Posted in Crops, Livestock

Reminders for Farmers

For those you receive the electronic Farm Service newsletter, the information below is just a reminder to:

  • CERTIFY YOUR PLANTED ACRES:  If you do not have a certification appointment, call and get it scheduled. The deadline to complete 2017 acreage reporting is July 17.
  • ARC/PLC CONTRACT SIGNATURES DUE AUGUST 1:  Producers are reminded that the deadline to return signatures for the 2017 ARC/PLC farm safety net program is August 1. All signatures must be returned by this date to ensure payment for the 2017 crop year.

FSA Loan Servicing, Other Organization Resources Available During Financial Stress

money bag
Credit: bubaone

There are options for Farm Service Agency loan customers during financial stress. If you are a borrower who is unable to make payments on a loan, contact Ben Herink, your local FSA Farm Loan Manager, to learn about the options available to you.

Farmers and ranchers also can access assistance through other entities in Nebraska that offer services during financially challenging times. The Rural Response Hotline provides referral and support services for farmers, ranchers and rural residents and their families. The number to call is (800) 464-0258.

The Nebraska Department of Agriculture manages the Negotiations Program, which offers mediation services for agricultural borrowers, creditors and USDA program participants. Through this program, participants also can access free one-on-one education on agricultural financial and legal matters. For information, call (800) 446-4071.

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Credit: Alex Belomlinsky

Nebraska Extension has developed an initiative called “Strengthening Nebraska’s Agricultural Economy” that features a series of educational materials on the Extension Crop Watch and Beef websites. The materials are designed to provide producers with ideas for reducing input costs, increasing efficiencies and improving profitability. Find the materials at CropWatch.unl.edu and Beef.unl.edu.

Posted in Crops, Irrigation

NE Ag Water Management Network

Agricultural irrigation system watering corn field in summer

If you have irrigated ground and are looking for ways to save money, reduce nutrient loss and use less water, consider joining the Nebraska Agricultural Water Management Network, or NAWMN.  Evaluation results have shown a one to two-inch savings of irrigation since it’s inception. The Network has been having significant impacts on both water and energy conservation due to farmers adopting information and implementing technologies in their irrigation management. The cost of applying an additional 2 inches of water is going to vary depending on your depth to water, system pressure, and equipment costs, but could easily run from $10 to $30 per acre.

irrigatepump

To determine the actual cost, I recommend using the IrrigateCost app, developed by Nebraska Extension. The app, which is available for both Apple and Android products, allows users to input their specific information such as acres irrigated, pumping lift, system PSI, pump and pivot life, and inches applied as well as related costs such as for the well and engine, labor, energy, district fees, and taxes. The app then calculates total irrigation, total ownership, and total operating costs. It also breaks down costs by irrigation well, pump, gear head, pump base, diesel engine and tank and system and calculates per acre annual cost and per acre-inch annual cost.

A couple of the tools the NAWMN uses are ETgages® or Atmometers which mimic crop evapotranspiration or ET and Watermark soil matrix sensors which measure soil matric potential or the energy required to remove water from the soil. These two tools have really worked well and have made irrigation management much easier than those gut feelings.  The more information you have the better decisions you can make!

If you are in the NAWMN, and have not already installed your equipment, be sure to remember to start the soaking/drying cycle on your Watermark sensors to be sure they work! It’s also important to replace the #54 alfalfa canvas covers and wafers on a regular basis at the start of each season. For more information, go to: http://water.unl.edu/web/cropswater/nawmdn.

Once you have your ETgage out, I hope you will post your weekly readings to the Nebraska Ag Water Management Network (NAWMN) website. As a reminder, once you are on the main screen, you can login to your site by entering your site name and password and clicking on “Login.” Once you have logged in, you will be taken to your weekly data from past weeks, including last year. To enter your weekly data, click on the “Add new ETgage reading” link which will take you to the data entry page where you can enter your growth stage, rainfall, and ETgage change.

If you’ve forgotten your site name or password, please contact Aaron Nygren at anygren2@unl.edu or 402-352-3821.

Source: UNL CropWatchwebsite

Posted in Crops, Programming

Weed Management/Cover Crops Field Day

During the summer, our crops extension team has some great field days to share research and management strategies to farmers. One of those opportunities to learn more about weed management and cover crops will be on June 28 at the South Central Agricultural Laboratory near Clay Center.  There is no charge for the field day with registration beginning at 8 a.m. and field day from 8:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m.  Lunch will be served which will then be followed by a cover crop field day from 1-3 p.m.  marestailThe weed management field day will include on-site demonstrations of herbicides for weed control in corn, popcorn, and soybean as well as a view of ongoing cover crop research. An early morning demonstration will focus on weed control in soybeans followed by a demonstration of projects for weed control in corn, popcorn and sorghum. Onsite demonstration of cover crop research will highlight the afternoon session.soybeans

Soybean demonstrations will include an unbiased comparison of herbicide programs of different companies for weed control in Roundup Ready, Liberty Link, and Xtend soybeans.  Weed control and crop safety in Roundup Ready 2Xtend Soybean, Balance Bean, Bolt Soybean, and Conventional Soybean will also be discussed.

Corn demonstrations include an unbiased comparison of several herbicide programs by different companies for weed control in glyphosate- plus glufosinate-resistant corn. Effect of row spacing and herbicide on weed control in popcorn, DiFlexx DUO for weed control in corn, INZEN sorghum, and injury symptoms of dicamba or 2,4-D on a number of crops will also be discussed.

Afternoon demonstrations of cover crop research will include cover crops in corn and soybean systems including planting dates, plant populations, and maturities. Participants will walk cover crop experiments planted in corn and/or soybean.  Cover crop pluses and minuses: Bio-mass, nitrogen for the following crop, nitrates, erosion, water use, and crop yields will also be discussed.

Certified Crop Advisor (CCA) continuing education units will be available.  There is no cost to attend the field day, but participants are asked to register at http://agronomy.unl.edu/fieldday.  The South Central Agricultural Laboratory is 4.5 miles west of the intersection of Highways 14 and 6, or 12.4 miles east of Hastings on Highway 6. GPS coordinates of the field day site are 40.57539, -98.13776.

Other programs relatively close to our area include:
June 22:  Cover Crop Conference, 2 p.m., Holthus Convention Center York.
July 18:  Crop Management Diagnostic Clinic:  Soil Health, ARDC (now ENREC) near Mead

Posted in Uncategorized

EAB: What to watch for??

Great reminder of what to look for with Emerald Ash Borer from Extension Educator, Nicole Stoner.

Plants and Pests with Nicole

EAB Photo by Leah Bauer, USDA Forest Service Northern Research Station, Bugwood.org – See more at: http://www.insectimages.org/browse/detail.cfm?imgnum=5473689#sthash.6HVDSdAf.dpuf

Emerald Ash Borer, EAB, is an invasive insect that was first found in Nebraska in the summer of 2016 when it was found in Omaha and in Greenwood Nebraska. Previous to this discovery, EAB was found in Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, and Colorado for the closest confirmed presence of this insect to Nebraska. Now that it has been found in Nebraska, there are more concerns for the residents.

One of the common calls I have received lately is determining if a poorly growing ash tree is infected by Emerald Ash Borer or if the insect on the tree is an Emerald Ash Borer beetle. It is hard to determine by looking at the tree if it is infected by EAB, but there are some signs to look for on your tree.

The signs of EAB…

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Posted in Programming, Youth

Educator Eclipse Training

One of the many projects I have been working on this spring has been some lessons how plants and animals react to the sun, especially with regards to a total solar eclipse. You may or may not be aware, but over 200 Nebraska communities fall within path of totality, or the path of the shadow where observers will see the moon completely over the sun for roughly two and a half minutes.  During the total solar eclipse, the moon’s umbral shadow will fly across the United States from Oregon to South Carolina, in a little over 90 minutes. This is the first eclipse through the contiguous United States since 1979, according to NASA records.TSE2017-usa

In response to this rare and unique opportunity, Nebraska Extension and Raising Nebraska are partnering with the Hastings Museum to offer solar eclipse training for teachers and youth professionals in advance of the total solar eclipse on Aug. 21. The training will provide participants with eclipse resources and lesson plans they can use in their classroom, after-school setting or organization.

The total solar eclipse is a remarkable phenomenon that not many have the opportunity to witness. Nebraska’s wide open spaces will be one of the best places to view the eclipse so we want to help youth professionals capitalize on this exciting teaching opportunity. The training will educate participants on exactly what the eclipse is and how they can take lessons from concept to application. The curriculum will also be applicable beyond the Aug. 21 event, covering topics such as nocturnal animals, how sundials work and why sunlight is critical for plants.

All trainings are free to attend and will be held from 2 – 4 p.m. Training dates and locations are:

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Participants will have access to a variety of lessons specific to the eclipse, in addition to plant and animal science lessons as related to the sun.
  • June 1: Raising Nebraska, Nebraska State Fairgrounds, 501 E. Fonner Park Rd., Grand Island
  • June 15: Hastings Museum, 1330 N. Burlington Ave., Hastings
  • June 18: Raising Nebraska
  • July 27: Training via Zoom video conference

To register for the June 15 training at the Hastings museum, please call 402-461-2339. To register for all other trainings, visit go.unl.edu/solareclipse. Space is limited.

For more information contact Beth Janning, Science and Agriculture in Action Educator at Raising Nebraska at 308-385-3967 or raisingnebraska@unl.edu.  Raising Nebraska is a joint effort of Nebraska Extension within the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, the Nebraska Department of Agriculture and the Nebraska State Fair.

Posted in Crops, Programming, Youth

Youth Crop Scouting Competition

One of the statewide programs I coordinate is the Youth Crop Scouting Competition which engages youth in the crop sciences. It provides youth with real-world scenarios in crop production as they diagnose plant diseases, crop disorders, identify insects and weeds and other challenges producers currently face.IMG_6054.jpg

Registration is now open for the 2017 Youth Crop Scouting Competition to be held this August in eastern Nebraska. The contest is open to FFA and 4-H club members and will help those interested in crops test their skills and those new to crops better understand crop production.

To prepare for the contest youth are encouraged to learn about crop growth and development and basic crop scouting principles. If a group doesn’t know a lot about crops, they’re encouraged to ask a local agronomist to assist by providing a short lesson on crop production at regular meetings or outside of the meeting.

The crop scouting contest will be held at the Eastern Nebraska Research and Extension Center (ENREC, formerly ARDC) near Mead on Aug. 1. The event will include both indoor and outdoor events. Teams of three to five junior high or high school students (those completing 7-12th grades) from across Nebraska are invited to participate.

FFA Chapters or 4-H Clubs may enter a team composed of three or four participants. An adult team leader must accompany each team of students. Team leaders could be FFA advisors, crop consultants, extension staff, coop employees, etc.IMG_6093.jpg

Top-scoring teams win prizes: $500 for first, $250 for second, $100 for third place. The top two teams will be eligible for regional competition in August at Indiana.

Teams will be expected to know the basics of scouting corn and soybean fields. This includes crop staging; looking for patterns of crop injury; disease, insect and weed seedling identification; etc. Other topics may include but are not limited to pesticide safety, nutrient disorders, and herbicide injury.

More information about the crop scouting competition and instructions on how to register a team are available online in the Youth section of CropWatch under “Crop Scouting Competition” and in the contest flyer. The program is limited to 10 teams so be sure to register soon! Teams must be registered by July 20.

This program is sponsored by DuPont Pioneer, the Nebraska Independent Crop Consultant Association, and Nebraska Extension.