Monday, June 25, 2018

Protect Yourself from UV Exposure

Ashley Svaty, Nutrition, Food Safety and Health Agent

Summer has officially arrived, and as always it’s hot and sunny! Spending time outdoors at the lake or pool are usually on the top of everyone’s summer fun list, but before you venture out in the sun follow these safety tips to reduce you and your loved one’s risks for harmful UV exposure.

Cover up: When you are out in the sun, wear clothing and a wide-brimmed hat to protect as much skin as possible. Protect your eyes with sunglasses that block at least 99% of UV light. 

Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher: Reapply at least every 2 hours, as well as after swimming or sweating.

Seek shade: Limit your direct exposure to the sun, especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when UV rays are strongest.

Lather up 30 minutes before outdoor activities: Apply 1 ounce (about the size of a golf ball) of sunscreen to all exposed areas.

Check the sunscreen’s expiration date: Sunscreen without an expiration date has a shelf life of no more than three years, but its shelf life is shorter if it has been exposed to high temperatures. (CDC)

Avoid tanning beds and sunlamps: Both can cause serious long-term skin damage and contribute to skin cancer.

Remember to protect yourself on overcast days: Up to 80 percent of the sun's UV radiation can penetrate clouds and harm your skin. (

Cover easily missed areas: This includes the back of ears and neck, and the tops of feet and hands with sunblock.

Avoid sunburn: It may seem like a temporary irritation, but sunburns cause long-lasting damage
to the skin.

For more information about sun safety please visit

Monday, June 18, 2018

Post Rock District 4-H Members Invite YOU To The Fair!

Aliesa Woods, 4-H Youth Development Agent

4-H members begin their project work in October and it often culminates with them sharing their results of the learning process by exhibiting at the County Fair. The County Fairs in the Post Rock District will be held on the following dates:

  • Jewell County Fair      July 15-18

  • Smith County Fair       July 19-23

  • Lincoln County Fair    July 25-28

  • Mitchell County Fair   July 25-28

  • Osborne County Fair   July 25-30

The fairs accept both 4-H and Open Class entries in many categories. You can check out many of the fair books online at I encourage you to get out and support your local 4-H members at the Fair and even enter a few of your own items!

At the fair you will see 4-H uses the Danish ribbon system in which members are awarded a purple, blue, red or white ribbon. See below for what each color of ribbon means.

Looking to learn more about 4 H programs in your area visit

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Is Little Barley taking over your lawn?

Cassie Homan, Horticulture Agent

Close up of Little Barley seed heads
Growing a green lawn in Kansas is no easy task, and this time of year it can feel impossible to keep up with the weeds. Little barley is a common Kansas weed that can take over your turf and eventually turns brown leaving unsightly patches. It is a winter annual weed that comes up in September or October in our part of the state and spends the winter as a small plant. It thrives in the cooler spring temperatures, forms seed heads and dies out usually by July. Another common weed foxtail, is often mistaken with little barley. This is because the two weeds have similar seed heads (see pictures 2 and 3). However, foxtails are a summer annual that do well in hot weather. Also, foxtail will not produce seedheads until mid- to late-summer.

Little Barley un-mowed with long seed heads

Unfortunately, now is not the ideal time to control little barley. It is best controlled in the fall, around August. If you have a multitude of little barley weeds in your lawn, make sure to mark your calendar for fall so you don’t forget to spray for them for control, next season. If you are wanting to kill little barley weeds right now, use a non-selective herbicide that kills everything such as glyphosate (Roundup), just beware that this will damage your turf, and desirable plants. The best control for little barley, and any weed, is a thick lawn that is mowed high enough that sunlight does not hit the soil. Little barley seed will not germinate in such conditions. Overseeding now can thicken up a tall fescue lawn and prevent a little barley infestation. However, if you do not plan to overseed, preemergence herbicides can be used to provide at least partial control of this weed.

Foxtail weed commonly mistaken with Little Barley.
Little Barley that has been mowed & is reaching full maturity
The only preemergence herbicide that is labeled specifically for little barley is Surflan. It is also sold under the name of Weed Impede by Monterey Lawn and Garden. Surflan can only be used on warm-season grasses (bermudagrass, buffalograss, zoysiagrass) and tall fescue grown in warm-season areas such as Kansas. However, Dimension (dithiopyr), is labeled for barley (Herodium spp.) which would include little barley and therefore can be used to keep this weed under control. Because little barley is a winter annual, apply the preemergence herbicide in August and water in to activate. If overseeding, do not apply any preemergence herbicide as it will interfere with the germination of tall fescue.

The good news about little barley is that it starts dying down in late June and is dead by early July. That is why treatment in May or June is really a waste of time. Remember the best control is to have a thick, lush lawn and if necessary apply a preemergence herbicide in the fall for a more beautiful lawn!

If you would like more details about controlling weeds in your lawn contact Cassie Homan, Post Rock District Horticulture Agent, at (785)738-3597 or by email at

Friday, June 8, 2018

Patience is Key in Strategic Grazing Practices

Barrett Simon, Livestock Agent

Manipulation is often a word used with a negative connotation; however, the art of manipulating cattle to graze an overgrown area or piece of grass that they typically avoid, can be just what the doctor ordered for some pastures.  Whether it be the farthest grass from a pasture with a lone pond or a stand of fescue, utilizing these areas can be pivotal in many operations. 

Time and time again we drive cattle to a part of the pasture that we want the group to graze, and time and time again they end up right back in the original spot the very next day.  Sure, things such as water availability and mineral feeder placement can play a factor, but Bud Williams, one of the most impactful cattle handling experts of our time, was quoted in Drovers saying that “Animals stay where they’re comfortable, not where there’s the best feed.”  Is it possible that relying on the herding nature and low stress handling could prove to be successful in getting cattle to graze specific sections of grass?  Whit Hibbard and Dawn Hnatow shared their expertise with Drovers by giving some of the following tips to do just that.

First, minimize force.  Many cattle handling experts have stated the concept that cattle will always want to return to wherever it was they came from.  This is why S-curve chutes and bud box systems have become so popular as they revolve around that state of mind.  It is no different in a wide open patch of grass.  If we drive them even semi-aggressively, we will probably get them to the destination but it won’t be long and the group will turn right back around.  Next, let the cattle become comfortable.  Not only will moving them at their own pace help with this but also allowing them to stop on their own accord, spread out and begin grazing.  Finally, give yourself plenty of time to stick around.  Hang tight until the entire herd is comfortable and out grazing.  Every herd, no matter the size, has the dominant animal.  As you read this, I would bet we all have that one boss cow or a certain tag number of a stocker that is always a thorn in your side.  That one animal seems to always change the dynamic of the group and when settling the cattle into a new area, it is imperative that all of them are content.  We all know that if that one animal decides to head out, the rest of the group will certainly follow suit.

Photo By: Wyatt Betchel
It is always a pretty sight when the herd is spread out, grazing in different directions, paying no mind to one another and no mind to you.  Once this occurs, we know the cattle are content and that if one animal starts grazing off in a different direction the rest are not worried enough to follow them.  For Post Rock cattlemen reading this article, many of you have seen this far more often than I have and understand good stockmanship practices.  There are no magic words and it is certainly not a new concept.  Rather, I believe the most important factor is realizing the patience it takes to accomplish this.  All too often, and I’m guilty of it myself, we have so much going on in a day that we are trying to cram and get cattle out and move on to the next task.  Taking the time to allow the cattle to move at their own will and for us to somewhat manipulate that movement will prove much more impactful in getting groups to graze those tricky areas and allow us as producers to utilize all of our grass, an asset that is harder and harder to come by. 

We are fortunate that Dr. Justin Waggoner, K-State Beef Systems Specialist, is highly knowledgeable when it comes to stockmanship and cattle handling.  If you have been to any Post Rock Extension meetings, you may have heard from Dr. Waggoner or you may have seen some of his information that I’ve shared in this paper or via radio.  With further questions, I would be glad to work alongside of you and Dr. Waggoner in improving techniques or approaching issues that you feel may be able to be solved by using a different approach to cattle handling.

Hibbard, Whit & Hnatow, Dawn “Placing Cattle”, Drovers, March 2018

Post Rock Extension District of K-State Research and Extension serves Jewell, Lincoln, Mitchell, Osborne, and Smith counties. Barrett 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 Follow us on Twitter @KSRE_PostRock. Also remember our website is