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, Irrigation, Livestock, Uncategorized

Census of Agriculture

According to a news release from the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), America’s farmers and ranchers will soon have the opportunity to strongly represent agriculture in their communities and industry by taking part in the 2017 Census of Agriculture. Conducted every five years by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), the census, to be mailed at the end of this year, is a complete count of all U.S. farms, ranches, and those who operate them.

pexels-photo
Photo Credit: pexels.com

The Census of Agriculture is the only source of uniform, comprehensive, and impartial agriculture data for every county in the United States, according to the NASS administrator Huber Hamer.  The Census of Agriculture highlights land use and ownership, operator characteristics, production practices, income and expenditures, and other topics. The 2012 Census of Agriculture revealed that over three million farmers operated more than two million farms, spanning over 914 million acres. This was a four percent decrease in the number of U.S. farms from the previous census in 2007. However, agriculture sales, income, and expenses increased between 2007 and 2012. This telling information and thousands of other agriculture statistics are a direct result of responses to the Census of Agriculture.

Producers who are new to farming or did not receive a Census of Agriculture in 2012 still have time to sign up to receive the 2017 Census of Agriculture report form by visiting http://www.agcensus.usda.gov and clicking on the ‘Make Sure You Are Counted’ button through June. NASS defines a farm as any place from which $1,000 or more of agricultural products were produced and sold, or normally would have been sold, during the census year (2017).

For more information about the 2017 Census of Agriculture and to see how census data are used, visit www.agcensus.usda.gov or call (800) 727-9540.

Posted in Crops, Horticulture, Irrigation, Livestock, Uncategorized, Youth

Celebrate Agriculture!

The Agriculture Council of America (ACA) hosts National Agriculture Day on March 21, 2017. This marks the 44th anniversary of National Ag Day, which is celebrated in classrooms and communities across the country. The theme for National Ag Day 2017 is “Agriculture: Food For Life.” The purpose of National Agriculture Day is to tell the true story of American agriculture and remind citizens that agriculture is a part of all of us. A number of producers, agricultural associations,Ag Day2017 corporations, students and government organizations involved in agriculture are expected to participate.

National Ag Day is organized by the Agriculture Council of America. ACA is a nonprofit organization composed of leaders in the agricultural, food and fiber community, dedicating its efforts to increasing the public’s awareness of agriculture’s role in modern society. The National Ag Day program encourages every American to:

  • Understand how food and fiber products are produced.
  • Appreciate the role agriculture plays in providing safe, abundant and affordable products.
  • Value the essential role of agriculture in maintaining a strong economy.
  • Acknowledge and consider career opportunities in the agriculture, food and fiber industry.NewAgDay_Original.jpg

Since National Ag Day is one day out of the year, it is important for us to note that we everyday we should promote agriculture and share our story. Did you know how amazing Nebraska agriculture is?  The Nebraska Department of Agriculture publishes some statistics that are interesting to read! For example, nationally, Nebraska ranks first in popcorn production, Great northern bean production and commercial red
meat production. Nebraska ranks second on pinto bean production, number of head of bison and proso millet production. We rank third for corn grain production and corn exports and fourth in cash receipts for all farm commodities. Nebraska ranks fifth soybean and grain sorghum production.

Cash receipts from farm marketings contributed over $23 billion to Nebraska’s economy in 2015 and 6.1 percent of the U.S. total. Every dollar in agricultural exports generates $1.22 in economic activities such as transportation, financing, warehousing and production. Nebraska’s $6.4 billion in agricultural exports in 2015 translate into $7.8 billion in additional economic activity.

One in four jobs in Nebraska is related to agriculture, thus the importance agriculture has on our economy. In Extension, we have several great programs that not only teach youth the importance of agriculture, but also strive to make youth aware of the numerous career opportunities in agriculture. As technology continues to advance, types of careers in agriculture will also continue to expand.

In conclusion, while March 21st is one day devoted to celebrating agriculture, we should celebrate agriculture everyday. If you ate, thank a farmer or rancher who produced your food. From the food we eat to the clothes we wear, tires on our cars, toothpaste, crayons, windshield wiper fluid, etc., we need to thank our American farmers and ranchers for providing us with products that are affordable and good for the environment. Thank you farmers and ranchers!

Posted in Crops, Irrigation, Programming, Uncategorized

Precision Ag Data Management Workshop

precison-agProduction agriculture continues to evolve into a data-intensive system as producers and other agricultural professionals look for ways to gather more actionable information from their data. Topics for the 2017 Nebraska Extension Precision Ag Data Management Workshops were developed to provide hands-on data analysis instruction on how to apply variable rate technologies for improving crop production efficiency and on-farm economics. Sessions will teach attendees options for creating management zones within fields as well as how to create variable rate application maps (for planting) and evaluate planting studies using GPS-enabled yield monitor data. In addition, exercises will provide information related to creating profitability maps using different data layers collected during the growing season.

Four two-day workshops will be held in Lincoln, York, Norfolk, and North Platte during January and February. Interested individuals can register for one or both days.

Program Sites
Lincoln — Jan. 10-11
York — Jan. 12-13
North Platte — Jan. 26-27
Norfolk — Feb. 7-8

For more information, please visit the 2017 Nebraska Extension Precision Ag Data Management Workshop registration website at http://agronomy.unl.edu/precisionag

Please contact Joe Luck (402-472-1488 or jluck2@unl.edu) if you have questions related to the workshops.

Posted in Crops, Irrigation, Programming, Uncategorized

Successful Farmer Series

Now that the growing season is coming to an end, there are many opportunities in the upcoming months to enhance your knowledge and garner new ideas to take back to your operation. Nebraska Extension provides numerous workshops, conferences and trainings all across the state to help you increase your profitability and environmental stewardship.successfulfarmer

One opportunity available to southeast Nebraska is the Successful Farmer Series. It is unlike many other Extension educational events and that it encompasses a host of agricultural topics in six individual events. Each event covers a different topic and you can choose which topics/events you wish to attend. Each topic will feature two to three speakers from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. We will also invite other experts surrounding the topic to be in attendance and address more specific questions or interact with attendees during the breaks.

This is the second year of the Successful Farmer Series and the reviews from year one were quite positive. Nearly 90% of the attendees said they are very likely to attend the series in 2016-2017, so spots may fill up fast.

Workshops are every other Friday this winter (except December 30th) from 9:00 am until 11:30 am at the Lancaster Extension Education Center in Lincoln. CEUs are available and Refreshments will be provided.

Here are the dates and topics for this year’s Successful Farmer Series:

  • December 16th – Cover Crops & Wheat
  • January 6th – Ag Management Technology
  • January 20th – Farm Financial Management
  • February 3rd – Soil & Climate Tools
  • February 17th – Soybeans
  • March 3rd – Corn

The cost to attend is $5 for individual workshops or you can sign up for the entire series and pick which events to attend for $15. Pre-registration at least two days in advance is appreciated by contacting Karen Wedding at 402-441-7180 or online. Pay at the door, check or cash.

 (Source: Tyler Williams, Extension Educator in Lancaster County)

Posted in Crops, Irrigation

NE Ag Water Management Network

Planting has been well underway and hopefully we will receive timely rainfall this growing season with little need to irrigate. 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. I’ve been in Extension for nearly eleven years and a program I’ve been involved with that has been a very rewarding program and made a positive impact for many is the Nebraska Agricultural Water Watermark SensorsManagement Network, or NAWMN. Evaluation results have shown a one to two inch savings of irrigation since it’s inception. In 2005, only a few producers in the Upper Big Blue NRD, (shortly followed by the Little Blue NRD) were participating, but as of last fall, this program has reached 1,393 in 18 NRDs and 73 of 93 counties. 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.

A couple of the tools we use 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!  ETgage

If you would like to participate in this dynamic program, let me know and I’d be happy to help and get you started! If you are in the NAWMN, consider installing your ETgage soon and once done with planting, 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 Nebraska Extension’s Water Website. 

Posted in Crops, Horticulture, Irrigation, Livestock, Programming, Uncategorized, Youth

What is Extension?

Often times when I tell people I work at the “Extension Office” they have no idea what it is we do. It is so hard to describe without giving a plethora of information. One of our signature programs people often most often associate with is the 4-H program. While this is a large and very successful component of Extension, it is only one of many programs.ExtensionDifferencepic

Everyday, whether you know it or not, you have most likely been indirectly impacted by Extension programming. Extension essentially takes science and research-based information from the University Of Nebraska – Lincoln and delivers it into the hands of the public. We make UNL easily accessible to the public. For example, we provide services and resources to the agricultural community, but also sectors as diverse as nutrition, health care and technology. From border to border, Nebraska Extension is making an incredible impact on the success of our state – its youth, its families, its farms & ranches, its communities, its economy.

For example, as a result of our Learning Child Extension staff, approximately 24,000 children in Nebraska benefit from early childhood professionals and parents who have the essential skills and knowledge to support the healthy growth and development in the children in their care. Take the crops area: last year, Extension presented workshops in 94 locations to over 4,000 participants from 93 Nebraska counties, 9 U.S. states and 4 foreign countries. Our community vitality programming has engaged over 10,000 Nebraskans in Broadband planning and engaged over 2,500 people through the Entrepreneurial Community Activation Process which resulted in community-wide visions, a new economic development corporation being started, community web portal and a young professional network.

Nebraska Extension continues to evolve and is one of the leading Extension programs in the world. In doing so, Extension Educators are more focused in their area of expertise and able to provide clients with robust information. For example, Extension staff covers a specific region to ensure clients are being served well. Each county has access to a professional in the areas of:

  • Community environment (horticulture)
  • Food, Nutrition & Health
  • Crops & Water
  • The Learning Child
  • Community Vitality
  • Beef & Livestock Systems
  • 4-H Youth Development

This has been a very brief overview of Extension and next week we’ll discuss how this impacts our multi-disciplinary programming and Fillmore County.