Q. Last week, the Garden Tips column noted that "most of the genetically modified crops grown in this country are major agricultural crops ... and include wheat." Wheat is a major crop in our state. Is there any of this genetically modified wheat being grown in Washington?
A. No, not in Washington or elsewhere in the U.S. That's because "Monsanto pulled its plans to release Roundup Ready wheat cultivars well over six or seven years ago," said Dr. Alan Felsot, Washington State University Tri-Cities professor of entomology and environmental toxicology. Felsot notes that Monsanto received nonregulated status for the wheat from the United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, but the company decided not to release the Roundup Ready wheat because of pressure from growers concerned about market access. He also notes that farmers can't buy genetically modified corn without signing a technology agreement.
Q. I want to make apple butter, but would like to substitute Splenda for sugar. Is that OK?
A. If you are planning to eat it immediately, it is safe to try. If you are planning to process the apple butter, it is important to use a recipe designed for canning. Be aware that with home canning, sugar is an important preservative. Any time the amount of sugar is reduced, the product will mold quickly after it is opened. Be sure to store apple butter in the refrigerator once it is opened. You can find a recipe designed and tested for home canning at: http://bit.ly/HwXziN
Q. I am buying hay for my cattle for this winter. I know the forage mixture, but where can I find out the nutritional value of the hay?
A. There are published tables that will give you an idea of the quality of types of hay. However, the only way to be certain of your hay's quality is to have it tested by a certified laboratory. Certifications by the National Forage Testing Association can ensure that the results are a product of analytical procedures that are accurate and repeatable. Feed is a large investment for any livestock enterprise and an accurate test is one step toward protecting that investment. Your local WSU Extension office can provide a list of certified forage testing laboratories.
-- Questions should be called in to the WSU Extension offices in Kennewick at 735-3551 or Pasco at 545-3511.