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Catching up on loose ends
Dr. Victor Martin

It seems Mother Nature is unsure of what season it is. Another “bomb cyclone” hit the northern Great Plains and the blizzard conditions are scheduled to clip Northwest Kansas with gusty winds and possible storms for parts of the state. This is the second bomb cyclone to hit the area in less than 30 days. One is somewhat uncommon out here and in a brief period of time even more so. Today, let’s catch up on some loose ends.

• The Farm and Ranch Expo is over and is one of the largest in the Midwest. For an area this small in population, it is a credit to all involved to pull of an event of this kind with primarily volunteer help. It does seem that no matter when the Expo is scheduled, there has to be wind and nasty weather, yet the exhibitors and volunteers preserve.

• It was just released that Kansas leads the region in renewable/clean energy job growth and generates more wind energy than Texas. Farmers play a role in three ways – grain for ethanol production, leasing land for wind farms, and more and more leasing land for solar farms. Also playing a large role are utilities such as Midwest Energy who are committed to renewable energy.

• Some corn was planted before our latest brush this past week with cold weather. It’s fine. Temperatures are supposed to rebound this week and the two inch soil temperature this past Thursday morning was fifty degrees and fifty-two degrees at four inches. The soil has moisture so it won’t cool off dramatically.

• It’s time to plant corn if at all possible. The forecasted outlook is for above normal precipitation so it’s critical to get the crop in the ground.

• Winter wheat is starting to joint, the growing point is above the ground. Will the subfreezing temperatures damage the growing point? Probably not unless temperatures dip more than forecasted and for an extended period of time. Well-tillered, thicker wheat further protects the growing point with foliage. And there is the added bonus of moist soil holding heat plus the insulating blanket of the wheat. Thinner stands may be more at risk but they likely haven’t jointed yet.

• Barton Community College has started enrolling for the Fall 2019 semester. Area agribusiness is indicating they need help in all phases of agriculture. The scale industry also needs help. Barton has short-term certificate opportunities in Crop Protection, Beef Cattle Production and for Scale Technician. There are also two-year degree opportunities in Agricultural Business Management, Crop Protection, and Agriculture. Barton also offers semester long courses to obtain either a Class A or B Commercial Driver’s License. If you look at the want ads you will notice a huge demand for CDL holders.

Dr. Victor L. Martin is the agriculture instructor/coordinator for Barton Community College. He can be reached at 620-792-9207, ext. 207.