Wednesday, September 30, 2015

North central crops shine at the Kansas State Fair!

Sandra L. Wick, Crop Production Agent
Emily and Kaden Roush, Lebanon, overall Grand Champion Soybean plant at the Kansas State Fair

Post Rock Extension District producers exhibit crops at the 2015 Kansas State Fair
     North Central Kansas was very well represented at the 2015 Kansas State Fair in the open class agricultural exhibits, September 11-20, in Hutchinson.  Eleven producers exhibited 60 entries of corn, honey, grain sorghum and soybeans.  The exhibits were entered on the first day of the fair and were displayed throughout the 10 day event. 
     Two producers received Grand Champion or first place on their corn, grain sorghum and soybean entries under each of the specific classes. 

     Those producers receiving Grand Champion or first place entries were:
Emily Roush – Grand Champion Soybean Plant (LG 3111) and 1st place Corn (LG 5618)
Kelly Roush – 1st Place Milo (Heartland Genetics 45C)
The following is a complete listing of the other open class agriculture entries and their placings: (Only the top 5 in each class were recognized and ranked unless otherwise stated.)

Theron Haresnape
Corn – Pioneer 1151 – 4th
Soybean Plant – Mycogen 5N385 – 4th

Steve Kuhlmann
Milo – Dekalb 44-20 – 2nd

Wyatt Rhoades
Milo – Pioneer 85G46 – 2nd
Corn – Pioneer 1498 – 3rd

Emily Roush
Corn – Longest Ear – 3rd
Milo – Heartland Genetics 45C – 4th

Kaden Roush
Corn – LG 5618 – 3rd
Milo – Heartland Genetics 45C – 3rd

Kelly Roush
Corn – LG 5618 – 2nd
Milo – Longest Head – Heartland Genetics 45C – 4th

Sue Roush
Soybean Plant – LG 3111 – 2nd
Corn – LG 5618 – 5th

Larry Wilson
Milo – Dekalb -37-07 – 4th

Tim Wilson
Milo – Longest Head – Dekalb 51-01 – 2nd
Milo – Dekalb 37-07 – 5th

*******Other exhibitors included Ross Ifland (Youth – Honey) and Brent Harzman, Downs, (soybean plants).

Friday, September 25, 2015

Help Yourself by Having a Fire Plan

By: Nora Rhoades, Family and Youth Development Agent

Imagine this -- waking in the middle of the night to a blaring siren and the smell of smoke in the air. It happens more often than many realize.

In 2013, one house fire was reported every 85 seconds in the United States, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Almost 370,000 house fires occurred that year alone. The number is less than the 458,000 reported 20 years earlier, but the potential for devastation if it happens in your home is immense.

Candles, clothes dryers and other electrical appliances, fireworks, and lightning pose some of the greatest risks for fires in the home. The NFPA reports that roughly three out of five fire deaths happen in homes with no smoke alarms or the alarms are not working.

Do you have a plan to prevent and respond to fire emergencies? Consider the following tips for individuals and families:
  • Install smoke alarms inside and outside each bedroom and sleeping area. Install alarms on every level of the home, even in an unfinished basement.
  • Make sure the alarms are on the ceiling or high on a wall. Keep them away from the kitchen to reduce false alarms. The NFPA recommends keeping them at least 10 feet from the stove. 
  • Make a home escape plan. Draw a map of your home showing all doors and windows and talk about it with everyone who lives in the home.
  • Know at least two ways to get out of every room, if possible.
  • Have an outside meeting place (tree, light pole or mailbox) a safe distance from the home where everyone agrees to meet.
  • Practice your home fire drill twice a year.
  • Teach children how to escape on their own in case you can’t help.
  • If the alarm sounds, get out and stay out. Don’t go back inside for people or pets.
  • If you have to escape through smoke, the NFPA says, “get low and go” under the smoke on your way out.
  • Call the fire department from outside your home.

With September designated National Preparedness Month by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, K-State Research and Extension is working with Kansans to be as prepared as possible for emergencies.

For resources to assist with disaster preparedness visit your local extension office in Beloit, Mankato, Lincoln, Osborne, and Smith Center. The Prepare Kansas blog,, is available any time of year for tips to help mitigate the effects of disasters for you, your family, and your workplace. You can also contact Nora Rhoades at or 785-346-2521.


Cattle producers should be aware of Anaplasmosis in our area

Neil Cates, Livestock Agent

Cattle producers should be aware of Anaplasmosis in our area:

There have been numerous cases of anaplasmosis in our area detected the past couple of weeks.  This disease, which appears most often in the fall months can be devastating if not treated properly and timely.   Anaplasmosis is of particular concern because it is relatively new to our area.  It was once thought of as more of a warm, tropical area disease but, has made its way north and west over the years.

Anaplasmosis is a parasitic organism that is transmitted through blood transfer by biting insects and ticks, and surgical instruments such as needles.  The death of the animal is due to the destruction of the red blood cells in the spleen of the host.  The anaplasmosis infection within the red blood cell causes the host to recognize these cells as “foreign” and therefore develops an immune response against them.  These cells are removed from circulation by the spleen causing severe anemia. 

Anaplasmosis affects almost exclusively adult cattle, not calves.   The most frequent observation is sudden death, even though it takes a few days from the time signs first appear until death occurs.  This makes it important to watch your herds closely.  Early symptoms include white skin that appears yellow and the whites of their eyes will also appear yellow.  One of the apparent signs is aggressiveness of the cow.  They can become very anxious and “chargy” once they reach the severe anemic stage. 

Treatment with a long-acting oxytetracycline (LA-200 type products) will usually stop further death losses within a week following treatment.  However, caution must be taken.  Exertion caused by taking cattle to or working them through the chute may be enough to kill more severely affected animals. 

Start checking your pastures more frequently to be on the look-out for this disease.  Random deaths of mature cows should raise red flags with you for this disease.   Most importantly, if you experience a death, or abnormal behavior or sickness in your cows, contact your local veterinarian.  The sooner you take action the better off you will be.  Work with your veterinarian for treatment and on preventative action for the future.  

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Flooding Can Happen Anywhere

By: Nora Rhoades, Family and Youth Development Agent

Whether it’s the basement, the highway or the community, flooding can happen anywhere. Sometimes you can anticipate flooding as you’re watching the rain fall in sheets from the living room window. But what if you’re on the way home from work or picking up the children from school?

“We can’t be 100 percent prepared for every emergency, but we can take actions now that can get things back to normal more quickly when disasters do happen,” said Nora Rhoades, Family and Youth Development Agent with the K-State Research and Extension Post Rock District.  

Flood in Manhattan, KS - May 4, 2015

Flash floods are the No. 1 cause of weather-related deaths in the United States, according to FEMA.

“Flooding is fresh on the minds of many people in Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska,” said FEMA Region VII Administrator Beth Freeman in a Sept. 2 news release. “With so much flooding during the past few months, it’s a good time to consider the true risk. This month, this week, today, we hope everyone will take action to develop and practice a family emergency communication plan for hazards like flooding.”

This year, the FEMA preparedness month theme is “Don’t wait. Communicate. Make your emergency plan today.”

“It’s better to have a plan about how you and your family will handle situations ahead of time, rather than be caught in the disaster having never talked about what to do,” Rhoades explained. “Now is the best time to build or restock your emergency preparedness kit, including a flashlight, batteries, cash and first aid supplies. Keep in mind, text messages and social media are sometimes better ways to communicate during an emergency when phone lines are tied up or not working.”

If flooding is occurring on the roads you are traveling, there are a few important things to keep in mind.

  • Turn around, don’t drown!
  • Avoid walking or driving through floodwaters. Just 6 inches of moving water can knock you off your feet and 2 feet of water can sweep your vehicle away.
  • Avoid camping or parking along streams, rivers and creeks during heavy rainfall. These areas can flood quickly with little warning.
Prepare Kansas, a K-State Research and Extension program, is designed to educate and help individuals and families prepare for all kinds of emergencies, including floods. The Prepare Kansas blog, is available any time of year for tips to help mitigate the effects of disasters for you, your family and your workplace.

For resources to assist with disaster preparedness visit your local extension office in Beloit, Mankato, Lincoln, Osborne, and Smith Center. You can also contact Nora Rhoades at or 785-346-2521.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Business with the Babysitter

Nora Rhoades, Family & Youth Development Agent

Hiring a babysitter to care for your child over a short period of time is common practice. A trustworthy babysitter allows parents and guardians more flexibility to run errands, go on a date, and be more involved in the community. Whether your babysitter is a teenager new to the business or an experienced adult, it is important to leave your care provider with the information necessary to respond to an emergency, meet each child’s unique needs, and maintain your family’s schedule.
            First off, you’ll want to make sure the babysitter has contact information for you and your partner. This includes home, work, and cell phone numbers. Discuss your outing destination and expected time of return. It is also recommended to share the contact information for your neighbors as well as for another emergency contact. The emergency contact should be a reliable and accessible adult who can assist with a situation in the event you cannot be reached.
 “Photo credit:
Additional emergency numbers like 911, medical personnel, and poison control should be communicated. If your family doesn’t have a landline, consider leaving a cell phone home with the care provider. In the event of an emergency, the babysitter will need to be able to communicate to medical personnel where they are located. Don’t assume the care provider knows your address by heart.
Regardless of the length of your departure, make sure to explain your family’s emergency plan with the care provider. Your family’s plan will assist the babysitter while working through experiences like temperature extremes, severe storms or a fire. Review your home’s identified fire exits and tornado shelter, the location of emergency supplies, and your disaster communication plan.
It may be helpful to share how and what appliances to use, where home supplies are located (first aid kit, flashlight, plunger, broom, etc.), and details about household security tools (locks, alarms, keys, etc.). Outlining responsibilities and special needs for family pets might need attention, too.
            Before you run out the door for your outing, take time to carefully review information that will ensure your child’s unique needs are met and your family’s schedule is maintained. This will make the babysitting experience less stressful for the care provider, your child, and yourself.
Ensure your babysitter is aware of age appropriate food options and preferred preparation techniques, medicine needs, and allergies. Explain activity information like technology limits, trusted playmates, and safe play areas both indoors and outdoors. Does your child have a special routine related to homework, sleep, or mealtime? Is there a security toy or blanket that shouldn’t be overlooked?
Finally, clarify house rules and preferred behavior and disciplinary actions. This will not only make the care provider feel more comfortable supervising your children, but it will also help maintain consistent expectations in your home.
While babysitters are valued resources available to help you make ends meets, it isn’t fair to assume they’re an expert about your home, child, and family’s lifestyle. Take time to discuss valuable information face-to-face with the babysitter in order to keep the needs of your children and family a priority. It is also suggested to leave a written document outlining important information for reference.

The Post Rock District of K-State Research and Extension serves Jewell, Lincoln, Mitchell, Osborne, and Smith Counties. Nora may be contacted at or by calling the office in Osborne 346-2521, Beloit 738-3597, Lincoln 524-4432, Mankato 378-3174, or Smith Center 282-6823. Like “Post Rock Extension” on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. Our website is

Monday, September 14, 2015

Youth Enrichment Offerings

Aliesa Woods, District Extension Agent

The Post Rock Extension District Agents have a variety of supplemental activities that can assist local educators meet academic standards. These programs will provide hands on learning for local youth. The programs cover a variety of topic areas including livestock, money management, horticulture, food and nutrition, agronomy and healthy relationships. These classes will be scheduled on a first come, first serve basis.
You can find the brochure with a list of program descriptions and contact information at

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

At Home or on the Road, Be Ready for Weather Extremes

By: Nora Rhoades, Family and Youth Development Agent

We’re about to enter one of the most agreeable times of year, weather wise in Kansas, but don’t let mild autumn temperatures fool you. Kansas’ location at the geographic center of the 48 continuous United States makes it a bullseye for all kinds of weather extremes.

In fact, the lowest temperature ever recorded in Kansas was at Lebanon, which happens to be the community closest to center of the U.S. A record low of -40 degrees F. was set there on Feb. 13, 1905, according to the Kansas Weather Data Library. The highest temperature ever recorded was 121 degrees F. at Fredonia on July 18, 1936. Alton, Kansas tied that record on July 24, 1936.

Items to have on hand in preparation for winter’s sometimes brutal temperatures include: de-icers to melt ice on walkways; sand to improve traction; snow shovels and other snow removal equipment; and sufficient heating fuel. Put together a family communication plan in case you are not together if a storm hits.

It’s also best to minimize travel if the forecast is threatening. If travel is necessary, keep an emergency supply kit in the vehicle, including a shovel; windshield scraper and small broom; battery-powered weather radio; extra batteries; snacks and water; matches; blankets; extra hats and gloves; first aid kit and necessary medications; booster cable; and tow chains or rope.

Prepare Kansas, a K-State Research and Extension program is designed to educate and help individuals and families prepare for emergencies. Being better prepared can help individuals and families recover more quickly from all kinds of emergencies, including winter storms and extreme cold. Prepare Kansas focuses on helping individuals and families help themselves.

For resources to assist with disaster preparedness visit your local extension office in Beloit, Mankato, Lincoln, Osborne, and Smith Center. Tips are also available at the Prepare Kansas blog, available to everyone, whether participating in Prepare Kansas or not. You can also contact Nora Rhoades at or 785-346-2521.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

What are some important guidelines to follow when planting my 2016 wheat crop?

Sandra L. Wick, Crop Production Agent

It will soon be time to plant your 2016 wheat crop.  Several factors can affect the wheat crop that producers have no control over especially the weather; however, management decisions such as planting date, seeding rate, tractor operations, and fertilization are areas where certain decisions can affect wheat yields.
 It is best to use a tractor speed of between 5 and 6 miles per hour in most cases when drilling wheat, depending on the amount of down pressure on the openers.  If higher speeds are used, the openers can tend to “ride up” in the soil every now and then if down pressure is insufficient. 
According K-State Research and Extension field studies, “the ideal planting depth for wheat in most cases is about 1.5 inches.” When planting early into very warm soils, it is especially important not to plant too deeply since coleoptile lengths are shorter than normal under warm conditions. On the other extreme, producers should also be especially careful not to plant too deeply when planting later than the recommended time into very cool soils. Getting a uniform seeding depth is also important. Where producers are planting into fields with heavy residue, or where there is uneven distribution of chaff from the previous crop, uneven planting depth can be a serious problem. In those situations, it is common to end up with poor stand establishment in areas of the field where the drill opener rode up over the residue or chaff, and was unable to penetrate the soil to the same depth as in other areas of the field. 
A firm seedbed is critical for successful germination.   Planting into loose, fluffy soils can be a problem where soils have been tilled repeatedly during the summer. When seeds are planted into loose soils, rains in the fall will settle the soil and leave the crowns of the seedlings too close to the soil surface. Producers that have no-till fields should also be sure that the equipment is planting deep enough to prevent the crown from developing too close to the surface.
Planting date is also another important factor that can affect your wheat crop.  In general, wheat should be planted somewhere around the Best Pest Management Planting (BPMP) date or formerly known as the “Hessian fly-free” date.  For the Post Rock Extension District, the fly free date ranges from September 29 in Jewell and Smith Counties to October 4 in Lincoln with Osborne and Mitchell counties in between those dates. This doesn’t always work according to plan, of course. Some years, the earlier-planted wheat does best and some years the later-planted wheat does best, depending on weather conditions and disease pressure during the growing season.    There may be good reasons to plant some wheat before the fly-free date, such as having considerable acreage to plant, but stand establishment and ultimate grain yields are usually best when wheat is planted around the fly-free date and before deadlines set by crop insurance. Late-planted wheat often does not develop an adequate root system before winter, and forms fewer productive fall tillers. When planting late, seeding rates should be increased by 25 to 50 percent (up to a maximum of 120 lbs./acre) to help ensure an adequate stand and compensate for the lack of tillering.
In general, producers should apply at least part of their nitrogen before or at planting time to get the plants off to a strong start. Nitrogen rates of 20-30 lbs./acre can help with fall establishment and tillering.   Starter phosphorus with the seed or band-applied close to the seed can also help with fall early growth and establishment, particularly in low-testing soils. Low soil pH can be a concern particularly early in the season when root systems are mostly near the surface, which is often an area of lower pH.   Soil tests will determine the need for pH adjustment, and potential for aluminum toxicity with the seed are potential management strategies for low pH and aluminum toxicity issues if it is too late to apply lime before seeding.
In general seeding rates for central Kansas range from 750,000 to 900,000 seeds per acre (50 to 60 pounds per acre at a rate of 15,000 seeds per pound).  Final stands should be 600,000 to 720,000 plants per acre.   However, when planting wheat late after row crop harvest, seeding rates should be increased.   It’s best to use a seeding rate of 1,350,000 to 1,800,000 seeds per acre (90 to 120 lbs. per acre) in central Kansas.  When planting more than three weeks after the Hessian fly-free date, producers should use a seeding rate of 1,800,000 seeds per acre or 120 lbs.
Watch out for potential disease issues when planting into corn residue. The risk of some diseases may be higher when wheat is planted into fields with large amounts of corn residue left on the soil surface. Fusarium head blight (scab) of wheat, for example, is caused by a fungus that is known to cause a stalk rot of corn.
Remember to be sure and control your volunteer wheat.  Even though it has gotten pretty dry out there, volunteer wheat is still managing to survive.  Volunteer wheat should be killed at least 2-3 weeks prior to the emergence of the new wheat crop to break the “green bridge” food source.
For further questions on wheat production, contact any Post Rock Extension District Office in Beloit, Lincoln, Mankato, Osborne or Smith Center.

Post Rock Extension District of K-State Research and Extension serves Jewell, Lincoln, Mitchell, Osborne, and Smith counties. Sandra may be contacted at  or by calling Smith Center, 282-6823, Beloit 738-3597, Lincoln 524-4432, Mankato 378-3174, or Osborne 346-2521.  Join us on Facebook at “Post Rock Extension” along with our blog site at “  Also remember our website is and my twitter account is @PRDcrops.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Emergency Supply Kits, Communication Planning Can Make a Big Difference

By: Nora Rhoades, Family and Youth Development Agent

Lynette Blakeslee had a sense of foreboding on May 24, 2011. That was the day a tornado ripped through Stafford County, Kansas and destroyed her home and other buildings on the farm where she and her husband raised three children.

“I had an awful feeling that day,” Blakeslee said of the uneasiness she felt as she listened to weather forecasts and watched the changing sky. She took items of importance, including financial documents, her purse, some of the quilts she’d made and other items to the basement and the storm did indeed come… roaring through at about 5:30 p.m.

Once the tornado passed and the house grew quiet, she climbed the stairs and opened the door. “Everything was gone. The roof of the house, outbuildings, and trees,” she said. Her car was also destroyed.

She would learn later that a woman and her two children had stopped their car under a cottonwood tree at the end of her driveway – taking shelter from the storm. The woman and her teenage son were killed and her daughter injured when the tree fell on their car.

“I still think about it a lot. I would just tell people to get ready, even if you just think it might happen,” said Blakeslee, when asked about advice she’d give. Her family still owns the farm, but did not rebuild the house. She has moved into Great Bend.

The Post Rock Extension District is helping citizens prepare for disasters through Prepare Kansas, a free K-State Research and Extension online program, designed to help Kansans prepare in advance in order to ease the effects of disasters after they’ve happened and allow for a quicker recovery.

Prepare Kansas coincides with September’s designation as National Preparedness Month by the Federal Emergency Management Agency <>. Participants complete weekly activities and by the end of September, they will be better prepared to recover from any disaster that strikes. 

“Start out by preparing a communication plan with family members and co-workers, and assemble an emergency supply kit,” explains Nora Rhoades, Post Rock District Family and Youth Development Agent. “A family may not be together when a crisis happens, so it’s important to think ahead about how you’d communicate in an emergency. Think of different scenarios – different types of disasters as well as methods of communication. What if cell phones are not working? How about land lines? Would your 12-year-old know who to call if he couldn’t reach you?”

Something as simple as making contact cards with email addresses and telephone numbers of family members, close friends and colleagues and making sure every member of the household has a copy, can be important. Younger children can keep the card in a backpack or school bag.

Start assembling an emergency supply kit including items such items as:

  • one gallon of water per day per person for at least three days
  • three-day supply of non-perishable food
  • battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio (with tone alert and extra batteries)
  • flashlight and extra batteries
  • first aid kit
  • whistle to signal for help
  • wrench to turn off utilities 
Prepare Kansas focuses on helping individuals and families help themselves. For resources to assist with disaster preparedness visit your local extension office in Beloit, Mankato, Lincoln, Osborne, and Smith Center. Connect to the Prepare Kansas blog and resources through the Post Rock Extension District’s Facebook page. You can also contact Nora Rhoades at or 785-346-2521.