Feb 2017

Monthly Features

Event Highlights

For a complete listing, visit the
Upcoming Events Calendar

Leeks, Nebraska Extension Acreage Insights February 2017. http://acreage.unl.edu/enews-feb-2017#Leeks
Leeks are a member of the onion family with a mild onion-like flavor. 


By Connie Fisk, Nebraska Extension Educator- Regional Food Systems

Leeks are a member of the onion family with a mild onion-like flavor.  They are rarely consumed raw but can be used in many recipes that call for onions, shallots, or green onions.  Like other members of the allium vegetable family, leeks contain organosulfur compounds that are known to offer health benefits, especially for the cardiovascular system and in the prevention of cancer (Source: Allium Vegetables and Organosulfur Compounds: Do They Help Prevent Cancer?).

This unassuming vegetable is actually one of the national symbols of Wales and appears on a UK one-pound coin.  If you enjoy food history you may want to check out this BBC blog post on leeks.

The Celery Lovers’ Celery Root Soup that I made last week used half a leek, but you can’t just buy half a leek, so I had two and a half leeks sitting in my refrigerator.  I didn’t grow up eating leeks so I don’t have any go-to recipes that call for them.  I’ve purchased them maybe half a dozen times in my entire adult life, and then only if I was testing a recipe that called for them.  So in the spirit of this blog series I set out to find a recipe that would let the leeks shine.

I found a leek pie recipe (original here) that would use up my week-old leeks and tweaked it a little so I could use up a few other ingredients I had on hand, like bacon.

Leeks, Nebraska Extension Acreage Insights February 2017. http://acreage.unl.edu/enews-feb-2017#Leeks

Leek and Bacon Pie

Leek and Bacon Pie

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 1hr 15mins
  • Difficulty: easy


  • Pie crust for 9 inch pie
  • ~1/3 pound bacon, coarsely chopped
  • 2 ½ leeks (if you have 3 whole leeks, use them), sliced (if the leeks have soil trapped between their leaves you’ll want to rinse and drain them after slicing)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 ¼ cups shredded Gruyere cheese
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream


  • Preheat your oven to 375°F.
  • Make your pie crust.  I use the recipe in the Fanny Farmer Cookbook (2 cups flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 2/3 cups shortening, 1/3 cup water; I make extra so I can use the leftovers to make a batch of pie crust cinnamon rolls).  Set aside.
  • Heat a heavy skillet over medium heat and cook bacon until crispy.  Remove to a paper towel-lined plate with a slotted spoon.  Add the sliced leeks to the bacon fat in the pan and cook until soft, about 10 minutes.
  • Add the bacon and season with salt and pepper.
  • Spread ½ the leek and bacon mixture in the pie plate.  Cover with half the shredded Gruyere.  Repeat with the other half of the leeks and bacon and the other half of the cheese.  Pour the cream gently over the top of the pie and bake for 30 minutes.
  • The cheese on top will turn a nice golden brown.  Allow to set for 10-15 minutes before slicing.
  • This pie was a big hit at my house – my husband ate half the pie before it even got cold!
Leeks, Nebraska Extension Acreage Insights February 2017. http://acreage.unl.edu/enews-feb-2017#Leeks

Jean-Martin Fortier, author of The Market Gardener, presented the 2017 Great Plains Fruit & Vegetable Growers keynote address.

In the Garden
I attended a presentation yesterday by Jean-Martin Fortier, author of The Market Gardener, where he relayed a story about leek production.

When Jean-Martin and his wife started growing leeks, too much of the plant was green to meet the expectations of a particular French customer at the farmers’ market.  We’re used to the bottom half of a leek being white, but they only look like that if you protect that part of the plant from sunlight.  This can be accomplished by planting leek starts in 8-inch deep holes created by a dibbler in a raised bed.  You can hear about this tip and others from JM in this Profitable Market Gardening on 1.5 Acres podcast by Permaculture Voices (leek story starts around 38:35 minutes) and see the slides here (the slide about planting leaks is #47 of 84).

For more information about growing leeks, check out these Extension resources.  For best results, go by recommendations from a state with similar soils and climate to your own.

  • Leeks – Cornell University
  • Leeks – Oregon State University
  • Leeks – University of Minnesota


Choosing an Arborist

Homeowners may need to hire an arborist to assist them in removing trees dying from Emerald Ash Borer infestation, such as the tree above. 

Choosing an Arborist

By John Fech, Nebraska Extension Educator - Horticulture

Now that property owners have had a little time to let the confirmation of the emerald ash borer in Nebraska settle in, it’s prudent to plan for 2017.  Simply put, some sort of action should be taken, starting with an evaluation of your ash trees.  A qualified arborist can assist you in determining if a tree is in good health and a proper location, and therefore a good candidate for treatment, or if it should be removed and replaced with a well-adapted species for this area.

Perhaps the best approach is one that utilizes a checklist format, so that comparison of several firms can be made.  These are the factors for your checklist:

  1. Certification. This is very important.  Ask the firm if they employ workers that have been certified by the Nebraska Arborists Association or the International Society of Arboriculture.  Certification is not required by the city or the State of Nebraska, but is a good measure of competence.
  2. References. Ask the potential company for examples of work that has been done similar to yours.  Drive by the house and look at the finished work.  If possible, chat with clients of the company.
  3. Insurance. Ask the company for a certificate of insurance.  Check the policy to make sure that it is in force currently.  Workers compensation, and proof of liability for personal and property damage is important.  If the worker makes a mistake and drops a limb through the roof and into your living room, you need protection.
  4. Claims and Practices. Beware of a tree service that advertises “tree topping” as one of its services.  This is not an approved practice, rather is a harmful one. Avoid a tree service whose workers use tree spikes to climb a tree.  Climbing spikes open unnecessary wounds and are only acceptable when removing a tree.
  5. Expense. As with most things in life, you get what you pay for.  Good tree work is not inexpensive.  A professional service must pay workers a reasonable wage, purchase good equipment and insurance, etc.  Beware of an estimate that falls well below the average.
  6. Capacity to Communicate. A company representative that can clearly and succinctly explain the status of the tree(s) and a recommended course of action is an attribute to be valued and appreciated in the selection process.


Plan, Then Plant, Nebraska Extension Acreage Insights February 2017. http://acreage.unl.edu/enews-feb-2017#PlanThenPlant
Inventory the seed you have on hand before ordering more. 

Plan, Then Plant

By John Fech, Nebraska Extension Educator - Horticulture

Lots of gardeners receive several seed catalogs each winter.  In the past few years, many companies have converted to an electronic version; if you’ve ever ordered from them online, your email box is probably receiving a special offer once a week or so.  All of this activity is taking place just at the time when cabin fever is at an all-time high, causing much temptation.  As you peruse the pages, how can anyone make up their mind over what to buy…there’s probably something that you want on every page!

The following will help both disciplined and susceptible gardeners alike:

  1. Inventory the seed that you have on hand.  Most garden seeds will grow well a second or third year, with the exception of parsnips, corn and onion. 
  2. Make a list of the flowers and veggies that you want to include in the garden.  Refer back to your master plan (if you don’t have one, make one) and use it as a guide.  Also, ask you family members what they like to see or eat.  There’s no sense in planting radishes if no one in the house likes them.
  3. Consult the catalogs with list in hand.  This is an important distinction, much like going grocery shopping with the grocery list in hand, as well as after you’ve eaten lunch.  These 2 strategies will help reduce the number of unnecessary and/or spontaneous purchases.
  4. Read, read, read.  Read the descriptions of each offering closely.  If the plant won’t grow in our area, it’s a waste of time and money no matter how good it sounds.  Look for preferred growing requirements, such as sun/shade preference, length to harvest, height and width, soil moisture needs.
  5. Pictures are helpful.  Shy away from, or at least check out an offering with Google Images, Yahoo Image Search or MSN Photos.  Look for color and texture of foliage and flowers.  Look for compatibility with the existing plants you might have nearby.  Searching for visual information will help in the selection process.
  6.  Make a selection, then keep a running total.  As the items are chosen, and the associated cost is marked down, the tabulation is rising and rising.  This is good, as it has a natural prioritizing effect; hm…maybe I don’t need item 3 or 9 as much as I initially thought I did.  Keep the overall budget in mind during the final selection process.
  7.  Save a few dollars for something new, something quasi-experimental.  Perhaps something that is whimsical, or very practical; perhaps something that a friend recommended or bears the AAS seal of distinction.


Trees & Ice Storms - Managing Damage, Nebraska Extension Acreage Insights February 2017. http://acreage.unl.edu/enews-feb-2017#TreesAndIceStorms
Ice storms cover trees and shrubs in a thick layer of ice, adding weight branches may not be able to support, resulting in branch breakage. 

Trees & Ice Storms - Managing Damage

By Nicole Stoner, Nebraska Extension Educator - Horticulture

Many people do not like winter due to cold weather and the bad driving conditions such as snow and ice. Our plants are not much different in this respect, snow and ice can cause problems to our plants. The recent ice storm we saw covered our trees and shrubs in a thick layer of ice.

Managing Tree Damage
Many tree branches broke when the weight of ice during January's storm proved to be too much. The best management practice for helping a tree that has broken branches due to snow and ice is to trim those branches leaving a clean cut rather than a jagged break. Leaving a break rather than having a clean cut will prevent the tree from naturally healing the wound and this opening will lead to decay in the tree. This is much more damaging to the tree so it is best to prune the tree between the break and the bark collar. If damage is too high up in the tree for you to handle it safely, hire a professional to do this for you.

If your tree split down the middle or lost a great number of branches, it may be time to to think about replacement. It would be best to call a certified arborist in this case to assess the damage and give recommendations on the next steps for your tree.

Do No Harm
When future storms occur, the best way to avoid any problems from a heavy layer of snow or ice is to let it melt naturally. Heavy snow or ice loads look damaging to the tree which makes people want to knock the ice off of the trees to help the plant. However, it is really better to leave it alone. The snow and ice will eventually melt off of the plants and they will spring back up to their normal form after a while. If you try to break ice off of a tree or shrub, it can break the branches or crack them, leaving them vulnerable to other problems.  Again, the ice will eventually melt off of the tree or shrub and it will be fine. 

Use Deicers Wisely
Deicers are another plant consideration in the winter. They can cause damage to concrete sidewalks and to plants growing beside them. Many deicing agents contain salt substances, such as sodium chloride and potassium chloride. Because of the salt content found in these products, it can cause severe damage to our plants if too much is piled on them too often. Typical plant symptoms of salt damage are desiccation (drying out), stunting, dieback, and leaf margin and tip damage that looks as though the leaves were burned by a chemical. 

To avoid damage to concrete, remove the salt as soon as you can. Deicers are meant to make shoveling easier, not to completely melt away snow and ice. As soon as the salt melts through the ice and snow enough that it can be removed, go out and shovel it off of the concrete.

When removing the snow, do it in a manner that protects the landscape plants growing in the yard. Do not pile the snow onto trees, shrubs, or flower gardens. If it has to be piled onto your landscape, move the salt onto the grass and try to do it in a manner that makes it more uniform on the grass surface. If too much salt continually gets piled up on the grass in one location, the turf can be harmed.

If you are very concerned with the effect the deicers have on your plants, you can use alternate products for melting the ice, such as calcium magnesium acetate which contains no salt.


Multi-use "Swiss Army" Landscapes

Multi-Use "Swiss Army" Landscapes, Acreage Insights February 2017. http://acreage.unl.edu/enews-feb-2017#SwissArmy
Juneberry is a great plant for Midwestern landscape, offering both beautiful aesthetics and edible fruits.

By Graham Herbst, Community Forester Specialist, Nebraska Forest Service

“Juneberries are the berry for the Northwest. No farmer ought to fail to plant a patch. I have just distributed, free, wagonloads of plants from my early plantings, which were among my plums and in the way.” Jules Sandoz

What do we want from our landscapes? Many landscape designers have found that clients just want “something pretty to look at out the window.” But our goals could be much broader and more beneficial.

If we want to really enjoy and use them, our landscapes should draw us outside with areas to play; plants we can eat; places to sit and gather; pathways to meander; areas for composting waste; trees and shrubs to shade and shelter buildings and outside areas; plants to attract birds, butterflies and other pollinator… the list goes on.

It’s worthwhile to ask “Where’s the functionality, the food, the fun?” (landscape-focused WTF).

In rural areas, trees are planted to screen winds and create milder microclimates. In urban areas, they’re more likely to be planted as visual screens and can be pruned down for narrow areas between sidewalks, patios and buildings. Either way, beyond conifers there are “marcescent” trees and shrubs like viburnums, American hornbeam and particular oak species that retain their foliage and provide more screening than most deciduous trees. Some of them also have edible fruits or foliage: Juneberry, hazelnut, leadplant (dried foliage makes a wonderful mild tea), persimmon, pawpaw, pecan, currant, herbs and many others.

Native plants attract pollinators which can increase the production of vegetables and fruits and benefit the larger environment as well. The birds and butterflies they attract are a beautiful and interesting bonus. Flowers and branches can be brought indoors to freshen and beautify indoor spaces.

Gardens are perfect places for recycling, reusing and repurposing since anything organic breaks down to provide nutrients for the plants that will follow. Rather than hauling away grass clippings, leaves, fallen twigs, branches and other garden waste, they can be used as mulch or dug into the soil and watered down for quick composting by worms and soil organisms.

The more interesting and varied our landscapes are, the more likely to draw us outside, and particularly children. A diverse and non-manicured landscape offers lots of “loose parts” for building or decorating forts, tunnels and hiding places.

So give some thought to how you might expand the usability and desirability of your landscape, and include those plants and plans as you prepare for the upcoming growing season.

Nebraska Statewide Arboretum is a nonprofit that works toward sustainable home and community landscapes through initiatives in education, public gardens and the environment. Plant and landscape resources at http://arboretum.unl.edu.


Japanese Beetles, Nebraska Extension Acreage Insights February 2017. http://acreage.unl.edu/enews-feb-2017#JapaneseBeetles
Japanese beetles can cause extensive foliage damage to favored plants like this raspberry plant. Photo by James Kalisch, Nebraska Extension.   

Japanese Beetles

By Nicole Stoner, Nebraska Extension Educator - Horticulture

Insects are a part of our environment. Most insects are beneficial, not problematic. In fact, only a small percentage of all insects are considered pests, less than one percent. However, there are some pests that can be very problematic because they are invasive insects that came here from another country and they came here without their natural predators. One such insect is the Japanese beetle.

Japanese beetles came from Japan, where it is not a major pest due to the natural predators found there. This pest was first found in the United States in a New Jersey nursery in 1916 and was likely introduced in infested iris bulbs from Japan.  Since this initial introduction, Japanese beetle populations have steadily expanded westward. As of January of 2015, Japanese beetle has been found in 34 states in the United States.

Why Are They a Problem?
Japanese beetles are problematic insects as both larvae and adults. The larvae are one of the four most common types of white grubs found in Nebraska. As a white grub, larvae feed on the roots of turfgrass causing large brown dead spots in the turf that are easily lifted up like a rug from the floor.

As adults, Japanese beetles feed on over 300 species of plants including trees, shrubs, fruits, vegetables, field crops, weeds, and other ornamental plant species. Some of their favorite food plants are roses, lindens, and grapes amongst others.

Adult beetles feed on the foliage, flowers, and fruits of these plants. They feed on the upper surface of the leaves and cause a skeletonized pattern to the leaf where the veins of the leaf are often left behind but the rest of the leaf is chewed away. In some cases, they will consume the entire leaf. This can stress the plants, and in high populations of beetles can even kill the plant. 

Adult Japanese beetles are 7/16 inch-long, metallic green beetles. The elytra, or wing coverings, are copper. These beetles can be distinguished from similar looking beetles by the six tufts of white hair along both sides of the abdomen.

Larvae of Japanese beetles look like other white grubs. They are C-shaped, creamy white larvae. However, you can differentiate between the different species by looking at the pattern of hairs on the end of their abdomen. On a Japanese beetle grub, there is a V-shaped pattern in these hairs that can be seen under magnification.

What Can We Do?
Japanese beetles can be controlled through multiple methods. As larvae, they are best controlled with insecticides applied to the lawn in the months of May, June, and July. There are many different options available including products containing chlorantraniliprole, imidacloprid, or clothianidin. The chlorantraniliprole product is the least harmful to pollinators in the environment.

There is also a biological control product that contains milky spore, a bacterium that causes a disease in the larvae to kill them and not harm other organisms. However, this is not very effective at controlling the larvae and it occurs naturally so there is no need to purchase it as a pesticide.

With low populations of adults, you can hand pick the beetles off of plants and throw them into a bucket of soapy water to kill them and not harm any pollinators. Pesticides can be used on the adults in plants, however, be sure to avoid use of pesticides directly on the flowers of these plants to avoid harming pollinators. Imidacloprid and chlorantraniliprole can be used on trees and shrubs to control the beetles.

There are also traps available that are sold to control Japanese Beetle adults, however these traps often attract more beetles than they can capture and are typically not recommended for control.

Be sure to always read and follow the pesticide label before using any pesticide.


What's In Your Firewood, Nebraska Extension Acreage Insights February 2017. http://acreage.unl.edu/enews-feb-2017#Firewood
Wood-boring beetles, like this banded ash borer adult, may emerge from firewood if it is stored in a warm indoor location for several weeks. 

What's In Your Firewood

By Laurie Stepanek, Nebraska Forest Service

Firewood can host a variety of wood-infesting insects, which occasionally escape into the home when firewood is brought indoors. Most of these pests are only a nuisance and will not hurt people nor damage furniture or the home. The moisture content in furniture and structural wood is generally too low to support insect infestation.

Wood-boring Beetles
Many species of wood-boring beetles infest firewood. Their immature (larval) stage is a creamy white segmented worm with a dark head, and is sometimes found in tunnels when wood is cut or split. Sawdust may be packed in the tunnels or may pile up around the firewood. If firewood is stored indoors for many weeks, the immature insects may continue their development, and in mid to late winter the adult beetles can emerge in the home.

Two wood borers commonly discovered indoors at this time of year are the red-headed ash borer and the banded ash borer. Both insects resemble wasps with their long legs and yellow horizontal stripes. They even buzz when they fly. Fortunately they do not harm people or pets and will not infest wood in the home. A swat with a rolled up newspaper will take care of them.

Another wood borer found in firewood is the notorious emerald ash borer. This half-inch long bright green beetle will not damage furniture or your home, but it is an aggressive killer of ash trees. Emerald ash borer has not been found in Nebraska, but could inadvertently be introduced here on firewood from any of the 25 states where it is known to occur. If you think you have found emerald ash borer in your firewood, contact the Nebraska Department of Agriculture or your local county extension educator or forester.

Carpenter Ants
These big black or reddish ants typically nest in decayed wood and are often found in large old trees. Firewood stacked on the ground also may develop decay and subsequently attract carpenter ants. Although dormant in winter, ants nesting in firewood may become active when brought indoors.

Subterranean termites live below ground but feed on aboveground wood. They may infest firewood that is in contact with the soil. Termites retreat to their underground nest when temperatures drop so are unlikely to be carried into homes in winter via firewood. Firewood stacked against a home in summer, however, may become a conduit for termites to infest the home.

Other potential firewood residents include horntails, powderpost beetles, bark beetles, and Lepidopteran borers; and various shelter-seeking insects such as wood roaches, pillbugs and spiders.

Management of Firewood Pests
Store firewood outside, and bring in only what can be burned at one time. Do not treat firewood with insecticides because toxic fumes may be released when the wood is burned. Most firewood insects are too deep in the wood to be affected by the insecticide anyway. Insects that have emerged indoors can be swatted or picked up with a vacuum.

Since many firewood pests are attracted to freshly cut wood, harvesting firewood in late autumn when few insects are active may help limit infestation. Keep the wood off of the ground and stack it loosely to improve air flow and speed drying. Do not stack against buildings or indoors.

Finally, use local sources of firewood to avoid the introduction of emerald ash borer and other invasive pests.

The Nebraska Forest Service strives to enrich lives by protecting, restoring and utilizing Nebraska's tree and forest resources.


Watching...And COUNTING...Birds, Nebraska Extension Acreage Insights February 2017. http://acreage.unl.edu/enews-feb-2017#Birds

Keep birdfeeders clean to prevent the spread of disease as they feed. 

Watching... and COUNTING... Birds!

By John Wilson, Nebraska Extension Educator - Agronomy

Now I’m not complaining about the weather, but the open conditioins we’ve had most of this winter has not been great for birdwatching. They don’t seem to come to our feeders when the weather is nice. But my wife and I noticed an increase in activity any time we get an inch or two of snow on the ground. We enjoy being able to sit at the dining room table and see all the different birds that come to the feeders.

Keep Feeders Clean
Based on our experiences, here are a few suggestions if you are feeding our feathered friends. Anyone who feeds birds knows how easy it is for seed to turn moldy in feeders. Moisture from snow or rain can leak into feeders and turn bird seed into potential sources of illness for birds. You should keep feeders clean to help prevent the spread of disease to backyard birds.

Clean and disinfect feeders on a regular basis, taking care to scrape out old moldy seed that collects in corners. Wash feeders in warm water with dish soap and rinse. Disinfect with a solution of one part liquid chlorine bleach to nine parts warm water. Make sure feeders are completely dry before refilling with seeds.

It’s important to keep feeding birds once you start so they don’t become dependent on you as a food source, only to run out of food during periods of severe weather like we usually get some time over winter. You know, the kind of days you really don’t want to go outside to fill the bird feeders.

They Also Need Water
Also, if possible, provide water for birds. This is extremely important during the winter because other sources of water may not be available. It seems chilly, but birds regularly use our heated bird baths. Besides water to drink, they use it to help keep their feathers clean which makes them, for lack of a better term, fluffier, which gives them better insulation against bitter cold temperatures.

Watching...And COUNTING...Birds, Nebraska Extension Acreage Insights February 2017. http://acreage.unl.edu/enews-feb-2017#Birds

Female pheasant counted and photographed, as part of the Great Backyard Bird Count, on John Wilson's acreage. 

Great Backyard Bird Count
Now for anyone who really enjoys bird watching, there’s an event in February you won’t want to miss ...and you can take part from the comfort of your own home. The 20th annual Great Backyard Bird Count will be held on February 17–20. Participants are needed to count birds in their yards, neighborhoods, or other locations. Simply tally birds for at least 15 minutes on any day of the count, then go to birdcount.org and enter the highest number of each species you observe at any one time.

This program is conducted across the United States and Canada. Coordinated by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Audubon, and Bird Studies Canada, the count provides an instant snapshot of birdlife around the world. Organizers hope to receive more than 160,000 checklists during the event. Also, you can watch as the tallies come in at birdcount.org.

Whether you observe birds in your backyard, a parks, or a wilderness area, the Great Backyard Bird Count is an opportunity to share their results at mbirdcount.org. It’s fun and rewarding for people of all ages and skill levels--and it gets people outside... or you can watch from inside, too!

Information from the Great Backyard Bird Count participants is even more valuable as scientists  try to learn how birds are affected by environmental changes. The information you send in can provide the first sign that individual species may be increasing or declining from year to year. It shows how a species’ range expands or shrinks over time. A big change, noted consistently over a period of years, is an indication that something is happening in the environment that is affecting the birds and that should be followed up on.

So, to take part in this activity for the birds, go to birdcount.org for online instructions and tally sheets... then enjoy our feathered friends. My wife and I participated for many years... it’s easy and it’s fun! Just go to birdcount.org for all the information you will need.


Animal Care Is Your Responsibility

Animal Care Is Your Responsibility, Nebraska Extension Acreage Insights February 2017. http://acreage.unl.edu/enews-feb-2017#AnimalCare

Owning animals, both pets and livestock, places a responsibility on you to provide good care. 

By Monte Stauffer, Nebraska Extension Educator - Livestock

Bringing an animal into your life is an exciting time whether it is a dog, cat, horse, sheep or calf.  Many times it is a life long dream come true.  There are many reasons for acquiring animals on your acreage.  Reasons vary from needing a pet, an animal to compete in a specific sport, or raising the animal for profit.

As soon as you acquire an animal, the responsibility is yours to provide a plan to care for that animal.  Not everyone should have an animal if they don’t take this responsibility seriously.

There are four main reasons that should be considered in caring for animals.  A safe healthy environment may be a windbreak in cold wintery conditions for cattle and horses while smaller animals require more protection from cold or hot weather.  Fencing and shelters should be strong enough to contain animals and prevent injuries.  Fences that allow animals to escape can cause injuries to the animal, people, and property.

Feeding and watering to provide adequate nutrition can be confusing and difficult.  Each stage of life requires different nutritional requirements based on age, exercise, or stage of reproduction.  Overfeeding can be as unhealthy as underfeeding.  Most veterinarians would agree that many horses, dogs, and cats are too obese for their good health.  The most important nutrient , water, is often neglected especially in the winter when many water sources are frozen.  Animals that switch from lush pastures to dry hay may need more water in the winter than in the summer.

As animals are confined to smaller areas, the chance of internal parasite infestation is increased.  Signs of internal parasites includes poor condition, rough hair coat, or possibly death.  Dewormers is just one part of parasite control.  Other control practices include manure management, avoid overgrazing pastures, and keeping feed and water containers clean.

All animals need vaccinations to stay healthy by being protected from infectious diseases.  These diseases may affect the respiratory, digestive, or nervous systems.

If you are new to animal ownership, you should consult with a veterinarian or experienced animal owner to learn how to be a responsible animal owner.


Biosecurity for Your Flock, Nebraska Extension Acreage Insights February 2017. http://acreage.unl.edu/enews-feb-2017#Flock
Biosecurity is the means of keeping your animals healthy through easy prevetative measures. 

Biosecurity for Your Flock

By Sheila Purdum and Brett Kreifels, Nebraska Extension

Biosecurity is the means of keeping your animals healthy through easy preventative measures. Whether your flock consists of 5 birds or 5,000, biosecurity is the same for any size flock. Nebraska Extension Poultry Specialist Dr. Sheila Purdum and Extension Assistant Brett Kreifels outline some easy, yet effective steps to prevent your flock from getting sick.

Biosecurity for Your Flock (Powerpoint Presentation, 264 MB)


Windbreak Renovation Workshops, Nebraska Extension Acreage Insights February 2017. http://acreage.unl.edu/enews-feb-2017#Windbreak

Windbreak Renovation Workshops

Windbreaks are an Integral part of area farms and acreages providing critical protection for farmsteads, livestock and crops. Unfortunately, many older windbreaks are losing their affectiveness due to age, poor health or neglect. In some cases, the windbreak no longer has the necessary density to provide winter protection.

Learn what to do about an old or new windbreak on your property.  Nebraska Extension, Nebraska Forest Sercive and the Lower Big Blue Natural Resource District have teamed up to bring landlowers the best and latest information on tree and shrub recommendations and how to renovate windbreaks. Steve Karloff, Forester who has made tree plans for many landowners in Southeast Nebraska will be the keynote speaker. 

The program will be held in two locations. Both programs will be held from 9 a.m. until noon with registration beginning at 8:30.  Refreshments will be provided.

  • Tuesday, February 14 at Saline Center north of Western in Saline County along highway 15
  • Friday, February 17 at the Gage County Extension Office in Beatrice, NE

The seminar will cover renovating old and damaged windbreaks, planting new windbreaks, NRD programs and cost share availability, tree health issues including tree recommendations, ash borer update and discovering the newly available root maker trees. Pre-registration is required by February 10.

Please register with either the Gage County Extension Office at 402-223-1384 or the Saline County Extension Office at 402-821-2151. In the case of inclement weather, please check with either Extension Office or alerts on KWBE or KUTT radio stations.

If you have any additional questions you can contact Nicole Stoner at Gage County Extension (402) 223-1384 or Randy Pryor at Saline County Extension at 402-821-2151.


2017 Tree Care Workshops, Nebraska Extension Acreage Insights January 2017. http://acreage.unl.edu/enews-jan-2017#TreeCareWorkshops

2017 Tree Care Workshops - Plan to Attend!

You already know that trees are great. Landscape your home with one here, build a sweet tree house for the kiddos there. When you think about it, there isn't much trees can't do for us.

What you may not know is that the numb er of trees in the Arbor Day State is steadily declining. Across Nebraska, for every four trees that we have removed, only one was replanted.

Develop specifically for public works employees, landscape managers, tree board volunteers, arborists, nursery and green industry professionals and landscape enthusiasts, these workshops comver emerging issues in tree and landscape care.

  • February 29, Knight Museum, Alliance
  • March 1, West Central Research and Extension Center, North Platte
  • March 2, Lower Loup NRD Office, Ord
  • March 3, Harmon Park Activity Center, Kearney
  • March 7, UNL Agricultural Research Development Center, Mead
  • March 21, Lifelong Learning Center, Norfolk

Cost is $45.00 per person, lunch included. Workshops are eligible for commercial arborist CEUs.

For more information, contact Graham Herbst, (402) 444-7875, or Amy Seiler, (308) 633-1173. Or send us an email for more information.

The Tree Care Workshops are a partnership between the Nebraska Forest Service and the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum.