Farm Service 790 is hosted by Terry Henne.  He offers the latest information in Agriculture - Events, Topics, Prices and Weather.  If it relates to Agriculture, Terry Henne is talking about it.

Prepare Pumpkin This Fall For Year 'Round Eating


Fall is just around the corner with its beautiful colors, flavors and produce. Pumpkin is not only for decorating but also a delicious and nutritious addition to your diet. Michigan – grown pumpkins are available between August and November. Recommended varieties for cooking and baking are smaller, sweeter varieties known as the pie pumpkin. Some varieties are Peek-a-Boo, Sugar Treat, Dickinson Fields, Baby Pam, Triple Treat, Kentucky Field, Buckskin and Chelsey. These types are good choices for cooking because they are meatier and contain less stringy fiber than the carving pumpkins.

When looking for suitable pie pumpkins avoid bruises, cracks and soft spots and stick to pumpkins in the range of four to eight pounds; they will yield the best pulp. Pumpkins have a fairly long storage life if kept at cool room temperatures. Pie pumpkins are rich in antioxidants and vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin E, cooked; it is low in calories and rich in dietary fiber.


  • Do not store in the refrigerator or in a damp place. Moisture causes rapid deterioration.
  • If stored properly, a whole, unblemished pumpkin can be stored for three to six months at 45 degrees to 50 degrees F.
  • For best quality and nutritive value, preserve no more than your family can consume in 12 months.
  • Wash thoroughly under clear running water prior to cutting or cooking. Do not use soap.

Ways to prepare pumpkin:

Pumpkin can be frozen or canned, Freezing is the easiest method to preserve pumpkin and will result in a quality product later on. Thoroughly wash the pumpkin, prick with a knife or fork in several places. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 30-45 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit (until tender). Once cooked, remove from oven, let cool to touch, cut in half, scoop out the stringy contents save the seeds for roasting if you choose. Remove the baked pumpkin from the rind. At this time, you may mash or process, or just pack into freezer bags or rigid containers leaving ½ inch headspace, label, date and freeze. If freezing large quantities of pumpkin, consider portioning based on favorite recipes and marking the freezer bags with the name of your favorite recipe and portioned amount frozen in bag. When it is time to bake your favorite breads, cookies, and pies your pre-portioned bags will be ready to go, remember to thaw frozen pumpkin safely in the refrigerator never at room temperature.

Michigan State University Extension recommends that pumpkin only be canned in 1 inch cubes using pressure canning methods. Pumpkin butter, mashed or pureed pumpkin, or winter squash are too dense to be safely processed by home canning methods. Remember what is canned commercially cannot always be replicated by home canning and be safe to consume. To prepare pumpkin for home canning, wash, remove seeds, cut into 1- inch wide slices, and peel. Cut flesh into 1 – inch cubes. Boil 2 minutes in water. Do not mash or puree. Fill jars with cubes and cover with cooking liquid leaving 1 inch headspace. Wipe jar rims, adjust lids and process in a pressure canner 55 minutes for pints and 90 minutes for quarts 11 pounds pressure for a dial gauge canner and 10 pounds of pressure for a weighted canner. If you want pumpkin puree, when you open your canned product, you may then mash or blend it to the desired consistency you want before incorporating it into your recipe.

Enjoy the flavor of fall all year long by preserving this delicious crop. Incorporate it into your soups, side dishes, baking and desserts. Taking some time in the fall to preserve pumpkin will enable you to savor the flavor during the chilly months ahead.

Preserving Food Items For Gift Giving

November 17, 2015
5:30 - 7:30 p.m.
Saginaw County MSU Extension
One Tuscola St. 
Saginaw, MI 48607


Join in on a demonstration style class to learn about several items you can preserve for gift giving.  There will be sampling, recipes and information given to prepare participants to preserve food safely for gift giving.  Food preservation is still possible this time of the year!  There are many items that can be preserved for holiday gift giving, this will be discussed as well as the basic equipment needed to complete this task.  Participants may be surprised to learn they have most of this equipment already on hand!

This class will teach the basics of food preservation - Learn how to successfully and safely use a a water bath canner for acid foods. This class will provide you with handouts and resources to reference.

The cost of the workshop is $10.00. Registrations for SNAP, WIC and other participants on assistance will be waived upon verification at check-in.

This workshop will be taught by an experienced MSU Extension food safety educator

Don't Forget To Take Nitrogen Credits From Previous Years


A common mistake when farmers are determining their nutrient need for their upcoming crops is to forget to include nitrogen credits from previous years. There are simple management practices that farms can implement to optimize nitrogen applications as well as protect groundwater from nitrogen leaching. One of the easiest and yet not often done is adjust nitrogen rates accurately. Not only should a grower consider soil tests but also any other residual nitrogen sources should be accounted for when determining nitrogen applications.

Legumes are a great source for nitrogen. Alfalfa, clover, and soybeans are the common legumes grown. More growers are using legume cover crops to assist in nitrogen production. Hairy vetch is a common cover crop that has the potential to produce a great amount of nitrogen.

Adjusting nitrogen application in correlation to adding manure is another management practice that could have great benefit to the farm both economically and environmentally. To determine the nitrogen value of manure the best method is to have a sample analyzed. There are book values that can give the approximate nutrient value for manure but every farm is different so the best strategy is to get a sample from your farm.

Cover crop usage is growing exponentially. Many farms are looking at cover crops as another fertilizer source. The challenge for using cover crops as a nutrient source is in the amount of credit to take as well timing of the nitrogen release. Nitrogen availability may not correlate with when the crop needs it. If a farm wants to use cover crops as a nutrient source, cover crops should be considered during the planning process. There are number of challenges using cover crops for even the most experienced cover crop users. Reliable establishment and species selection are often listed and the primary challenges most farmers face incorporating cover crops into their cropping systems. To help farmers address these challenges, an Interseeding Cover Crops Field Day is planned for Oct. 21, 2015, in St Joseph County at the Larry Walton Farm in Nottawa, Michigan. The program begins at 10 a.m. and continues until 2 p.m. with lunch provided. There is no cost for attending this field day.

There are some book values that can be found on how much nitrogen credit can be calculated but the best practice is still to use soil samples followed by Pre-Sidedress Nitrogen Tests (PSNT) when applicable. Later in the growing season a petiole sample or a stalk nitrate sample should be taken to further determine if the farm has an efficient and effective nitrogen plan.

Farmers that farm near surface water or those within a high-risk watershed, such as the Western Lake Erie Basin or Saginaw Bay, need to be especially careful to not over apply nutrients. Michigan State University Extension educators and specialist have put together a website with information specifically for those in the Western Lake Erie Basin to assist them with water quality issues. The information on this page can be useful to all growers.

Capture Weed Seeds Of Weeds That Avoided Herbicides


The 2015 growing season was full of challenges. Finding timely opportunities to spray herbicides on corn and soybeans was one of them. Despite this, most fields remain remarkably clean as we head into harvest across southwest Michigan. However, a few fields are notably not weed-free this fall. Even more troubling is the fact that often a single weed species remains in many of these fields. Michigan State University Extension, with funding provided by the Michigan Soybean Promotion Committee, is promoting a research effort conducted by Erin Hill of the MSU Weed Control Program to help producers determine if the weeds that remain in fields are becoming resistant to the five most commonly used herbicide modes of action.

The top priority weeds we think growers might find this fall are pigweed species that refused to die despite herbicide applications that should control them. The most troublesome weed in this family is Palmer amaranth. Palmer amaranth tends to have long “flowing” type seedheads at the top of the plant that often “dance” in the wind. Keep in mind that Palmer amaranth has both male and female plants, so there may be quite a bit of variability in the look of the seedheads you find in fields. If you find a few of these plants, be sure to take a garbage bag out in the fields and clip off the seedheads before the seed sheds. This is important to do because each plant may produce as many as 450,000 seeds. If you find pockets of Palmer amaranth, be prepared to step up your vigilance in controlling the weed species over the next few years.

Palmer amaranth is not the only pigweed species we are finding in southwest Michigan that has a history of multiple herbicide resistance. Common waterhemp, which is resistant to both the ALS inhibitors and glyphosate, was confirmed by MSU field crops weed control specialist Christy Sprague in samples submitted to the lab in Berrien and St. Joseph County in 2014. There is also an ALS inhibitor-resistant redroot pigweed that was found in Shiawassee County in 2014. Berrien County soybean fields have seen an increase in common waterhemp in 2015. If you find either common waterhemp or Palmer amaranth in small patches, be sure to try to remove all of the plants before the seed is dispersed.

If you find either Palmer amaranth or common waterhemp, recommendations for dealing with either of these commonly herbicide-resistant pigweed species will use the same weed control programs. In short, this will include a switch to a Liberty Link soybean variety and vigilant combinations of pre- and post-emergent herbicide treatments before Palmer amaranth reaches 3 inches in height. For complete recommendations from Sprague, see “Multiple herbicide-resistant Palmer amaranth in Michigan: Keys to management in soybean, corn and alfalfa.”

Some other commonly resistant weed species growers should be on the lookout for this fall include ALS- and glyphosate-resistant marestail, ALS- or glyphosate-resistant common ragweed and glyphosate-resistant giant ragweed. Resistant marestail has been with us for a few years now, especially in southeast Michigan. Sprague has not confirmed glyphosate-resistant giant ragweed in Michigan, but there is plenty of it just across our border in northern Indiana. There are also several corn and soybean fields in southwest Michigan with giant ragweed infestations this fall. Hill’s ”2015 Status of herbicide resistant weeds in Michigan” article provides a complete list of resistant weeds confirmed in Michigan and more on their identification and life cycles. 

If you think you have any of these (or other) weed species that survived full strength herbicide applications without injury, consider collecting seedheads from a minimum of five plants and submitting them to MSU for herbicide screening. This process can help you to better understand which herbicide programs can still be effective in controlling these weed species. The cost of the screening is being paid for by the Michigan Soybean Promotion Committee in 2015. Be sure to place the seed samples in folded-over paper grocery bags to allow for proper drying. The screening process takes a considerable amount of time to conduct in the lab and greenhouse, so be sure to submit your samples early. You can drop off samples to your local MSU Extension office in southwest Michigan and we will make sure they get to campus. You can download the accompanying form at: FREE Screening for Herbicide-Resistant Weeds in Soybean Production Systems

2015 Integrated Crop and Pest Management Update

Michigan State University Extension and Eaton County MSU Extension will host the 2015 Integrated Crop and Pest Management Update on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the MSU Pavilion for Agriculture and Livestock Education (4301 Farm Lane, East Lansing, MI 48824). Participants will receive MSU Extension’s 2016 recommendations for potential pest (weed, insect and disease) problems and fertilizer practices.

This program is intended for agribusiness, retail sales and service professionals, private crop consultants, field crop educators and farmers. This event will provide agribusiness industries with MSU pesticide recommendations in a timely fashion so they can make their bulk purchasing and sales decisions before the year’s end.

The Michigan field crops industry encountered another challenging year associated with excess rain, rising input costs, changing commodity prices, rapidly evolving technologies and potential new pests. The agenda will include a review of the 2015 growing season, insect and weed resistance management, soil health and fertility, and the “2016 Weed Control Guide for Field Crops” Bulletin E0434.

Participants will receive six MDARD credits (Com. Core, Priv. Core, 1A), CCA credits (pending) and MAEAP phase 1 credit (pending) for this session.

Online registration is now available. You can also download a brochure for mail-in check registration. Please contact George Silva at 517-543-4467 or if you have questions.

Wheat Variety Performance Information Available

Get the latest information on Wheat Variety Performance from Michigan State by clicking on the link below:

Storm Readiness Is Smart

Get your home ready for the storm season.  It can happen any time, especially when you least expect it.  Click on the link below for MSU's recommendations:


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