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National Farm Safety Week coming
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The slogan, "farm safety is no accident," is as true today as it ever was. Safety has to be intentional or accidents will eventually get you.

This year’s National Farm Safety and Health Week takes place Sept. 19-25. For years, this event was sponsored by the National Safety Council but the lead group these days is the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety based in Peosta, Iowa.

This year’s theme is "ATVs: Work Smart. Ride Safe." It is with good reason that we have that theme. Four wheelers are fun to ride and like any piece of farm equipment can help get more work done on the farm. However, they can be dangerous as well.

Next week I will highlight some ATV safety tips and rules. In the meantime, let’s look at the big picture surrounding farm and outdoor safety and realize many other accident situations exist, especially at this busy time of year.

Recently, a child was run over and killed by an irrigation center pivot wheel. Just last week, a 12-year-old died in Reno County when he was run over by a tractor after he fell while riding in a front end loader.

There are many others too numerous to mention including my nephew several years ago.

If you would like to help celebrate National Farm Safety week, plan an educational safety event for your school. There are many great lesson plans available from several groups for teachers or guest presenters. You may even just want to do one with your own civic or church group or any gathering in your community.

Let’s make this a harvest of safety and health.


Forest Service offers seedling trees for fall planting

The Barton County Extension Office is taking orders for low-cost tree seedlings offered through the Kansas Forest Service conservation tree planting program. Orders will be taken Sept. 7 through Oct. 15. Landowners are encouraged to place their orders as early as possible to ensure they get the plants they want. The price is $50 per bundle for 25 of a single variety.

Many of you have heard me say that fall is my favorite planting time as long as you have balled and burlapped or container grown trees with soil around them when planted.

They have added several new deciduous (broadleaf) tree species in addition to the traditional evergreens. These include: Bur Oak, English Oak, Sawtooth Oak, and Swamp White Oak. Evergreen species include: Austrian pine, Pinyon pine, Colorado blue spruce, Eastern Red cedar, Ponderosa pine, and Southwestern white pine. We also have one shrub - fragrant sumac.

Approved uses for the plants include: habitat creation for game birds, song birds and wildlife; barriers to reduce noise pollution; home and/or livestock windbreaks; living snow fences; Christmas tree plantations; firewood lots; screens to hide ugly views; and property line marking.

The program offers one- to two-year-old species which are selected for hardiness in the central high plains. The seedlings are mostly 12-18 inch tall container-grown stock, depending on the species. Fall planting is ideal due to moderate temperatures and ample rainfall. Trees can be planted as long as soil temperatures are above 40 degrees, which is normally up until Thanksgiving in our area. Trees should be monitored and watered throughout the winter to insure survival. Protective tubes are available for purchase to protect new plantings from rabbits.

Order forms and more information are available at the Barton County Extension Office, 1800 12th Street in Great Bend or by calling 620-793-1910. You can download the forms at


More on over-seeding your lawn

I didn’t quite finish my saga on over-seeding your cool season lawn last week. Some of your may have gotten a streak of ambition and already have it done. For the rest of you, here is the final chapter.

A third option is to use a core aerator. These machines will punch holes in the soil and deposit the soil cores on the surface of the ground. Each hole produces an excellent environment for seed germination and growth. Make 3 to 4 passes with the core aerator to insure enough holes for the seed.

Using a core aerator has the additional benefit of reducing the amount of watering needed to get the seed germinated and growing. Aeration also increases the water infiltration rate, decreases compaction and increases the amount of oxygen in the soil.

Fertilizer should then be applied at the rate suggested by a soil test, or a starter fertilizer should be used at the rate suggested on the bag. Seeding is the next step and is usually done with half the amount of seed used when working with bare ground. For tall fescue, the normal rate is 6 to 8 pounds per 1,000 square feet, so the over-seeding rate is 3 to 4 pounds per 1,000 square feet. This should be broadcast over the prepared area.

Water everything in and then keep the seed bed constantly moist to ensure rapid germination. Frequent, light watering should give way to deeper and more infrequent irrigation as seedlings become established.

Fertilize again four to six weeks after seeding to keep plants growing well and to build up food reserves.

Rick Snell is the Barton County Extension Agricultural Agent for K-State Research & Extension. He can be reached at 620-793-1910 or The Barton County Extension Office is located at 1800 12th Street in Great Bend.