Archive of ‘Delaware Cooperative Extension’ category

Cooperative Extension Weed Science Field Day 2012

Cliff Blessing

Cliff Blessing has been coming to Weed Science Field Days since 1989, back when they were a component of the larger Farm Home Field Day held on the University of Delaware’s Carvel Research and Education Center in Georgetown. Blessing joined the  Delaware Department of Agriculture that same  year “when they drafted me to work  two days a week,” he recalls. Blessing’s farm in Harrington grows corn, soybean, lima beans, peas, sweet corn, wheat and barley. Since working for the DDA, Blessing has left the general operation of the 2500 acre family farm to his grandson Dale while he works with DDA’s noxious weed program.

“This is the coolest day I can remember,” said Blessing, who recalls a tradition of much hotter field tours. Blessing was one of more than 60 growers, pesticide applicators, crop advisers and agricultural professionals from Maryland and Delaware who attended the June 27 session to obtain new information on various trial results and best practices in crop and weed management.In addition, attendees could receive continuing education credits for Delaware and Maryland  for pesticide applicators and Certified Crop Advisers. are  conveyed to those who attend the day’s tours. The weather cooperated with a perfect day to examine trial results, take resource photographs and exchange information with others in the ag community.

Weed Science Field Day is organized by Mark VanGessel, University of Delaware extension specialist and professor in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, and his team of weed science researchers, Barbara Scott and Quintin Johnson and summer students and interns.

Throughout the year UD Extension and research staff conducts unbiased studies on more than 70 trials (which amount to more than 700 comparisons) most are devoted to key agronomic crops, and evaluate their effectiveness of weed management. Chemical, mechanical and cultural practices are evaluated. Their findings are published in an annual guide of trial results that is made available to attendees and the results serve as the basis for educational programs throughout the year and provide the experience to answer questions from farmers and the agricultural industry.

This year, two new weeds, Palmer Amaranth, Amaranthus palmeri and Texas panicum, Panicum texanum, have been added to Delaware’s noxious weed list along with johnsongrass, Sorghum halepense, Canada thistle, Cirsium arvense, bucurmber, Sicyos angulatus and giant ragweed, Ambrosia trifida.

The goal of Weed Science Field Day is to deliver the latest research to the agricultural community. Communication to the industry is a key component in Delaware’s continued agronomic success and is part of Cooperative Extension’s outreach mission. Many of the plots are identified by signage indicating the particular study and methodology.

At the Thurman G. Adams Research Farm,  trials are conducted with the preemergence and post emergence herbicides to carefully evaluate their effectiveness and their usefulness in Delaware crops. “We have to determine if it has a fit for us in Delaware,” says VanGessel on the application of new products.

Mark VanGessel provides a brief overview of corn trials before growers and CCAs take a closer look

Timing of applications is crucial. VanGessel toured no-till soybean trials and introduced system trials using reduced tillage organic grain production with a three- year rotation of field corn, soybeans & winter wheat. Tilling only once a year, the trials relies on cover crops with high- residue cultivation for weed control. It is  a  joint project with Penn State , USDA,  and NC State.

Also featured was a processing vegetable trial with a range of management strategies  including conventional tillage growing many- on one extreme  placing reliance on legume crops such as, lima beans, snap beans, soybeans in the rotation and in the other extreme using little or no tillage with range of grain crops. Soil health, crop growth and weed control is evaluated in this  trial. The tour then moved onto corn trials.

Blessing enjoyed the information and the camaraderie of Weed Field Day.  As the self-described oldest employee at DDA, Blessing, age 87, plans to retire this year from government service, but not from farming. He intends to return to the family business, Water Way Farms and keep an eye on things from an air conditioned office. No doubt, future participation at events like Weed Science Field Day will be on his active calendar. ” Cooperative Extension does a lot to help keep us in the know. They show us what to do.” Blessing says. “It gives us a lot to go by.”

Additional photos of the 2012 Weed Science Field Day can be found below.



UD Extension short course on Pest and Beneficial Insects – June 26, 2012

June 26      6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.    Cost:  $10
Sussex County Extension Office, 16483 County Seat Hwy., Georgetown, DE 19947
Using Integrated Pest Management (IPM )in your business?  Correct I.D. is key to control of pests in the landscape.
Enhance your skills at identifying both beneficial insects and pests in the landscape.

Instructors: Brian Kunkel and Tracy Wootten


To Register: Any County Extension Office





                     Hope you can join us!


  2 Pesticide, (Categ. 03,02, 06), and 1 CNP Credits

Cooperative Extension to hold Weed Science Field Day on Wed. June 27

Anyone with an interest in weed management is invited to  this year’s Weed Field Day at UD.  A variety of herbicide programs for conventional tillage and no-till production are being evaluated.  Many of the registered corn and soybean herbicides are being tested, herbicide evaluation for watermelons, weed control programs for snap and lima beans, and a number of studies with traditional soybean herbicide programs are included.  We have been fortunate with the weather to have all of the postemergence treatments applied to our corn and most soybean trials.  We will have more to view this year than we have had in the recent past.


The 2012 Weed Science Field Day will be held Wednesday, June 27, at the University of Delaware Research and Education Center, Route 9 (16483 County Seat Highway), Georgetown,.  The day will begin with registration at 8:15 at the Grove near the farm buildings and new office building on the north side of the road.  We will start to view the plots at 8:45 a.m.  Coffee, juices, and donuts will be provided.  We will also provide sandwiches for lunch.

Continuing education credits for Pesticide Applicators and Certified Crop Advisors will be available.

Here are some images from 2011 Weed Science Field Day


A bootiful two days for Sussex County’s 4-H farm tour at Hopkins dairy, Lewes

In rain and in sunshine, Sussex County 4-H held their annual two-day farm tour at Green Acres Farm in Lewes on Wed. May 9 and Thurs. May 10.  The dairy farm, the largest in Delaware  – milking 550 cows three times daily,  is owned by the Hopkins family, longtime 4-H supporters who have opened their barn doors for agricultural education for the past 26 years.

Luke Hopkins cuddles a baby chick inside his family's animal barn

Wednesday’s rain didn’t dampen this year’s exploration as more than 700 children, visited the farm’s many attractions, such as Pig Alley and Calf Lane and a tractor ride.  Sussex County 4-H focuses this agriculture education outreach for students in preschool to grade two. Students register through their schools. Each preregistered student received a free cone from the Hopkins Farm Creamery, which opened in 2009. Students, well-prepared in slickers and rain boots of many colors, confirmed that ice cream tastes as good in the rain as it does in the sun.

Thursday’s total neared 1,000 youth.  Wednesday’s rain had left a few mud puddles for the pigs to play in, delighting the students who watched them frolic in the soft, gushy Delaware soil.  In all, an estimated 1900 visitors in all,  including teachers, parents, chaperones, Extension staff and 4-H and Master Gardener volunteers, attended the farm tour on both days.

Hollymount 4-H'ers Colleen Anderson, Grace Hopkins and Holly Anderson show off their show cows!

During the tour, students, who leave the bus pinching their noses, eventually forget the farm aroma and begin to  make the connection between the family farm and the final food product – usually referred to as ‘farm to fork’ in this case was ‘farm to cone!’  Teachers and students have an opportunity to meet the Hopkins family; Walter and his wife Jenny; son Burli and wife Allison; and the next generation of Hopkins farmers, 4-H’ers Michael, Jacob, Grace and Luke who can be seen throughout the tour comfortably hanging out with the pigs, lovingly tugging on a cow’s ear and sharing their farm experiences with visitors.

Burli and dairy farm manager Bob Geiman offered tours of the modern milking process.  School children observed firsthand the all the teamwork efforts that go into producing healthy, nutritious and safe food.

Master Gardener Brent Marsh, AKA Farmer McGregor, asks his audience if they saw who took his vegetables!

Under blue and gold tents Cooperative Extension educators provided additional learning, including exhibits on corn and corn products, healthy beverages and the importance of exercise.  A popular puppet and people show, the Adventures of Peter Rabbit in Farmer McGregor’s Garden was performed numerous times by volunteer Master Gardeners.

Local 4-H youth members brought their project animals, providing a talkative tom turkey, horse, sheep, goats, ducks and rabbits for young students to interact with and pet. UD Poultry Extension provided a chick hatchery and baby chick display, the inhabitants of which are now taking a much needed rest after being gently cupped by 1700 little hands.

Any area school or daycare center up to the second grade are invited to attend, with registration opening in late January before the May tour. The event is free.

For more information about the Sussex County 4-H Farm Tour contact the 4-H office at 856-7303.
Additional photos and videos of the farm tour may be found at 4-H’s Flickr site:  where photo sets for both days can be found, or visit Sussex County 4-H on

Article and photos by Michele Walfred

Sussex Master Gardeners plan children’s workshop May 19

A young reader enjoys a shady spot in the 2011 Children's Garden, which area children helped to create.

On Saturday, May 19, beginning at 10 a.m.  local children are invited to help create the 2012 Children’s Garden located behind the University of Delaware Carvel Research and Education Center on Route 9, just west of Sussex Tech High School.

The Children’s Garden is a very popular section of the overall Demonstration Garden which is open to the public and featured during many Master Gardener events throughout the year and especially delights families during  their Open House scheduled in July.

Children will work with Master Gardeners to plant seeds and seedlings and learn about theme gardens.

The morning will be begin with a special story, the legend of “The Three Sisters” told by Michele Wright, of the Nanticoke Association.

Afterward, children will be placed in five groups and will rotate for 12 minutes accomplishing tasks at five stations:

  • Composting and Three Sisters Planting – with Tracy Wootten, UD Extension agent, horticulture.
  • Exploring plant growth. Plantings in various areas of the garden and taking a plant home! – with Master Gardeners Mary Sue Colaizzi and Tracy Mulveny. Explore texture, color and help create a growing skirt for “Mrs. Green Beans!”
  • What’s the Buzz with Bees – with Master Gardener Brent Marsh (pssst, he’s also known as Farmer McGregor!)
  • All About Insects – with Master Gardener Ingrid Hetfield.
  • Creating Theme Gardens – with Master Gardener Chris Henderson.

There will also be a special command performance of The Adventures of Peter Rabbit in Farmer McGregor’s Garden!

This potted man and his potted puppy was a popular attraction in the 2011 children's theme garden! Come help us create this year's theme!

This special Master Gardener workshop is appropriate for children ages 5 to 11. Besides learning new skills, children will grow  a sense of pride and satisfaction creating a garden space  that will evolve, grow and serve as a place that others in the community can enjoy. They will enjoy watching their efforts change  and bloom throughout the summer and fall, and can return to visit often!  This workshop  is free, but space is limited to 20 youth.

In the event of rain, the workshop will be held inside the Carvel REC.

For more information, contact Kim Lewis at (302) 856-7303 or you may register online .

The Master Gardener Demonstration Garden is located behind the Carvel Research and Education Center, with ample parking on the east side of the building. Look for the blue and gold tent just beyond the parking area. Children should wear comfortable and garden-friendly clothes. We will be digging in the soil!

Sussex County to celebrate Extension Homemaker Heritage

Sussex County Cooperative Extension, will celebrate an Extension Homemaker Heritage Reunion – 85th Anniversary, on Tuesday, April 24, 2012, to honor local Sussex County women who formed and were active in local clubs dedicated to sharing new “home economics” information and technologies with local families.

Though only a small part of the programming that Cooperative Extension supports, the legacy of these “homemaker clubs” as they are often called, endures in the memory of families throughout the county.  The lessons they taught, skills they shared, and lives they changed, immeasurably helped Sussex Countians’ quality of life during an era of rapid change. The 85th Anniversary celebration, including refreshments, is scheduled from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Carvel Research and Education Center,  16483 County Seat Highway, Georgetown. There is no cost to attend. Former club members, their families and anyone who would like to share a story about the long legacy of Extension Homemaker outreach is welcome to attend.

“I am hoping that the adult children of past members would like to share their memories,” said Anne Camasso, Extension agent in Family and Consumer Sciences at Carvel. “I’ve talked to a few people who remember their mother taking them to meetings. We would love to have these stories included in the program.”

In 1917, Cooperative Extension hired its first home demonstration agent, Miss Gertrude Blodgett,  who traveled by horse and buggy to remote locations in Delaware, providing valuable information about the changing technology in modern, electrified kitchens, textile and clothing techniques, food preservation and other various  home economic topics updates.

Ten years later, Cooperative Extension had placed an agent in each county, and the Extension outreach model had expanded to include community-based clubs. These community clubs, commonly referred to as “Homemaker’s clubs” “Home Demonstration clubs” “Young Homemaker clubs” or “Home Economics Extension clubs”  were responsible for learning– and then passing on–  changing trends and practical science-based information needed in the home and community.

The clubs and their volunteer members helped Sussex County families through the Great Depression era, through World War II and responded to the expansion of families and technology in the 1950s. While a glimpse into their archive can be amusing, with topics such as “underwear patterns” or “charm through good grooming,” the majority of their focus in outreach clearly marks them as ahead of their time. Records show progressive interests in such areas as: teaching home and automobile safety, nutrition and drug interaction, growing Victory Gardens,  how to recycle clothing and household goods, solar heating, consumer fraud,  addressing marital and domestic abuse and active civil defense groups.

Members of the Nanticoke Home Demonstration celebrate their 25th Anniversary in 1956. Many black and white photos exist with well-known Sussex County surnames written on the back of the photos.

Their club names provide a clue to their wide reach in Sussex County: Angola, Blue Hen, Broad Creek, County Seat, Ellendale, Harbeson, Indian River,  Laurel, Mt. Pleasant, Nanticoke, Piney Grove,  and Reliance, to name a few. Other clubs such as the Blue Hen, served the Bethany Beach area, the Atlanta club, western Sussex and the Hearth and Home club of Milford.  In all, more than 30 clubs and their members were proactive –continually updating their education by attending short courses at the University of Delaware, and by participating in several educational field trips. Curious and committed to training, homemaker club members cared to share.  In addition to direct contact with local families, Sussex clubs were active in charity drives and community service, including Red Cross flood relief, TV Fund for Veteran’s Hospital in Elsmere, planting of community trees and replacing the contents of a residential kitchen damaged by fire.

In an undated photograph, FCE members review food values during a meeting at the former Extension office location.

As Extension changed and modernized, so too, did the nature and name of homemaker clubs, officially becoming ” Family and Consumer Educators” (FCE).  Today, remaining FCE  members continue to meet socially and fondly remember their association with outreach education with the support of Cooperative Extension.

It is a partnership worth remembering and celebrating, and on Tuesday, April 24, 2012, the public is welcome to join Sussex County Cooperative Extension in paying homage to the efforts of these extraordinary volunteer educators. For more information and to register to attend, please contact Kim Lewis at (302) 856-7303.  Visit our Facebook gallery and help us identify some of the club members!


File photo dated "1940-42?" lists the names (l-r) Gertrude Holloway Johnson, agent; Myrtle Messick, Nanticoke; Helen West, Georgetown; and Viola Ocheltree, Greenwood. Several photos exist in the archive, which are not labeled or dated.


UDel Extension offers Free Turf Workshop

8:00 – 8:30 am  Registration                                     Credits: 2.5 Nutrient, 1 Pest., 1 CNP, CCA


8:30-9:30 am  Greener Turf Care: Athletics and Lawns

Dr. Mike Goatley, Extension Turf Specialist, VA Tech

This presentation will focus specifically on organic and/or biological approaches in lawn and sports turf management, their possible successes, and their likely challenges.



9:30-10:30 am  Insects  & Diseases of Turf

Dr. Brian Kunkel, Extension Ornamental IPM Specialist, UD

A review of common insects & diseases in turfgrass.  Options for managing these pests with cultural tactics, biological control or chemicals will be discussed.

10:30-10:40 am   Break


10:40 – 11:40 am  Turf is NOT a 4-Letter Word

Dr. Mike Goatley, Extension Turf Specialist, VA Tech

This presentation will detail the potential value of turf as a means of protecting the

environment through responsible selections in grasses, fertility, and cultural

management programs.

11:40 am – 12:10 pm  Delaware Livable Lawns

Dr. Sue Barton, Ornamentals Specialist, UD
Rick Williams, R & L Irrigation Services

While many homeowners are unaware of how, when, and how much fertilizer to apply,   professional lawn care staff have the expertise to fertilize lawns correctly. The Voluntary Livable Lawns Program certifies lawn care companies that follow environmentally-friendly practices in fertilizer application while educating homeowners.  Join us to learn more about this initiative, the rationale behind it, and how your company can profit by participating in this program.

12:10 pm Adjourn

To Register: Contact Tracy Wootten, Carvel Research and Education Center.  There is no cost to attend the workshop.

(302) 856-7303

Delaware Cooperative Extension to host Ag Workshops

Our partners at Delaware Cooperative Extension, Delaware State University have announced two agricultural workshops.

The first, Agriculture Entrepreneurship Workshop Series, begins Feb. 29 and continues through March 21, 2012

Download Agriculture Entrepreneurship Workshop brochure here

The second is a two-day workshop is Geospatial Technology in Agriculture , on March 15-16. 2012

Download the GIS Technology brochure here

For more information on these workshop opportunities please contact John Clendaniel. Phone- (302) 857-6425.

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