First, the drought monitor indicated no real change over the last week. The only part of the state abnormally dry, with a small area of moderate drought is in Southwest Kansas. However, the forecast for our area is for higher than normal temperatures with minor chances of rain. With the abundance of precipitation of the last several weeks, conditions won’t change over the next week. Today, let’s catch up on a few items and events.
• While we may not like it, the above normal temperatures are exactly what corn needs to finish. A later than normal harvest is likely for corn, but with a few exceptions, the Kansas corn crop is in much better shape than a majority of the Corn Belt.
• Milo is also benefitting from the heat. Unlike corn in our area, the milo crop is all over the place in terms of development. Some fields have totally turned color while other fields are just now pollinating. The rule of thumb from a former K-State researcher is milo that pollinates by September 1st have a greater than ninety percent chance of making a crop. Fortunately, most fields have adequate moisture and milo tolerates heat. An early frost, say before early October, is the last thing it needs.
• Soybeans are also all over the place. Pod set appears good, not fantastic, and more importantly most pods examined are filling nicely. However, the 90 plus temperatures are a bit higher than desired. Here an early frost is the last thing needed.
• There is adequate moisture for fall planting of wheat, rye, and triticale (not to mention fall alfalfa establishment). The biggest concern is field preparation: weed control, volunteer wheat control, fertilizer. Some wheat for pasture is already being planted.
• The annual Kids’ Ag Day was this past Wednesday and as usual provided area fourth graders with the opportunity to learn about agriculture, food, and to be able to go outside and enjoy. Over 80 volunteers helped make it a success and many area individuals, organizations, and businesses donated. A special thanks need to go out to Ron Koelsch for allowing the use of his farm and David Leroy, who is stepping down as chairman after over a decade in that position.
• The Kansas State Fair runs through Sunday of this week. This event is so much more than an agricultural event. If you go, take the time to view all the 4-H exhibits at the northwest part of the fairgrounds and at the animal barns. Maybe sample an apple dumpling at the Wheatland Café booth in the Pride of Kansas building.
• Finally, bees, butterflies, and other pollinators are a key to many of the foods we eat and the clothes we wear. Saturday, Sept. 28 from 9 a.m. until noon, the KWEC at Cheyenne Bottoms is hosting the annual Butterfly Festival. There are opportunities to catch and tag monarch butterflies, build seed bombs, win prizes and so much more. For information visit their web or Facebook page.
Dr. Victor L. Martin is the agriculture instructor/coordinator for Barton Community College. He can be reached at 620-792-9207, ext. 207.