Media contact:
Linda Geist
Writer
University of Missouri Extension
Phone: 573-882-9185
E-Mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Story source: Patricia Barrett, 573-369-2394

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Agricultural lenders know it is vital to stay current on trends.

University of Missouri Extension offers a workshop on “Financing Agriculture in Changing Times” in Jefferson City on Nov. 28.

It will be from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Lincoln University’s Carver Farm, 3804 Bald Hill Road, Jefferson City.

The seminar targets lenders who maintain or develop agriculture loan portfolios. Lenders receive the livestock and crop commodity outlooks for the coming year and hear updates on current farmland prices and rental rates.

Dean Volenberg, MU Extension viticulturist, tells about trends in the grape and wine industry. Extension economists Scott Brown and John Kruse give the livestock and grain outlooks. The USDA Farm Service Agency presents updates. Extension ag business specialist Patricia Barrett shares current land rental trends and extension natural resources specialist Sarah Havens offers insight on weather and timber values.

Register by Nov. 26. The $50 fee includes the seminar, lunch and a booklet. Make checks payable to University of Missouri Extension in Cole County and send to 2436 Tanner Bridge Road, Jefferson City, MO 65101.

For more information, call 573-634-2824 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Media contact:
Linda Geist
Writer
University of Missouri Extension
Phone: 573-882-9185
E-Mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Story source: Eldon Cole, 417-466-3102

JOPLIN, Mo. – Missouri beef herd owners learn profits and risks of sending their calves to a feedlot. They’ve entered 50 Missouri Steer Feedouts run by University of Missouri Extension.

To cut risks in learning, they enter samples of five to 20 head, said Eldon Cole, MU Extension livestock specialist. The Missouri Steer Feedout for winter-spring born calves began Nov. 6 at the Joplin Regional Stockyards in Carthage. The program teaches cow-calf farmers to keep a sampling of their steer calves through harvest.

The steers go to Tri-County Steer Carcass Futurity in southwestern Iowa. Throughout the process, their weight gain, feedlot performance and herd health are noted. The feedlot manages them until they are harvested by Tyson Foods in Nebraska in the spring.

Cole, from Mount Vernon, has done this since 1981 with lots of help. Over the years, 365 owners have entered 7,557 steers in the Missouri Steer Feedout. Participants come from Arkansas, Kansas, Illinois, Oklahoma and Missouri.

Producers enter a minimum of five steers. Most herds consign 10-20 head to allow them to compare sires.

MU Extension livestock specialists, Southwest Missouri Cattlemen’s Association members, and employees of USDA and Missouri Department of Agriculture sorted, tagged, weighed, graded and priced 139 steers from 15 groups. They weighed an average of 639 pounds. An average set-in price of $151.73 will be used to calculate feedlot performance.

Farmers hear comments as a panel views the steers. The panel included Jodie Pitcock, USDA, St. Joseph; Dan Hill, Missouri Department of Agriculture, West Plains; Jackie Moore, Joplin Regional Stockyards; Matt Thompson, Crossroads Cattle Co., Columbia; Wes Spinks, order buyer, Jerico Springs; and Mark Harmon, Joplin Regional Stockyards. They discussed strengths and weaknesses of the steers, including frame, muscle score and body condition.

“The 15 lots of steers gave the audience a great chance to see the diversity of cattle in southwest Missouri,” says Cole. There were mostly Angus and Angus crosses. There were some Brahman crosses, straight Charolais and Red Angus. Body conditions ranged from 4 to 7. Calves were born late December to April.

Harmon gave tips on how to help the auctioneer get more bids on the cattle. Write down vaccination types and date and weaning dates on a recipe card to take to the auction barn, Harmon says. “Once you get information, put it to work,” Cole says.

Through the years, Missouri cattle producers learned “you can’t tell a steer’s post-weaning performance by its cover,” says Cole. “The only way you’ll learn your herd’s genetics for overall performance is to feed them at least two or three times.”

Cole says feedouts don’t guarantee more money. Since 1981, the average profit per head has been less than $50. The payoff comes when producers use results to adjust their genetics and management. Cole says most producers enter five to 15 head of cattle. This is a low-risk way to find strengths and weaknesses, he says. The program helps small herd owners gain data to improve their herd’s genetic reputation.

Cole urges participants to set reasonable goals and realize “there are lots of average cattle.” A goal is to have 70 to 80 percent of carcasses grade USDA choice or higher.

Steers are ranked on temperament when they are worked. Disposition matters. Graders also check for bad eyes, primarily pinkeye. Steers with eye problems generally weigh 34 pounds less at weaning and gain less in finishing.

Cole tells participants to track steer performance back to the sire and dam and use this data to market herd mates as feeders or breeding stock. He teaches producers about the feedlot and packer’s desired grid. Results should arrive in late May to early June.

Southwest Missouri Cattlemen’s Association President Russell Marion of Pierce City has enrolled in the program the last 16 years. His profit per head averaged $39.96, ranging from $328 to minus $185. He also weighs calves and operates the chute at the feedout weigh-in.

Cole urged Marion to enter calves several years ago. “I wanted to see what they would do in the feedlot,” he says. “This is another whole segment of our industry.”

Marion says he uses the feedout to learn about his own herd. He usually brings oddly colored calves that would not bring as much money at a livestock auction. For feeding, hair color does not matter. Judges put emphasis on carcass grades and yield. Marion has a 400-head operation and 200 acres of hay. He rents his row crop acres.

For more information, contact any MU Extension livestock specialist in southwestern Missouri:

  • Eldon Cole, Mt. Vernon, 417-466-3102.
  • Andy McCorkill, Dallas County, 417-345-7551.
  • Patrick Davis, Cedar County, 417-276-3313.
  • Randall Wiedmeier, Ozark County, 417-679-3525.
  • Daniel Mallory, Ralls County, 573-985-3911.
  • Zac Erwin, Adair County, 660-665-9866.

Learn more at extension.missouri.edu/lawrence/documents/FOBrochure2018-19.pdf and www.swmobcia.com.

Photos available for this release:

https://extensiondata.missouri.edu/NewsAdmin/Photos/2018/msf162.jpg
Mount Vernon beef producer Steve Jones removed old tags and tagged steers with a number to help feedlot operators track each calf’s progress. He also brought two cattle of his own for the feedout. Photo by Linda Geist.

https://extensiondata.missouri.edu/NewsAdmin/Photos/2018/msf200.jpg
Steers in the Missouri Steer Feedout go through an extensive grading by, from left, MU Extension livestock specialist Eldon Cole; Dan Hill, Missouri Department of Agriculture; and Jodie Pitcock, USDA. Looking on is Gerald Eggerman, South Greenfield. Photo by Linda Geist.

Photos available for this release:

Photo

Cutline: Mount Vernon beef producer Steve Jones removed old tags and tagged steers with a number to help feedlot operators track each calf’s progress. He also brought two cattle of his own for the feedout.

Credit: Photo by Linda Geist

Photo

Cutline: Steers in the Missouri Steer Feedout go through an extensive grading by, from left, MU Extension livestock specialist Eldon Cole; Dan Hill, Missouri Department of Agriculture; and Jodie Pitcock, USDA. Looking on is Gerald Eggerman, South Greenfield.

Credit: Photo by Linda Geist

Media contact:
Curt Wohleber
Writer
University of Missouri Extension
Phone: 573-882-5409
E-Mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Story source: Londa Nwadike, 816-482-5860

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – You have probably heard it’s a bad idea to eat uncooked dough because it contains raw eggs. But raw flour can also make you sick, says Londa Nwadike, extension state food safety specialist for University of Missouri and Kansas State University

As the holiday season approaches, Nwadike urges people to resist the temptation to taste uncooked batter or dough, no matter how delicious it might be.

“Bacteria from animal waste and other sources can contaminate grain in fields or throughout the grain transportation and flour production system,” Nwadike says. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, flour from milled grain is typically not treated to kill bacteria.

“That means it’s not safe to eat until properly cooked,” she says.

You might have licked cake batter or cookie dough from spoons lots of times with no ill effects. But some haven’t been so lucky, Nwadike says.

In 2016, more than 60 people grew sick from E. coli bacteria linked to contaminated raw flour, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 10 million pounds of flour and flour-containing products were recalled, including bread, pastry and pancake mixes.

What about cookie dough ice cream? Nwadike says commercially purchased cookie dough ice cream should be safe because it contains heat-treated flour and pasteurized eggs. But that might not be true of store-bought cookie dough for baking. A 2009 outbreak traced to prepackaged raw cookie dough sickened 72 people; many of them were hospitalized.

“Bacteria have changed over the years, so they may be more likely to cause ill effects now than in the past,” Nwadike says.

The FDA offers safety tips when preparing cookies, pies, cakes and other foods containing flour:

• Don’t eat uncooked dough, batter or other foods containing raw flour.

• Be sure children don’t eat or taste dough used in crafts.

• Make sure foods containing flour are cooked to the proper temperature. Follow recipes or package directions.

• As with raw meat, keep raw flour or eggs separate from ready-to-eat foods.

• Clean bowls, utensils, countertops and other surfaces thoroughly after use. Wash hands often.

Sidebar: Suggested final internal product temperatures for baked goods

  • Layer cakes: 205-210 F
  • Pound cake: 210 F
  • Jellyroll cakes: 190-195 F
  • Muffins: 210 F
  • Quick bread: 210 F
  • Yeast bread: 195-210 F
  • Bundt cake: 212 F
  • Yeast rolls: 190-195 F

Source: Kansas State University Research and Extension

Photo credit: Albertine Watson. Shared under a Creative Commons license (CC BY 2.0).

Photo available for this release:

Photo

Cutline: Raw flour as well as raw eggs can contain dangerous microbes.

Credit: Photo by Albertine Watson. Shared under a Creative Commons license (CC BY 2.0)

Media contact:
Linda Geist
Writer
University of Missouri Extension
Phone: 573-882-9185
E-Mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Story source: David H. Trinklein, 573-882-9631

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Squash usually takes a back seat to sweet potato, cranberry and pumpkin in modern-day Thanksgiving meals.

Yet squash is rich in both history and nutrition, said University of Missouri Extension state horticulturist David Trinklein. The Pilgrims and Wampanoag tribe members enjoyed squash at the first Thanksgiving in 1621 in Plymouth colony. The Narragansett tribe called the food “askutasquash,” which means “eaten raw,” said Trinklein.

While squash did not make a great first impression with early settlers, it eventually became a staple of colonial cuisine, he said . It grew easily, and it stored well through the harsh winters.

Squash ranks as one of the oldest known food crops, dating back at least 8,000 years, said Trinklein. Archaeologists found remains of squash in ancient cliff dwellings in the southwestern United States and Mexico.

There are two main types of squash: summer squash and winter squash. Both are cucurbits, making them closely related to cucumbers, gourds, muskmelons and watermelons.

Summer squash are eaten when immature and small. They are often picked during the growing season. They may be eaten when more mature but they become more fibrous.

Winter squash are harvested when fully mature. The outer rind becomes hard and protective. They can be stored throughout most of the winter (hence the name). Winter squash is an excellent source of vitamin A, dietary fiber and other vitamins and minerals.

Some of the better-known types of winter squash include acorn, banana, blue Hubbard, butternut, buttercup and spaghetti squash. Colorful winter squash also serve as holiday decorations. Turk’s turban, amber cup, golden acorn and sweet dumpling complement pumpkins and gourds.

For maximum storage life, winter squash must be completely mature at harvest. Store in a cool, dry place where temperatures remain between 50 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Ventilate well to prevent surface (rind) diseases, which can spread from squash to squash. Spread on open shelves or arrange loosely in baskets or boxes. If stored at higher temperatures, their flesh may become stringy and lose quality. As a rule, acorn squash declines in quality in fastest while butternut squash stores longest.

Squash grows easily. Sow seeds in May, after the soil warms. Squash enjoys full sun exposure and well-drained soil. Fertilize before planting according to soil test results. Add more nitrogen once squashes set and begin to enlarge. There are varieties available in bush rather than vining form for those with limited gardening space.

You can find squash recipes on MU Extension’s free Seasonal and Simple app, available for Android and iOS devices and as a mobile-friendly web app at seasonalandsimple.info.

Related video:
MU Extension horticulturist Kelly McGowan talks about growing and preparing butternut squash at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FbP9SBkF0lI.

Photo available for this release:

Photo

Cutline: Butternut squash, halved.

Credit: Richard North

Video available for this release:

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FbP9SBkF0lI

Description: MU Extension horticulturist Kelly McGowan talks about growing and preparing butternut squash.

Media contact:
Duane Dailey
Writer
University of Missouri Extension
Phone: 573-882-9181
E-Mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Story source: Craig A. Roberts, 573-882-0481

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Odd fall weather and fescue pasture growth set up potential poisonous pastures causing fescue foot in cow herds.

Fall growth after a drought produces more toxins in infected tall fescue grass. The poison develops after rains start regrowth following a drought, says Craig Roberts, University of Missouri Extension specialist.

Roberts urges herd owners to keep close watch on their cows. “At first sign of a limp, take the cow off the toxic grass,” Roberts says.

“Make plans for alternative feeds,” he says. That includes pasture without Kentucky 31 fescue. On most farms, fescue remains the most-used forage. It is hardy because the toxin protects the plant from pests.

Another choice is to confine and feed limping cows on grain and nontoxic hay. Ensiled fescue hay should be avoided. Plastic-wrapped moist hay, or balage, preserves toxins.

Several factors worsen fescue toxicosis causing fescue foot, Roberts says.

Ergot alkaloids produced by a fungus in infected fescue restrict blood flow in cattle. Fescue foot develops in long cold spells. In cows, low blood flow to feet allows frozen hooves. In worst cases, hooves fall off.

Injured cattle cannot walk to graze pastures. They stay in place and die from lack of feed. Roberts says, “We’ve known of this syndrome since 1994. This year may be worse than usual.”

Spreading extra nitrogen fertilizer in the fall to boost grass growth also boosts production of toxins, he says.

In a normal year, extension recommends adding 60 pounds of nitrogen. This year, after the long drought and shortage of hay, many farmers added 80 pounds of N. There’s been good grass-growing weather this fall, Roberts says. The extra growth brings more toxins.

The trigger can be continued low temperatures. “A cold snap of one day isn’t a problem,” he says. “A week of freezing could be a disaster.”

There’s no cure for fescue foot, but prevention works.

Herd owners who converted toxic fescue pastures to a novel-endophyte fescue need not worry. “Fall growth is a bonus on new pastures,” Roberts says. “We see benefits on pastures that have been converted.” There are no toxins and forage quality is higher with the new fescues.

More nitrogen fertilizer on novel-endophyte grass brings more feed.

Prevention includes not grazing fall-grown fescue too short. Recent research shows most toxins in the fall stay in the lower 2 inches of the fescue plant.

Another preventive plan is to feed winter hay in fall cold spells. The pastures left standing in winter decrease in toxins with time. By January there will be less poison in the grass. Stockpile can be grazed late in winter with few problems.

Management-intensive grazing with quick rotations through paddocks helps prevent short grazing. “With rotational grazing, cows are moved before they grub grass into the ground,” Roberts says.

Cool-season grasses have an advantage, growing rapidly two times a year: Growth in spring and fall adds to grazing seasons.

Spring grazing requires caution, as toxins concentrate in seed heads and stems. Those are easily grazed by cows. There are no seed heads in fall growth.

The only cure for fescue toxicosis is killing infected pasture and reseeding to a novel-endophyte fescue.

Schools teaching reseeding were held in Missouri for years. Now those schools are held in the fescue belt across the Southeast. More schools will be in March, Roberts said.

Schools cover six states from Missouri southeast to North Carolina and Georgia. Times and places are on the Alliance for Grassland Renewal website. Go to grasslandrenewal.org/education.htm.

Media contact:
Linda Geist
Writer
University of Missouri Extension
Phone: 573-882-9185
E-Mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Story source: Robert Balek, 417-358-2158

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Missourians can use social media to get expert answers to their gardening questions.

Missouri Master Gardeners and University of Missouri Extension horticulture specialists teamed up to create the new Ask a Missouri Master Gardener page on Facebook, said MU Extension regional horticulturist Balek said.

Visit the page at facebook.com/AskaMissouriMasterGardener.

“The page lets residents tap into the diverse knowledge and backgrounds of degreed specialists and thousands of trained volunteers,” said Balek.

Page followers will find upcoming events, training sessions, online publications, and relevant and timely topics.

Visitors can also join a related Facebook group. “Joining the group allows access to a wider range of expertise and experience as specialists and Master Gardeners collaborate with knowledge and techniques to help others learn to grow,” he said.

Learn more about Missouri Master Gardeners at mg.missouri.edu.

Last year, Master Gardeners in 53 chapters in Missouri reported 164,788 volunteer hours valued at $3.98 million. Through activities such as hotlines or answer services, workshops, speakers bureaus, garden show booths and demonstration projects, Master Gardeners provide gardening information to thousands of Missourians each year.

Photo available for this release:

Photo

Cutline: Missouri Master Gardener logo

Description: Missouri Master Gardener logo

Media contact:
Linda Geist
Writer
University of Missouri Extension
Phone: 573-882-9185
E-Mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Story source: Tamra Reall, 816-252-5051

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Little hearts might skip a beat when Mom whispers, “Sleep tight. Don’t let the bedbugs bite.”

Once rare in American homes, bedbugs have been on the rise over the last decade. Holiday travel gives these bloodsuckers an opportunity to hitch a ride, but University of Missouri Extension horticulturist and entomologist Tamra Reall says you can ditch the itch with a few precautions.

First, check the area where you set your luggage. Don’t put luggage on the bedding or on the floor. “I put my luggage in the bathroom while I inspect everything with a strong flashlight, including beds, drawers, closet, luggage rack and behind the headboard, if possible,” Reall says.

Check your bedding before you settle in for the night. Pull back the covers and look closely for small, reddish-brown bugs. Adults are about the size of an apple seed. They leave dark stains on sheets. The stains are fecal matter made from blood sucked from humans and pets.

Reall recommends checking your luggage when you get home. “Your luggage can pick up bugs from other luggage or cargo holds on airplanes. Running clothes through the dryer on high for 45 minutes will kill any bugs you missed.”

Bedbugs come out at night to feed. During the day, their hiding places might include your favorite comfortable spots—your recliner, couch and bed. Temperatures 70 degrees and higher provide the best conditions for bedbugs to lay eggs for quick hatching.

Bedbugs are patient. They survive in vacant buildings and can live up to one year without feeding.

Be careful when buying used furniture and bedding, Reall says. You might get bugs with your bargain. The bedbug ignores social and economic class and will happily infest even the cleanest and most uncluttered homes. If your college student is home for the holiday, check laundry closely. Dormitories and apartment buildings are smorgasbords for bugs.

If you do find bedbugs in your own home, contact a pest control service for the most effective removal of bedbugs.

Photos available for this release:

https://extensiondata.missouri.edu/NewsAdmin/Photos/2010/bedbug.jpg
An adult and several nymph bedbugs hiding under the foot of a recliner. Also visible are tiny, dark spots of blood.
Gary Alpert, Harvard University, Bugwood.org

https://extensiondata.missouri.edu/NewsAdmin/Photos/2010/Bedbug Check.jpg
Crevices in mattresses or box springs are common hiding places for bedbugs.
University of Missouri Extension

Videos available for this release:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JHT8mB7xnPg
Video news story: Bedbugs are biting again (2010)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C4FeuscBW4s
Educational video: Return of the Bedbugs

Photos available for this release:

Photo

Cutline: An adult and several nymph bedbugs hiding under the foot of a recliner. Also visible are tiny, dark spots of blood.

Credit: Gary Alpert, Harvard University, Bugwood.org

Photo

Cutline: Crevices in mattresses or box springs are common hiding places for bedbugs.

Credit: University of Missouri Cooperative Media Group

Videos available for this release:

Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JHT8mB7xnPg

Description: Bedbugs are biting again

Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C4FeuscBW4s

Description: MU Extension informational video on bedbugs

Media contact:
Duane Dailey
Writer
University of Missouri Extension
Phone: 573-882-9181
E-Mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Story sources: David J. Patterson, 573-882-7519; Jared Decker, 573-882-2504

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Replacement heifers to upgrade cow-calf herds will be offered in six Show-Me-Select sales this fall. Also, owners can restock cow herds culled in the drought.

With strength in beef demand and rains growing pastures, herd owners can rebuild. Dry weather’s impact on forages had farmers concerned.

“Optimism of cow-calf herd owners should return,” says David Patterson, University of Missouri Extension beef specialist. “The sales can help them.”

Patterson has developed Show-Me-Select for more than two decades.

The marketing sales are a small part of a year-round education program. The main parts are reproduction management and genetics.

This year the sales reach beyond Missouri. All will be broadcast online at LiveAuctions.TV. Buyers anywhere can bid in every sale.

Sales start Nov. 16 at Joplin and Kirksville. Consignors north and south in the state offer heifers guaranteed pregnant.

Many of those will be timed-AI bred, giving a calving date and uniform calf crop.

Over the years, new features continue to be added. This year, more heifers will be genomic tested. These are called Show-Me-Plus heifers. At Joplin, for example, almost half of 300 heifers will be DNA tested.

Knowing genetic potential adds value. Buyers can know better how heifers will perform as cows. Breeders learn more exactly the needed expected progeny difference (EPD) scores on sires used. The heifer genetic tests last a lifetime.

EPDs were long used on sires. Now heifers carry EPDs. Heifers offered will have different levels of breed improvement.

The Show-Me-Select sales offer heifers from owners enrolled in the MU Extension program. Management starts well before breeding.

The first major advance was in adding calving-ease genetics. But there is management, such as pelvic measurements before breeding. Also, reproductive tracts are scored before breeding starts.

A heifer with a small pelvis is sent to a feed yard. Keeping them out of cow herds reduces death losses.

Every sale offers a detailed catalog made just ahead of sale time. Expected calving dates are given. Data adds dollar value to each animal. Information plus catalogs are at agebb.missouri.edu/select.

For MU Extension specialists, the auctions are educational events. Sales show value potential of known genetics.

Sale dates, times and places, with local MU Extension sale coordinators:

Nov. 16, 7 p.m., Joplin Regional Stockyards, Carthage; Eldon Cole, 417-466-3102.

Nov. 16, 6:30 p.m., Kirksville Livestock, LLC; Zac Erwin, 660-665-9866.

Nov. 24, 11 a.m., Kingsville Livestock Auction; David Hoffman, 816-380-8460.

Dec. 1, 11 a.m., SEMO Livestock Sales, Fruitland; Erin Larimore, 573-243-3581.

Dec. 7, 7 p.m., Farmington Livestock Sales; Kendra Graham, 573-756-4539.

Dec. 8, 12:30 p.m., F&T Livestock Market, Palmyra; Daniel Mallory, 573-985-3911.

Heifer sales are run by local groups of herd owners enrolled in the MU Extension program. All Missouri herd owners can join by contacting their regional livestock specialist through the county MU Extension center.

No out-of-state consignors are admitted. But buyers are welcome from anywhere. So far, SMS heifers have gone to 17 states.

To view and bid online, log in to www.LiveAuctions.TV. For support, call 817-725-8595.

While sales are a small part of the program, Patterson says, the most value goes back into home herds of consignors.

The first major value is lower death rates at calving. The long-term gain is in quality feeder calves that can make USDA choice and prime beef.

The genomic help improved since geneticist Jared Decker joined MU Extension.

Research for the program comes from the cow herd at MU Thompson Farm, Spickard. That’s part of the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources.

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