Monday, April 28, 2014

Women Learn About Agriculture Issues

by Sandra Wick, Agriculture and Natural Resources Agent

Recently, women gathered at the Smith County Courthouse and at the Mankato Community Center to focus on agriculture business management. Women in Agriculture meetings were held in Smith Center and in Mankato with the same topics at each of the programs. Whether a landowner, leader or helpmate; women play an important role in ensuring the success of family farm enterprises. The meetings, hosted by K-State Research and Extension’s Post Rock District, provided a unique environment where women can focus on increasing efficiency through their specific roles.

Sandra Wick, Post Rock Extension District Agriculture Agent, presented information on developing equitable leases along with the results 
of the 2013 Post Rock Extension Leasing Arrangements survey.
Throughout the morning sessions, women identified ways to maintain production growth while conserving the environment with Steve Wingerson and Mike Waite, Natural Resources Conservation Service. Keeping financial records is critical with any agricultural enterprise and Brian Shulda, Mankato Exchange Bank, provided information on the importance of keeping records along with identifying specific records and their role in agriculture. They received a grain market summary update from Dan O’Brien, K-State Research and Extension Northwest Area Ag Economist. Cary Tucker and Jim Peroutek, Farm Service Agency, provided updates about the potential impact of the new farm bill, and Lori Kugler, Smith County Bank, elaborated about retirement options for farm wives.

Nora Rhoades, Post Rock Extension District Family and Youth Development Agent, presented at both of the Women in Agriculture meetings and provided communication strategies for farm families.
After networking over lunch, Nora Rhoades, Post Rock Extension Family and Youth Development Agent, facilitated a discussion about communication strategies that promote strong families and successful businesses. The programs closed with an update from Sandra Wick, Post Rock Extension Agriculture Agent, about regional leasing arrangement trends, along with developing equitable leases and provided results from the 2013 Post Rock Leasing Arrangements Survey.

“This type of meeting not only provides agricultural information on issues and concerns facing farm wives or women in agriculture, but creates an excellent networking opportunity for women to meet and visit others in north central Kansas.” stated Wick, “We are most appreciative of our local partners for making presentations and providing valuable information to the participants.” Throughout the meetings women learned and shared about up-to-date production strategies, practical tips, and rural life lessons.

If you were able to attend either of the recent Post Rock Extension Women in Agriculture meetings, contact any office of the Post Rock Extension District in Beloit, Lincoln, Mankato, Osborne or Smith Center for copies of the materials from the meetings.

Osborne will be the location tonight (April 28) of an additional Women in Agriculture meeting with “Farm Transition Planning” as the featured topic with Mike Irvin, Kansas Farm Bureau Legal Foundation as the guest speaker.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Wheat Freeze Damage?

by Sandra Wick, Agriculture and Natural Resources Agent

Well, mother nature has also brought some cold temperatures where the thermometer dipped well below freezing. So the big question is……how it or did it affect the wheat crop? 

For the most part, the wheat crop is 2-3 weeks behind schedule for this time of year due primarily to the dry soil conditions. So this is good news as the extent of the potential damage of the wheat is significantly determined by the stage of development of the wheat plant. So there are other factors that can affect freeze damage that include the density of the stand and condition of the plants, the amount of residue on the soil surface, the extent and duration of low temperatures along with the soil moisture. 

So for the most part, much of the wheat in the northcentral part of Kansas is still in the tillering stage and has not really starting the next stage which is jointing. However, there could be some wheat in the early jointing stages. Jointing simply is when the stem of the wheat plant begins to elongate and the small wheat head begins the journey up the stem. This stage of development puts the wheat head at a more sensitive stage for any cold injury when spring freezes may occur. Tillering wheat will sustain damage to the existing foliage, but usually the growing points should be protected by the soil and should escape injury. 

Jointing wheat can usually tolerate temperatures in the mid to upper 20’s with no significant injury. But, if temperatures fall into the low 20’s or even lower for several hours, the lower stems, leaves or the developing wheat head can sustain injury. Several of the K-State Research and Extension weather stations across the state reported temperatures well into the low to mid 20’s or even lower. For NC Kansas, Jewell, Mitchell and Osborne counties reported temperatures from 27 degrees F. in Jewell to down to about 18 degrees for more than 6 hours in Osborne County.  
So what are the symptoms to look for to determine if freeze damage occurred? The best thing producers can do for the first few days is to simply walk the field to observe damaged leaves or crimped stems. But more importantly, BE PATIENT!!! Do not take immediate actions as a result of the freeze as it will take several days of warm weather, maybe 7-10 days, to accurately evaluate the damage. One of the most noticeable signs of some damage will be to the leaves, so look at how the wheat plant reacts after the 7-10 days of warm temperatures. If new tillers develop with a good green color, then the tiller is probably still alive. However, if the newly emerging leaves are yellow, that could indicate that the tiller is dead or damaged. 

 K-State Research and Extension has an excellent publication entitled, Spring Freeze Injury in Kansas, available online at: or at any Post Rock Extension District Office.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Afterschool with the Kids

by Nadine Sigle, Family and Consumer Sciences Agent

The last couple of years Post Rock Extension has been helping the Osborne Library with the WAC (Wednesday After Class) program. Yesterday (April 16, 2014) was our last session to help for the school year. It was a nice afternoon and we were able to get the kids outside to do all of our activities.


As an agent whose programming focus is foods, nutrition, health and safety, I always try to have something where the kids are able to be up and move. Yesterday, with assistance from Nora Rhoades, Family & Youth Development Extension Agent, they played MyPlate Relay. With cardboard food models they had to race to the plate to drop the food into the corresponding food group. 
It’s a great way to see if the kids have learned what food group the various foods belong to.


The second activity, the kids made their own windowsill onion garden. It started with the reading of the children’s book, “Tops and Bottoms.” The book allows us to discuss the plant parts we eat.


The kids weren’t overly excited about planting an onion but they did like seeing the windowsill garden.

Using a clear plastic bottle, they filled it with potting soil, planted their onion sets, and then watered it. In a few days the onion should be sprouting and popping through the top of the bottle.


The part the kids enjoy the most is making a creative snack. This time the kids made apple frogs and strawberry mice. Both were critters you might occasionally find in the vegetable garden.


And of course the best part is being able to eat them.

WAC (Wednesday After Class) is a great program and I would like to thank the Osborne Library and all of the volunteers who make this happen. It gives Extension an opportunity to share some educational programming, but more importantly it gives the kids a safe place to go on Wednesday afternoons and learn a little while having some fun.