come up with a list that includes ideas from all members of the family.

The list of inexpensive, family activities is endless. To get a jump start, look around your community for things that the family can do together.

Following is a partial list of ideas that many families commonly enjoy doing together.

1. Tour your community by visiting businesses, parks, museums, libraries, local government offices, a farm, or the fire or police station.

2. Go bike riding,

3. Take a nature walk and gather leaves, stones, and other items of interest,

4. On a windy day, fly a kite,

5. Catch a Frisbee,

6. Work on outdoor crafts such as making a collage out of the items found on the nature walk,

7. Go roller skating or roller blading,

8. Take an evening walk,

9. Go swimming, or

10. Attend summer community events.

“These are just a few ideas that might get the family moving. Doing fun activities together is sure to improve family relationships and will help keep everyone active and healthy. Enjoy your time together; after all, we are a few short months away from winter,” said Wardlow.

For more information, contact either of MU Extension’s human development specialists in southwest Missouri: Renette Wardlow at (417) 581-3558 or Dr. Jim Wirth, (417) 881-8909.

Master Gardener Hotline in Greene County Helps Over 2,000 Residents, Improves Volunteer Training in 2013

Contact: Patrick Byers, horticulture specialist
Tel: (417) 881-8909

The horticulture hotline operated by the Master Gardeners of Greene County is now open for the 2013 season according to Patrick Byers, horticulture specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

Trained volunteers will staff the Hotline office at the Botanical Center, 2400 S. Scenic Ave, Springfield from March 1 to October 31 this year, and telephone and email inquiries are addressed during the remainder of the year.

Area gardeners and homeowners with lawn, tree, shrub, flower or garden questions can find answers by contacting the Master Gardeners of Greene County Hotline at (417) 881-8909 ext 320 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. every business day.

“This valuable service enhances the educational efforts of the Greene County Extension office by providing research based information to the public,” said Byers. By all measures, the 2012 Hotline was outstanding. The Hotline volunteers addressed over 2,000 inquiries from the public last year.

Byers has developed a series of monthly training workshops for Hotline volunteers, with an emphasis on developing diagnostic skills, proper handling of samples, computer search skills, and effective communication skills with the public.

The Hotline is also recognized by being designated the representative of the Botanical Center with the Sentinel Plant Network (, a USDA sponsored collaboration between the American Public Gardens Association (APGA) and the National Plant Diagnostic Network (NPDN) that focuses on identification of high consequence pests and diseases.

The Master Gardener Program is a popular and successful statewide volunteer community-service organization administered through University of Missouri Extension. The organization’s goal is to train gardeners who are willing to share their knowledge with others. Master Gardeners become volunteers of University of Missouri Extension and donate hours for community educational projects in horticulture. Volunteer activities include working with non-profit organizations, maintaining community gardens, conducting workshops, participating in a Master Gardener speakers’ bureau and staffing the Master Gardener “Hotline.”

For more information about the Master Gardeners of Greene County, visit

Since 1914, Greene County residents have sought help from Extension in areas related to agriculture, gardening, 4-H youth, nutrition, families, business and community development. Members of “Friends of Greene County Extension” contribute financially to make it possible for Extension to continue having a positive impact on the quality of life in Greene County, Mo. To learn how you can help go online to or call the Greene County Extension Center at (417) 881-8909

Raising Alfalfa in the Ozarks Topic of Program in Taney County April 22

Contact: Tim Schnakenberg, agronomy specialist
Tel: (417) 357-6812

Raising alfalfa in the Ozarks is an effective way of producing protein and energy sources to supplement beef and dairy cattle diets, according to Tim Schnakenberg, an agronomy specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

The Taney County Extension Center and Branson Bank are partnering to offer a program and tour to address this subject starting at 4 p.m. on Monday, April 22, at the Rob Dalton farm near Brown Branch in northeastern Taney County. The program was originally scheduled in March but was rescheduled due to weather.

The program will focus on the pros and cons of raising alfalfa in a beef operation, supplementing the beef cow diet, alfalfa weed control and the economics of building a hay barn. A spray demonstration for controlling weeds in alfalfa will also be featured, sponsored by MFA in Ava and DuPont Chemical Company.

“Purchased feed has become a very expensive option for farmers these days. If a producer has the land, labor and equipment already available, the possibility of growing alfalfa to supplement beef diets is worth considering, “said Schnakenberg. “Since Rob Dalton has recently built a new barn to store hay in, we also plan to discuss the economics of building a barn and how it might pay to use it to store both low and high value hay supplies.”

Tim Schnakenberg, Eldon Cole, livestock specialist, and Gordon Carriker, ag business specialist, all with University of Missouri Extension, will be on hand for the discussion. The Rob Dalton farm is located on Hwy. 76, east of Forsyth 19 miles on the left at the Douglas County line, or 18 miles southwest of Ava on Hwy. 76 on the right. Look for signs at the farm.

A dinner will begin after the tour (at about 6:30 p.m.) in Bradleyville and is hosted by Branson Bank. Participants should pre-register by calling Halley Fleming at Branson Bank (417) 334-9696 or email by Monday, April 15. Contact the Taney County Extension Center at (417) 546-4431 for more information regarding content of the program.

Field Scouting Report for April 3: Cold Related Problems in Wheat Fading; Time to Scout for Wheat Curl Mites

Contact: Jill Scheidt, agronomy specialist
Tel: (417) 682-3579

Jill Scheidt, agronomy specialist with University of Missouri Extension in Barton County, scouted fields in Barton County on April 1 and noted several items of concern.

According to Scheidt, the temporary phosphorus deficiency, identified by a uniform purpling of the leaf, is fading as temperatures rise in wheat.

“Powdery mildew is also fading and is unlikely to be a threat that requires treatment at the earlier stages of growth. Powdery mildew becomes a concern when the flag leaf is present in wheat,” said Scheidt.

No aphids were seen; aphids are active when temperatures reach 60 degrees. If temperatures are below 60 degrees, aphids should be scouted for at soil level in the crown of the wheat.

Bird cherry oat aphids, identified by the red ring around its rear, should be scouted for in wheat from now until wheat begins to mature. Threshold levels are 6 aphids/foot. A rate of 3.2 oz/A Warrior or 3.6 oz/A Mustang Max is recommended to control aphids.

“Do not mistake aphids with white flies; white flies are white insects with wings which also suck sap from leaves but are unlikely to be a pest threat in wheat. Aphids are small, green insects without wings; that tend to hop on leaves,” said Scheidt.

Wheat curl mite should also be scouted for in wheat. White curl mites are tiny, white, cigar-shaped mites, about 1/100 inch long and require a magnifying glass to be seen. White curl mites could pose a threat if winter temperatures were mild. White curl mites vector wheat streak mosaic virus.

“Look for mites on stunted plants, curled leaves or leaf streak injury plants. There is no threshold level for white curl mites. Controlling volunteer wheat and border grasses and planting resistant varieties are the best practices to minimize threat,” said Scheidt.

The weekly field scouting report is sponsored by University of Missouri Extension and Barton County Extension.

For more information on this scouting report, or to learn how you can receive it a week earlier by telephone, contact the MU Extension Center in Barton County at (417) 682-3579.

MU Extension Offering “Stay Strong, Stay Healthy” Exercise Program for Adults in Forsyth Starting April 23

Contact: Renette Wardlow, human development specialist
Tel: (417) 581-3558

University of Missouri Extension be offering “Stay Strong, Stay Healthy,” a ten-session exercise program designed for older adults starting April 23 in the basement of the Forsyth Community Presbyterian Church, 271 Main Street, Forsyth. The first and last class last will start at 10 a.m. and continue until noon to allow time for a brief orientation to the program and health assessments. The remaining classes start at 10:30 a.m. and last about an hour.

The program, developed by Tufts University, is designed to help older adults improve strength, flexibility and balance. According to research conducted by Tufts, strength training improves bone density, can help reduce falls, improve arthritis symptoms, increase flexibility in older adults and can lead to a healthier, more active lifestyle.

The exercises are low-impact/low weight. All needed equipment is provided during the class.

“If you have been thinking about signing up for an exercise program this class is a great way for older adults to learn some basics and get develop a routine. Past participants reported that they noted a definite change in their strength, balance and flexibility,” said Renette Wardlow, University of Missouri Extension Human Development specialist.

The program is limited to 12 participants and the fee for the 10-session program is $25. Registration deadline is April 18. Some participants may have to obtain their physician’s permission before taking part in the class.

For more details or to register, contact Renette Wardlow at the University of Missouri Extension Center, 417-581-3558 or call the Taney County Extension Center 417-546-4431.