County Home Ec. Agent
With nearly two-thirds of Americans considered overweight or obese, many of us would love a magic bullet to help us instantly shed a couple of pounds so we can look and feel better. Unfortunately, that magic potion or pill doesn’t exist, despite the various marketing efforts you see online or on television that promote products as weight loss cure-alls.
These types of cure-all products have been around for hundreds of years and contine to attract people looking for an easy way to improve their overall health. The Food and Drug Administration considers any product to be fraudulent if it is misleadingly promoted as being effective against a disease or health condition but has not been scientifically proven safe and effective.
Not only do many of these products not work and are financially draining, but they also could cause serious health problems. Recently, the FDA found more than 100 weight-loss products, illegally marketed as dietary supplements, containing the ingredient sibutramine. This was the active ingredient in the prescription weight-loss drug Meridia, which was pulled from pharmacies in 2010 after studies showed it was associated with an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.
While it can be difficult to understand tricky marketing ploys, common marketing schemes or phrases that tend to send off warning signals include:
1. Personal testimonies
2. Products that offer quick fixes, such as “Lose 30 pounds in 30 days”
3. All natural
4. Products that claim to be miracle cures as a result of a scientific breakthrough, secret ingredient or new discovery. If these claims were true, they would be widely reported by the media and not in a paid-for advertisement.
The American College of Sports Medicine details the four best ways to improve your nutrition. These include:
1. Make small dietary changes to help you reach a healthy body weight.
2. Reduce your intake of saturated fat, trans fat, sugar and sodium.
3. Increase consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish and dairy products.
4. Be a conscientious diner when eating out.
Always consult your physician before starting a weight loss program.
The period from late summer into early fall in Kentucky is the best time to establish the common cool-season grasses such as orchardgrass, tall fescue, timothy and bluegrass for pasture or hay. These four grasses make up 95 percent of pasture acreage.
Many years of research have shown this time frame is the best opportunity for successful establishment. Mother Nature has a hand in this because seed produced in late spring remains dormant until late summer and then early fall rainfall provides the moisture necessary for the seed to germinate.
To increase your success rate, remember these four points:
First, address soil fertility needs. Take soil samples now to determine fertility needs and to give you enough time to supply the needed nutrients. Inadequate levels of phosphorous, potassium or limestone can limit the success of late-summer seedings. For pure grass stands, apply nitrogen at the rate of 40 to 60 pounds per acre.
Second, control competition. Late-summer seedings most often fail from competition and lack of water. When you control existing vegetation with herbicides or tillage, the emerging seedlings will have access to whatever water and nutrients are present without having to compete with weeds.
To maximize the success of seedings, use a burn-down herbicide to kill annual weeds. Translocated herbicides can be used where labeled to kill or suppress perennials such as johnsongrass.
Remember to wait two to three weeks after spraying translocated herbicides before you plant in no-till situations. This will allow time for killed weeds to dry out and for residual effects of the herbicide to decay.
Third, select high quality seed of an adapted variety. Planting high quality seed is an essential step toward establishment and longevity of a pasture. These seeds have high percentages of germination, low percentages of weed seed and freedom from noxious weed seed.
Certified seeds meets or exceeds minimum standards for purity, germination and quality. The certified seed should be from an “improved” variety adapted to your farm. “Improved” means the variety has been selected for improved yield, quality, persistence, disease resistance or other positive traits.
Varieties greatly differ in yield, persistence, disease resistance and cost. Expensive varieties aren’t necessarily good, and the cheaper ones aren’t necessarily bad.
If you’re uncertain about a variety’s adaptation and performance, you can obtain information on the leading performers in the University of Kentucky’s forage variety tests by contacting the Cooperative Extension Service or by going to the following website http://www.uky.edu/Ag/Forage/ForageVarietyTrials2.htm.
Then scroll down to 2014 Tall Fescue Report; 2014 Timothy Report and 2014 Orchardgrass Report. You can find reports as far back as 2001 on this site.
Fourth, seed at the proper time and depth. You should seed legumes and grasses before mid-September. Grasses are less sensitive to later seeding than legumes. The major cool season grasses will not do well if you simply broadcast them onto existing overgrazed or mowed pastures. Forages should be seeded no deeper than one-fourth to one-half inch.
Late-summer alfalfa seedings are susceptible to sclerotinia stem and crown rot. If sclerotinia has been active in your area or farm, strongly consider waiting until next spring to seed.
Source: Garry Lacefield, professor emeritus and extension forage specialist
Educational programs of the Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of race, color, age, sex, religion, disability, or national origin.