Thursday, September 28, 2017

Suflower Supreme Heifer Program

Sunflower Supreme Heifer meeting flyer
Barrett Simon, Livestock Agent

This September, Kansas farmers and ranchers have an opportunity to raise a new variety of sunflowers as the Sunflower Supreme Replacement Heifer Program expands into central Kansas. A joint effort between K-State Research and Extension and the Kansas Department of Agriculture, the Sunflower Supreme Replacement Heifer Program provides research-based best management protocols for beef cattle producers seeking to add value to their herds. Not only does the program provide cattlemen and women with important reproduction and health management protocols, it also provides marketing opportunities for heifers enrolled in the program.

The Sunflower Supreme Heifer Program, established in southeast Kansas in 2013, has provided opportunities for herd improvement and value-added marketing. As interest has grown, producers statewide have asked for this practical method of developing and marketing heifers to expand throughout Kansas, and the first region for expansion will be in central Kansas beginning in fall 2017. Producers who enroll heifers this fall will have the option to market heifers that meet specific program guidelines at a special sale to be held in Salina in 2018. As demand grows, additional marketing opportunities will be added.

Just as it takes careful consideration to add sunflowers into a farmer’s crop rotation, beef producers must have a strong understanding of the Sunflower Supreme Program as they evaluate if it is a good fit for their operation. In order to provide opportunity for learning and discussion, we have scheduled an educational, producer focused meeting within the Post Rock District. On October 11th in Downs, K-State Research and Extension specialists will share with producers how they can enhance their operation through participation and inform potential buyers on the value and assurance that comes with the purchase of a Sunflower Supreme heifer. There is no cost to attend, but RSVP’s are appreciated. For more information please see the Sunflower Supreme Heifer meeting flyer.

Post Rock Extension District of K-State Research and Extension serves Jewell, Lincoln, Mitchell, Osborne, and Smith counties. Barrett Simon may be contacted at the Mankato Office, 785-378-3174 or at

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

What are the Risks of Planting Wheat Early?

Sandra Wick, Crop Production Agent

Producers are in the field, or soon will be, planting their 2018 wheat crop. It is always interesting to watch when wheat planting begins in north central Kansas. Because of our dry conditions, producers may be a little hesitate to start putting the wheat seed in the ground. Let’s hope that we receive some much needed rain soon!

The general target date for planting wheat for optimum grain yields in Kansas is within a week of the best pest management planting date, or BPMP (formerly known as the “Hessian fly-free”) date. If grain yields are the primary goal, then waiting until the BPMP date to start planting is the best approach. Our optimum wheat planting dates for north central Kansas range from September 15 to October 20. The BPMP dates for the Post Rock Extension District ranges from September 29 in Jewell and Smith counties to October 4 in Lincoln with Osborne and Mitchell counties in between those dates.

In some years, earlier-planted wheat does best and some years the later-planted wheat does best. For instance, early-planted fields during 2016-17 had a better final stand as compared to later-planted ones in western Kansas, mostly due to lack of moisture for later planted fields. If fields become too wet to plant by mid-October and stay that way through the remainder of the fall, then producers end up planting much later than the optimum planting date, and this is an incentive to start planting earlier than the BPMP or fly-free date if soil conditions are good. Ideally, producers should not start planting much earlier than the BPMP date, which can seem quite late to some especially in south central Kansas. Several problems can arise from planting too early:

Wheat Streak Mosaic Virus
  • Increased risk of wheat streak mosaic and related diseases. In 2017, there was a wide-spread infection of the Wheat Streak Mosaic Virus in wheat across Kansas due to abundance of volunteer wheat. Wheat curl mites survive over the summer on living plant tissue of volunteer wheat and certain other grasses. As soon as those host plants die off, the wheat curl mites leave and start searching for a new source of living plant tissue. Dr. Erick DeWolf, K-State Research and Extension Plant Pathologist, reminds producers, “Wheat that is planted early is likely to become infested, and thus become infected with wheat streak mosaic, high plains virus, or the Triticum mosaic virus.” The wheat curl mites can normally move about a half mile or sometimes up to 2 miles through the air before dying, so if wheat is planted early, make sure all volunteer wheat within at least a half-mile is completely dead at least two weeks before planting.
  • Increased risk of Hessian fly. “Over the summer, Hessian fly pupae live in the old crowns of wheat residue,” according to Dr. Jeff Whitworth, K-State Research and Extension Entomologist. After the first good soaking rain in late summer or early fall, these pupae (or “flaxseed”) will hatch out as adult Hessian flies and start looking for live wheat plants to lay eggs on. They are most likely to find either volunteer wheat or early-planted wheat at that time. After the BPMP date, many of the adult Hessian fly will have laid their eggs, so there is generally less risk of Hessian fly infestation for wheat planted after that date. Hessian fly adult activity has been noted through November or even early December in Kansas.
Barley Yellow Dwarf
  • Increased risk of barley yellow dwarf. The vectors of barley yellow dwarf are greenbugs and bird cherry-oat aphids. These insects are more likely to infest wheat during warm weather early in the fall than during cooler weather. A purplish discoloration of the “tips” can occur. There are 25+ species of aphids capable of vectoring barley yellow dwarf of which bird cherry oat aphids and greenbugs are probably the most common in Kansas.
  • Increased risk of excessive fall growth and excessive fall tillering. Dr. Romulo Lollato, K-State Research and Extension Wheat and Forage specialist, stresses that for optimum grain yields and winter survival, the goal is for wheat plants to head into winter with established crown roots and 3-5 tillers. Wheat that is planted early can grow much more than this, especially if moisture and nitrogen levels are good. If wheat gets too lush in the fall, it can use up too much soil moisture in unproductive vegetative growth and become more susceptible to drought stress in the spring if conditions are dry.
  • Increased risk of take-all, dryland foot rot, and common root rot. Take-all is usually worse on early-planted wheat than on later-planted wheat. So one of the ways to avoid dryland foot rot is to avoid early seeding. Early planting promotes large plants that more often become water stressed in the fall predisposing them to invasion by the fungi. Early planting of wheat also favors common root rot because this gives the root rot fungi more time to invade and colonize root and crown tissue.
  • Grassy weed infestations become more expensive to control. If cheatgrass, downy brome, Japanese brome, or annual rye come up before the wheat is planted, they can be controlled with glyphosate or tillage. If wheat is planted early and these grassy weeds come up after the wheat has emerged, producers will have to use an appropriate grass herbicide to control them.
  • Germination problems due to high soil temperatures. Generally, early planted wheat is drilled in hotter soils, which could be a problem as some varieties won’t germinate when soil temperatures are greater than 85°F. “If planting early, it is important to select varieties that do not have high-temperature germination sensitivity and plant sensitive varieties later in the fall,” according Lollato.
  • Germination problems due to shortened coleoptile length. Hotter soils tend to decrease the coleoptile length of the germinating wheat. Therefore, deeply planted wheat may not have a long-enough coleoptile to break through the soil surface and may result in decreased emergence and poor stand establishment. Because of the shortened coleoptile length, it is preferable to “dust” the wheat in at a shallower depth (3/4 to 1 inch deep) when early planting wheat than trying to reach moisture in deeper layers if soil moisture is absent from the top inch of the soil profile.

If you have further questions on wheat production, contact me at 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.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Tips for Creating a Household Inventory

Nora Rhoades, Family and Youth Development Agent

We’ve had drought, wildfires, a spring blizzard, flooding, tornadoes, hazardous wind, and extreme heat advisories in Kansas this year and it is only September. Disasters do not plan ahead, but that doesn’t mean you can’t.

Being prepared for the disasters that may affect your home, business and community is important. Taking inventory of what you have and recording it is a good place to start. After all, you do not know where to get back to if you don’t know where you started, right?

In the middle of a crisis when there’s so much on your mind, it’s hard to remember every detail. An accurate inventory is a necessity, whether you’re a homeowner, business manager, or a renter. Emergencies and disasters may result in insurance claims. Your insurance company will likely require a listing of items lost or destroyed in order to document the claim. A household inventory is an itemized list of the contents of your home, including basement, attic, and garage.

While it is true there is an initial investment of time and effort in preparing the inventory from scratch, once completed it will be useful into the future with regular updating. Elizabeth Kiss, K-State Research and Extension Family Resource Management Specialist, provides the following tips to help you prepare and update your inventory.

  • Household inventories can take many forms. Use the format that best suits your needs. Don’t get hung up on being perfect, if you are starting from scratch focus on the big ticket and hard to replace items.
  • When describing furnishings and equipment, be as specific and accurate as possible. Include the original cost, date purchased, any alternations or repairs done on the item, and corresponding cost.
  • Photograph or videotape every wall in each room of your home and storage areas. Include open closets, cabinets, cupboards, and drawers. Take close-ups of unique or expensive items to document their condition, and strive to date photographs. When videotaping, verbally describe the contents as you move around the room.
  • Remember to include personal items stored away from home such as in a vehicle. If you have sheds or storage areas on your property or if you rent a storage unit somewhere else, be sure to include a list of the contents of those. You will also want to consider if any valuables are stored where you work, worship, or even in a school locker.
  • Save copies in more than one format and in more than one place. Keep a working document (paper or electronic) of your inventory on site plus store copies in a few places away from the insured dwelling, such as in a safety deposit box, with a trusted person, on a flash drive, or on a virtual storage cloud.
  • Add newly acquired items to your inventory and include a new photo or video. Update the inventory when items are discarded. Set aside a little time each year to make these updates. One idea is make it an annual habit to participate in Prepare Kansas each September.

What is Prepare Kansas?

Prepare Kansas is a free online challenge for all Kansans and others available through the K-State Research and Extension Facebook Page. Prepare Kansas runs through September to coincide with National Preparedness Month, coordinated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Prepare Kansas shares information, links and resources, which can make recovery smoother and faster. Participants are encouraged to engage in challenges throughout the month, providing accountability as you personally take steps to prepare for potential disasters. Contact your local Post Rock District Office if you need assistance accessing resources or to learn more about #PrepareKansas.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017


Ashley Svaty, Nutrition, Food Safety and Health Agent

Pumpkin spice. Two words that start to take over this time of year. Everywhere you look there is pumpkin spice flavored everything! But what exactly is pumpkin spice? Pumpkin spice is a mixture of 3 tablespoons ground cinnamon, 2 teaspoons ground ginger, 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg, 1 ½ teaspoons ground allspice, and 1 ½ teaspoons ground cloves.

Not only do foods and beverages with pumpkin and pumpkin spice taste delicious but they can also be nutritious. A ½ cup of canned pumpkin provides 16% of the daily recommended amount of fiber, more than a day’s worth of vitamin A and is also a good source of Vitamin C.

But before you indulge in the many processed pumpkin spice items check out the Nutrition Facts Label to make sure they’re not full of sugar. It’s not uncommon for some popular pumpkin spice drinks to be loaded with 3 or more times the daily recommended amount of sugar in one drink! The American Heart Association recommends that women should consume no more than 25 grams and men no more than 36g of sugar a day.

If you are looking for nutritious and creative ways to add more pumpkin spice to your diet without the high amounts of sugar check out the recipes below or University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension Perfectly Pumpkin Recipe Collection


Ingredients                                              Makes 1 serving

• 1/2 cup rolled oats
• 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk (or any type of milk)
• 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
• 1 Tbsp ground flaxseed
• 2 Tbsp pumpkin puree
• 1 Tbsp maple syrup
• 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
• 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
• 1/4 tsp ground ginger
• 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
• Pinch of salt

Directions: Stir together all ingredients in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Add to a mason jar with a fitted lid. Refrigerate and store overnight.

Per Serving: 330 calories, 7 g fat, 50 g carbohydrate, 17 g protein, 8 g dietary fiber, 280 mg sodium

Source: American Institute for Cancer Research


• 1/4 cup canned pumpkin
   (NOT canned pumpkin pie MIX)
• 1/3 cup nonfat milk
• 1 cup low-fat frozen vanilla yogurt
• 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Directions: Add all ingredients to a blender. Cover and blend on high until smooth. If desired, garnish with a dash of pumpkin pie spice.

Recipe source: Alice Henneman, MS, RDN, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension

Friday, September 8, 2017

4-H Members Learn & Practice Parliamentary Procedure

Aliesa Woods, 4-H Youth Development Agent

For anyone who wishes to be active in a board, association, or other community group, learning the basics of parliamentary procedure is both desirable and achievable. The 4-H club model provides an excellent opportunity for youth to experience, practice and learn parliamentary procedure. Participating in a club business meeting gives members an opportunity to plan, evaluate, discuss ideas, and set goals – all important life skills.

Parliamentary procedure provides a framework that encourages all members to have a voice in their club. Robert’s Rules of Order is that standard reference for business meetings and is commonly used. Club officers as well as club members learn the appropriate parliamentary procedures they are going to use in making club decisions. The youth who are learning how to run a good meeting in 4-H today will benefit later in life. Our communities will gain in the process because youth will know how to participate in a democracy. Business meeting are held in all career fields. Good meetings help to get things done, poor meeting don’t.

Club leaders and adult volunteers are essential to assisting our youth learn proper parliamentary procedure. Leaders help to train our club officers and assist them in carrying out their responsibilities throughout the year.

Ready to test your parliamentary procedure? Here is a short quiz with the answers at the bottom.

  1. Members should rise and address whom when presenting a motion?
  2. After one person presents a motion, another person offers a ___________ to the motion.
  3. The person presenting the second to the motion should rise and address the chair. True or False
  4. The secretary should sit down when minutes are read. True or False
  5. Every meeting should have an outline or an ___________.
  6. A motion can be withdrawn by any person any time. True or False
  7. To introduce a business item does one say “I move to make a motion that …” or “I make a motion that …”?
  8. When a motion has corrections made to it, this is called an ____________.
  9. Tabling a motion may occur if there is not enough information to vote on the motion. True or False
  10. The minimum number of members who must be present to conduct business is called a ___________.

If you are ready to join 4-H, are just looking to learn more about 4‑H programs in your area or to learn more about parliamentary procedure visit or contact me at and I would be happy to assist you.

ANSWERS  1) President; 2) Second; 3) False; 4) False; 5) Agenda; 6) False; 7) I move to make a motion; 8) Amendment; 9) True; 10) Quorum

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Creating the Perfect Fall Garden

Cassie Homan, Horticulture Agent

Do you need a second chance with your garden this year? Lucky for you, fall is an excellent time for gardening in Kansas. Growing conditions are cooler in fall than spring, resulting in higher yields and better flavor. Some plants actually prefer the cooler temperatures and shorter days of fall.

Planting a fall garden is just like planting a spring garden with some big advantages. You will find the weed pressure to be much less and insect problems may be far fewer than in a spring garden. Seeds will germinate rapidly, so you will have crops up and growing in just a few days, compared to several weeks in the spring. Here’s some tips to planning your fall garden.

What to Plant
Space available and vegetable preference will influence the choice of crops to plant for fall production. With attention to watering and pest control, many vegetables that are already growing in the garden will continue to produce into the fall months. Cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussel sprouts make excellent fall crops. Plant seeds rather than transplants. When young plants are a half inch tall, thin them to one plant per foot of row. Beets and carrots are also great choices. A light cover of sand or compost over the row will prevent soil crusting and improve emergence. Don’t forget to give veggies enough water to germinate, and throughout the season, if we don’t receive adequate rain fall. The cooler days and chilly nights of fall make it a great season to produce leafy greens such as spinach, kale, lettuce, collard greens, Swiss chard, and arugula. Plant these nutritious crops from now until early September and you will have a garden full of salad within a month. When light frosts hit in the beginning of winter, most of these greens can hold their ground and develop sweeter flavors.

Too much fertilizer may damage young, tender plants, so use fertilizer sparingly at this time of year. In general, 1-2 lbs. per 100 square feet of a low-analysis, all-purpose garden fertilizer should be sufficient to produce a successful crop. Extensive soil preparation is not needed, avoid deep tillage as it may dry out soil moisture. A light soil cultivation will loosen the soil to prepare the seedbed. Additional amounts of fertilizer may be needed later in the season to ensure maximum plant growth and production.

Establishing Vegetables in Heat
Fall gardeners will find that establishing a garden during the summer when soil temperatures are extremely high is difficult. One way to avoid seeding in adverse conditions is to establish plants in containers or pots for transplanting to the garden later in the season as the weather begins to cool. Crops like cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower can be grown in cooler protected area, or under lights in a basement growing area for 2-4 weeks prior to setting in the garden. Remember to climatize the crops for several days before transplanting directly in the garden. Place flats in the sun and provide adequate water for a few days to allow the plants to become accustomed to the stronger winds, hot sun, and the harsh environment of the Kansas garden.

Take advantage of the start of this cooler season to spend some time in your garden. You may find that gardening becomes more enjoyable in the fall, with less heat, watering, and weeding. Get creative and have fun growing a fall garden.

For further information on creating a fall garden, contact me at any Post Rock Extension District Office in Beloit, Lincoln, Mankato, Osborne or Smith Center, or email