A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

UK study finds some birds could aid integrated pest management; benefits may outweigh negative effects

By Katie Pratt University of Kentucky Birds have long been considered the nemesis of many farmers, as they can feast on agriculturally important crops like blueberries and corn. But University of Kentucky research suggests, in some instances, the benefits of some birds may outweigh their negative effects. Birds provide an often unseen benefit to farmers as they can consume a large number of insect...

Free pasture-finished beef production workshop offered online by UK, Virginia Tech and WVU

By Aimee Nielson University of Kentucky Beef producers and consumers have a growing interest in forage-finished beef. The University of Kentucky, Virginia Tech and West Virginia University are offering a free pasture-finished beef production online workshop Aug. 11-13 from 7-9 p.m. “Getting adequate growth to reach a ‘finished’ state and addressing market issues can be challenging for producers...

UK pilot study finds high levels of contaminants in Martin County drinking water samples

By Katie Pratt University of Kentucky Martin County drinking water regularly exceeded U.S. Environmental Protection Agency maximum contamination levels for cancer-causing disinfection byproducts and coliform bacteria, according to preliminary findings of a University of Kentucky pilot study. The pilot study was conducted by Jason Unrine and Wayne Sanderson, both professors in the UK College of Agriculture,...

UK research reveals cover crops, no-tillage systems could slow climate change on farms

By Katie Pratt University of Kentucky Cover crops combined with no-tillage systems can increase soil organic carbon, which could help slow climate change on farms, according to a recent study by University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment scientists. The project was conducted at UK’s Blevins research plots. Located at UK’s Spindletop Research Farm in Lexington, the plots...

Extended heat wave in forecast will put stress on Kentucky livestock producers, corn growers

By Aimee Nielson University of Kentucky Things are heating up again in the Bluegrass. As the week progresses, the humidity and temperatures will rise and Kentucky’s agricultural producers need to be aware of the impacts the heat may have. “We are looking at an extended period of heat stress, beginning July 15,” said Matthew Dixon, meteorologist for the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture,...

UK’s James B. Beam Institute receives donation of distilling equipment to advance teaching, research

By Aimee Nielson University of Kentucky The James B. Beam Institute for Kentucky Spirits at the University of Kentucky received a large donation of distilling equipment from the institute’s founding partner, the James B. Beam Distilling Company. Jim Beam’s donation included two tractor-trailer loads of stills, tanks, pumps and instruments from the historic craft distillery in Clermont, reducing...

Recent studies by UK entomologists find invasive paper wasps preying on monarch butterfly larvae

By Katie Pratt University of Kentucky An invasive paper wasp may be stymying the efforts of urban gardeners to rebuild monarch butterfly habitats, according to recent research by University of Kentucky entomologists. Adam Baker, UK doctoral student, and Daniel Potter, UK entomology professor, found Polistes dominula, more commonly known as the European paper wasp, preying on monarch larvae on milkweed...

UK entomologists say new stinging ant species could cause problems for Kentuckians

By Katie Pratt University of Kentucky University of Kentucky entomologists want people to be aware of a new stinging pest in the state, the Asian needle ant. Recently, Asian needle ants invaded a home in south central Kentucky and stung the homeowner. This is one of the state’s first reports of the ants coming indoors. The insect has been in Kentucky since at least 2013 and in the U.S. since the...

UK leads national team studying pandemic’s effect on local food systems; USDA partners in research

By Carol Lea Spence University of Kentucky The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Services Division is partnering with the University of Kentucky, Colorado State University and Penn State University on a $1 million cooperative research agreement to conduct a national study on the COVID-19 pandemic’s effects on local food systems. Co-principal investigators Lilian Brislen and...

UK equine specialist reminds horse owners to begin planning for future hay needs right now

By Aimee Nielson University of Kentucky In the midst of a bountiful first cutting of hay, a University of Kentucky equine specialist reminds horse owners to start thinking about how much hay they need in the future. “The photos I’m seeing look great,” said Bob Coleman, extension equine specialist with the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. “There is some good-looking hay out there,...

Quarles, UK encourage Kentuckians to grow victory gardens; campaign to reach every Kentucky county

Agriculture Commissioner Dr. Ryan Quarles has announced a new Kentucky Department of Agriculture partnership with the University of Kentucky’s Cooperative Extension Service and Kentucky’s Nutrition Education Program to encourage Kentuckians to get in touch with their agricultural roots during the coronavirus pandemic. “Since starting the Kentucky Hunger Initiative years ago, the Kentucky Department...

UK specialists encourage Kentucky grain producers to scout fields for crop damage due to freeze, disease

By Katie Pratt University of Kentucky University of Kentucky grain crops specialists encourage grain growers to scout their fields for freeze and disease damage and determine the next steps for their crops. On May 8 and 9, temperatures in Kentucky, with the exception of the far west regions, fell below freezing for several hours. This is the second freeze event in three weeks. The first occurred April...

First-generation students can find support to overcome obstacles during college journey

By Carol Lea Spence University of Kentucky For students returning to school or just starting their college careers, the fall semester may look different than they were expecting. Yet, for many of those students, the first in their families to enroll in college, the opportunities for success are still out there, and professors, administrators, staff and even nonprofits are available to help them succeed. Though...

UK dietetic students, professors use innovative methods to make internships work during pandemic

By Katie Pratt University of Kentucky In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, University of Kentucky students and professors in the Department of Dietetics and Human Nutrition are developing innovative ways for students to get the internship hours they need to graduate and become registered dietitians. During a normal year in UK’s Supervised Practice Program, interns gain experience through on-site rotations...

UK study shows promise for drone fungicide applications; cost effectiveness examined

By Katie Pratt University of Kentucky Drones are an effective way to apply fungicides to corn facing disease pressure, according to a University of Kentucky study. The study, which was conducted during the 2019 growing season, looked at the cost effectiveness and feasibility of drone-applied fungicides to corn in Adair, Taylor and Green counties. Most corn fungicides are applied aerially in Kentucky...

UK specialist offers strategies for dairy farmers in case of pandemic-induced demand drop

By Aimee Nielson University of Kentucky The unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic has greatly affected many aspects of agriculture. While Kentucky dairy production has operated on schedule thus far, University of Kentucky dairy scientists want to offer guidance to producers to help them prepare in the event they are asked to decrease milk production. “As of yet, Kentucky producers haven’t been asked...

UK study shows tasseling applications of foliar fungicides may provide greatest benefits

By Katie Pratt University of Kentucky Corn producers have the greatest chance of controlling foliar diseases and improving the crop’s stalk strength when foliar fungicide treatments are applied at the tasseling (VT) growth stage, according to a University of Kentucky study. “Foliar diseases like gray leaf spot and southern rust frequently appear after tasseling and into grain fill. This prompts...

UK to host virtual Wheat Field Day on May 12; specialists, industry reps to make presentations

By Katie Pratt University of Kentucky In this time of social distancing and much uncertainty, University of Kentucky scientists are using innovative ways to get producers the information they need to grow high-quality crops. As a result, members of the UK Wheat Science Group have turned their annual Wheat Field Day into a virtual experience this year. It is scheduled for 9 a.m. until noon CDT May 12...

UK to host four regional fencing schools this spring to help livestock producers learn newest techniques

By Katie Pratt University of Kentucky The University of Kentucky is hosting four regional fencing schools this spring to help livestock producers learn about the newest fencing techniques and sound fence construction. The 2020 schools will occur: • April 14, Barren County Extension office, Glasgow • April 16, Grand Rivers Community Center, Grand Rivers • May 19, Kentucky State University, Frankfort •...

UK Fragipan Field Day to feature Hickman County grain producer Jerry Peery’s Springhill Farms

By Katie Pratt University of Kentucky Hickman County grain producer Jerry Peery has grown annual ryegrass as a cover crop to control erosion on his Purchase Area farm since 2012, but evidence suggests that he has been getting more out of the cover crop than just erosion control. Peery’s Springhill Farms is the feature of the University of Kentucky Fragipan Field Day that will occur March 26. The...