Monday, September 26, 2016

Stepping Stones for Stepfamilies

Nora Rhoades - Family and Youth Development Agent

    The stepfamily is becoming one of the most common family forms in this country. A stepfamily is defined in many ways. One definition is: a family in which one of the adults has a child or children
from a previous relationship. The adults may be married or living together. Families of this type may refer to their family unit as a stepfamily, blended family, remarried, binuclear, combined, or reconstituted.
    Stepparents have a ready-made family from the very beginning. The new family members must learn to live together. The stepchildren and stepparents have to learn to get along. Then there are former partners, grandparents, friends, current and former in-laws, teachers, clergy, and other people who must learn to adjust to the new stepfamily. Usually, these are not easy processes and can take a lot of time.
    Stepping Stones for Stepfamilies is a home study series focused on building strong stepfamily relationships. The home study series by K-State Research and Extension includes lessons on:

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Seeding Rates in Wheat

Sandra Wick- Crop Production Agent 

   Producers soon will be planting their 2017 wheat crop. Variety selection is one of the most
challenging decisions that needs to be made, but you also need to remember that the wheat seeding rate is a very important component to establishing your wheat crop. Recommendations in Kansas are often stated in terms of pounds or seeds per acre, and vary according to different precipitation zones. However, seed size can have an impact in the final number of seeds actually planted per acre. A variety with larger kernels or less seeds/lb., when planted according to pounds per acre recommendations, will result in fewer seeds planted per acre and thinner stands than a variety with smaller kernels. So if the weather and fertility during the growing season are not favorable for tiller formation and survival, grain yields may be reduced due to the thinner stand. On the other extreme, a variety with small kernels planted according to pounds per acre recommendations can result in above-optimal stand establishment, increasing competition for available resources such as water and nutrients. 
    So an advantage of planting wheat in terms of seeds per acre rather than pounds per acre is that
seed costs can be reduced for varieties with a small kernel size. Seed size can simply be measured in terms of the number of seeds per pound. The “normal” range is about 14,000-16,000 seeds per pound for most wheat varieties, but it can range from 10,000 seeds per pound to more than 18,000 seeds per pound. Although seed size is specific to each individual wheat variety, it can also vary within a variety depending on the seed lot and the seed cleaning process. K-State Research and Extension studies have shown that wheat variety plays a major role in determining wheat kernel size, as does the quality of seed cleaning. So seed cleaning is very important if you are keeping and planting your own seed. This will ensure the final amount of seeds planted per acre will be close to your original target.
    Certified seed, or seed submitted for germination testing, will provide for you the seeds/pound. The 2017 Wheat book also provides a reference to the seed size tendency of varieties. However, an easy on-farm method to estimate the average seed weight is to collect several representative 100-seed samples and the weight of each of those samples in grams. Then to calculate the seeds/lb., simply divide by a conversion factor and the average weight of the 100-seed samples. There is also a quick reference guide available to help you adjust the planting rate in pounds per acre based on the wheat variety seed size and the targeted number of seeds planted per acre. This is below or available at any of the Post Rock Extension District Offices in Beloit, Lincoln, Mankato, Osborne or Smith Center.
    The recommended wheat seeding rate for a dryland wheat producer in Central Kansas is about 750,000 to 900,000 seeds per acre, which calculates to about 50-60 lbs. with a final stand from 600,000 to 720,000 plants per acre. Then you simply use your seed size to increase or decrease the seeding rate along with your cropping system used and your planting date. Contact me if you have further questions on wheat seeding rates at any Post Rock Extension District Office.
Quick reference guide to adjust planting rate in pounds per acre based on the wheat variety seed size and the targeted number of seeds planted per acre.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Knowing Your Numbers: Cholesterol

Ashley Goudey- Nutrition, Food Safety and Health Agent

    High cholesterol affects more than 65 million Americans and is a serious health condition that increases the risk for heart disease-the number one killer of Americans. The greater your blood cholesterol levels, the greater your risk. Do you know your cholesterol numbers? If not, there’s no better time than now to get them checked. Many people are living with high cholesterol levels and are at an increased risk of heart disease without realizing it.
    Cholesterol is a waxy lipid (fat) found in all body cells. Our body uses cholesterol to make hormones, bile acids, vitamin D, and other substances. There are two forms of cholesterol: low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL)-also known as the “bad” Cholesterol-and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL) –the “good” cholesterol. Too much LDL cholesterol creates a plaque that can accumulate and clog the arteries, causing heart disease and stroke. HDL is known as the “good guy” because it helps clean the artery walls and carry away the excess bad cholesterol.
    The recommended target cholesterol for men and women is less than 200 milligrams per deciliter of blood. Cholesterol can be checked through simple blood tests. The American Heart Association recommends a “fasting lipoprotein profile” every five years starting at age 20. This fasting test helps accurately measure the total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and triglycerides in your blood. Additional screenings are recommended for men age 45 and older and women age 50 and older. Additional screenings are also recommended if total cholesterol is 200mg/dl or higher, HDL cholesterol levels are lower than 40 mg/dl, or other risk factors for heart disease and stroke are present.

Lifestyle changes to improve cholesterol:

· Talk to a medical provider for personalized treatment options.

· Exercise most days of the week. With your doctor's OK, work up to at least 30 minutes of exercise a day.

· Maintain a healthy weight.

· Add soluble fiber to your diet (oats, fruits, vegetables, and legumes).

· Avoid smoking and secondhand smoke.

· Eat foods high in good, unsaturated fats, including omega-3 fatty acids (sesame, flax, pumpkin seeds, avocado, olive oil, peanut butter, and fish).

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Insects in Crops

Sandra Wick - Crop Production Agent

 My, this has certainly been an interesting year for insects in crops around North Central Kansas! It started with the Sugarcane Aphid in the grain sorghum. Aphids in the grain sorghum have been around for years, but you really haven’t had to worry about them much except for the last couple of years when a new aphid started showing up especially in southern KS. However, this year, they progressed in northern KS and have been detected as far north as Mitchell and southern Osborne counties. This aphid can spread rapidly across a very wide geographic range and reproduce even more rapidly than greenbugs. There is also a yellow sugarcane aphid that has been found in KS for several years, but it hasn’t really caused much of a problem. The distinguishing feature of white sugarcane aphids is their short, dark, paired, tailpipe-like structures, called cornicles, on their tail-end. The green bug aphid can look very similar to the sugarcane aphid, but it has a distinctive darker green stripe down the back and the sugarcane aphids do NOT.
  So the White sugarcane aphid feeds all the way up to grain fill, of sorghum plants, and can interfere with harvest as their sticky honeydew that is produced can literally gum up your combine. One good thing is that it WILL NOT overwinter in KS.
  Sugarcane aphids tend to colonize the lower surfaces of the lower leaves first and then move to the upper leaves. The most damage occurs when the aphids attack the grain sorghum head causing reductions in not only grain weight, but harvesting problems due to the heavy amount of honeydew. Cooler weather, below 60 degrees F. tends to slow them down. 
  However the good news is……Some of the beneficial insects or the natural enemies of sugarcane aphids including the lady beetles and some parasitic wasps have been active and have helped control some of the aphids.
  The economic threshold of the sugarcane aphid is if your field would have approximately 30% infestation with active feeding aphids which might warrant spraying.
  Another very active insect of sorghum this year is the headworms or also known as the corn earworm and the soybean podworm, which feed directly on the grain in the head from the blooming to the soft dough stage. So the best way to scout for these worms, is to simply shake the heads into a white bucket from several parts of the field to see if anything is found. The economic threshold for the headworm, is figured slightly different as it is approximately 5%/worm/head potential loss. Mature size is approximately 1 ½ inches.
Now let’s move to soybeans. The green cloverworm has been very active for last couple of weeks and has done extensive foliar feeding on the top 1/3 of the canopy with some feeding moving down the plant. Green cloverworm larvae are light green with three pairs of stripes running the length of the body with three pairs of ‘true’ legs behind the head separated by three legless segments. Producers have been scouting with several spraying for the cloverworm. Generally the feeding from the cloverworm is limited to the foliage, but can feed on the pod. The mature cloverworm will reach about 1 to 1 ¼ inches. A fungal disease is really attacking the cloverworms at this time and cutting the populations.
  Another insect on the soybeans is the soybean podworm, also known as the corn earworm and the sorghum headworm. The podworm damage to soybeans occurs from August through September. Significant damage may occur when large larvae feed on pods consuming the developing seeds. Producers have also been scouting for the podworm. Control measures should be implemented when an average of one small worm per foot of row is detected.

  So, the bottom line is…… Scouting is the best way to detect any insect infestations in your field.
  Contact me if you have further questions on insect management or would like any insect identified in your fields at any Post Rock Extension District office in Beloit, Lincoln, Mankato, Osborne or Smith Center.