Friday, November 22, 2013

Pecans from Southwest Research Center for Sale

Representatives from the University of Missouri’s Southwest Research Center at Mt. Vernon (Lawrence County) will be selling fresh-harvested pecans from their research orchards during a special “Farm to Thanksgiving Market Sale” from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 26 at the Farmer’s Market of the Ozarks located inside Farmer’s Park at 4139 S Nature Center Way, Springfield, MO 65804.  MU representatives will also be giving out lots of free samples to entice buyers!  All proceeds support long-term research on pecans and other fruit and nut crops at MU’s Southwest Research Center.

These pecans are of exceptional quality (thanks to summer rains) and are absolutely delicious.  They are a mix of several premium northern pecan varieties, including Giles, Pawnee, Posey, Dooley, and Kanza.  Northern pecans are a bit smaller than southern pecans, but have superior flavor, a higher oil content, and superior health benefits.

Fresh, whole pecans will be packaged in 2-lb bags for $5 and 5-lb bags for $10.  They are easy to crack and clean at home with any ordinary nut cracker.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Using Social Media in Disaster Recovery Available for Purchase

KOMA Beef Cattle Conference at Joplin Regional Stockyards Jan. 14; Pre-Registration Needed by Jan. 10

Contact: Patrick Davis, livestock specialist
Headquartered in Cedar County
Tel: 417-276-3313

STOCKTON, Mo. – The 2014 KOMA Beef Conference begins at 3 p.m., Jan. 14, 2014, at the Joplin Regional Stockyards in Carthage, Mo.

The KOMA Beef Cattle Conference is a joint effort by the Extension Services in Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri and Arkansas to provide participants of the beef cattle industry the latest information on production, marketing, economics, nutrition and forage utilization.  The Missouri portion of the conference is being held at Joplin Regional Stockyards.

Speakers for the conference cover a lot of different topics. For example:
Scott Clawson, NE Oklahoma agriculture economist, providing a 2014 Economic Outlook on the “Beef Cattle Industry and Discussing Herd Expansion.:
Dr. Justin Sexten, MU Extension state beef cattle nutrition specialist, discussing “Alternative Feedstuffs.”
Voyd Brown, DVM, Barry County Veterinary Services in Cassville, will discuss “Estrus Synchronization and Artificial Insemination.”
Rod Lewis, Sarcoxie, will discuss “Baleage.”
Troy Watson, Joplin Regional Stockyards Representative from Bolivar, will discuss the “Process and Procedures of Cattle Comingling Program.”
Monte Nail, Vinita, OK, will discuss “Cattle Video Marketing.”

The keynote presenter for the evening is Dr. Dave Rethorst, Beef Cattle Institute Director of Outreach at Kansas State University and his presentation will be, "Animal Welfare, BQA and Beef Production--How It All Fits Together."

The evening meal will be catered by the cafe at Joplin Regional Stockyards.

“During the event agriculture industry supporters of the event will have booths setup that you can visit and learn more about their products that will help improve your beef cattle operation,” said Davis.

The cost of the event for those who pre-register prior to Jan. 10, 2014 is $25 per person. Payment at the door will cost $30 per person.

For more information, contact the Cedar County MU Extension Center at (417) 276-3313 or send an email to

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, Dr. Patrick Davis in Cedar County at (417) 276-3313 or Logan Wallace in Howell County at (417) 256-2391.

New Horticulture Educator Working with Local Gardeners and Greene County Master Gardeners

Contact: David Burton, civic communication specialist
Headquartered in Greene County
Tel: (417) 881-8909

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Kelly McGowan was recently hired with grant funds to assist the University of Missouri Extension horticulture specialist in southwest Missouri (Patrick Byers) and to help the Master Gardeners of Greene County. This is what you need to know about this new horticulture assistant.

Name/title: Kelly McGowan, horticulture educator

Headquartered in:  Lawrence County at the Southwest Research Center

Coverage area:  Southwest Missouri Region

Education Background: Bachelor of Science in horticulture from Missouri State University, Springfield.

Job Responsibilities:  “One of my job responsibilities includes working with the Master Gardeners.  I am in the process of coordinating the 2014 Core Training for the Greene County Chapter.  I also assist the Master Gardener Hotline staff with calls, e-mails, and walk-ins as needed,” said McGowan. “Another part of my job is assisting Patrick Byers, our regional horticulture specialist, with developing and planning educational opportunities for the public.”

How does your work impact residents of southwest Missouri?  “Part of the University of Missouri Extension’s mission is to provide relevant and reliable education to the public and my job as horticulture educator does just that,” said McGowan.
What are some goals you have for the coming year? “For 2014, I am developing an Organic Gardening Certificate Program.  This will include a series of 10-12 classes.  There is a lot of local interest in growing organically and the goal of these classes is to provide interested people a great resource of scientifically based information,” said McGowan.

Is there a group you are targeting for your services?  “My target group is people in this region who are interested or involved with gardening or farming,” said McGowan.

Where are residents of southwest Missouri most likely to see you? “I am currently dividing my time between the Southwest Research Center in Mount Vernon and the Greene County Extension Office located in the Botanical Center in Springfield,” said McGowan.

Contact Information: 
Kelly McGowan
Telephone - (417) 466-2148 or (417) 881-8909
E-mail -

2014 “Redbook” for Cattlemen Available for Purchase from Extension

Contact: Eldon Cole, livestock specialist
Headquartered in Lawrence County
Tel: (417) 466-3102

MT. VERNON, Mo. -- The 2014 Redbook edition is now available from University of Missouri Extension livestock specialists throughout the state.

The pocket-sized book is a handy item to keep valuable data in regarding beef cattle, forage production and numerous other bits of farm information.

“The Redbook is a great tool for keeping information in that could aid in management decisions later,” said Eldon Cole, a livestock specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

The Redbook is primarily used for calving data and can accommodate over 400 cow’s births through weaning time.  Pasture use can also be tracked along with items like cattle health treatments, breeding records, supplement feeding and more.

Some users of the Redbook rely on it for field data gathering then transfer it to a computer program or another more permanent record system.

The Redbook sells for $5 at most University of Missouri Extension offices.  In Missouri the books are co-sponsored by the Show-Me-Select and Quality Beef by the numbers programs.

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, Dr. Patrick Davis in Cedar County at (417) 276-3313 or Logan Wallace in Howell County at (417) 256-2391.

Cedar County Master Gardener Classes Begin Feb. 6, 2014; Pre-Registration Needed by Jan. 23

Contact: Patrick Davis, livestock specialist
Headquartered in Cedar County
Tel: 417-276-3313

STOCKTON, Mo. -- Opportunities to gain and share horticultural knowledge is available through University of Missouri Extension’s Master Gardener program in Cedar County.

The Master Gardener Program is an intensive horticulture course offered statewide by University of Missouri Extension.  The 30 hours of classroom training provided by area horticulture specialists set Master Gardeners apart from other home gardeners and programs.

The Master Gardener class sessions will be held every Thursday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., starting Feb. 6 and running through April 17 at the Cedar County Health Complex in Stockton. Graduation activities will be held on April 24.

A total of 12 three-hour sessions taught by trained professionals will cover horticulture principles and practices. Ornamentals, turf, vegetable gardening, fruit crops, landscape design and turfgrass are some of the subjects covered through this course.

Master Gardeners are volunteers who assist with horticulture education in the community.

Thirty volunteer hours from participants are required the first year after training.  Following that, 20 volunteer service hours are required each year to remain an active Master Gardener.

The volunteer service is usually done by volunteering as part of a county Master Gardeners organization activities, serving as an advisor for community gardens, or helping to maintain the demonstration gardens.

Enrollment for the class is limited and there is a fee of $150 per person or $250 per couple (with one set of materials). Registration and payment are due by Jan. 23, 2014.  To register for the course or to request more information please contact the Cedar County MU Extension Center at (417) 276-3313 or email  

The Master Gardener Program is a popular and successful statewide volunteer community-service organization administered through University of Missouri Extension. Go to to learn more information about the Master Gardener program.    

Growing a “Cracker Jack” Garden Possible in Southwest Missouri with Planning and Patience

Contact: David Burton, civic communication specialist
Headquartered in Greene County
Tel: (417) 881-8909

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Themed gardens are a fun way to get the entire family involved in planting garden foods and eating them as well.

One such themed garden that has been prompted by Tammy Roberts, a University of Missouri Extension health and nutrition education specialist, is a “Cracker Jack” garden.

“It is possible to grow peanuts and popcorn which are the main ingredients in cracker jacks,” said Roberts. “Getting children to actually eat more vegetables is just the tip of the iceberg when you look at the benefits of children and gardening.”

Peanuts and popcorn, however, have some unique needs that require planning and patience if done in southwest Missouri.


Although usually considered a crop of the “Deep South,” peanuts can be grown successfully in most of the country. With special care, peanuts can even be grown in most of the northern states.

Peanuts require a minimum of about 120 frost-free days to reach maturity. For that reason, it is best to plant them when soils are thoroughly warm.

Loose sandy soils are considered the best for peanuts and that type of soil may be limited in some areas of Missouri.

Composted raised beds or berms that improve soil drainage and aeration would be ideal for peanuts in most home gardens.

“I would not consider peanuts as a commercial crop in the Ozarks. But, for the home vegetable garden, peanuts do offer a crop change of pace from the regular produce,” said Patrick Byers, a horticulture specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

Varieties of peanuts suitable for growing in shorter-season areas are Early Northern, Early Spanish, Jumbo Virginia, Red Tennessee and Valencia.

For the best growth, plant two or three individual seeds about one or one and one-half inches deep in hills 10 to 12 inches apart with 36 inches between rows.

Keep the soil loose and hilled toward the row of plants. After the bright yellow flowers are pollinated, the flowering shoots elongate and sends a “peg” into the soil. Do not disturb the soil after the flower pegs have buried themselves.

Usually 50 to 75 peanuts can be found under each hill.

“Dig the plants after they have matured in the fall and be sure that you harvest them in early to mid-October before a hard freeze,” said Byers.


Popcorn is one of America's favorite snack foods and it has been cultivated for several thousand years. It comes in two types (rice and pearl) different shapes and several different colors (white, red, pink, blue, yellow, and multi-colored ears).

“Popcorn is grown for its tasty, exploding seed. Heating the kernel converts the moisture inside the kernel to steam and turns the seed inside out. The quality of the end product depends on the conditions during growing, harvest, and storage,” said Roberts.

Several different varieties are available to home gardeners and most take 100 or more days to mature. Horticulture specialists recommend sowing seed directly into the garden -- during the spring -- in several short rows. This ensures good pollination.

“Do not plant sweet corn in the same garden with popcorn. The quality of the sweet corn will be reduced if it is cross-pollinated by popcorn,” said Byers.

The key to preparing popcorn for drying is making certain to harvest only after the kernels are hard and the husks are completely dry. This means leaving the ears of popcorn on the stalks until the kernels are well-dried.

After harvest, remove the husks and place the ears in mesh bags and hang in a warm, dry, well-ventilated location. Once or twice a week, shell a few kernels and try popping them. When the test kernels are popping well and tasting good, shell and store the rest of the kernels.

Store the kernels in sealed, airtight containers. If stored properly, popcorn should retain its popping quality for several years.

University of Missouri Extension programs focus on the high-priority needs of Missourians. Each county extension center, with oversight by locally elected and appointed citizens, is your local link to practical education on almost anything. More information on this topic is available online at

Show-Me-Select Heifers Average $2,127 at Nov. 15 Sale

Contact: Eldon Cole, livestock specialist
Headquartered in Lawrence County
Tel: (417) 466-3102

MT. VERNON, Mo. – Prices at the Show-Me-Select bred heifer sales Nov. 15 in Joplin stayed high right until the very end of the sale according to Eldon Cole, livestock specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

“You know it was a good Show-Me-Select bred heifer sale when the last heifer in the sale tops with a bid of $2,700,” said Cole.

The single heifer was consigned by John Wheeler, Marionville and ended up with several bidders who liked the large frame, black white-faced, F1 Angus x Hereford (bred artificially to the popular Angus bull, Hoover Dam). The successful bid was placed by Michael Scarlett, Billings.

Wheeler, who has consigned at 18 SMS sales in southwest Missouri, sold 42 heifers for an average price of $2,326. All his heifers were black baldies or black mottled faced.

The top consignor average was $2,410 on five head of black baldies by Laynie Dake, a member of Mt. Vernon FFA. The second high consignor average was $2,367 on six head of black Gelbviehs from Hartland Farms, Stella.

Overall, 24 consignors sent 233 heifers through the ring for an average price of $2,127 per head. The 134 AI-bred heifers averaged $2170 while the 99 natural-service breds averaged $2069 per head.
Only 14 heifers were tagged as Tier Two, SMS qualified. Their average price was $2057. The Tier Two designation is placed on AI-sired heifers whose sire meets high accuracy values for calving ease direct and maternal, weaning weight, carcass weight and marbling.

Over 100 persons in the overflow crowd signed up for buyer’s numbers. There were 31 buyers and 21 had bought SMS heifers previously. Two lots were purchased over the internet. The volume buyer with 20 head was Booth Farms, Goodman.

The remaining Show-Me-Select bred heifer sales are Nov. 30 at Kingsville, Dec. 7 at Fruitland, Dec. 14 at Palmyra and Green City on Dec. 21.

For more information on the Show-Me-Select 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, Dr. Patrick Davis in Cedar County at (417) 276-3313 or Logan Wallace in Howell County at (417) 256-2391.

Extension’s Health Insurance Education Initiative Hosting Classes in Cedar, Lawrence Counties

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

LAMAR, Mo. – Do you have questions about the Affordable Care Act? University of Missouri Extension is offering information about the new health care law that can help families and individuals understand their options and responsibilities.

An updated list of other health insurance education classes in southwest Missouri that are scheduled can be found online at

Several new classes have been scheduled during the month of December in Cedar and Lawrence counties. The following is details about the programs already scheduled in southwest Missouri.

This meeting will be from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Dec. 2 at the Missouri Rehabilitation Center, 600 N. Main St. Mt. Vernon. The educators for the meeting will be Dr. Gordon Carriker, agriculture business specialist with MU Extension and Dr. Lydia Kaume, a nutrition and health education specialist with MU Extension.

This meeting will be held from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Dec. 9 at the Cedar County Library, 717 East Street, Stockton, Mo. Educators for the meeting will be Dr. Lydia Kaume, a nutrition and health education specialist with MU Extension and Kathy Macomber, a community development specialist with MU Extension.

This meeting will be held on from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., January 16, 2014, at the El Dorado Springs Middle School Cafeteria, 920 S Park, El Dorado Springs. Educators for the meeting will be Dr. Lydia Kaume, a nutrition and health education specialist with MU Extension and Kathy Macomber, a community development specialist with MU Extension.

“The Health Insurance Education Initiative will help Show-Me State citizens understand their health insurance options and learn how to get help in their own communities if they choose to enroll in Missouri’s health insurance marketplace,” said Brenda Procter, associate professor of consumer and family economics for MU Extension.

A new website, at, provides educational materials and links to information. There’s a map of Missouri educators who can provide local workshops and a calendar where you can learn about upcoming events near you.

“The website is a one-stop source for factual, unbiased information about the changes in health insurance that are required by the new law,” Procter said.

MU Extension’s Health Insurance Education Initiative website will also provide resources for the state’s small businesses, including information about tax credits for offering insurance to employees and explanations of rules that might affect their bottom line, she said.

Creating an Oral History Project

Friday, November 15, 2013

Beware the Trimmings: Healthy Holiday Meals are Possible Says Extension Nutrition Specialist

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

HOUSTON, Mo. -- The holiday season is near. That means family gatherings where holiday meals are at the top of the list for entertainment and enjoyment.

“For Americans, the holidays are also a great excuse to over indulge,” said Cammie Younger, nutrition and health education specialist with University of Missouri Extension. “We get over-full, then we rest, and then we go back for leftovers. That is why these types of traditions and habits usually add several pounds of weight gain during the holidays.”


Turkey with all the trimmings is a favorite dish this time of year.  Turkey is commonly considered a healthy choice. Younger says it is all the trimmings that can get us into trouble with calorie consumption.

“Trimmings” usually mean things like creamy mashed potatoes and gravy, buttery homemade yeast rolls, green bean and sweet potato casseroles, sugary sweet cranberry sauce,  cornbread dressing, pumpkin pie, chocolate cherry cheese cake and about 20 other different desserts.

Younger suggests making this the year you start a new tradition of healthy holiday eating.  Instead of preparing high fat, high calorie dishes, think about making the celebration healthier by incorporating recipes adjusted with less fat and sugars.

For example, instead of mashed potatoes with two sticks of butter and a can of cream in them, try roasted potatoes with onions and spices such as parsley and rosemary.  “This could cut the calories of the potato dish in half,” said Younger.

Find an alternative to the green bean casserole dish made with high fat cream sauces. Try serving whole green beans blanched in boiling water for three minutes, placed in ice water for three minutes and served with a dipping sauce such as Caesar salad dressing on the side.

“In addition to looking for recipes with lower fat and calories, try to lower the amount of food on your plate by using a smaller plate size,” said Younger. “To control overindulging on desserts, designate one or two people to bring a dessert instead of having 10 different choices.”


Challenge your co-workers to be creative with alternative holiday cheer at the office.

Instead of making sweets and candy to share, Younger suggests bringing low calorie soup recipes to the office. The dry soup ingredients along with the recipe could also be prepared as a “soup in a jar” gift.

This holiday season would be a good time to begin another new tradition with family by being physical active during gatherings.  Go outside in the afternoon and cut some fire wood together, walk around the neighborhood or have some friendly competitions like a three legged race.

“Modeling the choices of healthier food and being physical active in front of the children at the holidays is important. It will help develop good habits and traditions for them and will increase their chances of living a healthy productive life for many years,” said Younger.


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

Celebrate the Holidays without Ruining Your Spending and Savings Plan

Contact: Nellie Lamers, family financial education specialist
Headquartered in Taney County
Tel: (417) 546-4431

FORSYTH, Mo. – Winter holidays get celebrated in a variety of ways but most involve some sort of spending according to Nellie Lamers, a family financial education specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

“Many of us think of spending time with family and friends, observing holiday traditions, shopping the holiday sales and getting away,” said Lamers. “Most all of those have some type of monetary cost associated with it.”

For families on a budget, or simply wanting to save some money, Lamers says there are ways to do these things while staying true to our financial goals.

Here are a few holiday cost savers to consider:

Have everyone bring a new healthy dish to your family get-togethers. This makes it easy on everyone’s budget and helps all feel good mentally and physically by eating right.

Play games at home as a family. Many card or board games are fun for any age, outdoor games are also a way to get some exercise, lots of people can play and you get more quality time together than going out to a movie.

“Going to a spiritual service highlights the meaning of the season and helps us realize we don’t need to spend money to connect with the important things in life,” said Lamers.

Holiday movies are on almost every night during December. So plan a movie night once a week with popcorn at home.

A “staycation” can be better than getting away. This is especially the case for those of us who go somewhere (work) almost every day. Staying home for a few days is a luxury.

“When shopping it is a challenge to resist the sales. Consider how the item will bring fulfillment to your life in the long run. Remember saving is a gift you give yourself that is more likely to help achieve your life goals,” said Lamers.

For more information on issues related to home finances, contact either of the MU Extension family financial education specialists in southwest Missouri: Janet Lafon, Jasper County Extension Center, (417) 358-2158, or Nellie Lamers, Taney County Extension Center, (417) 546-4431,

Greene County Extension Donors Make Local Program Successes Possible

Contact: David Burton, civic communication specialist
County Program Director - Greene County
Tel: (417) 881-8909

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – The Greene County Extension Council has announced the start of the 2014 “Friends of Greene County Extension Campaign.” The 2014 goal is $30,000 cash, less than a 10% increase in cash collections from 2013.

Development efforts in 2013 resulted in contributions of $27,662 and in-kind gifts equal to $11,776. These monies made it possible to achieve a number of note-worthy successes in 2013.

The Master Gardeners of Greene County reached over 2,000 county residents with horticulture information and contributed over 20,500 hours in volunteer service (valued at over $380,000) to the citizens of Greene County.

The Greene County Extension Council became the first extension council in the state to write and implement a business plan to guide future operations and funding efforts.

Greene County Extension reached over 200,000 Ozarkers a week with Extension research and information in print, via email, on radio and television and online.

Our nutrition assistants introduced new, healthy, nutritious and affordable  foods to over 25,000 county residents this year. Nearly 18,000 of those were youth at area schools.

Nutrition specialists worked with 15 area child care centers during 2013 to introduce new nutrition standards through MU Extension’s Eat Smart Certification program.

Our urban and housing development specialist worked with students at Drury to develop a neighborhood plan for the Rountree Community in Springfield.

Our nutrition specialist has served in a leadership role for the Ozark Food Policy Council which is working to ensure access to healthy nutritious food for all Greene County citizens, regardless of socio-economic status.

The MU Extension business specialist working in Greene County has served 174 people and their companies with business start-up and management counseling, training, and other assistance during 2013. Her efforts have resulted in 59 new jobs and nine new businesses.

Greene County Extension’s Master Naturalists chapter has 63 active members who contributed 5,956 volunteer hours (valued at $111,972) to the community last year. Their efforts have resulted in community gardens, new trails, improved parks and school gardens.

Greene County 4-H has about 200 active youth members and 98 volunteers who contributed over 9,800 hours to 4-H (that time is valued at over $184,000). Clubs in this county can boast of members who have won state, regional and national 4-H competitions this year.

Since 1914, Greene County residents have sought help from Greene County Extension on topics related to agriculture, gardening, 4-H youth, nutrition, cooking, families, housing and business and community development. Now you can make a positive impact by giving monetarily to the Greene County Extension Center to support Extension programs in 2014.

Updated donor lists and information about the 2014 campaign can be found online at Individuals interesting in supporting local Extension efforts can now donate online from that same website. Already, the 2014 effort has received nearly $5,000 in cash donations.

For more information call the MU Extension office in Greene County at (417) 881-8909.

Fertilizing Pastures: Toxic Versus Nontoxic Fescue

Contact: Jill Scheidt, agronomy specialist
Headquartered at Barton County Extension Center
Tel: (417) 682-3579

GREENFIELD, Mo. – According to Jill Scheidt, an agronomy specialist with University of Missouri Extension, when fertilizing pastures, it is important to only make replacement applications.

“Annual hay crops can take a large amount of nutrients out of the soil that should be replenished over time to keep productivity high and weed pressure lower,” said Scheidt.

Cool season grass hay like fescue can remove 9 pounds of phosphate and 34 pounds of potash per ton of hay removed. Hay from clover and cool-season grasses such as fescue can remove 8 pounds of phosphate and 38 pounds of potash per ton of hay removed.

“Adding more fertilizer than the pasture needs can negatively affect plant growth,” said Scheidt.

Adding moderate to high amounts nitrogen to a toxic fescue field causes the endophyte in the fescue to produce more toxins.

According to Craig Roberts, MU state forage specialist, applying 50 pounds of nitrogen to a pasture will cause ergot alkaloids to increase slightly.

“However, if you continue to apply much more nitrogen, for example, 100 pounds of nitrogen, ergot alkaloids increase exponentially. It is safer to use a low rate of 40 pounds per acre of nitrogen on a toxic fescue field in the fall,” said Roberts.

If a spring nitrogen application is made, Scheidt says it must be assumed that dry matter will be removed. When nitrogen is spring applied in excess, a toxic fescue pasture will experience quick growth. This growth is not always a positive thing.

“If grass becomes too tall, it will smother itself as well as legumes that are under the canopy. Excess nitrogen also prevents legumes from doing their job; a reduction in nitrogen fixation and legume yield will occur with too much nitrogen. Plants waste nitrogen that they do not need. Fall is the best time to fertilize pastures,” said Scheidt.

Legume populations are especially important in toxic fescue fields. Legumes add higher quality to the pasture, dilute toxins and even out the yield distribution with late spring and early summer growth.

A higher rate of nitrogen can be applied in the fall to nontoxic fescue. Scheidt says a little nitrogen is needed to stimulate growth because animals prefer nontoxic fescue over toxic fescue. Sixty-five pounds per acre in the fall is a good amount; a low level of nitrogen can be applied in the spring to non-toxic fescue as well.

“Nontoxic fescue pastures require better management than toxic fields.  Nutrients that have been removed by haying or grazing must be replaced in order to maintain a stand,” said Scheidt.

As always, a soil test is the most accurate way to obtain a fertilizer recommendation.

“Remember to sample hills, watering areas, old fence lines and shade areas separately from the rest of the field in order to obtain a representative soil sample,” said Scheidt.

For more information, contact any of these MU Extension agronomy specialists in southwest Missouri: Tim Schnakenberg in Stone County, (417) 357-6812; Jill Scheidt in Barton County, (417) 682-3579; John Hobbs in McDonald County, (417) 223-4775 or Sarah Kenyon in Texas County, (417) 967-4545.

Nutrition Educators Help Out at Ozarks Food Harvest

Contact: Terri Fossett
Coordinator of the Family Nutrition Education Program for SW Missouri
Headquartered in Greene County
Tel: (417) 886-2059

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Nutrition educators and staff with the University of Missouri Extension’s Family Nutrition Education Program spent the afternoon of Monday, Nov. 4 at Ozarks Food Harvest helping pack 8,726 pounds of food that provided 7,272 meals to low income children and families.

“I felt the MU Extension goal of helping to improve the lives of Missourians was well served by this endeavor,” said Terri Fossett, Southwest Region director for FNEP,

Nutrition educators with the MU Extension’s Family Nutrition Education Program serve almost every county in southwest Missouri, providing research-based nutrition education to area schools, farmers’ markets, health departments, senior centers and many food pantries, including those in the Ozarks Food Harvest Network.

 In addition to providing reliable information about healthy eating the nutrition program helps low-income adults learn how to make their food budget last longer, which is really essential for many families right now.

Ozarks Food Harvest distributes food to 250 hunger relief organizations across 28 Ozarks counties.


New 4-H Club Starting in Purdy Nov. 19

Contact: Jeremy Elliott-Engel, 4-H Youth Development Specialist
Headquartered in Newton County 
Tel: (417) 455-9500

PURDY, Mo. -- A 4-H club is forming in Purdy and will meet for the first time at 6:30 p.m., Nov. 19 at the Purdy Community room, which is attached to the Purdy Library.  Nathan Witt of Purdy has volunteered as the community leader. 

As the largest out-of-school youth organization in the world, 4-H is open to all boys and girls, ages 5 to18. Children who are five to seven years old (by Jan 1, 2014) are eligible for 4-H Clover Kids, an introductory program. 

Youths who are 8 to 18 years of age (by Jan 1, 2014) can select from a variety of 4-H projects and activities that encourage social and life skills in areas such as decision making, communication, social interaction, civic responsibility and physical skills.

Parents and child work in partnership to create learning opportunities through 4-H projects, project leaders and members.  4-H creates a unique opportunity for youth to explore mastery in their project areas, by being able to enroll in the same project year-after-year, which allows youth to get a deep understanding of their area of interest. 

There are opportunities for adults to volunteer and for parents to be involved with their children at all levels of the 4-H program. 

“You do not have to live on a farm to join 4-H,” said Jeremy Elliott-Engel, 4-H youth development specialist with University of Missouri Extension. “Project opportunities include computers, robotics, foods and nutrition, horticulture, large and small animals and much more. Agriculture projects continues to have strong enrollment for members in Barry County 4-H with many of the top projects being in the livestock areas, like beef, market goats and poultry.”   

New in Barry County this year is the Shooting Sports project. Leaders are certified in Smallbore Rife (.22 caliber) and will start practicing in early spring.  Youth are trained in gun safety and precision shooting skills.  Competitions happen at the county, state, regional and national levels.

“We know that active youth enrolled in 4-H are more likely to go to and successfully complete college education, and, are more likely to return and contribute positively to their home communities,” said Elliott-Engel.

Missouri 4-H is University of Missouri Extension's youth development program. The program is designed to help to create opportunities for young people to be valued, contributing members of their community.

To learn more about 4-H and how to get involved locally go online to or visit the Barry County University of Missouri Extension Center in the County Courthouse, Cassville.   Enrollment fees are $10 per youth member.

Residents of southwest Missouri contact any of these 4-H youth development specialists for  information: Karla Deaver in Lawrence County at (417) 466-3102; Velynda Cameron in Polk County at (417) 326-4916; Bob McNary in Jasper County at (417) 358-2158; Amy Patillo in Howell County at (417) 256-2391; or Jeremy Elliott-Engel in Newton County at (417) 455-9500.

1963 History: First All-Breed Tested Bull Sale in Missouri

Contact: Eldon Cole, livestock specialist
Headquartered in Lawrence County
Tel: (417) 466-3102

MT. VERNON, Mo. – Fifty years ago, on Nov. 13, 1963, the first all-breed performance tested bull sale was held in Missouri.  Even though that particular sale no longer exists, it was the forerunner of information and practices seen in bull sales today according to Eldon Cole, a livestock specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

During the 1963 sale there were different breeds sold by two breed biased auctioneers.  One was viewed as an Angus person and the other one a popular Polled Hereford auctioneer.  The 43 head in the sale included Angus, Polled Hereford, Hereford, Shorthorn and Polled Shorthorn.

“Ultimately, the breeders decided they could coexist,” said Cole. “Another oddity of the 1963 sale was eligible bulls had to achieve certain performance standards.  A bull couldn’t just be a good looking bull.”

According to Cole, eligible bulls had to be above average for weaning weight in his contemporary group.  His daily gain must be 2.25 pounds during a 140-day feeding period. Bulls also needed to weigh at least 800 lbs. at 365 days.  The 43 head, average yearling weight was 901 lbs.  An optional feature was a sale day weight.

Another optional item was adjusted loin area to 1000 lbs.  This item was measured by sonoray or ultrasound as we know it today.  Backfat and intramuscular fat were not estimated.  The average for the 21 bull’s sonorayed was 13.2 square inches of loineye.

Central bull test stations were not popular in 1963 yet.  The University of Missouri did have a small one at their South Farm.  A feature at the station was a labor-intensive system to individually feed the bulls so daily intake could be measured.  This allowed for an estimate of feed efficiency.  Only six of the 43 sale bulls had an efficiency reported.  The range was from 616 to 832 lbs. of feed per 100 lbs. of weight gain during the 140-day test.

The sale bulls were graded by state extension livestock specialists using the A, B, C± system that was unique to Missouri.  Bulls grading a B- or better were eligible for the sale.  The subjective grades stressed soundness and freedom of obvious defects of conformation.

Bulls were required to pass a semen test within 90 days of sale date.  Scrotal measurements were not a part of the test.  All bulls were tested and found negative for Tuberculosis and Brucellosis.

“When you compare the simpleness of this tested sale to today’s high-tech, sales with video, expected progeny differences (EPD), residual feed intake (RFI), DNA enhanced data and more, you have to agree, the process of evaluating bulls has come a long way. This allows breeders to speed up their rate of progress,” said Cole.

According to Cole, the 1963 sale averaged $649 per bull with a range from $335 to $1375.

“In 1963, this was viewed as a bold, and highly successful sale.  Interest in the sale and on-farm testing led by University of Missouri Extension staff helped promote objective measuring of beef cattle performance across the state,” said Cole.

The primary force behind this effort was Dr. John Massey, state MU Extension livestock specialist who moved to Aurora in 1992 following retirement.

“The Missouri tested sales that filled the void left by the original sale, which ceased in 2008, now are regional sales held in the southeast, north-east and southwest parts of the state,” 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, Dr. Patrick Davis in Cedar County at (417) 276-3313 or Logan Wallace in Howell County at (417) 256-2391.

PHOTO AVAILABLE: Photo of the 1963 sale catalog is available for download at

Southwest Missouri Cattlemen Give Top 2013 Honors to Farms in Springfield and Aurora

Contact: Eldon Cole, livestock specialist
Headquartered in Lawrence County
Tel: (417) 466-3102

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Bonebrake Hereford Farms of Springfield and Salem along with John Massey of Aurora were honored by the Southwest Missouri Beef Cattle Improvement Association at their annual meeting in Springfield on Nov. 11.

The Bonebrake family received the association’s Seedstock Producer of the Year award.  They are longtime Hereford breeders, with operations dating back into the 1930’s when they acquired a Hereford herd in a trade for sheep with a Tennessee farmer.

“The Bonebrake’s are now consigning bulls to the association’s twice a year sale, exhibiting at fairs and the Ozark Fall Farm Fest.  In addition, they have begun using embryo transfer on a few cows,” said Eldon Cole, a livestock specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

Members of the Bonebrake family attending the recognition were Mac, Al, Stevia and Ann Grace who lives on the original Salem farm.

John Massey, the commercial awardee this year, served as an MU Extension livestock specialist for about 30 years until moving to southwest Missouri in 1992 to run a beef cow-calf operation.  As a state specialist he was instrumental in establishing the Missouri All-Breed Performance Tested Bull Sale in 1963.

Since arriving in this area, Massey has bought tested bulls through the association’s tested bull sales as well as from breeders privately.  He’s entered steers in the Missouri Steer Feedout and sold bred heifers in each of the Show-Me-Select Heifer sales since they began in 1997.

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, Dr. Patrick Davis in Cedar County at (417) 276-3313 or Logan Wallace in Howell County at (417) 256-2391.


Thursday, November 07, 2013

“Feeder Calf Buying 101” Presented in Joplin Nov. 5

Contact: Eldon Cole, livestock specialist
Headquartered in Lawrence County
Tel: (417) 466-3102

JOPLIN, Mo. -- One hundred and seventy cattle producers were educated on the finer points of feeder calf evaluation and cattle buying at a program at Joplin Regional Stockyards on Nov. 5.

The cattle buying “101” session was a part of the regular Southwest Missouri Cattlemen’s Association meeting, following a steak supper compliments of Alltech.  Cooperating in the effort was University of Missouri Extension.

The teachers for the evening were Missouri Department of Agriculture market news reporter Rick Huffman, and two feeder cattle order buyers: Scott Kirby of Liberal and Frank Brazle, Chanute, KS.

The trio critiqued 77 head of steers from nine owners as the calves went through the ring.

Huffman placed a grade on each group regarding frame and muscling.  Kirby and Brazle both commented about their approach to filling orders while only having 15 or 20 seconds to determine if cattle coming through the sale ring would satisfy their feedlot customers.

The steers evaluated are entered in the Missouri Steer Feedout held in the Tri-County Steer Carcass Futurity in southwest Iowa.  As the nine groups came through, the order buyers pointed out strengths and weaknesses and did not pull any punches.

The cattle were praised for uniformity, thickness, bone, flesh condition, apparent growth potential, ability to withstand rough weather and breed makeup that could enhance carcass grades.

Negative comments centered on too much fill, smaller frames, mixed colors/breeds, eye problems, and too much flesh.

Brazle mentioned that buyers can only bid on what sellers bring to the auction and what buyers can see.  He said his goal is to help his customer make money ultimately both the buyer and seller should share in the profit.

The evaluated steers averaged 635 pounds.  Huffman placed an average price on them at $163.06 with a range from $90 up to $175 per hundred.  The price will be used to calculate their profitability in the feedlot and carcass phase of the feedout.

“The $90 steer was colored like a Longhorn thus the severe discount,” said Eldon Cole, a livestock specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

The same day, four owners in north Missouri took 36 steers to Paris Vet Clinic for processing.  Those steers were shipped to Gregory Feedlot at Tabor, IA where they will be fed with the southwest Missouri cattle for 150 to 180 days.  The owners will receive a very complete report on their animal’s performance during that time.  This complete evaluation provides objective data to make breeding, feeding, management and marketing decisions.

For more information of future feedouts, 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, Dr. Patrick Davis in Cedar County at (417) 276-3313 or Logan Wallace in Howell County at (417) 256-2391.

Angus steer calves at the event:
Rick Huffman:
Scott Kirby:
Frank Brazle:

Thanksgiving Favorites can be a Challenge to Grow in Missouri

Contact: Patrick Byers, horticulture specialist
Headquartered in Greene County
Tel: (417) 881-8909

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Cranberries, sweet potatoes and pecans are all favorite Thanksgiving foods that can successfully be grown in Missouri according to Patrick Byers, a horticulture specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

Many consider cranberries to be an essential part of Thanksgiving. Cranberries are native to North America and are often found in bogs or other areas where the growing conditions are moist but well drained.

“Today cranberries are commercially grown in bogs, where the plants are submerged under water when the berries are ripe, the plants are combed, and the floating berries are harvested,” said Byers.

Sweet potatoes also grace many Thanksgiving tables. They are native of tropical America: Caribbean islands, central and south America. Sweet potatoes are also very common in Missouri gardens.

“Sweet potatoes are dug before frost, and are in prime condition to bake or boil at Thanksgiving,” said Byers. “Orange flesh types are excellent sources of beta carotene.”

Pecan pie is also a favorite way to conclude the Thanksgiving feast and pecans are also native to Missouri. The tree is found in lowlands, but grows best in well drained soils.

“Pecans begin to fall in late October, and can be cracked and kept in the freezer,” said Byers. “Pecans are an excellent source of antioxidants, may help lower cholesterol levels, and can help preserve memory.”

For more information on pecans for Missouri, call the University of Missouri Extension in Greene County at (417) 881-8909 or go online to

Thanksgiving Turkey Tips Just in Time for the Holidays

Contact: Dr. Pam Duitsman, nutrition and health specialist
Headquartered in Greene County
Tel: (417) 881-8909

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- University of Missouri Extension Centers get lots of questions this time of year about turkeys according to Dr. Pam Duitsman, nutrition and health education specialist with MU Extension.

Duitsman says most of the questions fall in to one of five categories: purchasing, thawing, stuffing, preparing and storing.


A frozen turkey may be bought any time before the holiday. However, a fresh turkey must be purchased only one to two days before cooking. Avoid pre-stuffed fresh turkeys.

“If you are getting a whole bird, you will need 1 pound per person,” said Duitsman.


There are three methods that can be used to thaw a turkey safely.

One method is to put the frozen turkey (in original packaging) in the refrigerator about 24 hours for every 4 to 5 pounds of meat. The thawed bird can stay in the refrigerator one to two days.

“You can also thaw a turkey by soaking it in cold water and changing the water every 30 minutes. This method takes about 30 minutes per pound of turkey. However, you must cook it immediately after thawing,” said Duitsman.

It is also possible to use a microwave if the turkey is small enough. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the size of bird that is appropriate, as well as the minutes per pound and power level for defrosting. If this method is used the turkey must be cooked as soon as it has thawed.


If you make stuffing in advance, prepare the wet and dry ingredients and refrigerate them separately until time of cooking. Ingredients should not be mixed until right before you put the stuffing inside the turkey or into a baking dish.

Duitsman says it is recommended for best food safety practices that you cook stuffing separately instead of placing it inside the turkey. However, if you decide to stuff your turkey, it is important to stuff the turkey loosely with moist stuffing.

“Heat kills bacteria faster in a moist environment, so avoid using dry stuffing. Cook the turkey immediately after it has been stuffed,” said Duitsman.


Roast the turkey in an oven at 325 degrees Fahrenheit, regardless of whether or not it is stuffed, until both the turkey and the stuffing have reached a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees.

Check the temperature of the turkey in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast and check the center of the stuffing. The cooking time varies depending on the size of the turkey and whether or not it is stuffed.

After taking the turkey out of the oven, let it stand 20 minutes before removing the stuffing and carving.


Small pieces of turkey and stuffing should be stored separately in shallow containers in the refrigerator within two hours of cooking. Leftovers should either be eaten in three to four days, or frozen.

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

Class on Turf Grass Management in Greenfield; Registration Needed by Dec. 4

Contact: Jill Scheidt, agronomy specialist
Headquartered at Barton County Extension Center
Tel: (417) 682-3579

GREENFIELD, Mo. -- The University of Missouri Extension office in Dade County will host a “Turf Grass Management Class” from 1:30 p.m. – 3 p.m., Dec. 5, 6, 12, 13, 19, 20 at the Pennington Seed conference room in Greenfield.

The cost of the program is $50 per person or $80 per couple.

Class topics will include: turf grasses for southwest Missouri, turf management, turf diseases, weed management, turf fertilization, turf insects and rodents, soil and site prep.

Registration is needed by Dec. 4 and can be done by calling the Dade County Extension at (417) 637-2112. Please make checks payable to Dade County Extension.

Candidates Sought for Taney County Extension Council

Contact: Chrystal Irons, business development specialist
Headquartered at the Taney County Extension Center
Tel: (417) 546-4431

FORSYTH, Mo. -- Nominations are being accepted for the January 2014 election to the Taney County University of Missouri Extension Council, according to Council Chair Ronnie Melton.

County extension councils are the governing body for local educational opportunities provided by the University of Missouri Extension. Council members – both publicly elected and appointed citizens – work with extension faculty in making decisions concerning extension programs, personnel, council elections and the local extension office budget.

The Taney County extension council meets on the first Tuesday of each month.  Candidates must be at least 18 years old and reside in the district they would represent.  The election will take place online in January 2014. The newly elected members take office in March 2014.

Nominations for the Taney County extension council candidates must be made by Dec. 1, 2013.  Individuals interested in serving on the council may contact the Taney County extension center, (417) 546-4431.

“The Taney County Extension Council is seeking a diverse group of people who are interested in education and the progress of our community,” says Melton.  “Serving on the extension council is a great way to help make our community a better place for people to live and work.”

Extension council members are elected to serve a two-year term to represent the diverse educational needs and backgrounds of the people of Taney County.

The Taney County University of Missouri Extension Council is the local link between county residents and the University of Missouri.  In Taney County, extension programs address such high-priority areas as agriculture, business and workforce development, nutrition and health, parenting and youth development, family life, consumer education, community development and continuing education.

Information on the role of county extension councils, and the Missouri state statues governing council elections, are available at:  Information about Taney County Extension can be found on the web at or by calling (417) 546-4431 or visiting the extension center located at 122 Felkins Avenue, Forsyth.

Dallas County Extension to Hold Open House Nov. 12

Contact: Andy McCorkill, livestock specialist
Headquartered in Dallas County
Tel: (417) 345-7551

BUFFALO, Mo. -- The faculty and staff of the University of Missouri Extension in Dallas County will be holding an open house from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday Nov. 12 at the Dallas County Extension Center located in the basement of the Dallas County Courthouse.

Refreshments will be served and faculty serving Dallas County will be on hand to answer questions and showcase some of the programs and services MU Extension has to offer.

In June, the Extension Center moved from the office it had been housed in on the main level of the Dallas County courthouse to the downstairs.

“This was a good move,” said Andy McCorkill, county program director for Dallas County Extension. “The increased security in the courthouse and reduced office space on the main level had made it difficult to continue our tradition of service to Dallas County residents.”

The office can now be accessed without going through security on the west side the courthouse.

“With well over double the office space and easier access to downstairs meeting rooms, the environment is more welcoming to both staff and patrons,” said McCorkill.

Customers who are unable to make it down the stairs can still use the main entrance on the east side of the courthouse. The deputy at the security desk will notify the extension center that there is a customer needing assistance. Extension staff can access a small office on the main level of the courthouse to serve those who are unable to make it down the stairs in a private setting.

For more information contact the Dallas County Extension Center at 417-345-7551 of visit the office during office hours: Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“South Central Sheep and Goat Conference” Planned for Nov. 16 in Ava

Contact: Dr. Jodie A. Pennington, region small ruminant educator
Headquartered at Newton County Extension Center, Neosho, Mo.
Tel: (417) 455-9500

AVA, Mo. -- The “South Central Sheep and Goat Conference” is planned for 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 16 at Ava Victory Academy, 1005 NW 12th Street in Ave. Lunch will be served and afternoon sessions will be held at the Douglas County Fairgrounds, Highway 5, Ava.

"If you want to raise sheep or goats for meat or milk, you can learn how to raise them successfully at this conference," said Dr. Jodie Pennington, a small ruminant educator with Lincoln University Extension headquartered in Neosho.  “The conference will provide the basic information participants would need to work with sheep and goats, including hands-on training in the afternoon.”

Topics for the conference include herd health management including foot rot, internal parasite control, sheep and goat nutrition including pasture and forage management, and co-grazing of small ruminants and cattle.

After lunch, the conference will include an information-exchange panel after lunch of sheep and goat producers who will answer questions from the audience.  Hands-on practices will include deworming, FAMACHA, vaccinations, foot trimming, body condition scoring, and selection of breeding stock.

The other speakers for the day are Mark Kennedy, Natural Resource Conservation Service and Dr. Charlotte Clifford-Rathert from Lincoln University Extension in Jefferson City.  Clifford-Rathert is a small ruminant veterinarian who routinely works with goat diseases and internal parasites.

For those who pre-register before Nov. 15 at noon, the cost is $15 person. Simply mail your registration information to the Douglas County Extension Center, PO Box 668, Ava, MO 65608. Registration is $20 at the door the day of the event.

You also may contact the Douglas County Extension Center at 417-683-4409 or email to register or for more information.