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Upcoming Events At PennState Extention

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, 2023Franklin 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.

Thursday, June 1, 11AM – Live Webinar – Home Food Preservation: Water Bath Canning. Join us for Home Food Preservation Water Bath Canning to learn the basics of water bath and atmospheric steam canning. In recent years, there has been increasing interest in home food preservation. Canning is one method of food preservation that allows you to enjoy seasonal foods all year long. While this method of home food preservation has existed for centuries, we have learned much about the science behind safe canning methods in recent years. We will provide research to dispel food preservation myths and unsafe practices and discuss practical tips to ensure a positive experience when water bath canning foods. 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-water-bath-canning-webinar or call 1-877-345-0691

Ready-Set-Grow Plant Sale –Get Ready for the Gardening Season

Submitted By: Carol Kagan, Franklin County Master Gardener

The planning is over and now is the time to head outdoors and prepare your garden for summer’s beautiful blooms and tasty harvests. Here are a few things to put on your to-do list for the next week or so.

Do a final clean out of the gardens, removing the last of the fall leaves and any of the spring weeds like hairy bittercress, henbit, and purple deadnettle along with speedwell. Get the roots now and avoid herbicide use later. Look for weather or animal damage to your plants and gardens. Don’t forget to clear your paths. Now is also a good time to look for animal burrows or nests.

You still have time to replace, repair, or build wood structures in the landscape while the gardens are still dormant. If you build raised beds for next month’s transplants remember that 4 feet is a good measurement for a comfortable reach. Now is a good time to set up any row covers, or plant supports you need. You should have a few dry days to touch-up any painted areas that need it.

Proper soil fertility is the foundation for good plant health. Different types of plants have specific nutritional requirements. Soil pH and nutrient levels vary greatly from site to site, so guessing about nutritional needs often misses the mark. A Penn State soil test measures the levels of several essential plant nutrients and recommends proper amounts of lime and fertilizer. The test will measure soil pH, the levels of phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and magnesium and will also make a nitrogen recommendation. Soil test kits with easy- to- follow instructions are available at your local Penn State Extension Office for $10. Franklin County will have them available at their May 20 Plant Sale. More information is available athttps://extension.psu.edu/dont-guess-soil-test.

 Take time to check your tools for repairs or replacements. Tighten loose nuts and screws, sand rough spots on wooden handles, clean, sharpen and oil, where needed. Don’t forget to sharpen lawnmower blades and check your wheelbarrow tires. Make sure you have a clean, dry space to store your tools.

 Start now to loosen up your body for seasonal gardening. Everyone is different so be sure to check with your doctor even though stretching is a low impact exercise. As you putter around getting all these chores done, take time to stretch. You might do some shoulder shrugs, a few arm windmills, let your wrists go limp, rotate a little each way, and shake them out. When gardening, it is best not to bend over to plant or weed. To avoid lower back problems, get closer to the ground by getting on your knees or sitting. Other reminders –use sunscreen and pace yourself.

 With all those chores checked off, take a break in the shade with a cool non- caffeinated drink. All that cleaned and prepared garden space just begs for great transplants. The Master Gardener May 20 plant sale will have lots of vegetables, herbs, annual flowers and perennial plants and much, much more. Lines begin to form at 7:30 for the 9 am start. Come early and get the best choices available. Oh, and bring a big box or wagon.

Milking Efficiency for Increased Profitability

By: Amber Yutzy, Assistant Director, Animal Systems Programs, Penn State Extension

Achieving ultimate efficiency is essential to succeed in the current dairy industry. Dairy producers are constantly dealing with fluctuations in milk price, inflation, labor availability, and increased input costs. They must be willing to make changes in the parlor to maximize efficiency and profitability. How does a farm reach efficiency in the milking parlor? First, regular milking equipment maintenance and inspection is vital to keeping your parlor operating at capacity. Secondly, having a proper, consistent milking routine that avoids overmilking is essential. Ultimately, removing milk from the cow’s udder quickly and completely is the goal of all dairy producers. Still, the process and routine around the milking procedures vary significantly from one farm to the next.

As a dairy producer, you have probably heard the term “bimodal milking” before, but did you understand what it meant? Do you think your herd suffers from this problem? Bimodal milking is when cows experience delayed milk letdown; in most cases, the milking routine is the cause of this. Bimodal milking is when the milk in the gland cistern rapidly empties into the claw after unit attachment, but the milk stored in the alveoli of the udder has not yet been released. (Weisenbeck, 2020)  This creates a period of low milk flow until the effects of udder stimulation by the liners cause an oxytocin release and, ultimately, the release of the alveolar milk. After this happens, rapid milk flow is observed in the milking unit. As you can imagine, this can cause many issues on a farm, such as lack of efficiency, damaged teat ends, and increased incidence of mastitis, to name a few.

How can you avoid bimodal milking? First, develop a milking preparation procedure that optimizes milk letdown, and then regularly train your employees on the proper milking procedures. How do you maximize milk letdown? Teat stimulation prior to unit attachment is essential. Teat stimulation, such as rubbing the udder, stripping, or automated brushes, activate the nerves in the udder to signal oxytocin release. Oxytocin is the hormone responsible for forcing the muscles that surround the milk ducts to contract and allow milk to flow to the teats. It takes one to two minutes after manual stimulation for oxytocin to perform that task adequately. You probably think this doesn’t apply to me; I already fore-strip my cows. My question to you is, do you provide enough teat stimulation? It takes at least 10-15 seconds of actual physical touching to stimulate oxytocin release. (Erskine, Thomson, & Bacigalupo Sanguesa, 2021)  Also, are you applying the milking unit during the proper lag time to optimize peak milk flow? It is recommended that milking units are applied within the 60-90 second range after proper udder stimulation.

Unfortunately, many herds sacrifice adequate milking preparation to increase cow throughput in the parlor. A study by Michigan State University found that larger herds tend to have greater parlor throughput, a more significant workload on employees, and half the stimulation time compared to smaller herds. As mentioned above, herds with less stimulation during milking preparation are more likely to experience bimodal milk letdown. So, why should you care if cows have bimodal milk letdown? During periods of low milk flow in the unit, teats are exposed to high vacuum levels for approximately 45-60 seconds or longer. (Erskine, Thomson, & Bacigalupo Sanguesa, 2021)  High vacuum during milking can cause skin damage, blood congestion, teat swelling/damage, and shuts down the teat canal, reducing milk flow. This can be very painful for the cow.

How does bimodal milking affect milk yield? If the letdown is delayed for 30 seconds to a minute, a single cow can lose three pounds of milk per milking. Seven pounds of milk can be lost if the delay is over one minute. (Erskine, Thomson, & Bacigalupo Sanguesa, 2021)  Ultimately, the longer the bimodal lag occurs while milking, the more milk that is lost and the more significant impact on your bottom line.

How can I determine if my herd is experiencing bimodal milking? Milk flow can be assessed using portable milk meters that measure continuous flow. Veterinarians and milk quality specialists commonly use these types of devices. Instruments that record vacuum in the milking unit can also be valuable to assess milk flow dynamics indirectly.

Uninterrupted milk flow is the key to efficient and gentle milking. Research has shown a clear connection between insufficient stimulation and bimodal milk flow. Implementing adequate stimulation into your milking preparation routine will help you achieve milking efficiency and put you one step closer to meeting the production potential for your herd.

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, 2023Franklin 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.

Thursday, June 1, 11AM – Live Webinar – Home Food Preservation: Water Bath Canning. Join us for Home Food Preservation Water Bath Canning to learn the basics of water bath and atmospheric steam canning. In recent years, there has been increasing interest in home food preservation. Canning is one method of food preservation that allows you to enjoy seasonal foods all year long. While this method of home food preservation has existed for centuries, we have learned much about the science behind safe canning methods in recent years. We will provide research to dispel food preservation myths and unsafe practices and discuss practical tips to ensure a positive experience when water bath canning foods. 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-water-bath-canning-webinar or call 1-877-345-0691

Ready-Set-Grow Plant Sale –Get Ready for the Gardening Season

Submitted By: Carol Kagan, Franklin County Master Gardener

The planning is over and now is the time to head outdoors and prepare your garden for summer’s beautiful blooms and tasty harvests. Here are a few things to put on your to-do list for the next week or so.

Do a final clean out of the gardens, removing the last of the fall leaves and any of the spring weeds like hairy bittercress, henbit, and purple deadnettle along with speedwell. Get the roots now and avoid herbicide use later. Look for weather or animal damage to your plants and gardens. Don’t forget to clear your paths. Now is also a good time to look for animal burrows or nests.

You still have time to replace, repair, or build wood structures in the landscape while the gardens are still dormant. If you build raised beds for next month’s transplants remember that 4 feet is a good measurement for a comfortable reach. Now is a good time to set up any row covers, or plant supports you need. You should have a few dry days to touch-up any painted areas that need it.

Proper soil fertility is the foundation for good plant health. Different types of plants have specific nutritional requirements. Soil pH and nutrient levels vary greatly from site to site, so guessing about nutritional needs often misses the mark. A Penn State soil test measures the levels of several essential plant nutrients and recommends proper amounts of lime and fertilizer. The test will measure soil pH, the levels of phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and magnesium and will also make a nitrogen recommendation. Soil test kits with easy- to- follow instructions are available at your local Penn State Extension Office for $10. Franklin County will have them available at their May 20 Plant Sale. More information is available athttps://extension.psu.edu/dont-guess-soil-test.

 Take time to check your tools for repairs or replacements. Tighten loose nuts and screws, sand rough spots on wooden handles, clean, sharpen and oil, where needed. Don’t forget to sharpen lawnmower blades and check your wheelbarrow tires. Make sure you have a clean, dry space to store your tools.

 Start now to loosen up your body for seasonal gardening. Everyone is different so be sure to check with your doctor even though stretching is a low impact exercise. As you putter around getting all these chores done, take time to stretch. You might do some shoulder shrugs, a few arm windmills, let your wrists go limp, rotate a little each way, and shake them out. When gardening, it is best not to bend over to plant or weed. To avoid lower back problems, get closer to the ground by getting on your knees or sitting. Other reminders –use sunscreen and pace yourself.

 With all those chores checked off, take a break in the shade with a cool non- caffeinated drink. All that cleaned and prepared garden space just begs for great transplants. The Master Gardener May 20 plant sale will have lots of vegetables, herbs, annual flowers and perennial plants and much, much more. Lines begin to form at 7:30 for the 9 am start. Come early and get the best choices available. Oh, and bring a big box or wagon.

Milking Efficiency for Increased Profitability

By: Amber Yutzy, Assistant Director, Animal Systems Programs, Penn State Extension

Achieving ultimate efficiency is essential to succeed in the current dairy industry. Dairy producers are constantly dealing with fluctuations in milk price, inflation, labor availability, and increased input costs. They must be willing to make changes in the parlor to maximize efficiency and profitability. How does a farm reach efficiency in the milking parlor? First, regular milking equipment maintenance and inspection is vital to keeping your parlor operating at capacity. Secondly, having a proper, consistent milking routine that avoids overmilking is essential. Ultimately, removing milk from the cow’s udder quickly and completely is the goal of all dairy producers. Still, the process and routine around the milking procedures vary significantly from one farm to the next.

As a dairy producer, you have probably heard the term “bimodal milking” before, but did you understand what it meant? Do you think your herd suffers from this problem? Bimodal milking is when cows experience delayed milk letdown; in most cases, the milking routine is the cause of this. Bimodal milking is when the milk in the gland cistern rapidly empties into the claw after unit attachment, but the milk stored in the alveoli of the udder has not yet been released. (Weisenbeck, 2020)  This creates a period of low milk flow until the effects of udder stimulation by the liners cause an oxytocin release and, ultimately, the release of the alveolar milk. After this happens, rapid milk flow is observed in the milking unit. As you can imagine, this can cause many issues on a farm, such as lack of efficiency, damaged teat ends, and increased incidence of mastitis, to name a few.

How can you avoid bimodal milking? First, develop a milking preparation procedure that optimizes milk letdown, and then regularly train your employees on the proper milking procedures. How do you maximize milk letdown? Teat stimulation prior to unit attachment is essential. Teat stimulation, such as rubbing the udder, stripping, or automated brushes, activate the nerves in the udder to signal oxytocin release. Oxytocin is the hormone responsible for forcing the muscles that surround the milk ducts to contract and allow milk to flow to the teats. It takes one to two minutes after manual stimulation for oxytocin to perform that task adequately. You probably think this doesn’t apply to me; I already fore-strip my cows. My question to you is, do you provide enough teat stimulation? It takes at least 10-15 seconds of actual physical touching to stimulate oxytocin release. (Erskine, Thomson, & Bacigalupo Sanguesa, 2021)  Also, are you applying the milking unit during the proper lag time to optimize peak milk flow? It is recommended that milking units are applied within the 60-90 second range after proper udder stimulation.

Unfortunately, many herds sacrifice adequate milking preparation to increase cow throughput in the parlor. A study by Michigan State University found that larger herds tend to have greater parlor throughput, a more significant workload on employees, and half the stimulation time compared to smaller herds. As mentioned above, herds with less stimulation during milking preparation are more likely to experience bimodal milk letdown. So, why should you care if cows have bimodal milk letdown? During periods of low milk flow in the unit, teats are exposed to high vacuum levels for approximately 45-60 seconds or longer. (Erskine, Thomson, & Bacigalupo Sanguesa, 2021)  High vacuum during milking can cause skin damage, blood congestion, teat swelling/damage, and shuts down the teat canal, reducing milk flow. This can be very painful for the cow.

How does bimodal milking affect milk yield? If the letdown is delayed for 30 seconds to a minute, a single cow can lose three pounds of milk per milking. Seven pounds of milk can be lost if the delay is over one minute. (Erskine, Thomson, & Bacigalupo Sanguesa, 2021)  Ultimately, the longer the bimodal lag occurs while milking, the more milk that is lost and the more significant impact on your bottom line.

How can I determine if my herd is experiencing bimodal milking? Milk flow can be assessed using portable milk meters that measure continuous flow. Veterinarians and milk quality specialists commonly use these types of devices. Instruments that record vacuum in the milking unit can also be valuable to assess milk flow dynamics indirectly.

Uninterrupted milk flow is the key to efficient and gentle milking. Research has shown a clear connection between insufficient stimulation and bimodal milk flow. Implementing adequate stimulation into your milking preparation routine will help you achieve milking efficiency and put you one step closer to meeting the production potential for your herd.

Photo Credit Cassie Yost

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