Ag & Hort December E-News

Ag & Hort December E-News

Ag & Hort December E-News

December 2022 Edition

Agriculture & Natural Resources
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December E-NEWS

We will be closed Monday, December 26 through Monday, January 2 for the Holidays.

Apple Sage Porkchop Recipe:

  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground thyme
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 boneless center cut pork chops
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1/2 large onion thinly sliced
  • 2 thinly sliced red apples
  • 1 cup unsweetened apple juice
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar (optional)
Yield: 4 serving

Wash hands with soap and warm water, scrubbing for at least 20 seconds. Gently clean all produce under cool running water. Mix flour, sage, garlic, thyme, and salt together in a small bowl. Sprinkle 1 1/2 tablespoons of the mixture over both sides of the pork chops. Remember to wash hands after handling raw meat. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sear pork chops for 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Pan will smoke a little. Remove pork chops from the pan and set aside. Reduce heat to medium. To the same skillet, add onion and cook for 2 minutes, or until soft. Add apples, and continue cooking until tender, about 2 minutes. Add apple juice, brown sugar, and remaining spice mixture and stir to dissolve. Return pork chops to the skillet by nestling them in the pan. Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 5 minutes or until the pork is cooked through and reaches 145 degrees Fon a food thermometer. Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours.

Nutritional Analysis:
  • 310 Calories
  • 10g total fat
  • 1.5g saturated fat
  • 50mg cholesterol
  • 660mg sodium
  • 35g total carbohydrate
  • 3g fiber
  • 25g total sugars
  • 7g added sugars
  • 22g protein
  • 6% DV vitamin D
  • 2% DV calcium
  • 6% DV iron
  • 15% DV potassium


Backgrounding course for feeder cattle producers is Dec. 15-16

The University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment will offer a two-day program aimed at background producers who want to gain knowledge through classroom and hands-on learning experiences.


The beef cattle industry’s backgrounding sector manages calves through the transition period between weaning and feedlot placement. Cattle producers rely heavily on forages and grains to increase cattle weights and immunity before they enter the feedlot. The University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment will offer a two-day program aimed at background producers who want to gain knowledge through classroom and hands-on learning experiences.

The 2022 Backgrounding Short Course is Dec. 15-16 at the UK C. Oran Little Research Center in Versailles. It will focus on the post-weaning management of feeder cattle.  

“Because of the number of beef cow-calf operations in the region, the backgrounding industry is a good fit for Kentucky cattle producers,” said Jeff Lehmkuhler, UK extension beef specialist for the UK Department of Animal and Food Sciences. “We are cramming a lot into this two-day course and believe that producers will be able to put the information to use now and in the future in their operations.”

The course will begin with registration at 7:30 a.m. EST Dec. 15 and will include topics such as bunk management, health risk management, vaccination protocols, cattle processing, confinement considerations, feeds and feeding, feed program development, ration balancing, ruminant digestion, health diagnostic tools and best management practices. Additional sessions include feed mixing and management, cattle handling equipment, heifer development, disposition impact on performance, technology tools and enterprise budgets. The course concludes at 4 p.m. Dec. 16.

Registration is limited to the first 30 individuals, is $25 per person and ends Dec. 10. Participants may register online at or send payment to Jeff Lehmkuhler, 810 W.P. Garrigus Bldg., University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40546. Additional course sponsors include the Kentucky Agricultural Development Fund and the Kentucky Beef Network.


How Bugs Get Ready for Winter

Posted on November 29, 2022

As the season continues to cool, life outside is preparing for the cold. This includes the insects and spiders who must be able to survive exposure to freezing and sub-freezing temperatures. Insect development and survivorship is at the whim of the climate around them, in particular, temperature drives their lives. Some folks may be hoping that Old Man Winter will provide some free pest control in December or January. Unfortunately, insects have adapted many ways of mitigating the effects of cold and will be able to survive thanks to these “overwintering strategies.” When it comes to dealing with cold, there are two main ways for an insect to survive- either get away from the cold area completely or find local shelter that will provide some shielding.


Some insects may behave similarly to human “snowbirds” and simply leave when things start to get cold. Migration is a great way to not get cold, as a species you will simply go somewhere warmer! One of the most famous examples of this behavior is the monarch butterfly (Figure 1). In the autumn, these orange and black beauties will start to fly south from northern states, progressively moving towards Mexico. Once they arrive in Mexico, they fly towards the oyamel fir forests north of Mexico City where they will cluster together until spring. Another butterfly species, the painted lady, also migrates long distances and dragonflies are also noted for logging in a lot of frequent flier miles in response to cold.

Cold Tolerance

If they don’t pack up and go, then insects are still going to need to survive the winter to get populations restarted the next spring. For many species, this will mean finding an area that can protect them from cold air temperatures. It is important to point out that all species of insects have a lower lethal temperature, meaning there is a cold temperature that will kill them. Insects can’t warm their own bodies; their body temperature is dictated by their local climate. However, there is also a set amount of time that they must stay at that temperature for death to set in. If their temperature rises above that lower lethal temp, then the clock resets and they may survive. This gives scientists a freezing equation of temperature and time to know when bugs might die from cold.

Some insects may prepare for the cold and ultimately can survive being frozen. These species can produce natural anti-freezes that prevent them from freezing solid or lowering the normal lethal temperature. Other species may be able to control where ice crystals ultimately form in their body. They would let their fat bodies freeze for example rather than their digestive system.

If these freeze tolerance methods aren’t in their toolbox, an insect species is going to have to find a way to keep warm in a chilling environment. One trick bugs use is to go into winter as either eggs or pupae, stages of life that require much less food and are already semi protected. Mother bugs may lay their eggs in leaf litter, down in the soil, or provide extra protection. Bagworms and spotted lanternflies are good examples of moms that go the extra mile. Female bagworms never leave their bag-like construction, they lay their eggs inside with them and then perish (Figure 2). The bag then keeps those eggs slightly warmer than they would be outside. Spotted lanternfly females will “spray” a substance on top of their eggs, which helps the eggs to survive the winter.


Pupating insects often burrow into soil or leaf litter to finish the job. Once covered, they have a natural blanket between them and the cold air temps. Wood boring pests can also be highlighted as they are inside of a tree, under the bark and are rarely exposed to the frigid cold that may be hovering just outside their tree.

Some species may go into winter as adults. Brown marmorated stink bugs, multicolored Asian lady beetles, and boxelder bugs are some famous examples. Part of their fame is due to their penchant for using human buildings for their overwintering habitat. Instead of their usual hiding under logs or stones, they have found our homes to be deluxe, heated hideaways! This intersection of insect winter ecology and humanity can be quite annoying.

Pest-proofing Homes

If you have a history of dealing with winter infestations, your house most likely represents an ideal overwintering site to them. It may be down to the height of your home, its geographic situation, or even the color of the exterior. The best thing you can do for these issues is to pest proof the home as best as you can.

  • Inspect your home and check for cracks around windows, doors, pipes, and chimneys and seal openings with silicone or silicone-latex caulk. You can consult another KPN article for more information on pest-proofing and using insecticides on the outside of the home.
  • If you find insects congregating on the exterior of your home, you can spray them with soapy water to kill them before they get inside.
  • When stinkbugs or lady beetles are discovered inside, simply vacuum up living specimens and dispose of them outside.
  •  Using bug bombs or other insecticides in the home will not help to deal with the lady beetles and will only serve to expose the people inside to residues. An exterior application of a perimeter insecticide may help to exclude some of these pests. This should be done with a pest control professional or by using a registered product (for example, Orthro Home Defense) and strictly following the label instructions.

By Jonathan L. Larson, Entomology Extension Specialist


Changes to CEU Requirements for Commercial Applicators in 2023

Posted on November 22, 2022

New laws and regulations governing the sale, use, and storage of pesticides, as well as changes to training and certification standards, were approved earlier this year and will be implemented in 2023.  This is the most significant change to the program since 1978. In September, I outlined some of the more important changes for the Private and Commercial Applicator Programs in two Kentucky Pest News articles.  In this article, I will explore the changes to the CEU requirements for commercial applicators and how these changes can affect recertification and relicensing.

New Category Structure and Recertification

Beginning in 2023, there will be fewer commercial categories; several have been consolidated or split and a few have been eliminated.

In terms of those that have been consolidated, the old categories 3 (Lawn and Ornamental), 18 (Golf Course), 19 (Interior Plantscape Pest Control), and 20 (Athletic Turf) will be consolidated into the new Category 3, now called Turf, Lawn, and Ornamental Care. People certified in any of those 4 categories will be issued a new Category 3 certification without having to retest.

The previous fumigation categories of 1b (Ag Fumigation) and 7b (Structural Fumigation) have been separated into the new categories of Category 7b (Structural Fumigation), Category 12 (Soil Fumigation), and Category 13 (Non-Soil Fumigation). This new Category 13 covers fumigation of structures which are not habitable, such as grain bins and grain cars, while Category 7b, Structural Fumigation, also addresses fumigation of habitable structures. Persons holding current Category 1b certification will be certified in both Categories 12 and 13 without having to retest.

The categories being eliminated are 12 (Pesticide Retail Sales Agent), 13 (Anti-Fouling Marine Paint), 14 (Consultant), 15 (Anti Microbial), and 16 (Sewer Root Control). While retail pesticide sales agents will not be certified, the business must be registered and maintain and submit necessary records to the KDA.

General CEUs Eliminated

In the past, commercial applicators had to earn 9 general and 3 category-specific CEU credits by the end of their certification period to be eligible to recertify. With the new system, they need to earn 12 CEU credits with at least one in each of the categories they are certified in. So, in the future, applicators do not need to keep track of general and category-specific CEU hours.  In order to deliver the general information to commercial applicators, presenters applying for CEU credit will need to identify what general pesticide safety and use educational material they will cover in their presentation. They must cover some core pesticide information in order to receive approval.

Annual CEU Requirement

What has changed regarding CEUs is that each year with relicensing (licenses are valid for one year and certifications last for 3 years), applicators must have 12 CEU in the previous 3 years.  In the past, applicators only had to meet this requirement when they recertified every 3 years. This new requirement is to ensure that applicators receive more frequent pesticide updates. For people that have just taken the test for the first time and passed, they will be awarded 12 CEU hours that first year, which will cover that requirement until they recertify in 3 years. Applicators will need to earn their CEU credits by November 30 in order to receive credits for the current year.

License Renewal Grace Period Shortened

In the past, commercial applicators had 90 days to pay the annual fee and renew their licenses online. That grace period has been shorted to 31 days beyond the expiration of the license. Persons not renewing their license before the end of the 30-day period will not be able apply pesticides and will have until November 30 to pay their license fee or have to retest.

Penalty for not Earning CEUs

Commercial applicators that have not earned the necessary 12 CEUs in the previous 3 years will need to retest and will be subject to a $200 recertification fee. This is to encourage commercial applicators to stay up to date in their areas by earning CEU credits. The best practice for applicators will be to earn at least 4 CEU hours each year, and for persons organizing training sessions for pesticide education credit, to offer at least 4 CEU hours.


Link: Creating Opportunities in a challenging season - Dr. Katie Vanvalin



American Mistletoe – A Holiday Plant Enjoyed by Pollinators and Wildlife

Posted on November 16, 2022 by

It’s hard to miss the basketball-sized clusters of green leaves decorating the bare upper branches of trees as they reach up to the winter sky. Those basketball-sized clusters of leaves are most often mistletoes. There are several different species of mistletoe in North America, and even more in other parts of the world. Some prefer conifers. Others prefer deciduous hardwoods. Probably the most common species that prefer hardwoods in the eastern half of the U.S. is the American mistletoe, also known as the oak mistletoe (Phoradendron leucarpum). This is the species I’m most familiar with and that decorates the trees on our farm and in the surrounding region.

General Biology and Life History

American mistletoe is an evergreen, hemi-parasitic, woody shrub. Hemi-parasitic just means that it is partially parasitic. Photosynthesis and the production of sugars that the plant uses for food occurs in American mistletoe’s evergreen leaves in the same way that the process occurs in the leaves of most non-parasitic plants. However, unlike most non-parasitic plants, American mistletoe does not draw its water and mineral requirements from the soil. Instead, it gets its water and minerals from the tree on which it is growing. Thus, the parasitic part of its nature.

Although another one of its common names is oak mistletoe, American mistletoe doesn’t just grow on oaks. It can be found growing on the branches of many different types of hardwood trees including oaks, maples, ashes, walnuts, and many more. American mistletoe typically blooms in the fall and early winter, or approximately October through December in Kentucky. Mistletoe has male and female plants which means that some plants only have female flowers and some plants only have male flowers.

Fertilized female flowers will produce a white berry with a very sticky seed and pulp. Birds eating the berry will often swipe their beaks along a branch to try to wipe the stickiness off their bills. In the process of wiping their bills, they’ll often wipe the mistletoe seed into a crack in the bark. The seeds may also stick to the bird’s feathers or feet and be moved in that manner from one tree to the next. Not to mention, what goes in, must come out and mistletoe seeds that are eaten by birds tend to come out relatively quickly, often being deposited on a different branch or in a different tree from the original plant.

When a mistletoe seed lands on a tree branch, it germinates and sends out shoots that penetrate the tree’s bark. Those shoots produce a chemical that tricks the tree into thinking that the mistletoe is a tree branch. The tree sends water and minerals to the mistletoe just like it would any other branch. Some sources say that mistletoes can also cause the tree to send extra water and minerals to it, even at the expense of the rest of the tree. Whether that is true of all mistletoes or only certain species is unclear.

Pollinator and Wildlife Uses

Many different types of insects, including wasps, bees, and ants, frequently visit American mistletoe flowers. Bees of all types, including honey bees and native bees, will collect nectar and pollen from mistletoe flowers. The ripe berries are quickly eaten by a wide variety of birds in the late fall and winter. American mistletoe is also the only thing that the caterpillar of the great purple hairstreak butterfly (Atlides halesus) will eat. In addition to the variety of food sources mistletoe provides, its dense, shrubby growth pattern also provides cover and protection for nesting birds and treetop dwelling mammals.

Human Uses of Mistletoe

Different species of mistletoes have been used over the centuries for religious purposes and for medicinal purposes. However, mistletoes are also poisonous to humans with some species being more poisonous than others. Most sources say that American mistletoe is less poisonous than its European cousin, but why chance it? Just, don’t eat the mistletoe. Any mistletoe.

The use for mistletoe that most of us are probably more familiar with is as a holiday decoration to inspire kissing. The kissing custom is thought to date back possibly to the 16th century in Europe and was brought over to North America relatively early in the colonial days. The American mistletoe is one of at least three species that is sometimes called the Christmas mistletoe because of its use for holiday decorations.

Incorporating American Mistletoe into Your Yard

American mistletoe isn’t a plant that you are going to “plant” in your yard. It is either going to show up on its own, or it isn’t. Some resources say that trees serving as hosts for mistletoes have a significantly shortened lifespan. Others say that any damage mistletoes do is dependent on a number of factors, such as the health of the tree and how much mistletoe it is supporting. The species of mistletoe also seems to be one of the determining factors for whether its presence significantly shortens the tree’s life.

Some of the mistletoe species that prefer conifers have been scientifically shown to shorten the tree’s life. Although that may sound like a bad thing, it is a natural part of the ecosystem and creates a habitat for a wide variety of animals. On the other hand, scientific evidence is much less clear as to whether American mistletoe, which prefers hardwoods, shortens its host tree’s life. Maybe if there was a lot of American mistletoe in a tree, then it might have a negative effect on the tree, but usually, a few clumps on a healthy tree don’t seem to do much.

We have quite a few clumps of mistletoes growing in the trees on our property. I like looking out and seeing them, especially in the winter when the rest of the tree is bare. I also know that they provide important resources for my birds and pollinators, so I don’t worry about them. The trees with mistletoe growing on them look the same as neighboring mistletoe-free trees, so I assume everything is good. Plus, the American mistletoe shrubs are WAY up in the tops of the trees where it would be hard to do anything about them anyway.

If you are concerned about a clump of mistletoe in your trees, then you will need to find where the main trunk of the mistletoe enters the tree branch. Then cut the branch at least a foot back towards the tree trunk from where the mistletoe trunk enters the tree branch. However, there is no way to stop birds from depositing new mistletoe seeds on your tree branches. My advice is to just let it be unless there is a pressing need to do otherwise.


American mistletoe is an interesting, native plant with a fascinating life history. It is a valuable part of our ecosystem and provides shelter for nesting birds and tree-dwelling mammals. In addition, it is a valuable food source for many of our pollinators, songbirds, and the caterpillar of the great purple hairstreak. American mistletoe also plays a role in our holiday traditions. Although it isn’t a species that we might plant in our yards, it is still a fun one to enjoy when it shows up.

Guest Post – Shannon Trimboli,


Webinar: Overview of chicken anatomy - December 6, 2022 @ 3:00 PM EST


SAVE THE DATE: The Laurel County Cattlemen's Association Annual Meeting is on Thursday, January 12, 2023. Registration begins at 5:30 PM


Mark Your Calendars: 2023 Plant orders will begin on  Tuesday, January 3!



Contact Information

200 County Extension Rd. London, KY 40741-9008

(606) 864-4167