Preparing for the Holidays

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

November 2020

5 Ways to Prepare for Holiday Gatherings

Living with prediabetes or diabetes can sometimes result in wondering what to do with food at gatherings around this time of year.  Should you enjoy in bliss or restrict yourself? Well, it can be a happy balance between these options.  The holidays should be a time we can feel confident in our choices but enjoy our time together.  The tips below can help you prepare for events that come your way!

  1. Remember to enjoy the season. No one wants to worry about having a good time and about the foods we choose.  Take this time to give yourself a bit of grace.  Enjoy time with your family or friends without the worry of food.  You can still prepare for food choices and participate in holiday gatherings.
  2. Does it spark joy?  Not just for organizing your home, asking yourself if you really enjoy the food can make deciding on what to eat easier. It’s the time when you sit down for a meal and everything looks delicious. Take a moment to think about the foods you enjoy the most. Mushrooms, not your thing? Then pass on the stuffed mushrooms and choose a food which you have been looking forward to.
  3. Check-in with your body.  When you sit down for a meal, take a moment to assess your hunger level? Did you just eat a snack, and the meal happens to be ready?  Choose smaller portions first then assess whether or not you feel satisfied.  It is easier to add food to your plate than return it to the pot! If you eat a smaller amount because you’re not hungry you won’t find yourself on the couch trying to decide if the pie will fit onto your plate!
  4. Divide your plate and portion to accommodate your carbohydrate choices. Wondering if you use your carbohydrate choices for the mashed potatoes or the dressing? Is this the one time of year you eat these foods? Foods make the holidays special. Depending on the number of carbohydrates you have for a meal allow yourself to fit these favorites into your plate.  If you have 3 carbohydrates choices for a meal, look at the portion size and make it work for your plate.
  5. Be mindful of how you fill your plate. If all else fails, use the diabetes healthy plate model. Fill ½ of your plate with non-starchy vegetables, ¼ lean protein, ¼ starchy foods, 1 serving of fruit, and 1 serving of dairy.  In total it is about 3 to 4 carbohydrate choices which can help you keep to your diabetes plan without having to pull out your trusty measuring cups.

Fitting foods into your meals takes balance and practice.  The tips listed are just a few of the many ways to enjoy the holidays without guilt.  If you would like to know more about diabetes and how to manage your health and food choices contact Chris Coon, County Extension Agent at 254-435-2331 or at

Written by: Danielle Hammond-Krueger, MPH, RD, LD, Extension Program Specialist, the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, College Station, Texas.

District 8 Farm & Ranch Seminar

** Click on photo to enlarge**



7:00 am Registration

7:30 am General Herbicide / Pesticide Update

1 hr. IPM James Jackson—Range & Pasture Specialist for Alligare

8:30 am Laws & Regualtions Updates & Complaint Process

1hr. L&R Perry Cervantes—TDA, Coordinator for Pesticide Certification and
Compliance (Ag)

9:30 am Drift Management & Sprayer Calibration

1hr. Drift Matt Matocha—Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Service, Row Crop and
Pasture Weed Specialist

10:30 am General Laws and Regulations Compliance

1hr. L&R Don Renchie—Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Service IPM Specialist

11:30 am Lunch

12:00 pm Horn Fly Control Methods & Hot Topics in IPM

1hr. IPM Sonja Swiger—Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Service Entomologist

1:00 pm Plant Pathology in Row Crops

1 hr. General Tom Isakeit—Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Service, Professor & Extension
Specialist, Field Crops

2:00 pm Pond Management & Weed Control

1 hr. General Brittany Chesser—Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, Aquatic Vegetation
Program Specialist

3:00 pm Combating Common Pests & Disease in Trees

1 hr. General Rachel McGregor—Texas A&M Forestry Service, Staff Forester II

4:00 pm Adjourn and hand out certificates

***Topics of discussion are subject to change***


Upcoming Robertson County Extension Educational Activities

Upcoming Robertson County Extension
Educational Activities
Calendar – Please call (979) 828-4270 for more information
Monday, October 26, 2020 “Beef Cattle and Forage Management Seminar” Registration 7:00am, Pridgeon Community Center, 351 Cooks Lane, Franklin. 7 CEU’s available (available in person and virtual)
Thursday, December 10, 2020 “District 8 Ranch Management Seminar” Registration 7:00am, Pridgeon Community Center, 351 Cooks Lane, Franklin. 8 CEU’s available upon TDA Approval
“Beef Cattle and Forage Management Seminar”
Detailed Information
The Seminar will be held on Monday, October 26, 2020 at the Pridgeon Community Center, 351 Cooks Lane in Franklin. The cost for the program will be $50.00. Registration & payment is required before hand. Check in at the event will begin at 7:00am with the program to begin at 7:30am and conclude at 3:00pm. Seven CEU’s will be offered with the first five hours covering all requirements for Commercial License Holders (upon TDA approval).
This meeting will be held in two formats (virtual and in person). The in-person participation will be limited to the first 100 people that prepay (mask will be required, boxed lunch will be served). The virtual option does not have a limit on participation. To register for either option, click on the appropriate link below. Pre-registration and payment are required to attend this event. You will need your TDA License number when your register for either option.

Speakers and topics will include: “Review of TDA Pesticide Laws & Regulations” –Mr. Richard Parrish; “Be a Good Neighbor & Control Pesticide Drift” –Mr. Floyd Ingram; “Common Aquatic Herbicide Use & Mode of Action” –Dr. Brittany Chesser; “Ticks, Flies & Forage Pest” –Dr. Sonja Swiger; “Feral Hog Management Techniques” –Dr. John Tomecek; “Herbicide Resistant Weeds & Management” –Dr. Scott Nolte: “Establishment of Perennial Pastures/Hay Meadows” -Dr. Vanessa Corriher-Olson.
Please call 979-828-4270 for more detailed information about the programs, check our web site: or check our Facebook page: Robertson County Agricultural News & Events.

In Person Registration:

Virtual Registration:


2020 Hay Show Results

2020 Hay Show Program

Our 2020 Overall Grand Champion goes to Phillip Munden with his Improved Bermudagrass bale.

Our 2020 Reserve Overall Grand Champion Bale goes to Cory Viertel in the Sudan bale.

Congratulations everyone and thank you for your support!!

Central Texas Fall Cow-Calf Seminar

The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Offices of McLennan, Johnson, Limestone, Falls, Bell, Bosque, Hill, Hamilton and Coryell Counties will be hosting a Central Texas Fall Cow/Calf Seminar on the morning of October 20, 2020. This program will be held virtually. With over 576,000 head of beef cattle in these nine counties, this program will provide timely information on health and nutrition for beef cattle in Central Texas. Any information that is related to health, nutrition and reproduction of cattle can have an economic impact on agriculture production in these counties.

Speakers and Topics include:

– Dr. Tom Hairgove, Assoc. Professor and Extension Specialist who also serves as the Livestock and Food Animal Systems Coordinator for Texas A&M University will discuss Cow/Calf Vaccination programs. This is a similar talk to the one he presented at the 2020 Texas A&M Beef Cattle Short Course. Dr. Hairgrove will present on diseases that can be prevented and the impact lessened by practicing good management.

– Dr. Vanessa Corriher-Olson, Professor and Extension Specialist will present on establishing and managing cool season pastures as well as lead a discussion on nitrate poisoning. Fall, Winter, and early Spring grazing that our cool season pastures provide are a critical part of a beef cattle program. Vanessa will present information that will provide the best management practices to get your herd off to a great start this fall.

– Dr. Jason Johnson, Assoc. Professor and Extension Economist will discuss steps you could be taking today to prepare your agriculture taxes for next year. Dr. Johnsons suggestions will help you be much more prepared on how and what to do when preparing your taxes.

– Dr. Jason Banta, Assoc. Professor and Extension Beef Cattle Specialist is going to present on Fall and Winter Mineral Supplementation for Cattle. Dr. Banta will discuss mineral deficiencies he has seen across Texas and how you can ensure your cattle mineral requirements are being met, and do so economically.

Interested persons must register at, as this program is online only.  The program will begin at 8:30 am and go to noon. For questions or comments please contact any of the County Extension Offices listed above or the McLennan County Extension Office at 254.757.5180

Fall Armyworms Are Here!

Armyworms are out!!! The recent rains and cooler weather have helped propel this along, but they are here now and by the time this article is released in the newspaper they will be in Bosque County in full force. So, what can you do?

For anyone who is unfamiliar with this insect, it is a common pest of bermudagrass, sorghum, corn, wheat and rye grass and many other crops in north and central Texas, but it can affect your lawn and landscape. Larvae of fall armyworms are green, brown or black with white to yellowish lines running from head to tail. A distinct white line between the eyes forms an inverted “Y” pattern on the face. Four black spots aligned in a square on the top of the segment near the back end of the caterpillar are also characteristic. Armyworms are very small (less than 1/8 inch) at first, cause little plant damage and as a result often go unnoticed. Larvae feed for 2-3 weeks and full-grown larvae are about 1 to 1 1/2 inches long. Given their immense appetite, great numbers, and marching ability, fall armyworms can damage entire fields, pastures, or lawns in a few days.


Once the armyworm larva completes feeding, it tunnels into the soil to a depth of about an inch and enters the pupal stage. The armyworm moth emerges from the pupa in about ten days and repeats the life cycle. The fall armyworm moth has a wingspan of about 1 1/2 inches. The front pair of wings is dark gray with an irregular pattern of light and dark areas. Moths are active at night when they feed on nectar and deposit egg masses. A single female can deposit up to 2000 eggs and there are four to five generations per year. The fall armyworm apparently does not overwinter in north Texas but survives the winter in south Texas. Populations increase in south Texas in early spring and successive generations move northward as the season progresses.


Parasitic wasps and flies, ground beetles, and insect viruses help suppress armyworm numbers. However, these natural enemies can be overwhelmed when large numbers of migrating moths move into an area and weather conditions favor high survival of eggs and larvae.


Management of fall armyworm outbreaks in pastures and hay fields often occur following a rain which apparently creates favorable conditions for eggs and small larvae to survive in large numbers. Hay fields with a dense canopy and vigorous plant growth are often more susceptible to armyworm infestations than less intensely fertilized and managed fields. Irrigated fields are also susceptible to fall armyworm infestations, especially during drought conditions. Infestations that develop in volunteer wheat and weedy grasses in ditches and around fields can be a source of armyworms that can move into adjacent crops.


Look for fall armyworm larvae feeding in the crop canopy during the late evening and early morning and during cool, cloudy weather. During hot days, look for armyworms low in the canopy and on the soil surface where they hide under loose soil and fallen leaves. Kneeling on the ground and parting the grass can reveal armyworms. A sweep net is very effective for sampling hay fields for fall armyworms. When fields are wet with dew or rain, armyworms can

be detected by walking through the field with rubber boots as the worms will stick to the boots. Small larvae chew the green layer from the leaves, creating a “windowpane” effect and later notch the edges of leaves. Look for this feeding damage and if detected, look more closely to assess the infestation.

The key to managing fall armyworms is frequent inspection of fields to detect infestations before they have caused economic damage. Once larvae are more than ¾ inch long, the quantity of foliage they eat increases dramatically. During their final 2-3 days of feeding, armyworms eat 80% of the total foliage consumed during their entire development.


The density of armyworms sufficient to justify insecticide treatment depends on the stage of crop growth and value of the crop. Seedling plants can tolerate fewer armyworms than established plants. Infestations of more than 2-3 armyworms (1/2 inch or longer) per square foot may justify an insecticide application. If practical, apply insecticides early in the morning or late in the evening when armyworm larvae are most active and therefor most likely to come into contact with the insecticide spray.


If the field is near harvest, an early harvest, rather than an insecticide treatment, is an option. One the field is cut, most of the armyworm will die due to lack of food and exposure to high temperatures. In some cases, armyworms can move into an adjacent field and continue to feed.

Insecticide Characteristics and Options.


There are products labeled for chemical control; contact Chelsea Dorward at the Bosque County Extension Office at 254-435-2331 or on the web at for a list of approved chemical options.


Bosque County Hay Show Collection Event set for 9-18-2020 at Extension Office

The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Office – Bosque County will be collecting hay samples for the 42nd Annual Bosque County Hay Show & Scholarship Fundraiser. If you are interested in submitting hay samples into this year’s contest, entries maybe dropped off at the Bosque County Extension Office (located at 104 S Fuller in Meridian) between 8AM and 10AM on Friday, September 18, 2020. Sampling will close on September 18, but you may also drop samples off early at the Extension Office.

Samples will be taken from the conventional bales and/or round bales on the 18th so that the protein analysis can be made. Cost is $10 per bale. Only hay grown in Bosque County and/or adjoining counties will be eligible for the show and awards. This year we will not have the live educational portion. Results and awards will be posted online at in mid-October and mailed to participants. The Hay Show Committee is also collecting donations for their annual Bosque County Hay Show and Scholarship fundraiser. If you are interested in contributing towards this, please go to contact Chelsea Dorward at 254-435-2331 or

22nd Annual Bosque 4-H Golf Tournament

The annual Bosque County 4-H Golf Tournament Fundraiser will happen COVID style! Due to current COVID regulations and restriction some changes had to be made for this year’s tournament.  All tournament registration will be done at the Extension office, 104 S Fuller in Meridian.  The tournament will span a three-week period, September 8 – 29.  Teams will pay the $200 entry and pick up their official scorecard, 4 ribeye steaks and individual goody bags weekdays during regular office hours, 8 am till 12pm or 1 pm till 5pm.  Teams may purchase 2 mulligans per player for an additional $20 per team.  String will not be used during the tournament this year.  Golf carts will be rented from Bosque Valley Golf Course for an additional $10 each.  All teams are restricted to a maximum of two carts per team.  This allows the course to have plenty of carts for players on any given day.   If an after-hours registration is needed please contact Marc Arnold at 254-978-0942 and he will be glad to get you registered.

Teams have until September 29 at 5 pm to complete their round of golf and return the scorecard to the Extension office by 5 pm.  Play is open during any normal Bosque Valley Golf Course hours Monday – Sunday.  On Wednesday, September 30 at noon we will host a live awards ceremony on the Bosque County 4-H & Youth Development Facebook page.  We will draw the 9 holes for scoring and 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners will be announced. Prizes are $280, $240, and $200, respectively.  This year five random draws for a dozen golf balls and one random draw for $100 will take the place of closest to the hole and longest drive awards.  For those who have sponsored the tournament through monetary donations of $250 or more your advertising yard signs will be on display at the golf course for the entire three-week tournament play period.  This tournament is an essential part of the 4-H Program in Bosque County.  The funds raised at this tournament support scholarships for graduating seniors, projects, community service projects, camps, leadership programs and many other 4-H county events.  This program is not possible without your support!  We are continually overwhelmed by the outstanding support shown from the community for the 4-H program, we expect this year will be the same!  If you have any questions about sponsorship or registration, please contact the Extension office at 254-435-2331 or Marc’s cell above.  Thanks for Your Continual Support of the Youth in Bosque 4-H.

Your Skin and Healthy Aging

Our skin is the largest and fasting growing organ in our body.  It is imperative that we focus on taking care of our skin just like we focus on our overall health.   As we age, our skin becomes drier and we lose elasticity in our skin, which may cause sagging and fine lines to appear.  The most helpful tips to keep in mind when preventing skin damage are:

  • Limit direct sun exposure for longer periods of time and use at least a SPF30 sunscreen.
  • Wash and moisturize your skin regularly.
  • Sleep for 7-8 hours daily to boost a clear complexion.
  • Stop tobacco use and limit alcohol consumption.
  • Drink plenty of water to keep hydrated.
  • Eat a healthy diet with a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans.

“A healthy diet shows with healthy skin”, says Elaine Montemayor-Gonzalez, Extension Program Specialist with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension.  Montemayor- Gonzalez continues, “What we put in our bodies greatly affects the aging of our skin, so foods with antioxidants and essential fatty acids are the most important foods to consider for keeping your skin healthy”. Antioxidants help prevent free radical damage, which can lead to skin problems such as sagging, wrinkled, or blemished skin. Some of the best antioxidant rich foods are berries, beets, spinach, kale, and 70% cocoa dark chocolate.

Other antioxidant rich foods that are also beneficial for healthy skin are loaded with fatty acids and vitamins A, C, and E.

These essential nutrients all work together to help support, protect, and produce new skin cells for your body.


  • Omega 3 Fatty Acids are healthy fats that naturally help moisturize your skin, keep skin flexible and protect from sun damage.  Try foods such as salmon, walnuts, and flaxseeds.
  • Vitamin A can be sourced from food we eat through beta carotene.  Vitamin A helps with new cell production, growth, and helps prevent wrinkled skin. Excellent sources to include in your diet are sweet potatoes, broccoli, carrots, and mango.
  • Vitamin C is an antioxidant that protects your skin from oxidative damage caused by the sun, which can lead to visual signs of aging.  It also helps support collagen formation to keep skin strong and firm.  Vitamin C is added to many topical serums and creams due to its superpower to help reduce the appearance of brown spots, red marks, and skin irritations.  Top foods high in vitamin C include chili peppers, yellow bell peppers, tomato, lemons, oranges, and strawberries.
  • Vitamin E is an essential nutrient with anti-inflammatory properties that aids in supporting cell function and skin health. Vitamin E is beneficial at reducing UV damage to skin and with the help of nutritious foods, can be absorbed better when combined with vitamin C. Vitamin E is also available for topical use in anti-aging creams, eye serum, sunscreens, and makeup. Sunflower seeds, avocado, salmon, trout, nuts, and olive oils are some of the foods with vitamin E.

Keep your skin and body healthy by adding a variety of foods to get the best all-around nutrition.  Your skin will age with time but preventing skin damage is key to a longer radiant glow.

Try new recipes that incorporate more antioxidants and fatty acids, visit to help you plan your meals.

For more tips and additional nutrition information contact your Bosque County Extension Agent at 254-435-2331 or at


Texas A&M AgriLife releases annual wheat ‘Picks List’

Variety choices based on yield, disease, insect resistance traits

Texas A&M AgriLife wheat experts have determined their annual “Picks List” to guide producers as they prepare for fall planting in the near future.

TAM 115 and TAM 205 wheat varieties were added to this year’s Picks List in the High Plains. (Texas A&M AgriLife photo by Kay Ledbetter)

Continuing a long-time tradition, ongoing Picks List criteria include a minimum of three years of irrigated or dryland data in Texas A&M AgriLife regional variety trials across numerous locations. Pick List varieties are based on performance and variety characteristics, and only include varieties designated for grain or dual purpose. Varieties that are used primarily for grazing and forage are not listed.

Jourdan Bell, Ph.D., Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service agronomist, Amarillo, said varieties selected are not necessarily the top yielders. Other criteria such as milling and baking quality, important disease resistance traits – leaf or stripe rust, wheat streak mosaic virus, insect resistance – greenbugs, wheat curl mite and Hessian fly, and standability are all factored in as they are important traits that enable a producer to better manage potential risk.

Varieties placed on a Watch List show promise, but only two years of data is available.

2019-2020 production conditions

In the Texas High Plains, weather played a major role in wheat production as it roller-coastered from a wet fall to a dry winter to drought during the spring, Bell said.

Dryland fields benefited from March rain, and April freezes resulted in varying degrees of injury, which were most evident on fields planted early with earlier maturing varieties in the central and southwestern production region. Prolonged periods below 24°F, when wheat was jointing, also resulted in damage across the northern High Plains production area.

Conditions rapidly changed in late April. Above average temperatures through May and June drove up the crop water demand, resulting in water stress in both dryland and limited irrigated fields during anthesis through grain fill. Because of warm, dry conditions, disease pressure was minimal during the late spring, however hailstorms across the region resulted in significant hail injury to many regional wheat fields.

Even with extreme environmental conditions, yields were above the long-term average in many areas. Dryland yields ranged from 20 to 50 bushels per acre, and irrigated yields from 20 to 95 bushels per acre, depending on variety, irrigation capacity and precipitation timing and amount.

In the Texas Rolling Plains, Emi Kimura, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension agronomist, Vernon, said the season started with hot and dry conditions in the fall, and soil temperature was not optimum for planting wheat until the first week of October. Dry months continued through December, which reduced winter forage productivity throughout the Texas Rolling Plains. Dryland wheat gradually improved with the spring precipitation during January to March.

Late-freezes in mid-April resulted in the freeze injury in many wheat fields across the region. Furthermore, golf ball-size hail hit spotted areas in the region in early May, which again resulted in the reduced yield potential. Leaf and stripe rust pressures were lower than average. There were some reports of loose smut disease of wheat.

High Plains Picks List

Picks for the Texas High Plains are based on yield performance and consistency over 22 multi-year, multi-site irrigated and dryland trials harvested from 2018-2020.

Full Irrigation Picks – TAM 113, TAM 114, TAM 205, Croplan CP7869 and Westbred Winterhawk.

Limited Irrigation Picks – TAM 113, TAM 114, TAM 115, CP7869 and Winterhawk.

Dryland – TAM 112, TAM 113, TAM 114, TAM 115, CP7869, Winterhawk, WB4721 and T158.

Watch List – TAM 205 in limited irrigation, and TAM 115 in full irrigation categories. Syngenta’s Monument is on the watch list in both irrigation categories, and Wolverine in all three categories. Croplan’s 7010 and Westbred’s 4792 have also both been added to all three lists.

TAM 115 is a new, large-seeded variety on the 2020-2021 limited irrigated and dryland Picks Lists. It is a dual-purpose variety with very good milling and baking quality that is resistant to leaf rust, stripe rust, stem rust, green bug and wheat curl mite. It also has excellent drought tolerance. It has shown to maintain yield in water limited conditions.

TAM 205 has shown stable yield during the three-years evaluated. It is a dual-purpose variety with a high top-end yield potential, good test weights, very good end-use quality, and good fall forage production. It is resistant to leaf rust, stripe rust and stem rust. It is also resistant to wheat streak mosaic virus and soil-borne wheat mosaic virus. It performed very well in the irrigated trials.

TAM 112 has been removed from the limited irrigated Picks Lists because TAM 115 also has drought tolerance and wheat curl mite resistance but with an improved yield potential. It remains on the dryland Picks list because of its’ drought tolerance and resistance to the wheat curl mite.

Syngenta Monument has been moved to the Watch List because it did not perform as well in 2019-2020 as in previous years. Syngenta Wolverine is a new addition to the 2020-2021 Watch List. Wolverine is a 2019 AgriPro release with good test weights, resistance to stripe rust and tolerance to leaf rust, and is a high-tillering variety noted for good drought tolerance. Westbred WB4792 is a 2018 release that has been a top yielder in the High Plains Uniform Variety irrigated and dryland trials for the last two years with good test weights.

Rolling Plains Picks List

Picks for the Rolling Plains are based on uniform variety trials at Abilene, Haskell and Chillicothe. Average grain yields among all varieties at all three locations were 35.2 bushels per acre in 2018, and 47.1 bushels per acre in 2019, and 44.5 bushels per acre in 2020.

Grain Picks – TAM 205, TAM 114, WB 4515, WB 4269, SY Grit.

Grain Watch – WB 4699, SY Bob Dole, Green Hammer, Showdown.

Dual-Purpose Picks – WB 4792, WB 4595, Green Hammer, TAM 114, Smith’s Gold.

Varieties kept from 2019-2020 Picks were TAM 114, SY Grit and WB 4269. These varieties continued to perform excellent in the Texas Rolling Plains in terms of grain yield and disease resistance. Varieties added for 2020-2021 Picks: TAM 205 and WB 4515. These varieties have performed well under dryland conditions in the Texas Rolling Plains and met the Picks criteria.

Varieties removed from 2019-2020 Picks: TAM 304, Gallagher and LCS Chrome. These varieties performed relatively well compared to other non-Picks varieties; however, they did not meet the top 25% criteria over a three-year trial average.

WB 4721 was not widely available for purchase during 2019-2020 season for the Texas Rolling Plains growers. SY Drifter was not included in the 2019-2020 variety trial.

Wheat Picks and other information on the Texas A&M AgriLife wheat program can be found at Texas Small Grains Variety Trials.