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As school ends, ag activities begin
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Tomorrow starts finals’ week for students at Barton with graduation ceremonies Thursday evening. While things are winding down a bit at the college, lots of activities from other graduations to area events and farming activities are ramping up. With that in mind, here are some random items.
• Saturday morning, May 12, is the Great Migration Rally. The event starts at the Quivira National Wildlife Refuge Visitor’s Center and ends up at the Wetlands Center at Cheyenne Bottoms. This is a free event including a free lunch at Dozier’s Winery, great stops in between and the chance to win one of many great prizes. At the Wetlands Center after everyone has migrated up from Quivira, there is a fascinating live bird show featuring raptors. Events include other activities including crafts for the kids. The registration deadline is Monday, May 7. To register, call the Wetlands Center at 877-243-9268.
• The annual Kansas Wheat Tour took place this past week. They are predicting an average yield of over 40 bushels per acre and a crop of well over 400 million bushels. Keep in mind that many of the individuals invited on the three day tour aren’t framers, agronomists, or deeply involved in wheat production. Producers are commenting on their estimate for several reasons. One, their projected numbers didn’t help the wheat market. Two, the tour is naturally done in a hurry and can only look at a fraction of the wheat planted. Three, their wheat doesn’t look that good. Four, wheat producers realize many bad things can happen between now and harvest. A short time from now, we will be able to determine just how accurate their guess was.
• One of the real differences with this year’s wheat tour was how they estimated yield. Typically they use a yield estimate method that doesn’t involve the wheat head since the heads normally wouldn’t be out, especially north of I-70. This year almost all the wheat was headed out across the state.
• Other items of interest found by the wheat tour. Wheat is at least two weeks ahead of schedule all over the state. While there are pockets of wheat needing moisture, overall, drought effects are confined more to the western portion of the state and the traditional wheat corridor in South Central Kansas looks very good. A fair amount of wheat in the area is suffering, especially with the temperatures of the last week. Fungicides were applied to a lot of wheat acres. So while this year’s crop has been bombarded with rust and other diseases, much of the wheat looks good.
• The biggest concern now for the crop, besides the disease issues, is the excessive heat that if it continues will finish the wheat early and decrease yield. Wheat is a cool season grass that can easily accept somewhat dry conditions with minimal stress. What it can’t take is excessive heat and no amount of soil moisture can overcome the negative effects.
Dr. Victor L. Martin is the agriculture instructor/coordinator for Barton Community College. He can be reached at 620-792-9207, ext. 207.