May, 2017

The new EXTENSION logo has been introduced! Burke County Cooperative Extension will be slowly changing over to the new logo, and wanted you to be aware of the change.

However, our brand identity is far more than a logo. A brand is the sum of who we are and all that we do - from delivering research-based solutions, addressing local needs and serving as a trusted partner to bolstering the quality of lives for North Carolinians. Everyone involved with Extension is a valuable brand ambassador.

We are fortunate to have two land-grant institutions in North Carolina, each with a unique and essential Extension organization: 
NC State Extension   and  The Cooperative Extension Program at N.C. A&T State University.   These entities offer programming and services both independently and as a strategic partnership, known as  N.C. Cooperative Extension.


Periodical Cicada Hatch Expected in Western North Carolina in 2017 
In parts of the foothills and mountains, we are expecting the emergence of brood VI periodical cicadas (Magicicada septendecim) this spring. Based on historical reports, the counties most likely to see them are Buncombe, Burke, Caldwell, Henderson, McDowell, Polk and Wilkes. 

Read more about the periodical cicada on our website by clicking HERE.   
Tractor Supply Clover Campaign 
April 26 - May 7

Show your support for Burke County 4-H by purchasing a paper clover when you shop at our local Tractor Supply during these dates.  

Visit the Tractor Supply website for more information on the paper clover campaign for 4-H.  
Burke County Beekeepers 
May 9, 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.

Burke County 4-H Presentations 
May 8-10 
It is that time again!  Time to start getting prepared for 4-H Presentations and 4-H District Activity Day!
4-H Presentations are open to any youth between the ages of 5 and 19. They are a great way to learn public speaking and organizational skills while potentially earning prizes! This year, the West District 4-H Activity Day will be held on Friday, June 17, 2017 in Macon County.
However, to be eligible to participate at District Activity Day, 4-Hers MUST sign up for a time to present their presentations or talent act with Nicki Carpenter, 4-H Agent. Below are the dates and times available for youth to come to the Burke County Agricultural Building to present.  Call to sign up for your time slot TODAY! 
Monday, May 8 from 1-5 pm
Tuesday, May 9 from 1-5pm
Wednesday, May 10 from 1-6 pm

#Extension Eats

Cookbooks are here!

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

$15 each

Successful Gardener Workshop 

May 6, 2017 
Container Gardening  
10:00 am - 12:00 noon    
Morganton Ace Hardware

Learn how to create your own container garden or fairy garden at this FREE workshop.  Purchase materials to make your own container during the workshop with some help from Donna Teasley and the Extension Master Gardeners.   
Summer Canning Series 
Jams & Jellies  

May 20, 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.   

Fescue Toxicosis 

Early Spring is not a time that we typically think of fescue toxicosis, as our thoughts are more like getting animals out on grass and waging war on mud. However, I receive many calls from producers in late spring and early summer regarding many symptoms of this toxicity.

Fescue is a tough forage that handles trampling and drought and hot weather much better than many of its counterparts and we as livestock producers rely on it to produce most of our forage needs. But, this hardiness is made possible by a fungus that exists between the cell walls of KY 31 fescue plants and protects the plant from many climactic conditions. This endophyte (fungus) attributes greatly to summer slump in beef herds. Symptoms range from rough haircoats and poor shedding, to elevated body temps and sloughing of the tail switch and hooves. These animals often stand in water or under shade and pant profusely. The main thing is they are not grazing and filling up that rumen, and converting forage intake efficiently. The greatest problems from fescue toxicosis occurs in the summer months and into early fall. Toxin levels are at their greatest when seed heads are present with high concentrations in the seeds. Calves grazing toxic fescue show reduced weight gains on this reduced quality forage and milk production of their dams is lower.

In managing pastures to counter the effects of fescue toxicosis producers do have some tools to lessen the effects. Grazing pastures heavily or clipping to remove seed heads is a big help. This removes the toxin-laden seeds and starts the plants back growing. Try to get grass clipped while still in the boot stage or just before the flower emerges from the sheath for optimum results. In addition, producers should provide an abundant source of clean, fresh water and graze pastures with adequate shade during the hottest months of the year, as this is the time when animals will suffer most from an elevated body temperature and they need some relief.

Finally, maintaining around 30% clover in these infected fescue pastures can dilute the effects of the endophyte fungus. This can also apply to hayfields, as they are a big part of the forage production system. The extra nutrition from the clover can help, along with these other management practices to minimize the effects of fescue toxicity in your herd.


Bagworms look exactly like they sound. They spend much of their life as worms living in bags. They are common throughout North Carolina and seem to prefer juniper and arborvitae as their home, although they can be found on other shrubs and trees.
Bagworms hatch in May and June and travel from one plant to the other by silk threads and wind. They will attach themselves to the stem of a shrub and begin to spin a bag using parts of the plant for re-enforcement. They also begin to eat foliage and can defoliate a plant when large numbers are present.
Bagworms are not particularly noticeable until numerous bags are seen hanging on a shrub. These bags can best be seen in the winter when leaves of deciduous trees are absent. In the early summer these bags will move when prodded, telling the observer that the eggs are about to hatch from the bag. Female bagworms never leave the bag, but in August the male bagworm emerges from the bag as a moth and mates with the female in her bag.
Effective contol with insecticides such as Spinosad, Sevin or Insecticidal Soap must take place during June and early July while the bagworm is actively feeding and spinning it's bag. Once the bag is spun and the worm is enclosed, chemicals cannot penetrate. When this has taken place, the only effective control is to cut the bags off the branches of the shrubs with scissors and then destroy the bags.  
Bagworms are unsitely, when large numbers are present and girdling of the stem by silk threads used to attach the bag to the shrub can cause damage. The occasional bagworm is not a threat to a shrub so the homeowner must make the decision as to whether the infestation is severe enough to warrant chemical control.  
Applications of Orthene, insecticidal soap or malathion are effective when applied at the proper time. At least two applications will be necessary at seven to ten day intervals. Follow the label recommendations for application rates and safe procedures.
Get out in your landscape now and inspect trees and shrubs for these hanging bags full of worms.
Plants & More Sale 
May 13

The Burke County Extension Master Gardeners will hold their 4th Annual Plants & More Sale on Saturday, May 13th from 8:00 am - 12:00 noon.

Come out to the Burke County Agricultural Building and purchase vegetable plants, flowering plants, shrubs, etc.  There will also be a yard sale, silent auction, baked goods, tomato cages and burlap bags for sale. 

Proceeds help fund community projects by the Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Association of Burke County. 
Drexel Spring Carnival
May 2 - 6

Be sure to stop by the Cattlemen's Food Booth and support Burke County 4-H during the Drexel Spring Carnival.  We will have your suppertime meal cooked to order with angus beef burgers or hot dogs, chili cheese fries, and friendly 4-H volunteers to take your order.  Proceeds will benefit Burke County 4-H programs.
Burke County Extension Advisory
May 23
Welcome New Appointees to the Cooperative Extension Advisory Council
Charlotte Eidson, Lisa Hanlon, Phillip Houk, Mackenzie McClure, Crystal McKinney, Rebakah Poplin, Nick Thompson, and Jerry Yelton were recently appointed to the Burke County Extension Advisory Council.
These eight new members will serve varied three-year terms on the council and be joining a total of 23 county leaders who meet quarterly to address this mission.
We expect these new members to help Cooperative Extension link NC State University and A & T State University to problems identified in their communities. They will also help educate elected officials and the community about the scope of Extension programs and their impact on the quality of life of Burke County citizens.
The Burke County Extension Advisory Council's mission is to keep Cooperative Extension programs relevant and valuable to Burke citizens. The next meeting will be held on May 23, 2017 at the Burke County Agriculture Building. For more information, contact Spring Williams-Byrd at 828-764-9480 or

Time for Earwigs  

Hot weather has come to Burke County and along with it our first crop of summer pests have arrived. These insects are present every summer but when the weather is extremely hot and humid, the problem is intensified. Insects move in closer to our homes in search of water and food when these things aren't available in the wild.
One particularly pesky insect is the earwig. It can literally take over mulched garden areas. These insects can eat seedlings, insects, spiders and dead or decaying plant material. It's bad enough to have them in the garden but they tend to find their way inside our homes and this we cannot tolerate. Their fierce looking pincers scare us to death and the thoughts of waking up with one of these small monsters on the pillow next to us is enough to have us shaking out the covers each night before we go to bed.
The solution is to take away their habitat. They are looking for water and cool, dark places. Make sure water faucets don't drip and leave puddles and put a bucket under air conditioner drains. Push mulch away from the foundation of the house. Get rid of woodpiles and other things they can hide under. A rolled up newspaper placed in a mulched area can be an attractant for earwigs. Pick it up each morning and empty the folded pages into a bucket of soapy water. Pesticides can help. Insecticidal soap will control them and is safe to use on tender plants.
The problem can last throughout the summer but if you are diligent in taking away their hiding places, the numbers of earwigs will drop considerably. If you need more information on this insect pest, you can call our office at 828-764-9480.
4-H Camp

There are still a few spots available to sign up for 4-H Camp.  Burke County will attend the Betsy Jeff Penn 4-H Center, located in Reidsville, NC, from July 16-21.  The cost for camp is $450 which includes transportation, lodging, meals, camp store/snack money and a camp t-shirt. 

Camp is for youth ages 9-13.  Camp activities include swimming, canoeing, ropes course, horseback riding, archery and more!   Please contact our 4-H agent, Nicki Carpenter, for more information.

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.  

Rotational Grazing 
Abundant forage growth is wonderful to see in pastures. Following basic recommendations like fertilizing according to soil test results, controlling weeds and planting clovers will help provide this growth. However, don t follow good forage production with poor harvest procedures. One of the mistakes that occur every year in pastures is poor utilization of excess pasture growth.

A tall fescue plant's initial growth during the spring is good quality forage. The new leaves are high in protein and energy. But as the spring progresses, the plant matures and produces a seedhead. The main goal of the plant changes from trying to grow leaves to filling the seeds in order to reproduce itself. The amount of leaf growth drops because energy is going to the seedhead instead of the parts of the plant that produce leaves. Forage quality also drops. As the leaves are growing older, the protein and energy levels are decreasing and the fiber level is increasing. The result is lower quality forage. The problems of low quality and reduced leaf growth in the late spring and early summer are the result of excess forage growth in pastures. The plants are growing faster than the livestock can eat them. The difficulties caused by this excess growth can be minimized if good grazing principles are used.

Controlled grazing is simple if you understand one basic concept. The goal is to force livestock to eat all the forage available in the pasture without overgrazing. If livestock are given a large area to graze, they will do the most of their grazing close to water and shade. Other areas of the pasture will not be grazed, resulting in wasted forage. If forage on the edges of the pasture is not grazed, it will get mature, drop in quality and be wasted. In a good grazing program, pasture size is reduced and livestock are concentrated on a smaller area where they cannot be selective as to where they graze. They are forced to graze the entire pasture and remove all of the forage. Little forage is wasted. After livestock graze the forage in this smaller pasture (or paddock), they are moved into a new paddock, and the process starts over again.

Utilizing this type of management helps in two basic ways. First, as mentioned earlier, it decreases the amount of wasted forage. In the spring some of the acreage can be cut for hay because not as many acres are needed for grazing. As spring progresses and high temperatures develop, forage growth will decrease. The acres that were used for hay can then be put into the grazing rotation. The early forage growth that in the past was wasted on the edge of the pastures will now be put up as hay. Second, this form of management allows a rest period for the plants. Once the paddock is grazed down, livestock are moved to a new paddock, and plants in the previous paddock are allowed to regrow. This is important during the summer, when high temperatures and drought are stressful for tall fescue. Instead of being constantly grazed, the young regrowth is allowed to fully regrow, restore depleted root energy reserves, and recover. This will result in quicker regrowth and a healthier stand. The advantages are clear: decreasing pasture size and concentrating livestock on a smaller area of land will improve forage utilization, decrease stand loss from overgrazing, and improve per acre production.
4-H Summer Fun
Coming Soon!

Keep checking our website and Facebook page for the release of the Burke County 4-H Summer Fun Schedule for 2017. 

Some of the activities coming up this summer include fishing, baking, archery, swimming and more!

Visit our website at:

Burke County Center
130 Ammons Drive, Morganton, NC 28655