They say that April showers bring May flowers. The question on everybody's mind right now is what do April ice storms bring? This year, for three weeks in a row, this region has experienced temperatures well below freezing with ice and snow adding to the problems. After two severe drought years the good news is we finally are receiving some moisture. The wheat fields may be growing slow, and look promising as of now, but how much more of Mother Nature's changing moods can it handle?
After the last blast of winter this week, we have had three extremely cold, hard freeze events in about two weeks. By the middle of next week at the latest the damage from this last freeze on the developing head should be apparent. Most of the attention has focused on wheat but where are we concerning our spring planted crops? Let's tackle the easy ones first.
Forty three years ago, when folks in the USA celebrated the first Earth Day, I was stationed in Stuttgart, West Germany – the country was still divided then. Back then I had little opportunity to carry signs that championed the abstract idea of protecting something as vast as our planet. Heck, I didn't even hear about Earth Day until I returned a couple years later.
No one can argue our weather has been boring in 2013. Many find these spring reminders of winter unusual to say the least. The area and most of Kansas has experienced two hard freezes combined with freezing precipitation over the last two weeks. This stands in sharp contrast with the winter/spring seasons common during much of the 2000s. The K-State weather station at the US 281 and US 50 junction reported a high temperature of 4l° F and a low of 34° on Thursday April 18. Friday, April 19, had a low in the mid-20s.
U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) continues to work to provide as much relief to drought-impacted producers as possible. NRCS State Conservationist Eric B. Banks announced the agency will assist producers through a new Drought Recovery Initiative. NRCS will use two application cutoff dates for the initiative: May 17 and June 21, 2013.
In response to the drought faced by Kansas producers, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is providing financial and technical assistance in a new Water Quantity and Drought Pilot funded through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) announced Eric B. Banks, State Conservationist. While NRCS accepts applications for financial assistance on a continuous basis, NRCS will use two application cutoff dates for this pilot: May 17 and June 21, 2013.
This week, I have been in Manhattan for New Agent Training and it was wonderful to meet and to learn from the experts in their various fields. One person I had the pleasure to meet was Ward Upton. He is a specialist for the Horticulture Department with a wealth of knowledge about his subject. This week, I thought that I would share a couple of his pieces from the most recent Horticulture newsletter. I hope you find them as informative as I did.
Farming is a dangerous business. In fact, farming is one of the most dangerous jobs in the US. Every year, around one hundred youth are killed in farm work related activities. A lot of these deaths could have been prevented with better safety practices. Every year, Barton County, K-State Extension and Research provides a class in Hazardous Occupations Training to teach youth ages 13-18 about the Hazards of farm work, and how to create a safer working environment. Even though the class if offered for a larger age range, it is required for individuals 14-15 years old who will be ...
Wheat farmers in Kansas joke that wheat has nine lives and you don't produce a crop unless at least eight of them have been used up before harvest. While this may sound a bit like gallows humor, there is a lot of truth in this statement. The wheat crop here is exposed to the extremes of our weather for nine months while crops like corn, soybean, and sorghum for approximately four. One of the hazards continually on the minds of wheat producers is a late freeze. Before the wheat joints in the spring, the growing point of the plant ...
Huge and nearly impossible to comprehend are words that best describe the economic impact of California agriculture as viewed through the eyes of nine Kansas farm families who toured the state beginning on March 25.
How do you really know spring has arrived? Beyond the obvious signs like wheat greening up, daffodils blooming and springing forward, the Great Bend area has its own particular way. Next week from April 10-12 at the Expo Center the second annual Great Bend Farm and Ranch Expo takes place and promises to put an exclamation point on the start of the spring farming season. Farmers and ranchers love looking at new technology, state of the art equipment, maybe snagging a bargain and catching up with people they may only see once a year. That's why the agricultural community ...
When you are trying to grow a garden, the more information you have at the beginning of the growing season, the better potential your garden will produce well during the year. One piece of information that is easy to investigate is a soil test. A soil test is an inexpensive method to determine how healthy your soil is, and what you can do to improve it to help your plants be healthy also. A gardener will want to test every 1- 5 years. This test will tell you what nutrients are available for your plants to use to grow, and ...
First, here's wishing a very Happy Easter to everyone. Rather than go deeply into a topic when many of us are enjoying well-deserved family gathering, let's tie up a few loose ends.
Cattlemen across much of Kansas are in a quandary. As grass managers, they are asking themselves how many cattle will their ranges and pastures support after twenty to thirty months of drought. What steps can be taken to protect the grazing resources while maintaining enough cattle numbers to be financially viable? Will we get enough runoff to fill the ponds?
If you've ever heard the stampeding sound of a tornado or been close enough to see fence posts, the side of a building or the steel of a grain bin twisting furiously as the dreaded black monster gobbles up the countryside, you'll remember it always.
Many times when I go out on home visits, the homeowners concerns are with trees on their property. One reason for your trees being in distress may very well be your lawn. If your grass, (especially cool season grasses such as fescue) is allowed to grow up to the trunk of your trees, the competition for water and other nutrients may cause your tree to decline in health. Following is a report on research that has been completed by KSU with more information about the grass and tree competition issue many homeowners have faced.
The two previous columns briefly outlined reasons for the large changes in agriculture over the last century and the results of those changes for the society. Also discussed were the effects these changes had on the practice of agriculture. Now, let's wrap it up and discuss how these changes changed agricultural producers themselves. Please keep in mind these are general trends that don't necessarily mean everyone producing food, fiber, or fuel or that today is bad and a century ago was better or vice-versa..
The U.S. Department of Agriculture reminds livestock producers that the Jan. 30, 2015, deadline to request assistance for losses suffered from Oct. 1, 2011 through Dec. 31, 2014, is fast approaching.
Hype is a word often associated with advertising agencies, public relations firms and spin doctors who attempt to create, change or repair an image. Many people consider hype a dirty word, something to detest.
The 2015 Central Plains Irrigation Conference and Exposition will take place Feb. 17-18 at the City Limits Convention Center, Colby. The popular annual event focused solely on irrigation-related topics is hosted in Kansas every third year. Sponsors include Kansas State University, Colorado State University, the University of Nebraska and the Central Plains Irrigation Association.
All Kansas farmers are invited to the Kansas Commodity Classic on Friday, Feb. 6. The Commodity Classic is the annual convention of the Kansas Corn, Wheat and Grain Sorghum Associations, and will take place at the at the Hilton Garden Inn, 410 S 3rd St, Manhattan, Kan., with registration beginning at 7:30 a.m. It is free to attend and includes a complimentary breakfast and lunch; however pre-registration is requested.
With the advent of 2015, there's hope the Obama administration will follow through on its ambitious trade agenda. Leaders on both sides of the Atlantic agree a more open trade partnership makes sense.
A forester once told me that you know a drought is severe if you see Red Cedar trees dying. All around the county, you can see Cedars in tree rows and windbreaks dead and brown. If you are looking to replace your tree row, The Kansas Forest Service offers low-cost tree and shrub seedlings for use in conservation plantings. Plants are one to two years old and sizes vary from 5 to 18 inches, depending on species. Orders are accepted from now through the first full week in May each year, but order early to insure receiving the items you ...
Last week's column briefly discussed some of the reasons for the large changes in agriculture over the last century. Drivers for change included two World Wars, the Great Depression, economic conditions after WWII, and the Federal Government. One reader pointed out that the column almost painted war as a good thing for agriculture. That wasn't the intent. The fact is the driver for change and the development of new techniques and technologies is typically an event or events forcing and accelerating change. Now, how did events change farming over the last century.
Many authors have documented the rise and fall of civilizations throughout time. Reasons for this rollercoaster effect are numerous-from human-influenced changes such as conquest, culture or religion, to events that occur in the natural environment including changes in climate or the presence of natural resources, such as soil.
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