Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Upcoming Couple’s Retreat: Swing Dance Lessons and More!

Nora Rhoades, Family & Youth Development Agent

The Post Rock Extension District is partnering with Beloit Parks and Recreation to host a Couple’s Retreat that will offer an opportunity for couples to focus on commitment and companionship while having some fun!

The Couple’s Retreat is scheduled for three consecutive weeks on Wednesdays – January 21st, January 28th, and February 4th. It will take place at the Beloit Municipal Building from 6:00-8:00pm. Each session will include a light meal and interactive relationship building activities (including couples cooking, a problem-solving challenge, and strengths affirmation activities). The second hour of each week will consist of country swing dance lessons.

The Couple’s Retreat is a great opportunity to spend time with your special someone while having fun and strengthening your relationship. Couples of all ages are encouraged to participate (individuals must be 16 years or older).

The registration deadline is January 7, 2015. Register at the Post Rock District – Beloit Office (courthouse basement; 785-738-3597). There is a $15 participation fee per couple to cover supply expenses for the whole series. Payment is due at time of registration.

For more information about the Couple’s Retreat, visit or contact Nora Rhoades,

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Controlling weeds in wheat takes prior planning

Sandra Wick, Agriculture Natural Resources Agent

Weeds compete with wheat for light, water, nutrients, and space.  Uncontrolled weeds in wheat decrease yields, lower quality and interfere with harvest.  It is important to scout fields and properly identify young weed seedlings early in the season to develop an effective weed management strategy.  Understanding the life cycle of the weeds will also help with identification and control.  

Basically weeds are divided into different categories depending on their emergence and growth pattern.  There are winter annuals, summer annuals and perennials. 

Winter annual weeds generally emerge in the fall of the year, go dormant over winter, resume active growth in the spring, flower and set seed before dying in the summer.  Winter annual weeds are generally most susceptible to herbicides in the fall or before they have begun to bolt or joint in the spring.   These include grasses and broadleaves such as cheat grasses, jointed goat grass, mustards, field pennycress or henbit.  Winter annual weeds are usually the most abundant type of weeds in winter wheat because they

Tansy Mustard rosette
have a similar life cycle.

There are several herbicide options for controlling winter annual broadleaf weeds in wheat. Generally, fall applications will provide the best control of winter annual weeds with any herbicide, as long as the weeds have emerged. The majority of winter annual weeds usually will emerge in the fall, although you can still have some emergence in the spring, especially if precipitation after planting is limited in the fall. However, winter annual weeds that emerge in the spring often are not very competitive with the crop, at least in years when there is a good crop stand.

Some herbicides can work well even when applied during the dormant part of the season, while others perform best if the crop and weeds are actively growing. The key difference relates to the degree of soil activity provided by the herbicide. Herbicides that have good residual activity, such as Glean, Finesse, Amber, and Rave can generally be applied in January and February when plants aren’t  actively growing and still provide good weed control, assuming you have proper conditions for the application. Most other herbicides, which depend more on foliar uptake, will not work nearly as well during the mid-winter months, when the wheat and weeds aren’t actively growing, as compared to a fall or early spring application.

“bolted” Tansy Mustard
Spring herbicide applications can be effective for winter annual broadleaf weed control as well, but timing and weather conditions are critical to achieve good control. Spring applications generally are most effective on winter annual broadleaf weeds soon after green-up when weeds are still in the rosette stage of growth, and during periods of mild weather. Once weeds begin to bolt and wheat starts to develop more canopy, herbicide performance often decreases dramatically. 

We will continue the summer annuals and perennial management strategies in further discussions for another blog.  So stay tuned for more information on our Post Rock Extension District BLOG.

We recently held two Weed Management meetings in the Post Rock Extension District during the month of December.  If you would like information from the meetings, contact me at or call me at the Smith Center office at 785-282-6823.

For more information on upcoming agronomy educational programs visit the Post Rock Extension District website ( or contact your local Post Rock Extension District Offices in Beloit, Lincoln, Mankato, Osborne or Smith Center.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Care of Poinsettias

Jenae Ryan, Horticulture Agent

Along with Christmas trees, poinsettias are bright, lively plants associated with the Christmas holidays. Here are some tips to keep your poinsettias for several weeks, even after the holidays have passed.

Temperature Requirements - Modern poinsettia varieties can stay attractive for a long time if given proper care. When bringing your poinsettia inside from your vehicle, be sure to have it covered or in a protective sleeve to keep it warm. Even a few minutes of cold temperatures can damage the plant. Place your poinsettia in a sunny window or the brightest area of the room, but don't let it touch cold window panes. The preferred temperature for poinsettias is between 65 to 75 degrees during the day and 60 to 65 degrees at night. Temperatures above 75 degrees will shorten bloom life, and temperatures below 60 degrees may cause root rot. Move plants away from windows at night or draw drapes between them to avoid damage from the cold. Also keep plants away from radiators, air registers, and open doors.

Watering and Fertilizing - Poinsettias require moderate soil moisture, but are very sensitive to over-watering. On the other hand, if the plant is allowed to wilt, the plant will drop some leaves. In order to maintain proper soil moisture, examine the potting soil daily by sticking your finger about one-half inch deep into the soil. If it is dry to this depth, the plant needs water. When it becomes dry to the touch, water the plant with lukewarm water until some water runs out of the drainage hole, then discard the drainage water. Do not let the plant sit in standing water. If your plant came wrapped in decorative foil, remove the foil or make holes in it to allow for water drainage. Poinsettias do not require fertilizer while they are in bloom. To maintain green foliage and promote new growth after the holiday blooms, an all-purpose house plant fertilizer applied once a month is recommended.

Are They Poisonous? – Contrary to popular belief, poinsettias are not poisonous. A study at Ohio State University showed that a 50-pound child would have to eat more than 500 leaves to experience any harmful side effects. However, the milky sap they produce can irritate sensitive skin or people with latex allergies. The poinsettia sap may cause mild irritation or nausea in pets if ingested. Even though the leaves reportedly have a bad taste, it is still advised to keep the poinsettias away from pets and young children.

With proper care, you can have beautiful plants long after the Christmas decorations come down. Best wishes for a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Why is Kansas SNAP-Ed needed?

Nadine Sigle, Family Consumer Science Agent 

For the last 12 to 15 years I have focused a great deal of my time on the Family Nutrition Program in the Post Rock District. The Family Nutrition Program (FNP) is funded through SNAP-ED (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-Education), or the Department of Children and Families (DCF). To receive the funding, we are required to work with families or schools who have limited financial resources.

In the Post Rock District, it may surprise many to know that our schools range from ---- to --- of the students enrolled in the free and reduced lunch program. Overall, for the five county district, 53% of our students are on free and reduced lunches. The significance of this statistic shows that the majority of our students live in a family where they may not have enough money to buy nutritious food.

The SNAP-ED goal is to improve the likelihood that persons eligible for SNAP will make healthy food choices within a limited budget and choose physically active lifestyles consistent with MyPlate and the current Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

With each FNP program conducted we are to do evaluations and the evaluations are showing that we are making a difference. The percentage of families who eat at least five servings of fruits and veggies a day has increased, families are planning how they are going to spend their food dollars, and families are making meal plans.

To see a complete snap shot of the SNAP-ED or Family Nutrition Program for 2014 I encourage you to check out the annual report located on the Post Rock District website ( ). Scroll down the page and click on the article “Kansas SNAP-ED 2014 Report.”

If you know of individuals who are struggling to make ends meet, encourage them to sign up for SNAP benefits. You’ll be making a difference in a person’s life.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Farm Succession and Estate Planning Educational Series in January 2015

Nora Rhoades, Family & Youth Development Agent

The Kansas producer’s average age is 58, indicating there will be a major transfer of farm ownership throughout the next 20 years.

The day sons or daughters announce they’d like to take over the family farm or ranch can be a proud one, but it can also be fraught with communication challenges, legal pitfalls and differing expectations.

To ensure the successful transition of farm ownership and management across generations,
it is essential to have a business succession and estate plan. Developing and communicating these plans to family members can be a challenge; however, the reward of sustaining the well-being of your family is worth the effort. It is important to regularly discuss farm succession and estate planning with your parents, siblings, children, grandchildren, and other appropriate stakeholders.

To help Kansas farmers and ranchers with the succession process, K-State Research and Extension’s Post Rock District is hosting a “Strengthening Rural Families Educational Series” scheduled on January 7th and 14th, 2015. The educational series will be held at the Smith Center Firehouse from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. for each session. The fee for participation is $25 person or $75 per family with up to 5 family members and payment is due at the time of registration. The registration includes participation in both days of the series and lunch will be provided along with a packet of materials.

Participants will gain knowledge and resources about the basics of estate planning, farm transition planning, rural business succession planning, strategies to maintain strong relationships, legal aspects of estate planning, and decision-making tools to assist families.

Featured presenters include:

· Dr. Ron Hansen — University of Nebraska-Lincoln Professor, Neil E. Harlan Distinguished Professor of Agribusiness
· Dr. Forrest Buhler — Kansas Agricultural Mediation Services, Staff Attorney
· Morgan Gauby — Edward Jones Financial Advisor
· Dr. Charlotte Shoup Olsen — K-State Research and Extension Family Systems Specialist
· Dr. Gregg Hadley — K-State Assistant Director of Extension, Agriculture, Natural Resources and Community Development

The meetings are partially funded by three different grants and donations including the Dane G. Hansen Foundation, Edward Jones Investments, K-State Research and Extension Epsilon Sigma Phi Endowment and the Smith County Community Foundation.

Pre-registration is requested by Wednesday, December 31 to any of the Post Rock Extension District Offices in Beloit, Lincoln, Mankato, Osborne or Smith Center. For more information visit the Post Rock Extension District website ( or contact your local Post Rock Extension District Office.

Complete event details:

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

“Dining In” for Healthy Families

Nora Rhoades, Family Youth Development Agent

With the high rate of obesity in this country, especially among children, family and consumer sciences (FCS) professionals are calling attention to something simple families can do to be healthier—prepare and eat a nutritious meal together.

“Dining In” for Healthy Families is the theme of Family & Consumer Sciences Day, a national celebration on December 3, 2014.

“By making meal time a family time you can improve family relationships, save money, and increase your family’s consumption of healthy foods,” said Nora Rhoades, Family and Youth Development Agent in K-State Research and Extension’s Post Rock District. “Literacy skills and school performance improves when kids and teens dine in with their family on a regular basis.”

The American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (AAFCS) shares these tips for dining in:
·         Make family meals a priority and agree upon a schedule.
·         Try to have regular family meals two to three times per week.
·         If dinnertime doesn't work, have family breakfasts or snacks.
·         Keep meals simple.  Slow cookers save time in the evening!
·         Double recipes and freeze food for a second meal.
·         Set aside 30 minutes on the weekend for meal planning.
·         Make family meals fun and include children in food preparation.
·         Discuss neutral or positive topics at the table.
·         Eliminate distractions like TV and cell phones.
·         Eat slowly, and enjoy your time as a family!

Celebrate Family and Consumer Sciences Day on December 3rd

Commit to “Dining In” at You can make a commitment for yourself and your family or on behalf of a class or community group.

If you don’t want to make a commitment, but still want to celebrate “Dining In” take a picture of your family at meal time or share a favorite nutritious recipe with a friend or loved one. If you share something on social media use the tag #healthyfamselfie.

Field of Family & Consumer Sciences

The career field of family and consumer sciences draws from broad and diverse disciplines to develop and provide content and programs that help individuals become more effective critical thinkers and problem solvers. FCS professionals are located nationwide in a variety of practice settings, including secondary schools, universities, government agencies, and businesses.

Through discovery and delivery of research-based knowledge, FCS professionals help individuals and families develop essential skills to successfully live and work in a complex world. They are uniquely qualified to speak on many critical issues affecting individuals and families, such as maintaining a healthy lifestyle, wisely managing personal and family finances, and creating supportive relationships with family members, friends, and co-workers.