June, 2017


A herd health program is a vital component of a profitable beef cattle operation. With breeding season approaching, a spring vaccination regime can help prevent potential disease threats in our herds. Pre-breeding, producers should mainly be concerned with reducing pregnancy losses. Open cows and abortions are devastating to the profit margin of a beef operation, and guarding against the diseases responsible is always a good idea.
Disease challenges vary from farm to farm, however a basic vaccination program targeting IBR, BVD, PI3, BRSV, Lepto and Vibriosis should be given prior to the breeding season. By vaccinating, you are merely giving the animal a shot, and that by itself, does not confer immunity. Vaccines can fail to immunize for a variety of reasons, but human error is the major cause. Always read the label, and administer the vaccine accordingly. Most killed vaccines, or vaccines made from killed bacteria, will require a booster dose, given 2-4 weeks after the initial dose. Failure to give the booster dose, will result in little or even impaired immunity. Mishandling of vaccine can also cause failure. Never allow vaccines to get too hot at the chute, or in transport, sit in direct sunlight, or freeze in the refrigerator. Always store as directed on the label. Producers always say, vaccinating my cows isn't worth the cost, but avoiding a disease outbreak among your breeding stock will easily cover the cost. It is always less expensive to prevent disease, than to cure it!
Burke County 4-H Summer Fun 
Summer is almost here and school will be out soon! It's time to get some fun and educational activities lined up for your children for summer. N.C. Cooperative Extension is here to help with Burke County 4-H Summer Fun. Classes and trips are open to all Burke County youth ages 5-18 (5 year olds must have completed Kindergarten).

Registrations will be accepted at the N.C. Cooperative Extension Office on Monday - Friday from 8:30am-4:30pm until all classes are full. Registration is on a first-come first-served basis and all fees must be paid in order to hold your spot. Spaces are limited for each activity so register early.

June activities include trips to Biltmore Estates, Old Salem, and The Land of Oz.  Other June activities are Environmental/Ag. Week, and STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) Week.

For the complete schedule, including times & costs, visit our Summer Fun page or call our office at 828-764-9480.    
Burke County Beekeepers 
June 13, 2017
6:30 pm

The Burke County Beekeepers Association (BCBA) meets monthly at the Burke County Agricultural Building located at 130 Ammons Drive in Morganton.  There is a featured speaker each month and the public is invited to attend. The BCBA is a chapter of the North Carolina State Beekeepers Association.

#Extension Eats

Cookbooks are here!

Recipes, tips & tricks, cuts of meat and more are included in the cookbook.

$15 each

Successful Gardener Workshop 

June 3, 2017 
Pests of the Vegetable Garden 
10:00 am - 12:00 noon    
Morganton Ace Hardware

Would you like to be more knowledgeable about possible garden problems? If so you can learn about some of them at the FREE workshop that is being presented on Saturday, June 3rd at Morganton Ace Hardware. We'll talk about insects and diseases and the steps you can take to keep your garden safe. If you would like more information about this workshop you can call office at 828-764-9480.

Summer Canning Series 
Green Beans  

June 24, 2017 
9:00 am - 12:00 noon

Come learn the "ins and outs" of home food preservation.  Hands-on classes are $15 each. Class size is limited.  Pre-registration and payment required. Classes will be held at the Burke County Agricultural Building. 

Call our office at 828-764-9480 for more information.   
Growing Squash in the Vegetable Garden 

Every southerner finds it necessary to grow one or more varieties of squash in his garden. It's the thing to do and as there are a multitude of different varieties available, so everyone can find a squash that they like. However there are some things you need to know be successful at growing summer squash.
Early summer calls come in to the Extension Office from gardeners complaining that their squash blooms are falling off and not setting fruit. Cucurbits (squash, cucumbers, cantaloupes, etc.) are monecious which means that one vine grows both male and female flowers. The female squash flower usually blooms first and with no male flower to pollinate the female, it fails to set fruit and falls off. A little later, both flowers begin to bloom and the problem solves itself.
Vining plants require lots of water and in order for plants to continue to bear, water must be provided during dry periods. Pick often to encourage continued fruit set. Squash and cucumbers do very well when grown from either seed or when planted as transplants. Give them ample room to grow and spread and you'll be able to supply the neighborhood this summer. Staggering plantings at two week intervals will insure tender, fresh vegetables until frost.
Let's take a look at a couple of squash pests that plague the garden. First, we need to talk about squash vine borers. The squash vine borer eggs are laid on the squash plant in early summer and hatch just as plants start to vine. The larvae bore in to the stem of the plant at the soil line, causing vines to wilt and die. Two applications of pyrethrum spray (such as Bonide Eight) at seven-day intervals during the first two weeks of June and again in early August will control this insect. Next we need to look at squash bugs. This insect can devastate squash vines during their most productive time. All stages of the squash bug are damaging and the best way to control them is to spray when they are first sighted and continue to spray at seven-day intervals. The same Bonide product will be effective on the squash bug.

Developing Replacement Heifers  
Developing replacement heifers that are sound, durable, and efficient additions to the cow herd is important to the viability of a beef producer. Whether purchased, or home grown, replacement heifers are a necessary expense to the cattlemen and should be developed properly to insure long term success.
Producers should first be sure to get heifers to the target weight before breeding. This is generally recognized as 65% of their mature weight. So for a producer with a 1350 lb. average mature cow size, a heifer should weigh in at around 850-875 lbs. This shocks some producers, but as average cow size has increased, target weights have gone up in relation to these increases. This means heifers that are 650 lbs. at weaning, need to gain around 225 lbs. by breeding date. These heifers will need to gain around 1lb a day from weaning to the beginning of the breeding season to reach the target weight. These gains can be accomplished through a consistent nutrition program and can be accomplished without high energy feeds. Keep average daily gains steady and consistent and avoid pushing heifers early and then backing off during winter when feed resources are more scarce. If creep feeding through weaning, try to continue on the same plane of nutrition through breeding. There is some research that shows that heifers roughed through their first winter and then fed on a rising plane of nutrition up to the breeding season show little production differences than those fed throughout their development and there is more than one way to skin a cat. But for the average producer, keep weight gains steady and on a rising nutritional plane through breeding to insure good conception rates and greater lifetime production. Producers can utilize feeds with ionophores such as Rumensin or Bovatec in the diet to maximize weight gain and reach maturity earlier. Keep up a good mineral program for developing heifers, making it available at all times, to support their development.
While producers certainly don't want to under-develop heifers, they should also avoid overdeveloping them as well. Over weight heifers don't perform well and excess fat deposited in the mammary gland can lead to low milk production and obese heifers can be prone to more calving difficulties.
Producers should avoid implanting heifers they raise, or buying heifers that have received implants. Just don't take the risk. Keep good records on your heifers, taking time to eartag or tattoo them so you can document their development accurately. Vaccinate them according to your program and time the vaccinations to give a pre-breeding booster. It is a good idea to work with your veterinarian to develop a comprehensive herd health program, not just for your heifers, but your entire herd. Last but not least, keep those replacement heifers away from any bull calves present, to avoid any pregnancy risk before the breeding season. Heifers bred too early rarely reach their full potential as replacements, as they are behind from the start.
By implementing these fundamental elements of heifer development in your operation, you can increase the odds of your heifers being successful, productive cows that yield greater returns on your investment.

Canner Gauge Testing 
If your canner has a pressure gauge, it should be tested for accuracy to ensure safe food processing. Dial gauges on canners should be checked for accuracy and overall condition every year prior to the beginning of canning season.

You can get your canner gauge tested for FREE at the Cooperative Extension Office. Call our office at 828-764-9480 to schedule an appointment.  

Wet Weather Causes Dogwood Problems
While dry weather causes many obvious problems, extended periods of wet weather come with their own list of woes. Many problems can plague the spring garden and landscape when days are wet, cloudy and humid.
Numerous calls have been coming in the office concerning dogwoods. Callers describe their trees as having reddish-purple spots on bracts and leaves. Leaves can become puckered and deformed with leaf-drop. This problem is a fungus called spot anthracnose (Elsinoe corni). It is spread by wind and water droplets. Birds can also carry the fungus from tree to tree. It should not be confused with the much more serious dogwood anthracnose which is a killer of dogwood trees. Spot anthracnose is more of a nuisance than a threat and while it does diminish the beauty of the flowers and leaves, it is not a killer. As leaves begin to mature in early summer the disease will fade away.
There are several things that can be done to control this problem:
  • Plant dogwoods in full shade. The plants most affected are those that grow in partial sun
  • Plant resistant varieties such as Cherokee Chief, Cherokee Sunset and Weaver's White
  • Rake and bag fallen leaves in the fall to reduce fungus levels
  • Spray with fungicides containing chlorthalonil from bud break until leaves have matured
Spot anthracnose won't be a problem every spring but when the weather is cool and rainy as the dogwoods bud out, be on the lookout for this disease.
Cooking Matters for Parents
As part of the No Kid Hungry campaign to end childhood hunger in America, Share Our Strength's Cooking Matters teaches participants to shop smarter, use nutrition information to make healthier choices and cook delicious, affordable meals. Cooking Matters for Parents is a 6-week course that teaches low-income parents with young children how to prepare and shop sensibly for healthy meals on a limited budget. Join N.C. Cooperative Extension on Thursdays from June 15 - July 20 to cook nutritious and delicious food, get a free bag of groceries each week, and begin making small changes towards a healthier life. On the 5th week of the class, take a grocery store tour to learn tips and tricks on navigating each section, making the healthiest decisions and sticking to a budget. Classes are from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm at the Burke County Agricultural Building. The class is no charge but registration is required. To register, call the Extension Office at 828-764-9480. Spaces are limited so register early. For questions, please email Emily Troutman at emily_troutman@ncsu.edu.

Burke County Center
130 Ammons Drive, Morganton, NC 28655