I am so grateful that my husband Andy is in charge of the orchard. Fruit tree maintenance, I am convinced, is an art. There are details to pruning that can make or break good fruit set, branch structure and ability to pick when the limbs are laden with ripe fruit. While I understand the basics, I am glad Andy is the one that executes the task.
Most people are aware of the danger to ash trees from the emerald ash borer throughout North America. According to a sobering USDA Forest Service publication, “Emerald ash borer is the most destructive forest insect introduced into North America in recent history. Our present ability to detect, contain, eradicate, or manage EAB infestations is limited . . . The eventual loss of the vast majority of ash trees in North America should be anticipated.” To read the entire publication, please visit http://na.fs.fed.us/pubs/eab/eab_strategy.pdf.
I suppose every day is potentially skunk season, but right about now things start to heat up.
Mating season is upon us so skunks are on the move a bit more than usual. I have been reminded as such by a faint funk in the garage every morning this past week. I learned a serious lesson several years back when the dog got a direct shot to the face and we had a lingering stench that was otherworldly.
Getting a message out to the masses has never been so convenient, and the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture is no stranger to engaging multi-generational, diverse audiences. It was a natural progression for the college to develop a strong social media presence.
U.S. corn for grain production was estimated at 12.4 billion bushels, up slightly from the Nov. 1 forecast but 1 percent below 2010. The average yield was estimated at 147.2 bushels per acre. This was up 0.5 bushel from the Nov. forecast but 5.6 bushels below the 2010 average yield of 152.8 bushels.
Spring bulbs popping up everywhere as temperatures roller-coaster from the teens to the 60s have left many scratching their heads; there is not much we can do to fool Mother Nature so we must be patient and hope that we have a decent display come March.
I have some foliage that has turned to mush, but the bulb and bloom is still safe beneath the soil surface; the bulb will send up fresh foliage in due time. The real issue with the crazy weather is that our bulbs need sufficient dormancy and chilling time in the ground in order to bloom well.
Fluctuating winter temperatures can lull a horse owner into under- or overfeeding. Our winter in Kentucky so far has been very mild, but it still is cold enough to compromise nutrients horses might get from the tiny bits of green amid the wintery tufts of brown grass.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recently announced that USDA is seeking applications to provide assistance to agricultural producers and rural small businesses to complete a variety of energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. Funding is available from USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) authorized by the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (Farm Bill).
USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced that the ranking period cut-off date for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) is Jan. 27. Producers interested in CSP should submit applications to their local NRCS office by the deadline so that their applications can be considered during the first ranking period of 2012.