The office has received numerous questions regarding the abundance of butterflies (most of what I’ve seen are Painted Lady butterflies) in the area. An extension entomologist told me the following: “It is hard to pinpoint reasons these insects survive and flourish better in one year over another. Painted Lady butterflies overwinter in southern areas of the country and migrate north in the spring. They have a broad food host range which includes thistle plants. If any of these food sources are abundant, the weather is favorable and natural enemy populations are minimal, the butterflies can grow and develop quite successfully. This results in the high population that we are seeing now.” Hopefully this answers questions you might have. Butterfly information can be found at http://lancaster.unl.edu/pest/butterflies.shtml.
First of all, I’d like to give a shout-out to the many volunteers who helped contribute to a successful county fair! Without great volunteers so freely giving their time and talents to the youth in the 4-H program, 4-H would not be the success it is! I would like to personally thank all of the extension staff, fair board members, 4-H Council members, superintendents, and other volunteers for their dedication to the 4-H program. Fair can be a stressful time; however, when we don’t lose sight of its purpose can create long-lasting and positive memories.
Stress comes from many sources: a family crisis such as death, divorce or long separation; It might be from overloaded schedules; maybe expectations that cannot be met or unexpected circumstances; A loss of job, health, home or friendship; it can even come from a happy event as marriage, the birth of a child, or moving into a new home. Regardless of the cause, the following are three ways you can manage your stress: alter it, avoid it, or accept it.
Alter your life by removing the source of stress. Some stressors can be relieved by better planning or organization in your life. Simple things like having emergency supplies on hand, not shopping at the busiest times of the week, or organizing your work space can each be stress relievers. If morning schedules are tight, lay out children’s clothes or set the table for breakfast the night before.
Avoiding stress is another management strategy. Learn to say no, when an addition to your schedule will only add to your stress. If you are stressed by long waits, plan something to do (like reading a book) while you wait for an appointment. If there is too much tension in your home or office, go for a walk to clear your mind and relieve the tension.
Find a way to accept the stressors that we have no control over. Talking to a trusted friend will help you put things in perspective. Keeping in good health by eating well, getting enough sleep and keeping a routine are essential. Look for the good. Even in the worst of circumstances, there are things that can bring a smile to your face, reasons to be thankful, and opportunities to help others.
Source: How to Manage Daily Stress@ by Dr. Herbert G. Lingren, Extension Family Scientist, NF98-388.
For many 4-H and FFA youth, projects have been well underway since the first of the year and beyond. 4-H and FFA youth enroll in projects, utilize curriculum and resources designed to help youth grow essential skills needed to enter exhibits at the fair which showcase their knowledge and skills gained. Extension staff and 4-H volunteers have offered numerous educational workshops for youth in a wide variety of topics from computer coding, cupcake decorating, plant science investigation, sewing, fishing and others. Youth have also participated in public speaking, a culinary food challenge and soon the clothing and fashion day.
Probably the most visible part of the 4-H youth development program is the county fair. The fair provides youth the opportunity to showcase their exhibits with community members. In our area, fairs are rapidly approaching.
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. The 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.
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
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.
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:
- 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 email@example.com. 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.
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.
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.
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.
Attention wheat growers! Nebraska Extension is again hosting some wheat field days within the area in collaboration with various business and industry partners. There are 4 field days in the Panhandle area, 2 in west central Nebraska and 2 in the eastern part of the state with the closest one in our area located in Jefferson County.
Wednesday, June 7th at 6:30 p.m. at the farm of Mark Knoble will be a wheat field day. From Fairbury, head north on NE 15, turn west onto 721st Road, dive 1.9 miles and the destination is on the left. For more information, contact Randy Pryor, Extension Educator in Saline County at (402) 821-2151. For details on all of the field days and to see a list of sponsors, go to agronomy.unl.edu/wheatdays.