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MOF&G Cover Fall 1999

 


  You are here:  PublicationsMaine Organic Farmer & GardenerFall 1999Tips   
 Tips – Fall 1999 Minimize


Competing Bacteria Help Baby Chicks
Urine-Based Deer Deterrent is Cruelty Free and Cost Free
Safe Canning
Wait to Prune Raspberries

Competing Bacteria Help Baby Chicks

Popular Science magazine named a new commercial product from the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) as one of its “100 Best of What’s New for 1998” products. Scientists from ARS developed the product to reduce Salmonella contamination in chickens. It was subsequently licensed by MS BioScience in Madison, Wisconsin, and is sold as PREEMPT. The product inhibits Salmonella in the intestines of chickens by introducing a blend of 29 live, unharmful bacteria that are naturally present in healthy adult chickens. The mix can be sprayed in a mist over newly hatched chicks to give them the same level of Salmonella resistance that develops in older birds.

In March 1998, the FDA approved PREEMPT for commercial use. This was the first FDA approval of a bacterial mix as a type of animal drug known as a competitive exclusion product. Although PREEMPT can help producers reduce Salmonella risks, proper food storage, handling and preparation remain essential to guard against pathogens. An estimated 2 million cases of Salmonella poisoning occur in the United States each year. Most exposure is from raw or undercooked meat, poultry, milk and eggs.

Source: “Nature-Based Weapon Against Salmonella is a Top Product of ‘98,” in Agricultural Research,” March 1999. For more information, contact Donald Corrier, USDA-ARS Food Animal Protection Research Laboratory, 2881 F&B Rd., College Station, TX 77845; Tel. 409-260-9484.

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Urine-Based Deer Deterrent is Cruelty Free and Cost Free

This is in response to the “News and Events” article in your March issue of The MOF&G concerning cruel urine collection. Over the years I have tried various deer repellents, with poor long-term results. It is hard to frighten deer away from tasty morsels for very long. At first look, predator’s urine, such as coyote urine, seems to make sense, but after seeing coyotes catching mice and grasshoppers in the same field with deer eating clover, I started to have doubts about its effectiveness. Also, knowing that bow hunters use fox and raccoon urine as a cover scent should cancel those options as well.

Frugality was my big deterrent from buying coyote urine for $7/pint, so I decided to make my own for free. I found that placing any urine in spots throughout the garden was useless, but spraying a mix of 4 parts of water to 1 part of homemade, human urine on the “tasty morsels” is 100% effective. Aging the mix from one spraying to the next is a definite plus.

Starting early in the season, spray apples, pears and lilacs every two weeks, or after a heavy rain. Spray hosta, lilies, cole crops, beans and beets as they emerge. Cease spraying after blossoms appear and before consumption by humans is imminent. After the deer taste the spray, they are usually conditioned to avoid even a faint smell. As the summer progresses, I find no need to spray my garden, even my dry beans. Either I have well trained deer, or they are just trying to get along in the neighborhood.

Cherry, plum and peach trees do not need to be sprayed because they are toxic. Deer somehow seem to know this, unlike goats and sheep.

The first year I raised highbush blueberries, the deer dug them out of 3 feet of snow and a balsam bough mulch. To avoid further demonstrations of their superior nose and intelligence, I enclosed the whole blueberry patch within a 5-foot fence. I also circled each apple tree with a portable 4-foot fence, with enough diameter to prevent the deer from reaching the trees. Deer will not jump into a small enclosure or pass through a small opening that looks like a trap.

In areas of deer overpopulation, they are hungrier, less fussy and harder to deter, so you must intensify and maintain the spraying all year. On the plus side, the benefit of having deer problems is that venison goes well with the Jacob Cattle beans and cole slaw that you fought for all summer.

Purchasing predator’s urine may be cruel but it is also inefficient unless sprayed as a taste deterrent, but that would make it unnecessarily expensive.

– John Waite, Norway, Maine

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Safe Canning

If you are canning foods, be sure you are using current times and techniques for processing. Only tomatoes, fruits, fruit spreads, pickles and sauerkraut have acid content enough to be safely processed in deep kettles of boiling water. All other foods, including any combination of foods that contain tomatoes, must be canned under pressure. Canning under water allows a maximum heating temperature of 212°·F. This is not adequate to destroy the many organisms that can cause food spoilage or food poisoning. Pressure canning at 10 pounds will provide a temperature of 240°F. which is high enough for safety and the prevention of food poisoning.

If you are considering buying a pressure canner at a yard sale, took for the following features:

• Is it modern enough to have a safety valve?

• Is the bottom of the kettle flat or warped?

• Does it have a weight or needle gauge? (The needle gauge will need to be tested for accuracy before use and a replacement gauge is about $20.)

• Does the canner have its instruction manual?

If your canning information is older than 1992, get new materials at the Extension office. The processing times and the amount of pressure have changed in recent years for many foods.

Source: Extension Perspectives, Waldo Co. Coop. Extn., May 1999.

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Wait to Prune Raspberries

Raspberries should be pruned every year. The bulk of the pruning should be done during the late winter or early spring. Some growers remove the fruiting (two-year-old) canes shortly after harvest to encourage growth of the new canes, which will fruit next season. However, recent research has suggested that it is better to leave the old canes until late in the fall or winter, because they provide carbohydrates to the crown of the plant that will be used by the new canes. Follow these steps when pruning:

1. Prune out all of the canes that fruited the previous summer.

2. Prune out any first-year canes that emerge outside of the desired 1 1/2-foot row width or show signs of insect or disease injury.

3. Thin remaining canes in the row, leaving only those with the greatest height and basal diameter, until four to five canes per foot of row length remain.

4. Attach the remaining canes to the trellis wires and remove all prunings from the field to reduce disease and insect pressure.

Source: “Raspberry Pruning Review,” by David Handley, Vegetable & Berry News, Univ. of Maine Cooperative Extension, Jan. 27, 1999.

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