Friday, July 21, 2017

Regional Farm Succession Planning Seminar in Lincoln, KS

Upcoming Regional Farm Succession Planning Seminar in Lincoln, KS
Sandra Wick, Crop Production Agent
Nora Rhoades, Family and Youth Development Agent   

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 very stressful 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 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 planning with your parents, siblings, children, grandchildren, and other appropriate stakeholders.

To help Kansas farmers and ranchers with the succession process, a Farm Succession Planning Seminar is scheduled for Tuesday, August 22, 2017. The regional educational seminar will be held at the United Methodist Church in Lincoln, Kansas from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

The fee for participation is $15 per person. There is a family rate (four or more members) of $12 per person. Payment is due at the time of registration. A catered lunch is provided.

Participants will gain knowledge and resources about the steps to keep the family farming, overcoming the family challenges to farm succession planning for success, keeping your farm in the family for the next generation, putting forward a farm succession/transition plan along with communication skills to build a working family relationship. The seminar will also include a question and answer panel with the experts.

Featured presenters include nationally and state recognized experts: Ron Hanson, University of Nebraska Harlan Agribusiness Professor Emeritus; Duane Hund, Farm Analyst Program Director at K-State Research and Extension; and Charlotte Shoup Olsen, Family Systems specialist at K-State Research and Extension.

The Farm Succession Planning Seminar is hosted by K-State Research and Extension’s Post Rock District and The Bank of Tescott. Other sponsors include Bennington State Bank and Farmway Credit Union. Pre-registration is requested by August 15, 2017. Call the Lincoln Office at (785) 524-4432. For more information visit or contact your local Post Rock Extension District Office.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Blossom End Rot of Tomatoes

Cassie Homan, Horticulture Agent

If you are a gardener in Kansas, chances are you have heard of, or seen, blossom-end rot. This condition is most common in tomatoes and shows up as sunken, brown, leathery patches on the bottom of the fruit. It can also cause a problem in squash, peppers, and watermelon crops. You might be surprised to learn that this is not a disease, but actually a physiological disorder caused by a lack of calcium in the developing fruit. This does not necessarily mean that your garden’s soil is lacking calcium. Most Kansas soils are derived from limestone, which is partially made up of calcium. 
So, just what is the reason your tomatoes are rotting? There are actually a number of possible reason, let’s look at some of them.
1.    Heavy fertilization, especially with ammonium forms of nitrogen, interferes with calcium absorption. When you over fertilizer, the plant generates more top growth than root growth. Though tomatoes need to be fertilized to yield well, too much nitrogen can result in large plants with little to no fruit.
2.    Gardening practices that disrupt the plant roots can also encourage blossom-end rot. This could be tilling or hoeing the soil too deeply. Mulching helps because it keeps the soil surface cooler and therefore a better environment for root growth.
3.    Tomato tops often outgrow the root system during cooler spring weather. As long as it stays cool, the root system can keep up. When it turns hot and dry, the plant has a problem, and water — with the calcium it carries — goes to the leaves and the fruit is bypassed. The plant responds with new root growth and the condition corrects itself after a couple of weeks.
4.     Avoid inconsistent watering. You want to keep the soil moist, but not water logged. Mulching is a good idea to help retain moisture levels overtime, in the garden. 
You may need a soil test to determine if your soil has adequate calcium levels. If your soil is deficient in this nutrient, add 1 pound of gypsum per 100 square feet. Gypsum is calcium sulfate and will not affect soil pH. Though calcium raises pH, sulfate lowers pH, and the two will cancel each other out. An application of gypsum will not cause any harm to your soil, even if the amendment was not needed.
Gardeners may think that spraying the plant with calcium will be the trick to clear up blossom-end rot. However, the fruit's waxy surface doesn't allow absorption of externally-applied calcium, and since calcium needs to be taken up by the roots, a foliar application will not be effective.
Unfortunately, there are years that you can do everything right and still have blossom end rot. If this is the case, remember that blossom-end rot is a temporary condition, and plants should come out of it in a couple of weeks. Vegetable plants will benefit from picking off the affected fruits, to encourage new, healthy, fruit formation. It is a good idea to keep garden records, you may find that certain tomato varieties are less susceptible to blossom-end rot than others.
Other Common Tomato Problems:         
Spider Mites on Tomato
Tomato Cracking
Septoria Leaf Spot
Tomato Leaf Curl

For further information on tomato troubles, contact me at any Post Rock Extension District Office in Beloit, Lincoln, Mankato, Osborne or Smith Center, or email