Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Grain-Fed vs. Grass-Fed—What Are the True Differences?

Barrett Simon, Livestock Agent
There is a large amount of uncertainty regarding the beef products that we, as consumers, deal with.  With all of the health claims and new trends being promoted within the industry, it is easy to get confused.  While many producers in the Post Rock District produce and eat their own, home grown beef, I hope to shed some light on the subject for those that buy fresh meat products to put on their table.  Grain-fed versus grass-fed beef has been a hot topic for several years now.  While I’ve noticed many people are firm proponents of one or the other, there are a large number of consumers who are not aware of the advantages either product offers. 
The United States has grown a unique market for truly high quality beef.  We’ve recently added China to the long list of countries who are open to importing our much more consumer satisfying cuts of meat.  Why has our grain fed beef risen to the top?  Higher concentrate diets allow for cattle to reach finished weights faster with an increase in fat deposition.  Our cattle are finished at younger ages and display a much greater degree of marbling.  Grain-fed beef excels in the three factors that consumer panels have deemed the most important: tenderness, juiciness, and flavor.  In regards to healthy eating, grain-fed beef does have more total fat; however, monosaturated and polyunsaturated fats are actually deemed to be the “good fats” that are important to the diet.  These “good fats” are the same as the fats that consumers are often encouraged to eat in foods such as nuts or olive oil.  They are found in much more desirable levels in grain-fed beef products.  Of course we are all familiar with the cost advantage that also plays a role when deciding between the two types of beef cuts.  Grain-fed beef will typically be between two and three dollars cheaper per pound.
There is no doubt that grass-fed beef is the leaner alternative.  Being lower in total fat, many consumers think of this as the “heart healthy” option.  However, this is a misnomer.  The level of cholesterol in the diet has very little absorption or correlation to the amount of cholesterol within the body (Peveto).  The real health advantage in grass-fed beef is the amount of Omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, and antioxidants that it contains.  Omega-3’s are said to fight triglyceride levels within the blood.  There are also claims of improved joint health due to the amount of Omega-3’s in the diet.  These fatty acids are nearly twice as rich in grass-fed beef.  Now, at approximately 35 milligrams of Omega-3’s per serving, grass-fed beef is still far behind the 1,000 plus that can be offered with salmon (Aubrey), but it is an improvement over grain-fed beef in that regard. 
A brief note—when buying ground beef, realize that fat is added during the process to meet the desired percent lean.  Ultimately, the fat content of ground beef is the buyer’s preference and is not effected by whether the product is grain or grass-fed. 
After that, it is up to the consumer to decide on the flavor they prefer, the price they pay, and how they prepare the beef.  While studies and panels may be able to predict palatability and consumer satisfaction, they can never fully pinpoint an individual’s preferences. 

·       Peveto, Kyle “After Years of Study High Cholesterol Foods—Red Meat, Eggs, and Butter—Are Found to Play a Very Small Role In Raising Cholesterol” http://www.theadvocate.com/baton_rouge/entertainment_life/health_fitness/article_4987ca54-6b24-5209-adde-bd93570a403b.html 7/20/14       
·       Aubrey, Allison “The Truth About Grass-Fed Beef” http://www.npr.org/2010/04/08/125722082/the-truth-about-grass-fed-beef 4/8/10
Post Rock Extension District of K-State Research and Extension serves Jewell, Lincoln, Mitchell, Osborne, and Smith counties. Barrett Simon may be contacted at Barrett8@ksu.edu or by calling the Mankato Office at 785-378-3174, Smith Center Office 785-282-6823, Beloit Office 785-738-3597, Lincoln Office 785-524-4432, or Osborne Office 785-346-2521.  Join us on Facebook at “Post Rock Extension” along with our blog site at postrockextension.blogspot.com. Follow us on Twitter @KSRE_PostRock. Also remember our website is postrock.ksu.edu

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Dolly Parton Imagination Library available to Local Children

Nora Rhodes, Family and Youth Development Agent
The Dolly Parton Imagination Library is a literacy program for young children. The program is available to the youngest residents in the Post Rock Extension District (Jewell, Lincoln, Mitchell, Osborne and Smith Counties).

What Is It?
Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is a 60 volume set of books. Each month a new, carefully selected book will be mailed, in your child’s name, directly to your home. By mailing high quality, age-appropriate books directly to a child’s home, the Dolly Parton Imagination Library encourages children and their families to be excited about books and to feel the magic that books can create. Reading is a valuable experience for young learners as it promotes positive brain development, helps a child understand the world around them, and enhances positive relationships with the caring adults they rely on. To learn more about Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library visit www.imaginationlibrary.com.

Who Is Eligible?
Preschool children ages birth to five who are residents of a county with an active Dolly Parton Imagination Library program. All counties in the Post Rock Extension District have an active program. These counties include Jewell, Lincoln, Mitchell, Osborne and Smith.

Is There A Cost?
Books received through Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library are a FREE GIFT! There is no cost or obligation to your family. The Dane G. Hansen Foundation graciously provides financial support for the local programs.
What Are My Responsibilities?
-        Be a resident of the county program you are enrolling in.
-        Submit an official registration form, completely filled out by parent or legal guardian. In some cases, online registration is accepted.
-        Notify your county’s program manager any time your address changes, or make changes via your online parent account. Books are mailed to the address listed on the official registration form. It is your responsibility to properly report an address change in order to continue receiving books.
-        Read with your child.

How Do I Register Online?
-        Please note that online registration is only available in some counties.
-        Visit www.imaginationlibrary.com.
-        Registration must be completed by the parent or legal guardian of the child.
-        Click the "register my child" link located at the top of the webpage.
-        Select country.
-        Complete the four-step process to register your child (terms & conditions; check availability; check eligibility; parent's information).
-        After registering, pending/activation confirmation messages will be sent to the listed email address.
-        Information about how to access your parent account will also be emailed. 

When Will I Receive Books?
Eight to ten weeks after your registration form has been received, books will begin arriving at your home and will continue until your child turns five or you move out of the county you are enrolled in.

Additional Questions?
To find out more about registering your young child for the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, contact any Post Rock Extension District Office or email Nora Rhoades, Family and Youth Development Agent, at nrhoades@ksu.edu.

How Can I Help Promote This Program?
Contact Nora Rhoades, Family and Youth Development Agent, to discuss promoting the literacy program at your organization or business. She is willing to schedule a time to present to your group about this program and the value reading brings into the lives of our earliest learners. Nora can be reached at the Post Rock District – Osborne Office at 785-346-2521 or by email at nrhoades@ksu.edu.

County Specific Registration Information

Jewell County, KS ― Paper registration must be completed to enroll. Submit registration to the Jewell County Resource Council, contact Amanda Anderson.

Lincoln County, KS ― Paper and online registrations accepted. The Friends of the Lincoln Carnegie Library and the Lincoln County Health Department present the local program. Submit registration to:
Lincoln County Health Department
114 West Court Street
P.O. Box 187
Lincoln, KS
(785) 524-4406

Mitchell County, KS ― Paper and online registrations accepted. The local program is presented by the Post Rock Extension District and the Mitchell County Community Foundation. Submit registration to:
Post Rock Extension District – Beloit Office
115 S. Hersey
Beloit, KS 67420
Mitchell County Courthouse Basement
(785) 738-3597

Osborne County, KS ― Paper and online registrations accepted. The local program is presented by the Post Rock Extension District and the Osborne Community Foundation Inc. Submit registration to:
Post Rock Extension District – Osborne Office
113 N. 1st Street
Osborne, KS 67473
(785) 346-2521

Smith County, KS ― Paper and online registrations accepted. The local program is presented by the Post Rock Extension District and Smith Center Elementary. Submit registration to:
Post Rock Extension District – Smith Center Office
P.O. Box 287
Smith Center, KS 66967
Smith County Courthouse Basement
(785) 282-6823

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Don't forget to control your VOLUNTEER Wheat!

Sandra L. Wick, Crop Production Agent

Producers are gearing up to plant their 2018 wheat crop around north central Kansas! Producers really don’t like the mention of volunteer wheat, but you can always count on it rearing its ugly head. Volunteer wheat is a fact of life in wheat production and no combine is perfect, so there is usually plenty of grain left on the ground in the field to produce volunteer. The 2017 wheat crop was significantly impacted by the Wheat Streak Mosaic virus. Stay tuned and I will share with you the management guidelines to help prevent this disease in your wheat for 2018. 

Volunteer wheat can serve as a host for insects such as the wheat curl mite, Hessian fly, greenbug and the bird cherry-oat aphid along with diseases such as wheat streak mosaic and barley yellow dwarf.  Wheat Streak mosaic, spread by the insect…the wheat curl mite, is the most important threat from volunteer wheat. 

The wheat can be infected with the wheat streak virus in the fall or in the spring with fall infection most impacting the yield. Adult and immature wheat curl mites are tiny, white, cigar-shaped organisms with four legs near the head. They are nearly invisible to the naked eye and fit between the veins of the wheat leaves. Eggs are placed in rows along leaf veins. The mites reproduce most rapidly at 75° to 85°F. Reproduction stops at temperatures near freezing, but the mites can survive for several months at near freezing temperatures and for several days at 0°F. Under good conditions, a generation can be completed in 10 days. Most mites are found on the terminal leaves and move to each new leaf as it emerges. Heavy mite populations can cause the leaf margins to roll or curl inward, hence the name. As the wheat plant dries down, the wheat curl mites congregate on the flag leaves and even the glumes of the head where they are picked up by wind currents and carried to their over-summering grass hosts including volunteer wheat, corn and a few other grasses. As summer hosts start to dry down the reverse process occurs and mites are carried by winds to newly emerged winter wheat. The most severe wheat streak mosaic is found where volunteer wheat provides a "green bridge" through the summer between successive wheat crops.  Hail during the heading period can also lead to high over-summering populations by knocking heads containing wheat curl mites to the ground and starting early volunteer. This early volunteer can then be immediately infested with wheat curl mites. Look for yellow streaking or mosaic patterns on young leaves. Infected plants are stunted and tiller poorly and tillers may sometimes be prostrate on the ground.

On average, Kansas producers lose 10 million bushels per year to this disease.  Control of volunteer wheat is the best defense against the wheat streak mosaic virus.

If the volunteer is still alive, or worse yet, dying when new wheat is emerging, pests and diseases will likely move from the volunteer wheat directly into the new wheat.   Some worst cases of wheat streak mosaic, in past years, were in fields where volunteer was sprayed soon after the wheat crop was planted. As the volunteer slowly died from the herbicide the wheat curl mites moved into the emerging wheat and spread the wheat streak virus to the plants.

Volunteer wheat can be destroyed by either conventional tillage or by use of chemicals or a combination of both.  Destruction of volunteer wheat at least 2 weeks prior to planting winter wheat in the fall is the most effective management practice for controlling the wheat curl mite and the disease that it vectors. Avoiding early planting can also reduce wheat curl mite numbers and the length of time that they have to transmit the wheat streak virus. Varietal selection can also be an important way to reduce the impact of wheat streak. Producers in areas where wheat streak is common should avoid varieties that are highly susceptible to the wheat streak mosaic virus. To date, control of wheat curl mites with foliar miticides has not been shown to be an effective practice. Since the mite is carried by the wind from plant to plant and from field to field, the control of ALL volunteer is essential.  The mite can be carried for several miles so the cost of NOT controlling volunteer may hurt you and also your neighbor.  

If you are noticing volunteer wheat close to where you will be planting winter wheat you may want to select a variety that has some resistance to wheat streak mosaic or plant later as indicated by your fly free date which ranges from September 29 in Jewell and Smith Counties to October 4 in Lincoln with Osborne and Mitchell counties in between those dates. Very few of our common wheat varieties have any resistance to wheat streak mosaic, but a few varieties have some resistance including KSU 1863, Oakley CL, SY Wolf, and T-158.  

A couple of excellent publications are available for producers through K-State Research and Extension including the 2017 Wheat Variety Disease and Insect Ratings along with the 2017 Chemical Weed Control for Field Crops, Pastures, Rangeland and Non-cropland.  The Disease ratings publication provides evaluation of each of the wheat varieties for disease and insect resistance while the chemical publication outlines weed control chemicals for each of the major crops in Kansas.  Remember volunteer wheat is the source of severe problems and may actually cost much more if NOT controlled.  Stop by or call any office of the Post Rock Extension District for the publications I mentioned, or additional information on controlling volunteer wheat.

If you have additional questions on controlling volunteer wheat contact me at any of the Post Rock Extension District Offices in Beloit, Lincoln, Mankato, Osborne or Smith Center.

Post Rock Extension District of K-State Research and Extension serves Jewell, Lincoln, Osborne, Mitchell and Smith counties. Sandra may be contacted at swick@ksu.edu or by calling Smith Center, 282-6823, Beloit 738-3597, Lincoln 524-4432, Mankato 378-3174, or Osborne 346-2521.  Join us on Facebook now at “Post Rock Extension” along with our blog site at “postrockextension.blogspot.com."  Also remember our website is www.postrock.ksu.edu and my twitter account is @PRDcrops.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Canning in Pressure Cookers

Photo Courtesy:
Michigan State Extension

The information below is retrieved from The National Center for Home Food Preservation

Ashley Svaty, Nutrition, Food Safety, and Health

USDA does not have recommended processes for canning in a small pressure cooker. The recommendation for using USDA pressure processes for low-acid foods is to use a canner that holds at least four (4) quart-size jars standing upright on the rack, with the lid in place.  The research for USDA pressure processes for vegetable and meat products was conducted in pressure canners that are most similar to today's 16-quart or larger pressure canners.

Pressure cookers have less metal, are smaller in diameter, and will use less water than pressure canners. The result is that the time it takes a canner to come up to processing pressure (that is, the come-up time) and the time it takes the canner to cool naturally down to 0 pounds pressure at the end of the process (known as the cool-down time) will be less than for the standard pressure canner. The come-up and cool-down times are part of the total processing heat that was used to establish USDA process times for low-acid foods. If the heat from the come-up and cool-down periods is reduced because these times are shortened, then the heat from the process time at pressure alone may not be enough to destroy targeted microorganisms for safety.  That is, the food may end up underprocessed.  Underprocessed low-acid canned foods are unsafe and can result in foodborne illness, including botulism poisoning, if consumed.

During earlier years of canning research, pressure saucepans were considered an alternative for home canning and it was thought that adding 10 minutes to the process times for standard canners would keep food safe. That proved not to be the case for a general, across-the-board recommendation, as there are several sizes of pressure saucepans and they were not all adequately tested.  In addition, the way heat transfers (penetrates) through food during the process is affected partly by the composition of the food and not all foods and styles of preparation were tested.  Later research published in journals has not resulted in an absolute recommendation either. Therefore, in the late 1980s the USDA published its recommendation to not use pressure saucepans (small cookers) for home canning.

Some manufacturers may offer process directions for smaller pressure cookers.  Consumers using this equipment will need to discuss processing recommendations with those manufacturers; the USDA and National Center for Home Food Preservation recommendation is to not use them for canning with our processes. 

To be considered a pressure canner for USDA processes, the canner must be able to hold at least four quart-size jars, standing upright on the canner rack, with the lid in place.  It is also important to realize the canner should have a way to follow recommended venting procedures to remove air from inside the canner before it is pressurized, and to indicate that the canner remains at least at the target pressure throughout the entire process time. 

We cannot convert processes intended for use with regular pressure canners to ensure safety when canning in other types of equipment. 

Please contact Ashley Svaty, our Nutrition, Food Safety and Health Agent with any food preservation questions by emailing asvaty@ksu.edu. 

National Center for Home Food Preservation