OSU Extension Blogs

Many young stands too crowded

Tree Topics - Fri, 01/22/2016 - 3:40pm

Brad Withrow-Robinson, Forestry & Natural Resources Extension Agent, Benton, Linn and Polk Counties.

In my travels around the mid-Willamette Valley, I am seeing a lot of young conifer stands (generally Douglas-fir up to 20 something years old) with just too many trees. Why do I say there are too many trees?
I know many people in this part of western Oregon who are patiently waiting for their trees to grow, hoping to do a commercial thinning (meaning sell the harvested trees to make at least a small profit) when their stand is about 25 years old.

 

All too often it is not working out that way. Instead, as the stand approaches the target age they find that trees have already become too crowded, with too many small, slow growing trees in the stand. The trees are still too small to support a profitable thinning operation yet. To thin at that point is to do so at a cost, although it may be best for the woodland in the long-run. To delay the thinning and wait for the trees to grow enough to make the thinning operation profitable is appealing. It may avoid the short term expense but is likely to weaken the stand at a long-term cost of growth, stand stability and future options. It is a classic “pay now or pay later” situation.


In young stands, the idea is to have the “right” number of well-spaced trees to allow the trees in the stand to grow more or less unchecked until they are big enough to support a commercial thinning, and to do it “on time”, that is before future opportunities are affected by intense competition. This should leave the landowner with a healthy, stable and vigorously growing stand easily shaped to meet any of a wide range of long term objectives that family landowners commonly aim for. These common objectives (see related article about objectives) including habitat diversity, recreational opportunities as well as periodic income, are generally best met by growing trees in longer rotations (>45 yrs) and with multiple thinnings over time. So it is important to get off on the right foot.


Of course there are many nuances in choosing the right spacing for any stand, but I’m saying there is a lot less nuance in the decision leading up to the first commercial thinning of a young stand than there is in later thinning decisions. It is fairly simple. In a young stand, we want to have the right number of trees to support a timely commercial thinning while avoiding excessive competition. This will keep the most options open for the landowner in the future.
We’ll look at what that number might be in another article.

The post Many young stands too crowded appeared first on TreeTopics.

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Winter Farming Series

Small Farms Events - Wed, 01/20/2016 - 2:34pm
Wednesday, January 20, 2016 12:00 PM

Are you interested in exploring whether winter production would be a good addition to your farm business? There are several crops that can be harvested during the winter months in Oregon. This class series will cover the basics of winter production including season extension tips and tools, planting dates and varietal selection that you will need to get started in winter production. We’ll also walk you through the process of keeping records to track production costs and analyzing whether winter production can be a profitable enterprise for your farm.

You’ll have a chance to visit with farmers that are experienced with winter production to get perspectives from the field. Our goal is to support you with testing out winter production on your farm to determine whether it is a feasible enterprise for your operation. Classes are spread out over a whole year and timed so that you can apply what you learn for your winter plantings in 2016.

For more information:
http://smallfarms.oregonstate.edu/southern-willamette-valley-program/winter-farming
Registration opens in November!
Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Understanding vegetation in young plantations: It’s what they do

Tree Topics - Wed, 01/13/2016 - 12:02pm

By Brad Withrow-Robinson, Forestry & Natural Resources Extension Agent, Benton, Linn and Polk Counties

 

photo: VMRC

Last month I spent a morning at OSU attending the annual science meeting of the Vegetation Management Research Cooperative (VMRC). It was well worth the time.

The VMRC’s mission includes conducting applied reforestation research of young plantations from seedling establishment through crown closure and, to promote reforestation success. The VMRC’s research has an emphasis on practical, operational vegetation control, and their research is broadly relevant and readily applied to the needs of family forest landowners, so I do try to keep up on their work.

Since many of the member groups do use herbicides in their forest management, their research frequently does involve herbicides. But the work is not generally about herbicides per se, but rather about understanding the nature of weed competition and how different degrees of competition and disturbance affect seedling growth and vegetation community dynamics. They are interested in knowing the influence of the timing of competition control efforts on survival and growth, how the length and timing control each affects growth and survival (“critical period threshold”), or the interaction of different seedling stock types and vegetation control methods affects seedling growth and vegetation community dynamics. Good stuff to know.

The meeting was also a chance to meet the VMRC’s new Director and Associate Director, Dr Carlos Gonzalez-Benecke and Max Wightman. They kicked things off with an excellent summary of the past decade’s research conducted around western Oregon and southwest Washington. They also did some broader synthesis of results to help lead the coop forward in another decade of work.

The VMRC currently has 14 members including forestry companies, state and federal agencies. It is one of 11 research coops at OSU’s College of Forestry (http://www.forestry.oregonstate.edu/research/research-cooperatives). Each conducts research and applies the results to solve problems, develop new products, support long-term field studies, and develop decision support tools. A CoF faculty member leads each cooperative and members work together to develop a mutually agreeable research program, pool dues payments to support the cooperative’s operating budget, and provide significant in-kind support to leverage dues payments.

You may have seen my earlier posting on the Swiss Needle Cast Cooperative , and can expect to hear more about the work of the VMRC, SNCC and some of our other research coops in the future.

The post Understanding vegetation in young plantations: It’s what they do appeared first on TreeTopics.

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Food Science Camp 2013 and Erik Fooladi

Bringing Food Chemistry to Life - Fri, 07/19/2013 - 12:44pm

We participate in the Oregon State U Food Science Camp for middle school students.

Part of the STEM [science technology engineering math] Academies@OSU Camps.

We teach about bread fermentations, yeast converting sugars to CO2 and ethanol, lactobacillus converting sugar to lactic and acetic acids, how the gluten in wheat can form films to trap the gas and  allow the dough to rise. On the way we teach about flour composition, bread ingredients and their chemical functionalities, hydration, the relationships between enzymes and substrates [amylases on starch to produce maltose for the fermentation organisms]; gluten development, the gas laws and CO2′s declining solubility in the aqueous phase during baking which expands the gas bubbles and leads to the oven spring at the beginning of baking; and the effect of pH on Maillard browning using soft pretzels that they get to shape themselves..

All this is illustrated by hands on [in] activities: they experience the hydration and the increasing cohesiveness of the dough as they mix it with their own hands, they see their own hand mixed dough taken through to well-risen bread. They get to experience dough/gluten development in a different context with the pasta extruder, and more and more.

A great way to introduce kids to the relevance of science to their day to day lives: in our case chemistry physics biochemistry and biology in cereal food processing.

We were also fortunate to have Erik Fooladi from Volda University College in Norway to observe the fun: http://www.fooducation.org/

If you have not read his blog and you like what we do here: you should!

 

endless pasta

 

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Good Cheese, Bad Cheese

Bringing Food Chemistry to Life - Wed, 07/10/2013 - 12:25pm

pH, colloidal calcium phosphate, aging, proteolysis, emulsification or its loss and their interactions lead to optimum melting qualities for cheeses. A module in this year’s food systems chemistry class.

This module was informed by this beautiful article “The beauty of milk at high magnification“ by Miloslav Kalab, which is available on the Royal Microscopical Society website.

http://www.rms.org.uk/Resources/Royal%20Microscopical%20Society/infocus/Images/TheBeautyOfMilk.pdf

Of course accompanied by real sourdough wholegrain bread baked in out own research bakery.

Inspired by…

“The Science of a Grilled Cheese Sandwich.”

by: Jennifer Kimmel

in: The Kitchen as Laboratory: Reflections on the Science of Food and Cooking

Edited by Cesar Vega, Job Ubbink, and Erik van der Linden

 

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

February 2011- Nutrition Education Volunteers taking “vacation”

Family Food Educators of Central Oregon - Tue, 02/01/2011 - 8:24am

I’m back from maternity leave and getting resettled into some new responsibilities.  We had a staff member leave us, so Glenda and I are having to pick up the work load until we find someone new, or our responsibilites change.  Being a new mom is lots of work too, so I’ve gone part time (24 hours aweek) but am still trying to get everything done… that being said, we’ve decided to put our nutrition education volunteering on hold, until I have a managable workload.

We look forward to being able to start things back up in the summer or fall of 2011.  Thanks so much and since a few of you have been asking, here’s a photo of our boy.  He is 5 months old today!

Bundled out in the cold!

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs