Penn State Extension is pleased to continue to provide quality education via a wide variety of webinars and recordings.If you have difficulty registering online for any of these live webinars, please contact Penn State Extension’s customer service team at 877-345-0691. Most of these webinars will be recorded and available for viewing at a later time, as well. Continue to search our website: extension.psu.edu for the latest offerings.
Wednesday, May 10, 2023, 1:30PM – Live Webinar – Understanding Alzheimer’s Disease In the United States alone, more than 5 million individuals are living with Alzheimer’s and 16 million are serving as their unpaid caregivers. The disease is a global crisis that impacts numerous families right here in our community. However, no one has to face this disease alone or without information. Understanding Alzheimer’s Disease is here to help. The Alzheimer’s Association® partnered with Penn State Extension to provide this educational program covering the basics of Alzheimer’s and dementia. It provides a general overview for people who are facing a diagnosis as well as those who wish to be informed. Participants will explore the relationship between Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, learn what happens in a brain affected by Alzheimer’s, learn about risk factors and the three general stages of the disease, and receive other helpful Alzheimer’s resources. Register by May 9 at https://extension.psu.edu/understanding-alzheimers-disease-webinar or call 1-877-345-0691.
Saturday, May 20, 2023 – Franklin County Master Gardener Plant Sale The sale will be held at 425 Franklin Farm Lane, Chambersburg, PA 17202, from 9:00 am until 1:00 pm. The Master Gardeners will once again offer a great selection of greenhouse-grown vegetable, annual flower, and herb plants, with many hard-to-find and unusual varieties, along with a wide assortment of sun and shade-loving perennials, groundcovers, shrubs, and trees, all for reasonable prices. Bring your gardening questions, and get information about plants and planting from friendly, knowledgeable Penn State Master Gardener volunteers.
Tuesday, May 30, 2023, 12PM – Live Webinar – Home Food Preservation: Introduction to Preserving. The Home Food Preservation: Introduction to Preserving event will explain the scientific reasoning behind today’s recommended methods for home food preservation while dispelling food preservation myths and unsafe practices of the past. In recent years, there has been increasing interest in home food preservation. Canning, freezing, and drying are preservation methods that allow you to enjoy seasonal foods all year long. While these methods of home food preservation have existed for centuries, we have learned much about the science behind these methods in recent years. The Home Food Preservation series of webinars will provide you with the scientific background, preparation tips, and safe processing methods to preserve food at home. To register go to https://extension.psu.edu/home-food-preservation-introduction-to-preserving or call 1-877-345-0691.
Ready-Set-Grow Plant Sale Garden Tips – Azaleas
Carol Kagan, Franklin County Master Garden
Azaleas (Rhododendron canescens) are blooming now and can be seen in a variety of colors such as white, pale and dark pink, deep red, orange, and even blue. Many varieties offer bi-color blooms with single or double flowers.
They thrive in well-draining acidic soil with a soil pH between 4.5 and 6.0. They need a soil texture that retains some moisture to prevent the roots from drying out. They do well in partial shade, especially a site with morning sun and afternoon shade or in dappled shade under tall canopy trees.
What plants are good companions for azaleas? Ones that do well under the same condition- acidic soil and shady areas. Here are a few plants to consider.
Hellebores as well as Columbines (Aquilegia) like shady spots and prefer acidic soil. Coral bells (Heuchera) also grow best in moderately acid to slightly acid soil and do well in partial shade. All three of these plants have beautiful, colorful flowers that add to the landscape.
Hostas and ferns can provide an attractive ring or screen at the base. Both do well in shade and like soil on the acidic side. If combined, the different textures will add to the planting long after the azalea flowers have faded.
SAVE THE DATE for our Master Gardener Plant Sale. We have hellebores, a wide variety of hostas, and plenty of ferns. May 20 from 9 am to 1 pm. at 425 Franklin Farm Lane, Chambersburg. Free on-site parking. Greenhouse vegetables, herbs, and annual flowers, plus sun & shade plants, ground covers, daylilies, and native plants. Our Plant Clinic table will be open so bring your questions. Cash, check or credit card. Express checkout lane this year.
Availability of plants is dependent on germination and growth in the greenhouse and condition of perennials overwintered.
Tips for Maintaining Production as Temperatures Increase
Daniela Roland, Franklin County Dairy Educator
It’s no secret to dairy farmers that dairy cows prefer cooler weather. As the spring weather heats up, now is a good time to make sure you’re prepared to keep cows cool during warmer temperatures.
A dairy cow’s thermoneutral zone is in the range of 40 to 70˚F. As temperatures increase, dairy cattle can become heat stressed and this can negatively affect milk production and somatic cell counts. Higher temperatures and environmental stress can cause elevated somatic cell counts (SCC).
A cow giving 120 pounds of milk per day generates about 6,300 British Thermal Units (BTU) per hour of heat. Compare that to a cow producing only 40 pounds of milk per day which generates 3,300 BTU per hour. That’s a big difference between a high and low-producing cow. Higher-producing cows are even more susceptible to heat stress. It’s been shown that high-producing dairy cows could experience heat stress when the Temperature Humidity Index is 68˚F or greater. And as humidity increases, an average-producing dairy cow could become heat stressed at 72˚F.
Dairy farmers can help reduce heat stress within their herds with some simple management practices. The following are some steps to help minimize heat stress and help maintain milk production during warmer months:
- Be sure to clean barn fans. Fans and sprinklers are effective tools to help keep cows cool. But dirty, dusty fans won’t run as efficiently as clean fans. Dust buildup of 1/8-inch on blades can decrease fan efficiency by as much as 40%. Keeping fans clean is important to ensure the effectiveness of the ventilation system so cows stay cool and comfortable.
- Provide plenty of fresh, clean water. Cows drink about 50% more water when the temperature is 80˚F versus 40˚F. They need water to cool themselves through increased respiration and perspiration. Watering stations should be in convenient locations to allow for multiple cows to access the water and keep up with water demand. If cows are housed in tie-stalls, be sure to clean out water bowls frequently to keep them free of feed and debris.
- Avoid vaccinations during hot weather to minimize added stress.
- Feed during cooler times of the day. During warmer weather, feed intake will likely drop off. Some estimates show that for every one pound decrease in dry matter intake, 2 pounds of milk production are lost.
- Provide shade as much as possible and if cows are milked in a parlor, limit time in the holding pen.
Monitoring dairy records can also be helpful to determine if hot weather is impacting cow performance. Signs of heat stress will show up in the following ways:
- Reduced milk production – Use daily milk weights to look for drops in milk production of more than five pounds per cow per day during warmer weather. It’s not recommended to use monthly tests as the impact of heat stress can come and go between tests.
- Decrease in conception rates – Look for a decline in conception rate of five points or more during the summer months compared to the annual average conception rate.
- Increase in lameness – Monitor hoof health records for an increase in lameness rates two months after the main heat stress period, which is usually observed in early fall. When cows are heat stressed, they tend to bunch together or stand up which can affect hoof health.
Keeping cows cool and comfortable can be challenging during warmer temperatures. But by putting management practices in place to mitigate heat stress, you can help your herd maintain production and stay healthy.
If you have questions or would like more information, contact Daniela Roland, the Franklin County Dairy Educator at 717-263-9226 or email@example.com.
Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences research and extension programs are funded in part by Pennsylvania counties, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
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Photo credit: Carol Kagan