Monday, June 27, 2016

Remember to follow safety precautions during wheat harvest!

Sandra Wick - Crop Production Agent 

It is always an exciting time of the year for the wheat harvest to arrive in Kansas! The beautiful wheat fields take on a special meaning in the “wheat” state! Yields and test weights are coming in great this year and I have heard that some producers are experiencing the best yields they have seen in many years!

During wheat harvest season, countless hours will be spent in combines, tractors, trucks and other
equipment by farmers and workers who will be transporting large equipment on our roads and highways. Some workers may be young, new or inexperienced, so it’s always a good idea to remember safety precautions and reinforce the importance of safety on the farm. Agriculture ranks among the nation’s most hazardous industries. Farmers are at very high risk for fatal and nonfatal injuries, and farming is one of the few industries in which family members, who often share the work and live on the premises, are also at risk for fatal and nonfatal injuries.

Harvest season can be a very stressful time for farm families, so it is important to remember these simple guidelines to keep everyone safe.

· Make sure that anyone operating the combine and other harvest machinery, has been trained to use it    and is aware of potential hazards.

· Before approaching machinery for maintenance or inspection, make sure it is shut down with the       engine off, the key removed, and all moving parts stopped completely.

· Keep bystanders away from harvesting equipment and never allow extra riders. One seat means one   rider.

· Remember for everyone to share the road! When it is necessary to move heavy, slow-moving              equipment on public roads, try to pick a time with light traffic flow to minimize contact with traffic.

· Make sure all the appropriate safety lights work properly and safety reflectors are visible to other       motorists.

· Always use a Slow Moving Vehicle (SMV) emblem on vehicles that travel less than 25 miles per       hour.

· Be sure and take breaks often to prevent fatigue and stress which can prevent accidents.

· Keep hydrated and be sure to drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration.

Remember, it only takes seconds for a farm accident to happen! We wish you a safe and great harvest!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Keeping Active and Safe This Summer

Ashley Goudey- Nutrition, Food Safety, and Health Agent

Whew, summer is definitely here! Even though it’s very hot we have to keep our bodies moving and feeling good! We may feel it’s tough to get active in the heat but there are tricks to sneaking in exercise in the dog days of summer. Our goal is still 150 minutes of moderate/vigorous physical activity a week which reduces your risk to chronic disease. Here are tips to keeping active and safe in the heat.
  •  Get moving at the coolest times of the day which are the morning and late evening. Avoid physical activity and exercise between 10a-3pm-typically the hottest part of the day. 
  •  Go Swimming. Does your town have a pool or do you live near a lake? Even better, does your pool have an adult swim or an aerobics class? I encourage you to check it out; you are bound to make friends, cool off, have fun, and get exercise all in one! 
  •  Move it indoors. Pop in an exercise video, walk on your treadmill, crunches, push-ups, and walking up and down stairs will do the trick. 
  •  Keep a watchful eye on your children when they are active in the sun. Make sure they are drinking plenty of water; the goal is to drink ½ cup-2 cups of water every 15-20 minutes while exercising. 
  •  Wear light colored, breathable clothing, a hat to cover your face and appropriate footwear. 
  •  Make it a habit to apply sunscreen each time you will be outside in the summer. 
  •  Lastly, keep water close by to keep hydrated, take water breaks often, and move into the shade to keep cool this summer!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Prickly Purple Flowers

Neil Cates, Livestock Agent

Are you fighting musk thistles this spring? Musk thistle is a major problem for many in our area. Musk thistle is on the list of noxious weeds in the state of Kansas. The Kansas Noxious Weed Law first enacted in 1937, requires landowners to control and eradicate weeds on lands they own or manage.

Knowing the musk thistle’s life cycle is important to getting a good control strategy in place. The musk thistle is primarily a biennial or winter-annual plant. As a biennial, the seeds will germinate in the spring and the plants will remain as rosettes during the entire growing season. Then, after surviving a winter, the plants will bolt, flower, and produce seeds, thus taking parts of two growing seasons to complete their life cycle. As a winter annual, musk thistle emerges in the late fall with moisture. The plants go through the winter, then produce seeds the following year.

Musk thistle only reproduces by seed. Therefore, the goal of any control program is to reduce and/or eliminate seed production. Control options include mechanical, biological, cultural, and chemical methods.

Cultural control practices, including prescribed burning and good grazing management, can help keep musk thistle populations at lower levels. Burning by itself will not kill musk thistle, but it can remove the excessive amounts of litter that prevent good coverage when spraying. Plus, proper burning can stimulate warm-season grasses that compete against musk thistle. Spraying areas with musk thistle should follow about 10 to 14 days after burning. We’ve obviously missed the window for burning this year, but something to keep in mind for next year. Proper grazing that maintains and improves the vigor of competing vegetation can also help keep musk thistle populations down.

Musk thistle plants are most easily controlled by herbicides applied during the seedling and rosette stages of growth. Common herbicides such as 2,4-D, dicamba, and picloram are very effective on rosettes. Products containing metsulfuron, chlorsulfuron, and aminopyralid are also effective on musk thistle.

Once plants begin to bolt, products such as picloram +2,4-D (Tordon 22K + 2,4-D), metsulfuron + 2,4-D (Escort XP + 2,4-D), metsufuron + chlorsulfuron (Cimarron Plus), metsulfuron + dicamba + 2,4-D (Cimarron Max), or aminopyralid alone (Milestone) or in combination with 2,4-D (ForeFront HL) are more effective.

Musk thistles need to be treated before they start to bloom for effective control. Although some herbicides, such as metsulfuron, have proven to reduce seed viability when applied at the bloom stage, they are unlikely to eliminate all seed production. It only takes one seed to keep the population going.

Always read the herbicide label before using and pay attention to precautionary statements, grazing or haying restrictions and application rates. Herbicide recommendations for musk thistle are available in the “2016 Chemical Weed Control for Field Crops, Pastures, Rangeland, and Noncropland” publication available at your local extension office free of charge. Happy spraying!