Thursday, May 17, 2018

2018 Sea Turtle Nesting Season Begins

Image courtesy Edisto Chamber of Commerce
Loggerhead sea turtles return to the beaches of the South Atlantic coast each year in late spring to begin nesting. The annual Lights Out campaign runs from May 1 – October 31 in order to encompass all of nesting season which can extend into August, and the roughly 60 days it takes for eggs to hatch. Each barrier island has a team of volunteers ready to walk the beach each morning in search of turtle tracks and to document when and where a sea turtle makes her nest. The first loggerhead nest in South Carolina this year came on May 8, right in the Lowcountry on Dafuskie Island near Hilton Head.
It’s worth noting that the first S.C. loggerhead nest of 2018 is confirmed in the South Lowcountry, because most years the first nest is in the northern range along Cape Romaine National Wildlife Refuge. The second loggerhead sea turtle nest came the next day on May 9 on Kiawah Island. Cooler than normal water temperatures due to the prolonged spring may have delayed nesting season for a few days, but now that the weather has become more tropical it is time for increased nesting behavior. 

Witnessing a large 300-pound loggerhead sea turtle at night on the beach is an experience that triggers an emotional response for some. Their ancient cycle of life continues to succeed using only a ribbon of beach for nesting, and then spending the remainder of their life in the open ocean. As technology evolves, scientists are using DNA extracted from eggshells to track generations of female loggerheads that return to specific beaches over time. When the sea turtle hatchlings emerge from the nest, they are ingrained on that particular beach, giving them a place they can call home if and when they return to nest as a mature sea turtle in the future.

To view the entire feature article in the newspaper click on Colletonian.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Beginning Farmer Program Regional Workshop / Marion Barnes

You need food, water and cover 
The Clemson University Extension Service administers the South Carolina New and Beginning Farmer Program. In August of 2016 Clemson University and their Department of Agribusiness received a grant of $595,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to nurture the next generation of S.C. farmers. A part of their outreach program provides regional workshops, and the Colleton County Clemson Extension Office hosted a talk by Marion Barnes on pasture grass, hay production and developing wildlife plots.

Watch out for these pest critters
Clemson Extension’s Alta Mae Marvin introduced Marion Barnes as a Senior County Extension Agent, with long term tenure in Colleton County, distinguished by his knowledge on row crop farming, forages for livestock, and wildlife food plots. “If your hay field could talk it would tell you to get a soil sample test from the Clemson Extension,” said Barnes. “Each soil test is the best $6 value you can get today, and then you will know what elements to monitor in your pasture, hay field or food plots.”

Switching gears to the subject of wildlife food plots, Barnes shares that a multi-year management plan should be produced. “Do you want to attract game or non-game species,” said Barnes. “Wildlife habitat components include acreage, food, water and cover. We have a lot of small farm landowners in Colleton County so adjacent property habitats may influence wildlife use on your property. Keep some flexibility in your management plan since wildlife patterns can fluctuate.”

To read the entire feature article in the newspaper click on Colletonian.

To view past blog entries about Clemson Extension click 2017 Colleton Advisory Meeting 2016 Colleton Advisory Meeting - Pasture Grazing Workshop

To view past blog entries about Agribusiness in S.C. click on October Flooding - Hugh Weathers -  Tree Farm Lobby Day -  Benton's Peanuts - Fresh On The Menu