Inside Beat garden heat Page 3 Vidalia research Page 6 Wild animal control Page 10 Summer pruning Page 12
North Georgia’s Agricultural Newspaper
Strawberries: a berry perfect ‘pick’ By David B. Strickland Georgia Ag News Staff
GAINESVILLE — Whether bought at a supermarket, farmers’ market or a you-pick farm, strawberries are abundantly ready and ripe for the season. Many state strawberry associations also tout the nutritional benefits of the berries. The California Strawberry Commission notes that strawberries are rich in vitamins, potassium and fiber. Adding that a serving of strawberries (about eight) contains more vitamin C than even an orange. Interestingly, the strawberry is not actually a true berry. A member of the rose family, a strawberry is an “achene” or “false fruit,” notes information from the University of California-Davis Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources. This means the fruit is made up of several tiny fruits all contained in the familiar red packages. What is considered to be the seeds all around the fruit, are actually the “true fruits.” All of these combined berry units makes strawberries nice sources of fiber, the university notes.
Selecting & storing Picking out nice strawberries at the market and getting the most from them once home is a relatively easy process. Look for strawberries that have a bright, red appearance that is glossy, notes the information provided by UC-Davis. Strawberries that are beginning to spoil will be mushy, shriveled and dull. For storage, the university recommends the berries be placed in
the refrigerator crisper at 32 degrees F to 36 degrees F. Also, keep the strawberries in the plastic, clamshell packaging. This will maintain higher humidity and prevent the loss of moisture in the berries, which is the cause of the shriveling. Wash just before you plan to eat or cook with the strawberries, UCDavis adds. Washing adds moisture and if the berries are not going to be immediately consumed, this excess moisture could lead to early spoilage. The preferred method is simply rinsing the strawberries under cool, running water and then placed in a strainer to dry or patted dry with a clean, paper towel. It’s not recommended to wash them in a container or sink filled with water because the standing water could potentially spread any possible contamination. Strawberries should be good for approximately seven days after purchase if they are stored correctly, but this is also dependent on ripeness at the time of purchase, the university notes.
Georgia’s farms The Georgia Farm Bureau is promoting the farms in the state where you can pick your own strawberries, as noted in a release. “With all the experiences and products available, visits to strawberry you-pick markets offer consumers a great value,” said Zippy Duvall, Georgia Farm Bureau president. “The strawberries are delicious and people get to see some of what happens on a farm.” GFB provides a listing of markets that sell fresh strawberries, as well as other fresh produce, throughout the state. More information about this can be obtained at www.gfb.org/commodities/cfm/ default.html.
Photo by David B. Strickland
Red, white and blue: Perfect for July 4 holiday snacking, and for making strawberry shortcakes, strawberries are tasty and nutritious summertime treats.
Summer brings diverse weather By Barbara Olejnik Georgia Ag News Staff firstname.lastname@example.org
GAINESVILLE — Summer has officially arrived and some great beach weekends are ahead, although beachgoers may have to contend with some especially hot days or possibly a major storm.
According to the Farmer’s Almanac, with the exception of New England and the Northern half of the Mid-Atlantic region, the Eastern half of the U.S. and Canada is expected to see some very hot weather with normal amounts of precipitation. The hot weather forecast doesn’t get any better as summer pro-
gresses. The Almanac says that as August opens, the scorching heat will peak, with temperatures well into the 100s predicted for the entire East Coast. With such hot weather predicted, it may be time to head to the beach where cool water and ocean breezes
See Weather, Page 8
GEORGIA AG NEWS, July 2013
Bowfishing is an alternative for the ‘off season’ By Caleb Copeland
Special to Georgia Ag News
COLUMBUS — Let’s be honest, this is the so called “off season” for us hunters. In my opinion there is never an off season, but if there was one this would be it. There is always somewhere to fish if you are into that . . . unfortunately I am not. Fishing is boring to me personally, so I am going to talk about what I like to do in this summer lull between turkey season and deer season. In some parts of the state there are hogs to hunt, but my favorite summer time activity is bowfishing. I know what you are thinking, he just said that he thinks fishing is boring. This is not fishing, this bowhunting for fish. It combines the best elements of fishing and hunting together in a very target rich, no limit environ-
bies to the sport to get started. There There is no limit on the number of getting into a pile of fishing and are plenty of fish to shoot and if you fish you can shoot so pile them in sticking a big carp with a bow. have a jon boat and a generator you the boat. These fish, in most cases, aren’t can get started. One thing you will learn when very good to eat; but if you have a Bowfishing is a sport where you going bowfishing after missing garden or know someone who does take a bow of some sort and have a about 30 fish in a row is that your they make awesome fertilizer, as bowfishing rig attached to it. There aiming point is much different than well as great food for turtle farmers are several hunting stores in the it would be at an object out of water. (this is where we take our fish after Gainesville area that can help you You have to aim low to adjust shooting). If you don’t have a boat and out with equipment. for the refraction of the water. The would still like to try bowfishing, Once you have your rig set up and deeper the fish the lower you aim. HUSQVARNA MZ 5225 look up some charter services. I you have some lights attached to the After a little practice shooting • Engine manufacturer: Kohler front of your jon boat and your gen- you will get your aiming point and know there are a few in the area. safe and take kid or someone Engine Courage Proa V-Twin erator running wait until dark and start reeling them into•the boat. name: Be who has never been hunting or fish• No turning start scanning the shores. Anytime Just like any form of hunting, the radius by individual wheel-drive ing with you the next time you go. you see a carp or gar shoot! weather dictates howPrice: well a night $ 4,699.95 We are the future of the sport and HUSQVARNA MZ 5225 These are what we call invasive of bowfishing is going to be. If the the true conservationists. • Engine manufacturer: species. These fish are the feral wind blowsKohler the wrong way it will hogs of the water. They eat bassname: and muddy up the water and make it Caleb Copeland is an editor/pro• Engine Courage Pro V-Twin crappie eggs and eat•upNo the turning food that radius hard tobysee the fish even with the ducer with Sub-7, and executive individual wheel-drive our game fish want. lights, so you have to plan for every producer of DRTHuntingTV. He Price: $ 4,699.95 They are very overpopulated and situation just like anything else. can be reached by e-mail at caleb@ are doing more harm than good. There is nothing more fun than sub7.tv.
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GEORGIA AG NEWS, July 2013
Tips to beat the garden heat this summer By Michael Wheeler
Special to Georgia Ag News
GAINESVILLE — Summer in Georgia is always an interesting time of year. It seems we go from one extreme to another. Earlier in the spring, we were relatively cool and have plenty of moisture in the ground. But now summer is here, and if shade was a commodity that could be sold on the open market it would be going for a hefty price. So as we try to keep ourselves cool in this heat, don’t forget to pay attention to your landscape. For most established plants, little irrigation is needed to get them through hot weather. However, one thing that you can do is to provide a good
layer of mulch around and have not explored them. the soil for moisture. A 2- to 3-inch mulch When you do water, layer not only makes do it wisely. Most landthings look good in your scapes, including turf, landscape, but also proonly require an inch of vides a bit of insulation bewater per week. When tween the heat and the soil using overhead sprinand plant roots. Mulch also klers, invest in a rain conserves moisture and gauge to measure how cuts down on the weeds. Wheeler much water you are apAfter all, who wants to be plying to the landscape out in this heat pulling up at a time. This will tell weeds? you when you have provided the On newly planted landscapes that plants with what they need. If you are trying to become established, can, apply that 1 inch of water at one irrigation is going to be something time. that you are probably going to have A deep thorough watering is to do from time to time. The roots of much more beneficial for the plants these plants are not well established than giving them 15-20 minutes of
Georgia Agriculture Department promoting poultry grading program Special to Georgia Ag News
ATLANTA — The Georgia Department of Agriculture is encouraging all Georgia poultry operations to utilize the Poultry and Egg Grading Service provided by the department. The Poultry and Egg Grading Service is provided through a Cooperative State Trust Fund Agreement between the GDA and the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service. The AMS Poultry Grading Division administers programs that facilitate the efficient and fair marketing of poultry and shell eggs. AMS provides the agriculture industry with valuable services that help ensure the quality and availability of wholesome food for consumers across the country. To support and promote the poultry industry in Georgia, the state provides this service at one of the lowest rates in the country, GDA noted. USDA graders are available to certify the quality of a given lot of poultry or shell eggs. Quality is determined according to national grade standards that have been de-
veloped by the USDA. Uniform grade standards enable buyers, sellers and consumers to communicate about quality characteristics in a common language. Poultry and eggs that have been certified by USDA licensed graders are eligible to be labeled with U.S. grade marks and advertised as higher quality products. Graders are also available, as a disinterested third party, to certify the net weight and condition of poultry, eggs and further processed poultry products, and to verify compliance with approved commercial specifications. Many companies utilize grading services for verification of these attributes so that they may receive credits or replacement product for lots of poultry that were received underweight, or off condition, by the purchaser. Each year the commodity procurement branch of the AMS purchases large quantities of poultry and shell eggs under government contracts. These commodities are donated to recipient agencies such as soup
kitchens and school lunch programs. The Poultry Grading Program is responsible for verifying compliance with contracts on government purchased commodities. If you, or your company, can benefit by selling shell eggs or poultry products to the government, visit the AMS website — www.ams. usda.gov — and view the notices to the trade listed in the commodity purchasing section. To reduce uncertainty in contract awards, the AMS has recently added multi-year contracts to companies who have a track record of meeting contract requirements and fulfilling orders on time. The GDA noted that from individual farmers to international businesses, its mission is to support Georgia agriculture by helping Georgia remain competitive in a global marketplace. If operating in Georgia, and interested in obtaining a grading service or learning more about services offered, contact the Georgia Department of Agriculture Poultry Grading Program at 770-535-5704.
water every day. When you can, concentrate the water at the roots of the plants by using drip tape or soaker hoses in your landscape. If you use a soaker hose, you need to get water 8-10 inches down in the soil. Also irrigate between the hours of 4 a.m. and 9 a.m. Doing so not only allows you to be more efficient, but will also reduce your chances of diseases. If you are in the middle of renovating your landscape, use native plants as much as you can. Natives are adapted to the weather conditions and moisture patterns of the area. Once they are established, they become fairly low maintenance and worry free.
Also draw out your landscape into sections of water use. Cluster plants that require little supplemental watering together, and then put those plants that require a little more water together. This planning will concentrate your watering efforts in one or two places. These are just a few ideas to help you become water wise and a good steward of the water we have. For more information go to www. conservewatergeorgia.net. Michael Wheeler is the Hall County Extension Coordinator and agricultural Extension agent. He can be reached at 770-535-8293; e-mail at email@example.com; or www.hallcounty.org/extension.
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GEORGIA AG NEWS, July 2013
Georgia egg producers had a vision
By Jewell F. Hutto
Special to Georgia Ag News
SUWANEE — In July of 1961, Georgia egg producers had a vision that their product was important enough to have legislation passed to establish the Georgia Agricultural Commodity Commission for Eggs, which would allow for promotion, education and research. These Georgia egg farmers felt that having a strong state organization would be essential for the industry’s future. Their vision was to keep the industry strong and Hutto committed to agriculture as a whole! After coming to work with the Georgia Egg Commission in October of 1992, I soon realized their vision was still strong and others before me had worked hard to see it continue. My job was to be a steward, not
only to the consumer through promotion, education and research, but also to our producers. As a steward, my charge was to make certain the consumer knew egg farmers of Georgia care! I was given the opportunity to work with one of the finest men I have ever known — Robert Howell — who has become an icon in the egg industry. Without Robert, the industry would not be the same today, and I personally want to thank him for his leadership and friendship. Twelve years ago, Holly Hidell joined the staff as its vice president of media and nutrition. Holly brought so much to the table with her MS, RD, LD qualifications; but mostly she shared her amazing ability to bring joy to our office and to our hearts. I can honestly say working with Robert and Holly has given me a new understanding of commitment and has given me a chance to revive the vision those egg producers had years ago. It hasn’t always been easy. Georgia egg farmers have faced concerns about cholesterol, salmonella and animal welfare issues, just to mention a few of the issues.
Fortunately, the Georgia Egg Commission was there to tell their side of the story. And even with budget cuts and staff reductions, the commission endured, becoming one of the leading state egg organizations in the country. This past May, Georgia egg producers had the opportunity to vote in a tri-annual referendum as to whether or not the program should continue for another three years. Unfortunately, today’s owners no longer have the vision of their predecessors, and the program was defeated. As a result, the Georgia Egg Commission will cease operations on Sept. 15, 2013. What lies ahead for Georgia’s egg industry? I DO NOT KNOW; but, I do know this: the egg industry will not be the same without the knowledge, reputation and confidence the Georgia Egg Commission offered to the State of Georgia and its consumers for over a half-century. In order to survive, producers must be proactive in educating the next generation of consumers as to their nutritional value, affordability, convenience and of course great taste. I have had the honor and privi-
Producers vote to discontinue Georgia Egg Commission SUWANEE — Egg producers in Georgia have voted to discontinue the 52-year-old Georgia Egg Commission, which provided promotion, education and research for the state’s egg industry. Under state law, producers owning birds in Georgia are required to vote every three years on whether to renew the commission. Ballots received by the April 30 deadline were counted by the Georgia Department of Agriculture. The votes did not reach the required two-
thirds approval for renewal. The commission will end operation on Sept. 15. “It is with a heavy heart and great disappointment for me to inform you that Georgia egg producers have voted to discontinue the program. Since this is the first commodity commission with active production to be voted out, there are many details that will have to be addressed in the coming weeks,” said Robert N. Howell, GEC president, in a memorandum following the vote.
‘As a steward (of the Georgia Egg Commission), my charge was to make certain the consumer knew egg farmers of Georgia care!’ Jewell Hutto
Georgia Egg Commission
lege of working with many wonderful and talented people. I will always be grateful to the egg producers, their families, their staff, board of directors and our wonderful supporters for the support and confidence given to us. I cannot begin to say “thank you” enough, as there are no words to express how I feel about this industry. The past 20 years with the Geor-
gia Egg Commission have been a gift I will forever carry in my heart. I will never say “goodbye,” but instead, I will wish all “Good Eggs From Georgia” an Egg-cellent day! Jewell Hutto is the executive director for the Georgia Egg Commission with offices in Suwanee, Ga. This year, she celebrates her 20th anniversary in the industry.
Account Executive Stacy Louis 770-718-3445 firstname.lastname@example.org
Poultry Times P.O. Box 1338 Gainesville, Georgia 30503 Telephone: 770-536-2476; 770-718-3444 (after 5:30 p.m.) Fax: 770-532-4894
Account Executive Dinah Winfree 770-718-3438 email@example.com
Companion Publications: Poultry Times; A Guide to Poultry Associations; Poultry Resource Guide.
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Editorial/Advertising Staff Editor David B. Strickland 770-718-3442 email@example.com Associate Editor Barbara L. Olejnik 770-718-3440 firstname.lastname@example.org
The opinions expressed in this publication by authors other than Georgia Ag News staff are those of the respective author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Georgia Ag News. Georgia Ag News assumes responsibliity for error in first run of an in-house designed ad only. Advertisers have ten (10) days from publication date to dispute such an advertisement. After ten (10) days, ad will be deemed correct and advertiser will be charged accordingly. Proofs approved by advertiser will always be regarded as correct.
GEORGIA AG NEWS, July 2013
Tips for getting the most from farmers market shopping By Steven Thomas
Special to Georgia Ag News
GAINESVILLE — Summertime is a wonderful time of year when it comes to buying farm-fresh foods, taking them home and cooking up some great meals for family and friends. Just knowing that the food you are going to eat was picked or produced within days makes each meal a special Thomas occasion. This is what makes shopping at farmers markets so much fun. Of course, sometimes our eyes get so big and our heads full of ideas of what to do with all that food that
we can go a little crazy and buy too much. There is nothing worse than having to throw out wilted lettuce and limp squash — especially when the farmer worked so hard to grow it.
Buying tips Which brings us to a few tips for better and smarter shopping at the market. So first up, grab an iced drink and walk around to see what each vendor has to offer. Most people see that deep red pile of tomatoes and immediately head straight for the table; but not all farmers grow the same tomatoes and each tomato has its own use, whether for salad, cooking or sauce. Take your time, ask questions and be choosy. Make a list of the meals you like to make and bring a copy, either written out on old-fashioned paper
or on your phone. A lot of recipes allow for switching out ingredients that are similar and you can make your choice from knowing what you’re going to be doing instead of looking in the fridge and trying to figure out later in the week how leeks and eggplants go together.
Best ways to store Ask the farmers about the best way to store their produce to make it last. Lettuce likes to be washed and put to bed on a nice layer of damp paper towels in the fridge. Herbs can be put in a vase of water. Which brings us to prepping produce. When you get home, instead of just shoving everything in the fridge, put on some music and put everything out on the counter. Divide your purchases and place them
into their own bags. You might even do some washing and spinning in a salad spinner before putting them away. You’re more likely to use what you can see and even more likely to use what is all ready to go.
Ask for “seconds” If you plan on using produce for canning or for pies and desserts, ask the farmer if they have any “seconds” available. These are the notquite perfect items that look great on the table. Usually, the farmer will take these home and use them, but will offer you a deal on them, which can save you money. There are also better prices that may be available for larger quantities for canning. Ask the farmer a week ahead, if possible. Bring a bag, basket or wheeled
cart. By doing so, we can reduce the amount of plastic bags. Most plastic bags are used once and thrown away. By bringing your own reusable bags, we can cut down on waste. Think ahead. Do you have a grandchild’s birthday coming up? The market craftspeople may have a wonderful, unique gift that can’t be found at the mall. Shopping at a farmers market should be a social occasion. Take your time, talk to the vendors and mingle with friends, and then shop for the best local produce, food products and crafts. Steven Thomas is market manager of the Historic Downtown Gainesville Market on the Square. He can be reached at 678-943-4442; by email at email@example.com; or the website www.hallfarmers.org.
GEORGIA AG NEWS, July 2013
Researchers work to guarantee Vidalias all taste alike By Sharon Dowdy
Special to Georgia Ag News
ATHENS — Most Vidalia onion lovers choose the Georgia-grown onion because it tastes sweet. University of Georgia scientists are searching for a way to help Vidalia onion farmers guarantee their crop meets consumers’ expectations — sweet, but not too pungent. “Basically we are trying to get a good measure of pungency,” said Rob Shewfelt, a food scientist with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and leader of the project. “You’re not going to find a Vidalia onion that is as pungent as a green onion or a red onion, but certain ones are pungent.” Shewfelt calls pungency “a relative term.” “When you chew an onion with your mouth closed, you taste the sweetness, then you open your
mouth and get the pungency,” he said. “Pungency is what goes up the back of your nose and makes your nose vibrate, whether it makes you cry or makes it feel hot in your mouth.” UGA scientists are in the final year of the four-year study comparing instruments that measure sweetness and pungency with the views of human trained sensory panelists and untrained onion tasters. “Years ago, (UGA researcher) Bill Randall used an instrumental method where fresh onions were crushed and measured,” Shewfelt said. “Basically, it measured pyruvic acid and the enzymes and substrates that combine and cause us to tear up.” Maureen McFerson/UGA
Effective, destructive This method was effective, but destroyed the onions. Chi Thai, a UGA food scientist and member
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Georgia’s sweet onion: Vidalia onions growing in Lyons, Ga.
of the research project team, is now searching for nondestructive ways, like infrared scanning, to measure these factors. And, as part of the study, Norman Schmidt of Kansas’ Tabor College, uses a gas chromatograph. “(Dr. Schmidt) is measuring the factor that makes you tear up. We want to relate that to our sensory data from the human trained panelist,” Shewfelt said. The scientists selected four Vidalia onion varieties for the study; one with high sweetness and pungency, one with high sweetness and low pungency, one with low sweetness and high pungency and one with low sweetness and pungency. A trained consumer sensory panel tasted raw onion wedges and selected the two varieties with high sweetness as “superior acceptable.” The panelists ranked the two varieties with low sweetness “unacceptable.” “The sweetness was the most important factor,” Shewfelt said. The UGA research team also held a taste test with untrained consumers at the Tate Student Center on the UGA campus in Athens.
Eaings raw onions “It was very hard to get people to
try a sample of a raw onion,” said Maureen McFerson, the graduate student working on the project. “I would ask them if they’d like to do something to help Georgia agriculture today? — not, ‘Would you like to try a piece of raw onion?’” A native of Washington state, McFerson is accustomed to eating Walla Walla sweet onions. As part of her master’s thesis work at UGA, she met with growers in Lyons, Ga., to get their insight on Georgia’s state vegetable. “Most of the growers were concerned about the soil and growing conditions, finding out what consumers want and keeping a quality product,” she said. “They also want an easy, nondestructive method to predict acceptability by consumers.” The research team discovered a “positive relationship between instrumental analysis and a trained panel and between different compounds and acceptability,” she said. “We found the absence of pungency compounds correlated to a higher amount of consumer acceptability,” McFerson said. “And we made headway toward finding a nondestructive method through the infrared method and mathematical models.” The research team has more
work to do before either method can be applied in the industry.
Not ready yet “In the long term, we want to find an instrumental method that can discriminate against various onions. If one is too pungent, it will be kicked out and not sold raw. It can be used another way,” he said. “We know there are ways to identify pungency and sweetness, so you will be assured that the ones you get are of lower pungency.” McFerson now prefers Vidalia onions to Walla Wallas. “Unlike peanuts, cotton and peaches, consumers know that they are supporting Georgia agriculture when they purchase a Vidalia onion,” she said. “Like with Champagne in France, the onions must be grown in certain counties in south central Georgia to be the labeled Vidalia.” More information on Vidalia onion research at UGA can be obtained at www. caes.uga.edu/commodities/fruits/vidalia. Sharon Dowdy is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.
GEORGIA AG NEWS, July 2013
Stash trash to prevent bear encounters GAINESVILLE — Add “Bearproof the garbage” to your cleaning list. It’s one of the first and most important things you can do to resolve human-bear conflicts. Easily accessible garbage is irresistible to a hungry black bear. Unfortunately, it’s also a major threat to its survival. Bear-proofing your garbage could add years to the lives of some of Georgia’s magnificent wild black bears. “Bears become habituated when people feed them — whether intentional or not,” said Adam Hammond, wildlife biologist with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division. “When a bear learns that it can get a ‘free meal’ from garbage, it’s going to return again and again until eventually it loses its natural fear of humans. This is how many human-bear conflicts begin, and the bear becomes labeled a nuisance.” Homeowners and business owners in known bear areas can help reduce human-bear conflicts by taking these important steps to secure
their garbage: yy Convert to bear-proof garbage containers, or secure garbage inside a garage or other enclosed area. yy Place garbage cans at the curb on the day of pick-up rather than the night before. If there is no curbside pick-up in the area, take garbage to the nearest disposal site as soon as possible. yy In some cases, installing an electric fence around garbage storage areas may be useful to prevent bears from accessing household garbage. yy Remove food scraps from grills and fire pits daily. yy Rinse food cans and wrappers before disposal. Keep garbage cans clean and deodorize them periodically. yy Concerning dumpsters, install bear-proof trash bins, attach reinforcing lids or install latch mechanisms. Garbage is just one of the many non-natural food items that attract bears. Birdseed and pet food round out the top three most common
types of attractants. Homeowners in known bear areas are advised to bring pet food indoors and remove birdfeeders during spring and late summer. In Georgia, there are three population centers for black bears. These include the North Georgia mountains, the Ocmulgee River drainage system in central Georgia and the Okefenokee Swamp in the southeastern part of the state. However, black bears can and do range over larger areas, especially in early spring and late summer when natural food sources are scarce. Young male bears also roam larger areas in an effort to establish their own territory. “The best and most effective way to resolve human-bear conflicts is to remove the attractant,” Hammond said. “In most cases, that simply means making trash, birdseed, pet food and other non-natural food items inaccessible.” The black bear is a symbol of Georgia’s natural diversity, the only bear found in the state and a high-
Terry Spivey, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org
Keeping bears away: The Georgia Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Resources Division says to keep garbage and outside food sources secure to reduce encounters with wild black bears.
priority species in the state’s Wildlife Action Plan, a comprehensive conservation strategy. Though now considered the most common bear in North America, the species was nearly eradicated from Georgia by the 1930s due to unregulated market hunting, poaching and large-scale habitat loss. Sound wildlife management practices
have restored Georgia’s black bears to a thriving population estimated at 5,100 bears statewide. More information regarding black bears can be obtained at www.georgiawildlife.com/BlackBearFacts. The Georgia Wildlife Resources Division Game Management office can be reached at 770-918-6416.
GEORGIA AG NEWS, July 2013
USDA and EPA launch U.S. Food Waste Challenge Calls on public sector and private industry WASHINGTON — USDA, in collaboration with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, has launched the U.S. Food Waste Challenge, calling on others across the food chain — including producer groups, processors, manufacturers, retailers, communities and other government agencies — to join the effort to reduce, recover and recycle food waste. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and EPA Acting Administrator Bob Perciasepe were joined at a June 4 kick-off event by representatives from private-sector partners and supporters including Rio Farms, Unilever, General Mills, the Food Waste Reduction Alliance, Feeding America and
Rock and Wrap It Up!. Food waste in the U.S. is estimated at roughly between 30 percent to 40 percent of the food supply. In 2010, an estimated 133 billion pounds of food from U.S. retail food stores, restaurants and homes never made it into people’s stomachs. The amount of uneaten food in homes and restaurants was valued at almost $390 per U.S. consumer in 2008, more than an average month’s worth of food expenditures.
Wasted food supply “The United States enjoys the most productive and abundant food supply on earth, but too much of this food goes to waste,” Vilsack said. “Not only could this food be going to folks who need it — we also have an opportunity to reduce
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the amount of food that ends up in America’s landfills. By joining together with EPA and businesses from around the country, we have an opportunity to better educate folks about the problem of food waste and begin to address this problem across the nation.”
Largest waste type “Food waste the single largest type of waste entering our landfills — Americans throw away up to 40 percent of their food. Addressing this issue not only helps with combating hunger and saving money, but also with combating climate change: food in landfills decomposes to create potent greenhouse gases,” said Perciasepe. “I’m proud that EPA is joining with USDA today to announce the U.S. Food Waste Challenge. With the help of
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meet quality standards, streamline procedures for donating wholesome misbranded meat and poultry products, update U.S. food loss estimates at the retail level and pilottest a meat-composting program to reduce the amount of meat being sent to landfills from food safety inspection labs. Through its Food Recovery Challenge, EPA will provide U.S. Food Waste Challenge participants with the opportunity to access data management software and technical assistance (www.epa.gov/smm/ foodrecovery/) to help them quantify and improve their sustainable food management practices. More information about USDA’s activities and the activities of those who have already joined the challenge can be obtained at www.usda. gov/oce/foodwaste/index.htm.
According to the National Weather Service in Corpus Christi, Texas, parts of South Texas have rainfall deficits on the order of several feet over a two-and-a-half-year period from October 2010 through April 2013. To put it another way, there would have to be enough rainfall to fill a rain gauge the height of an average five-year-old child to wipe out Corpus Christi’s rain deficit. In Georgia, however, officials say the drought has almost been wiped out. The U.S. Drought Monitor noted that the Southeast saw improvements in areas of Abnormally Dry and Moderate Drought in Florida and Georgia as Tropical Storm Andrea delivered heavy rainfall across the region. Heavy rainfall may not be the only precipitation the U.S. sees this year. In its 2013 Atlantic hurricane season outlook, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Climate Prediction Center forecasts an “active or extremely active” hurricane season with a
70 percent likelihood that 13 to 20 named storms, which have winds that sustain at 39 miles per hour or higher, will occur. Of these, seven to 11 could become hurricanes, which are storms with winds higher than 74 miles per hour. Of those, three to six may become major hurricanes — Category 3 to 5 — with winds above 110 mph. Hurricane season started June 1 and lasts through November with hurricane prone areas along the Atlantic Ocean or Gulf of Mexico. Factors pointing toward an active hurricane season include warmer than average ocean waters that provide fuel for storms, a multi-decade pattern of increased hurricane activity, the lack of an El Nino warming of the central Pacific Ocean and an active pattern of storm systems coming off west Africa. Whether the number of storms predicted actually occur or not, the National Weather Service is ready with names for each of them: Andrea, Barry, Chantal, Dorian, Erin, Fernand, Gabrielle, Humberto, Ingrid, Jerry, Karen, Lorenzo, Melissa, Nestor, Olga, Pablo, Rebekah, Sebastien, Tany, Van and Wendy.
•Weather (Continued from page 1)
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partners across the country, we can ensure that our nation’s food goes to our families and those in need — not the landfill.” The goal of the U.S. Food Waste Challenge is to lead a fundamental shift in how we think about and manage food and food waste in this country, the groups noted. The challenge includes a goal to have 400 partner organizations by 2015 and 1,000 by 2020. As part of its contribution to the U.S. Food Waste Challenge, USDA is initiating a wide range of activities including activities to reduce waste in the school meals program, educate consumers about food waste and food storage and develop new technologies to reduce food waste. USDA will also work with industry to increase donations from imported produce that does not
may help mitigate the heat. The good days for beach basking in the Southeast, again according to the Farmers’Almanac, are July 1-3, 6-7, 10-15, 26-27 and August 1-5, 8-11, 16-19 and 28-31. These hot weather projections are a reminder that the U.S. continues to feel the after effects of the 2012 drought, the most severe and extensive in nearly half a century, during the hottest year of record. It affected about 80 percent of the nation’s farmland, making it more widespread than any drought since the 1950s, according to USDA. The drought destroyed or damaged portions of major field crops in the Midwest — particularly field corn and soybeans — causing hikes in farm prices and leading to other shortages in animal feed, including hay and grasses. Those price spikes, in turn, prompted increases in the retail prices of beef, pork, poultry and dairy products. The drought has been especially hard on a large part of the state of Texas.
GEORGIA AG NEWS, July 2013
Georgia’s senators receive Farm Bureau award MACON — Georgia Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall and American Farm Bureau Federation Executive Director of Public Policy Dale Moore presented U.S. Sens. Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson with the Friend of Farm Bureau Award in recognition of their support of agriculture during the 112th Congress. The award presentation occurred this spring during a breakfast Georgia Farm Bureau held for its members in Washington, D.C. “Senators Chambliss and Isakson have shown consistent strong support for Georgia agriculture on a variety of key issues,” Duvall said. “We’re extremely grateful for the positions they’ve taken on behalf of agriculture to allow continued success and growth in the state’s largest industry.” Chambliss serves on four Senate committees, including the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry. He is the vice chairman of the Senate Committee
on Intelligence Committee and has seats on committees covering the armed services and rules and administration. Isakson serves on Senate committees that have jurisdiction over finance, education, healthcare, transportation and veterans’ affairs. He also serves on the Senate Select Committee on Ethics. The American Farm Bureau Federation gives the award at the end of each Congress to legislators based on their voting record in agreement with AFBF’s priority issues. The AFBF board of directors, on which Duvall serves, established these priority issues. Founded in 1937, Georgia Farm Bureau is the state’s largest general farm organization and has 158 county offices. GFB also has 20 agricultural commodity advisory committees that give the organization input on issues pertinent to the major crops and livestock grown in Georgia. More information can be obtained at www.gfb.org.
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Friends of Farm Bureau: Georgia Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall, right, and American Farm Bureau Federation Executive Director of Public Policy Dale Moore, left, presented the Friend of Farm Bureau Award to Georgia Sens. Saxby Chambliss, second from right, and Johnny Isakson. The award is given to legislators based on their voting record in agreement with AFBF’s priority issues, as well as their accessibility to Farm Bureau members and staff.
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GEORGIA AG NEWS, July 2013
Wildlife knowledge can help determine animal damage By Sharon Dowdy
Special to Georgia Ag News
ATHENS — Chewing pests have many Georgia homeowners wondering “Who dunnit?” when their favorite tree or shrub is scarred by teeth marks. In west Cobb County, Bruce Roberts is losing landscape plants to a critter that loves to chew through the main stem of plants just above the roots. “Several months ago, I noticed one of our nandinas lying on the ground. Something had chewed completely through it just below ground level, where the trunk meets the roots,” he said. “Since then, the same thing has happened with other nandinas, mahonias and hollies.” Roberts describes the gnaw marks as small. If the shrubs and marks were larger and he lived on a pond, Roberts would think beavers caused the damage. University of Georgia Cooperative Extension wildlife expert Michael Mengak says correctly knowing who is causing the damage is key to preventing and controlling wildlife in landscapes. “Deer don’t chew below ground. If your damage is below ground, you have voles or rabbits,” he said. All animals leave signs or evidence that they’ve been in the area.
Droppings Fresh droppings are black and shiny while old droppings are dry and brown or gray. “Black and white droppings can be from a bird, snake or lizard,” Mengak said. “The size of the droppings will also tell you a lot.” Rats, mice, chipmunks and toads leave droppings the size of a grain of rice. Rabbit droppings are pea size and deer droppings are large and oval. Digging A dirt mound could be a sign of a groundhog, turtle, armadillo or coyote. If there is no dirt mound, the digger is likely a chipmunk, skunk, mole or vole. Tunnels are also signs of moles and voles. Armadillos dig inverted, cone-shaped holes 3 to 4 inches deep and 1 to 2 inches in diameter, Mengak said. Gnawing If leaves are clipped or bitten in a clean, sharp manner, the pest is likely a rabbit, squirrel or woodrat. If branches are cut, squirrels or rabbits are probably the cause. Deer lack upper incisors, so they leave a ragged cut on leaves.
Time of day Raccoons, skunks, opossums and woodrats move at night, while squirrels, chipmunks and woodchucks are active during the day. UGA’s Extension experts offer some tips on controlling wildlife in your landscape. To discourage deer from munching on your marigolds, Mengak recommends using Liquid Fence, Deer Off or Deer Away. All of these products are available as a spray from local home gardening centers. “These products should never be applied to food crops, and read labels carefully,” he said. To treat for voles and rabbits, use milorganite, also available at most home improvement and gardening centers. Like their rodent cousins, voles and chipmunks should be trapped using mousetraps baited with peanut butter. “Not much else will be effective,” he said. “Chipmunks are primarily seedeaters. They might chew a woody shrub, but that would be unusual.” If trapping doesn’t appeal to you, modify your landscape to discourage voles and chipmunks. Clear existing mulch and apply gravel instead of bark or pine straw, Mengak said. “This method can work, but it’s counter-intuitive to gardening principles,” he said.
HERL method When fighting critters in your landscape, follow the HERL method: habitat modification, exclusion, removal or repellents and lethal control. “Unfortunately, it’s hard to create a habitat that attracts the wildlife you want and discourages the nuisance species,” Mengak said. He recommends following these steps: yy Modify your landscape so it’s not the perfect habitat for the pest animal. yy Remove anything that could be used as cover. yy Mow tall grass and remove piles of brush, logs, rocks and other debris. yy Build a fence to exclude wildlife. A deer fence should be 8 feet tall or higher, while chicken wire fences can be just 2 feet high. yy Use a net or a trap to remove
the pest or a repellent to discourage the animal from coming into the area. Effective repellents work through taste, fear or odor. yy Lethal traps can be used to control a small number of pests, but may require permits from a state or federal wildlife agency. Use live traps with extreme caution. Raccoons, skunks and other animals that may carry rabies should not be caught in live traps. yy Use poison baits to control rats, mice and other small rodents. Keep out of reach of children and pets. Baits are best used in out buildings or under careful observation. More assistance can be obtained from the UGA Extension at 800275-8421. Sharon Dowdy is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.
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Wildlife control: University of Georgia Cooperative Extension wildlife expert Michael Mengak tells visitors to a recent field day how a squirrel trap should be used.
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GEORGIA AG NEWS, July 2013
Agricultural tech research celebrates four decades ATLANTA — It began with a phone call. The year was 1973 and Georgia’s poultry industry was looking to grow through innovation. Having received a unique request from the industry, the Georgia Poultry Federation placed a call that turned out to be an extremely important one for then and the future. “In the early 1970s, when I was serving on a Board of Regents Committee establishing a service enabling any citizen with a need to call one number and be referred to an expert in the University System, I received an inquiry about a noise problem in a poultry processing plant. I called the number in the morning to test the system and by the afternoon a meeting had been set up with Georgia Tech. Today, ATRP is a fully matured program and a key part of GTRI. Its collaborative efforts with the poultry industry have been very productive. I don’t know of a better publicprivate partnership,” recalled Abit Massey, president emeritus of the Georgia Poultry Federation. On April 23, Massey joined a distinguished group of speakers who marked the Agricultural Technology Research Program’s 40th Anniversary during an afternoon celebration held at the Georgia Tech Research Institute’s Food Processing Technology Building. The event included current and former researchers and staff, industry stakeholders and representatives from the Georgia Tech community. For four decades, ATRP has been proud to support the growing needs of Georgia’s dynamic poultry industry. With funding from the state of Georgia and in cooperation with the Georgia Poultry Federation, ATRP has been a driving force in developing new technologies that enhance the industry’s productivity and efficiency, and is recognized as one of the best university-based engineering R&D programs focused on the poultry industry. In addition to seeking solutions to today’s challenges, the program concentrates on transformational innovations that are essential for a viable industry in the future.
“This program has evolved stepby-step with the industry. There was always that link, and I think that is why the program is so successful. There are countless examples of innovations, transformational and incremental, that have made a difference to the poultry industry, and we are looking forward to the next 40 years,” said Mike Giles, current president of the Georgia Poultry Federation. Indeed, a strong partnership with Georgia’s poultry industry is a hallmark of ATRP. Noting Georgia Tech’s strategic goal of doubling the amount of work it does for industry in the next five years, GTRI Director Bob McGrath said he views ATRP as the prototype of what Georgia Tech is trying to accomplish with other industries. “This is exactly what I think Georgia Tech’s partnership with industry should look like . . . Where you the industry come in and tell us what you need, where we have great and sustained support from our state government that provides modest resources to let us work with you to understand and develop high-tech solutions to your problems.” In what he called a homecoming, Craig Wyvill, retired ATRP director who spearheaded the program’s phenomenal growth, reflected on two of his proudest moments from ATRP’s history. He told the crowd that the program actually spawned Georgia Tech’s Material Handling Research Center in the 1980s and served as the prototype for the development of Georgia’s Traditional Industries Program for Food Processing in the 1990s. “There are a
40 Years: On April 23, the Georgia Tech Research Institute’s Agricultural Technology Research Program celebrated 40 years of service to Georgia’s poultry industry. Pictured, left to right, are Doug Britton, ATRP program manager; Rusty Roberts, director of GTRI’s Aerospace, Transportation and Advanced Systems Laboratory; Bob McGrath, GTRI director; Gary Black, Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture; Abit Massey, president emeritus, Georgia Poultry Federation; Mike Giles, president, Georgia Poultry Federation; Craig Wyvill, retired ATRP director; and Gary McMurray, chief of GTRI’s Food Processing Technology Division.
lot of good things that happen when you have the synergy of a program like this,” remarked Wyvill. ATRP’s mission is to support the economic growth of Georgia agribusiness, especially the poultry industry, through research, education, technical assistance and outreach. Gary Black, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Agriculture, stressed the importance of university research to the economic development of a state, particularly the creation of jobs. “Anytime we have a chance in our research institutions to make investments that will generate intellectual capital that will transmit into an industry, that means not just Georgia-grown intellectual capital but Georgiagrown jobs for our future. The
importance of that cannot be overstated, and our commitment to that must not waiver.…” “The strength of ATRP lies with all the great people who make up this truly unique program, and this includes all of the very talented students, staff and researchers here at Georgia Tech as well as our incredibly supportive industry and state partners. The real credit for the success goes to all of the people who have been a part of the program over the past 40 years, and it was great to have so many of them here to celebrate with us today. I’m excited about continuing this tradition of excellence as we look to the future of the program,” said Doug Britton, ATRP program manager. After remarks, attendees enjoyed an ice cream social and the debut of
a new exhibit chronicling the program’s history of serving the poultry industry through innovative R&D. Earlier in the day, the program’s Poultry Advisory Committee held its annual meeting. Project directors provided committee members with an update on program research projects as well as technology transfer and outreach activities. A round-table session was also held where members provided feedback and discussed future research opportunities, challenges and directions with researchers. The annual meeting serves as a critical step in ATRP’s efforts to identify and conduct research projects that best address the industry’s top priority needs, demonstrating that 40 years later, ATRP is still ready to answer industry’s call.
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GEORGIA AG NEWS, July 2013
Trees and shrubs may need a summer trimming By Stephen Garton
Special to Georgia Ag News
CUMMING â€” This yearâ€™s extraordinarily wet winter and spring has and will continue to stimulate rapid production of new leaves in many of our woody landscape plants. This lush new growth may now need to be trimmed to prevent shading of vegetable gardens and flowerbeds. Vegetable gardens that produce tomatoes, peppers, beans and squash need the benefit of at least six hours of direct sunshine per day to yield flavorful and highly nutritious produce. This sometimes means branches of trees must be pruned to remove leaves that restrict and block light. Summer pruning of trees can be done easily, safely and effectively by thinking about the process before you begin. Most trees actively grow in the summer, providing there is enough
water to support the growth. Where you make pruning cuts in woody plants has a marked influence on the rate the wounds will heal. In summer time, the ability to quickly close a wound can be the difference between a long-term healthy tree and a tree compromised by the presence of fungi and bacteria that will cause decay and breakdown of structural wood in the trunk. When you remove limbs from trees by making a single cut, very often the bark along the main branch or trunk may strip or tear due to the weight of the falling limb. The new soft wood that is exposed by the torn bark provides a site that can be quickly colonized by decaycausing fungi and bacteria. Bark damage can be avoided by making three separate pruning cuts to completely remove a branch. This will leave a clean wound with-
out stripping bark on the supporting branch or trunk. Clean wounds made with sharp clean tools tend to heal quicker than similar cuts made with dull blades or dirty tools.
Step by step process To remove a limb or branch larger than 1 inch in diameter from a woody plant, make a cut about one-fourth to one-half through the lower side of the limb about a foot from the main trunk or supporting branch. Then make a second cut on top of the limb a few inches further from the trunk than the first cut. The branch will fall from the plant, leaving a stub of the severed branch or limb. Remove the remaining stub by cutting it back to the branch collar. The branch collar is a swelling or bulge formed at the base of branches by the annual production
University of Georgia
Branch trimming: This diagram shows the locations and numbered sequence of cuts to remove a branch from a tree.
of overlapping layers of branch and stem tissues. Branch collar tissues contain large numbers of cells that are capable of producing new growth that quickly seals the wound caused by pruning.
Stubs of branches should not be left protruding from the trunk. Wound healing on stubs takes much longer to heal and stubs provide a direct route for decay organisms to enter and establish colonies in the wood of the trunk. Research conducted by scientists and arborists from universities and research centers all over the country has shown that treatments to pruning wounds such as paints, waxes and resins do not speed up the process of healing. In some cases these treatments retard healing by killing the tissues that close the wound. Always use clean, sharp tools when pruning trees and wear safety glasses, hat and gloves to reduce potential injury to eyes, hands and head. If you use a chain saw, make sure the saw is sharp and that you wear all the safety equipment recommended by the manufacturer and cease work before you become weary. Most accidents happen when operators are tired. More information about pruning can be obtained from the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension at www.caes.uga.edu/ Publications/pubDetail.cfm?pk_ id=7656&pg=dl&ak=Horticulture. Stephen Garton is the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Coordinator in Forsyth County.
GEORGIA AG NEWS, July 2013
Farmers face tough decisions from delayed planting The Associated Press
DES MOINES, Iowa — It’s decision time for many Midwest corn farmers who were stuck in one of the wettest springs ever: Plant late in ground that’s been too wet, replant corn in muddy fields or collect crop insurance. The USDA said 91 percent of the nation’s corn crop is in the ground but just 74 percent of the plants have emerged. But some states — leading corn producer Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri and North Dakota — are much further behind. “We’ve had as much rain in the last month and a half as we did last whole growing season,” said Kevin Rempp, 55, who farms in central Iowa near Montezuma. Only 88 percent of Iowa’s corn crop has been sowed. Normally, it’d be finished by now. Rempp is fortunate to have higher ground, and all 1,200 acres of corn and soybeans are planted.
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“It’s just one of those deals where Mother Nature has given us a different hand to play this year and we’re trying to make the best of it,” he said. If the skies clear and the growing season is favorable, it’s still possible to have an abundant corn harvest, which would help moderate price swings and keep food and beverage prices steady. So far, weather concerns have driven corn prices up nearly 10 percent in recent weeks. But farmers can’t look too far into future when they’re faced with water-logged fields. Wisconsin lags the most with just 74 percent of the crop in the field. John Ruedinger, 57, has only 100 of his 1,300 acres of corn in and about 50 of the several hundred acres of alfalfa he plans to grow to feed the 1,200 cows on his dairy farm near Van Dyne, Wis. The problem is rain keeps coming an inch or two at a time, satu-
rating the heavy clay soil. With little sun and temperatures hovering about 10 degrees lower than usual, fields aren’t drying. “About the time it dries up, we get another shot of rain,” he said. Corn farmers who choose to plant unfinished fields or go back and replant this late will see a sizable reduction in the grain they harvest this fall, said Roger Elmore, an Iowa State University agronomy professor and a corn specialist. In central Illinois, John Olsson finds himself woefully behind in planting his 700 acres of corn, figuring he’s about 70 percent done. Last year at this time, he was already on to planting 600 acres of soybeans. The corn he has in the ground looks good, but he worries that several acres of seed may have been washed away. He’s debating whether to replant it. “It’s more important to me to get the remaining areas planted that are waterlogged than patching in a poor
stand on a few acres,” Olsson, 51, said from his farm near New Berlin. Elmore said some may think about switching to a corn variety that matures more quickly to avoid running up against the first fall frost. But in the wettest fields, insurance payments may be the best option, he said. “There are a lot of fields that have been flooded or drowned out. Once the water goes down, they’ll have to be assessed for planting,” Elmore said. Soybean farmers also are behind, with 44 percent of it in the ground, trailing the normal 91 percent. Elmore said soybean farmers have a little more flexibility than corn growers because the growing season and harvest is later. “But the same thing is happening. We’re losing our best window of opportunity for planting,” he said. The news isn’t all dire, though. In its first crop condition report of the season released on June 3, the
USDA said 93 percent of the corn crop is in fair, good or excellent condition, while 7 percent is either poor or very poor. The relatively good numbers reflect better field conditions in Ohio and Indiana where 98 percent of the crop is fair, good or excellent. Corn also is looking good in Kentucky and Tennessee. One of the biggest worries now is that the rain will stop and drought will set in again. It didn’t emerge last year until June. Corn and soybeans planted in wet soil don’t develop deep roots. If it gets too dry too quick, those roots can’t reach the water and the plants will wither and die. “The weather forecasters I talk to are still up in the air about what’s going to happen but they still haven’t yet ruled out a drought,” Elmore said. “It would be about the worst thing that could happen. If it’s wet through June then turns out dry in July, we’re going to be in trouble.”
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GEORGIA AG NEWS, July 2013
Frequently asked questions about the egg By Dr. Claudia Dunkley Special to Georgia Ag News
TIFTON â€” As a small child while visiting my grandparents farm, I found a very small egg (pee wee) in the chicken coup. My cousin, who was a little older that I was, informed me that this egg was laid by the rooster. As a poultry specialist I have been asked numerous questions about chickens and eggs. From experience, it is clear that over the years people have been misinformed about certain facts concerning the egg. Others have information that is now inaccurate due to advancement in technology. As we begin a new year I will answer some frequently asked questions and try to address misconceptions about the egg. yy Where do pee wee eggs come from? Contrary to what I was told, pee
wee eggs are not laid by roosters (since only hens can lay an egg!) or pigeons. Several factors influence the size of the egg the main one being the age of the hen. Pullets (young hens just beginning to lay) which are underweight at sexual maturity will lay pee wee eggs. yy Should we wash the eggs when we get home from the grocery store? When the hen lays an egg it is covered with cuticle (bloom) that seals the pores in the egg shell. This helps to prevent bacteria from getting in the egg and also prevents moisture loss. At the commercial layer farm the eggs are washed. During this process the bloom is removed. In order to restore the protection, the eggs are sometimes coated with edible mineral oil. yy Is the color of the egg an indication of the nutritive value of the egg?
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While egg shell and yolk color vary, they are not determinants of egg flavor, quality, nutritive value, cooking characteristics or shell thickness. The breed of the hen determines the color of the shell. For example, white feathered hens with white ear lobes lay white shelled eggs and red feathered hens with dark ear lobes lay brown shelled eggs. The color of the yolk depends on the diet the hens were fed. Diets that are high in yellow-orange pigment (such as feeds with corn or alfalfa) will yield brighter yellow yolks while diets that contain ingredients such as wheat or barley will produce lighter colored yolks yy Are the blood spots in eggs an indication of a fertile egg? Eggs which are produced on the commercial layer farms are infertile. A hen will lay an egg whether or not she has been mated by a rooster. The blood spots which are sometimes observed when an egg is broken are not an indication of a fertile egg. It is caused by the rupturing of a blood vessel during the formation of the egg. Electronic candlers are used to detect eggs with blood spot or meat spots. When observed they are removed, but some are missed by the machines during the process and can end up in the grocery store. yy How are double yolk eggs formed? During the process of egg formation a yolk is released from the ovary. This is known as ovulation. The ovary contains yolks in a hierarchical manner. That is, they are at different stages of development and the most mature one will ovulate first. Occasionally, more than one yolk is at a similar stage of development. Because of the length of time the egg stays in the different areas of the reproductive tract, the second yolk will catch up with the first yolk before the shell membrane and the shell is placed around the yolk and albumin. yy Are there really organic eggs? Organic eggs are eggs obtained from hens which are fed diets that include ingredients which were grown without pesticides, fungi-
Egg facts: Misconceptions concerning eggs still persist.
cides, herbicides or commercial fertilizers. The nutrient content of the eggs are not affected by whether or not the ration is organic. yy Are the eggs produced by the back-yard hens lower in cholesterol than commercial eggs? Eggs produced by backyard hens and fertilized eggs do not have lower levels of cholesterol than eggs bought in the grocery stores. In the past people have been discouraged to eat eggs on a regular basis due to their high cholesterol content. Recent research has shown that today a large grade â€œAâ€? egg contains almost 1/3 less cholesterol than its counterpart 10 years ago. This could be because the methods previously used to determine cholesterol in eggs overestimated the levels. If you want to avoid the cholesterol that is in the egg, simply remove the yolk, the egg white is cholesterol free. yy Is it safe to consume eggs raw? Warnings have been issued against consuming raw or lightly cooked eggs. This is due to potential transmission of foodborne pathogens which may be present in the raw egg, specifically the yolk. The pathogen of interest is salmonella which can be transferred to the
yolk via the ovary of the hen. yy Can floating eggs in salt water be used to test the freshness of the egg? Placing eggs in salt water is not a reliable way to determine the freshness of the egg. A brine test is sometime used to test the density of an egg or the shell thickness. The freshness of the egg can be determined by the size of the air sac. This can be observed candling of the egg. yy Do hens lay an egg each day? This is highly unlikely since the entire process of egg formation (oviposition) from the release of the yolk to the laying of the egg takes approximately 25-27 hours. yy Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Unfortunately I do not have the answer for that one, but I hope that the questions that have been answered have shed some light on the mysteries of the egg. Reference: some of the information was obtained from the Eggcyclopedia and American Egg Board. Dr. Claudia Dunkley is an Extension poultry scientist with the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service in Tifton, Ga.
GEORGIA AG NEWS, July 2013
UGA hosting second annual Organic Twilight Tour By Merritt Melancon
Special to Georgia Ag News
WATKINSVILLE — University of Georgia organic and sustainable agriculture experts will host the second annual Organic Twilight Tour on July 11 at the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences organic research farm in Watkinsville. Last year’s inaugural Organic Twilight Tour attracted more than 100 visitors to the Durham Horticulture Farm, where the college’s organic research farm is located. “Due to overwhelming interest last year, we have decided to make the Organic Twilight Tour an annual event,” said Kate Munden-Dixon, program assistant with Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education, or SARE.
“There’s always new research at the Horticulture Farm that farmers, gardeners and the community will be interested in, so this is a great chance for anyone interested to come learn directly from the researchers and see the plots,” she said. The Durham Horticulture Farm, at 1221 Hog Mountain Road in Watkinsville, will be open for tours of the organic growing operation from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on July 11. Admission is free to the public. The open house will also be a chance for farmers and gardeners to learn about some of the newest research being conducted at the farm. Researchers and students will give talks and describe demonstration plots, where the latest organic cultivation practices are tested. This year’s demonstration topics include:
yy Apple variety trials — Many small farmers and home gardeners are interested in growing fruit on a small scale for local production. Researchers here are evaluating three older Southern apple varieties for fruit quality and disease and insect resistance. yy Micro-irrigation — Just because the drought is over doesn’t mean gardeners don’t need efficient irrigation to keep their gardens healthy. Come learn how to set up a drip or micro-irrigation system for your farm or garden plot. yy Squash diseases — Cucurbit yellow vine disease (CYVD) is an insect-transmitted bacterial disease that has caused significant problems for organic squash growers. Researchers are examining the effectiveness of using row covers to manage the problem and will offer
Make it at Home Recipe Zesty Summer Steak Salad American Egg Board Servings: 4 Prep time: 7 to 10 minutes Cook time: 18 to 25 minutes Ingredients: 1 beef top sirloin steak, cut 3/4inch thick (about 1 lb.) 1 tbsp. garlic and herb seasoning blend 1 medium sweet onion, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices 6 cups chopped romaine lettuce 1 medium tomato, sliced 6 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and sliced Sea salt bagel chips Dressing: 1/3 cup red wine vinegar 2 tbsp. honey 1 tbsp. olive oil 2 tsp. dried basil leaves 1 tsp. garlic and herb seasoning blend
Directions: Combine dressing ingredients in small bowl. Reserve 1/3 cup dressing for salad. Brush remaining dressing on onion slices. Press 1 tablespoon seasoning blend evenly onto beef steak. Place steak in center of grid over medium, ash covered coals; arrange onion slices around steak. Grill steak, covered 7 to 11 minutes (over medium heat on preheated gas grill, covered, 8 to 13 minutes) for medium rare (145 degrees F) to medium (160 degrees F) doneness,
turning occasionally. Grill onion 10 to 12 minutes (gas grill times remain the same) or until tender, turning occasionally. Carve beef into slices. Arrange lettuce on serving platter. Top with steak slices, tomatoes, onions and eggs. Drizzle with reserved 1/3 cup dressing. Serve with bagel chips as desired. (Onion and herb seasoning blend may be substituted for garlic and herb seasoning blend). More egg recipes can be obtained from the American Egg Board at www.incredibleegg.org.
insight into when plants are most susceptible to infection. yy Summer vegetable production — A solid primer on the best practices for summer vegetable production. yy Cool season vegetables — Can organic lettuce, broccoli, onions and strawberries be profitable? Researchers will show off the latest information about cultivating these crops in the Southeast and share best practices. yy Summer cover crops — Learn about a wide variety of summer cover crops and when and why they should be used. yy High tunnels — High tunnels can help extend the growing season for many crops, but they aren’t a panacea. Researchers will cover the proper use of high tunnels and when they have the largest impact.
Admission to the tour will be free and preregistration is not required. This year’s tour is sponsored by Southern SARE, the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and the Piedmont Beginning Farmers Development Partnership. More information about sustainable agriculture at UGA’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences can be obtained at www. SustainAgGA.org. More information about the tour can be obtained from UGA Sustainable Agriculture Coordinator Julia Gaskin by e-mail at jgaskin@uga. edu. Merritt Melancon is public relations coordinator for the University of Georgia’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.
Whelchel’s Barber Shop The best little barber shop in Georgia
Go back to the past
Come in for a great cut & great stories
Harold Whelchel started trend by owning 1st Barber College in Gainesville. (photo left) Son Buddy Whelchel continues the trend by opening the Thompson Bridge shop in 1970.
Celebrating 50 years in business
Wilard Burke, Clyde Dacus Thompson Bridge Road, Robert Columbo & Kathy Gainesville, GA 30506 Stone are among the other Hours: Mon. Wed. Thurs. Fri. 8AM-5PM; barbers in the shop. Saturday 8AM-12PM Closed on Tuesday
GEORGIA AG NEWS, July 2013
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Photo by David B. Strickland
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