Monthly Archives: November 2014
Field Assessments to Improve Efficiency
Field to Market Training: On December 8th from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., I will be hosting a workshop at the Extension Office in Clay Center (Courthouse) for interested producers/crop consultants to learn more about a web-based tool called Field to Market (https://www.fieldtomarket.org/). Please RSVP to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or (402) 762-3644 by Dec. 5th if interested. Field To Market® brings together a diverse group of grower organizations; agribusinesses; food, fiber, restaurant and retail companies; conservation groups; universities and agency partners to focus on promoting, defining and measuring the sustainability of food, fiber and fuel production. Sustainability in this effort is defined as meeting the needs of the present while improving the ability of future generations to meet their own needs by: increasing productivity to meet future food, fuel and fiber demands; improving the environment; improving human health; and improving the social and economic well-being of agricultural communities. The meetings will be hands on and producers will leave the room with their carbon & energy footprint and efficiency factor information on a field for 2014. If there is time, participants can enter records on a previous year. Using the tool, farmers evaluate how their decisions influence their sustainability outcomes; the food industry can access and share more accurate details about sustainable food and fiber production; and conservation groups understand what’s happening on the farm, while helping farmers understand questions and concerns about sustainability.
Online Irrigation Cost Calculator
Have you ever wondered what fair price could be charged for the water your pivot delivers to an adjacent neighbor’s field? Or have you wondered what it would cost if you changed to a different fuel source?
The Irrigation Cost calculator was first developed by Tom Dorn, retired Extension Educator, and was a tool I used and recommended to farmers and landlords in various situations such as those above. The tool has now been redesigned as an online tool with updated numbers built in. Data is entered by you for your operation and calculations are made on a remote server. You can then choose to save your data for later reference or to input various options to compare costs. Calculated output includes fixed and variable costs calculated per-acre and per-acre-inch of water applied. The following information is from Roger Wilson, Extension Farm Management Specialist and Budget Analyst.
To use this tool, you’ll need to gather some key information:
- Operating data such as interest rates, wage rates, area irrigated and inches applied, diesel price or electricity rates, and drip oil price. (Energy costs may be estimated from pumping lift, system pressure, and pumping plant efficiency or from historical data such as past energy costs, past fuel prices or electrical rates, and past application rates.)
- Ownership costs such as the estimated replacement price, expected life and the salvage values for the well, pump, power plant, gear head, and sprinkler system.
Fair Share Feature for Adjoining Parcels
After these costs have been calculated, you can use the “Fair Share” feature to estimate the cost for running a center pivot over adjacent land. Additional data needed for these calculations are the number of adjacent acres to be irrigated and the estimated acre inches that will be applied. The “fair share” can be calculated on the added acres irrigated or on the amount of water applied. This feature has two components: fixed and variable costs. The fixed cost is an annual cost and the variable cost is for acre-inches of water applied.
The Irrigation Cost Calculator web page includes a video on how to use this tool.
Mobile Apps for Irrigation Management
Earlier this year UNL Extension introduced three mobile apps to aid in irrigation management, which are described further in UNL CropWatch in the links below:
Agriculture Irrigation Costs App. Calculates ownership and operating costs for center pivot and gated pipe irrigation systems and the most commonly used energy sources. This tool is based on the same resource as the Irrigation Cost Calculator web tool described above. The Web app is a “quick and dirty” means to calculate costs, while the mobile app offers more options for testing and analyzing various options. The mobile app offers side-by-side comparisons for systems that use different energy sources, analysis of gated pipe as well as center pivot systems, separation of landowner and tenant costs, and calculating yield increases necessary to pay for application of an extra inch of water.
Irrigation Pumping Plant Efficiency. Helps you identify irrigation pumping plants that are underperforming and need to be adjusted, repaired, or replaced with a better design.
Water Meter Calculator App. Calculates the amount of water pumped by irrigation pumping plants and can store data such as field size (in acres), flow meter units, and allocation and annual irrigation caps for each field.
Connecting with Extension to Enhance the Land Grant Mission
My thoughts on the importance of connecting with Teaching and Research to ensure Extension’s and the Land Grant Institution’s future success, relevancy, and existence.
I had the opportunity to provide a seminar to the UNL Agronomy and Horticulture Department last week which was truly an honor. As I thought about what to present, I kept thinking about the future of Extension and two major challenges I see Extension facing in the next 100 years…actually now.
Challenge of losing our research base.
Challenge of sharing our unbiased, research-based information in the places where customers are receiving information.
I continue to think about Extension’s Mission: We provide unbiased, research-based information to the people to ultimately improve their lives.
My thoughts kept centering around the fact that in order for me to achieve Extension’s Mission, I need to be more connected with the people on campus and research stations. I need to know about their research to share with our customers. For us to be the best Land Grant University System we can be in…
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10 Life Tips from Future Ag Leaders
This was a great conference to attend and present at! Great open, honest, thought-provoking discussions about agricultural issues while learning about different issues other States are facing. A summary of the final thoughts from the conference are presented by Dr. Lindsay Chichester, UNL Extension in the following blog post.
I spent three days this week with at the AgriFutures Conference, held in Kearney, Nebraska. Myself, along with persons from the Wyoming Department of Ag and the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture (NCTA) had been planning this event for several months. In attendance were college students, producers, and industry representatives from Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Kansas, and Canada! We had some great speakers and networking opportunities.
Before we adjourned on the last day we went around the room and shared “take away messages” from our time together. I think that many of the take away messages from the conference apply not only to agriculture, but to life in general.
The list I am sharing with you today is one generated by these agriculture enthusiasts and leaders – the people who grow and raise the food we all eat. And boy let me tell you, they are excited…
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Bothersome Boxelder Bugs
It’s the time of year for boxelder bugs! Great information from Elizabeth Killinger, UNL Extension Educator in the following post.
Boxelder bugs gathered together on a home’s foundation.
Daylight Savings time is ending and it is time to ‘fall back’ once again. Fall brings about cooler temperatures, changing leaves, and boxelder bugs by the millions. Find out what you can do to help keep these pests from invading your home.
Depending on where you grew up, the boxelder bug can have many names. Some of the more common ones include; maple bug, democrat bug, populist bug, and politician bug. Regardless of what you call them, they are annoying to say the least. The boxelder bug gets one of its common names from its primary host plant, the female boxelder tree. They can also be found on ash, and maple, and occasionally feeding on strawberries, grasses and other plants. The adults are ½ inch long red with black coloration under their wings. This time of the year they begin to cover…
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Public Issues Leadership Development Experience
As President-elect of the Nebraska Agricultural Agents Association, I had the opportunity to participate in the Public Issues Leadership Development (PILD) Conference in April of 2014. The goal of PILD is professional development and public issues education. I never had the opportunity to visit D.C. that time of year before and the cherry blossoms were just opening when the group of us from Nebraska arrived. By the time we left they were in full bloom-just beautiful with an amazing fragrance! Our delegation was Monte Stauffer (representing 4-H), Patricia Jones (representing Food/Nutrition), Diane Vigna (representing community development), and myself along with our Dean and Director Dr. Chuck Hibberd.
For me, these conferences are about networking and people and I truly enjoyed seeing my Ag Extension colleagues from across the U.S. The conference was very much focused on celebrating 100 years of Cooperative Extension and the challenges/opportunities Extension faces in the next 100 years.
Sessions included discussing how to determine public value of what we do and the debate continues to be how do we extrapolate information and who gets the credit. I think Nebraska is on track with much of what we do in this area as we’ve had many similar discussions here. There were also discussions about the relevance of Extension and the need to share information several ways; again, I think we have people in Nebraska leading the way in this effort. But it is critically important for ALL of Extension to be repackaging our information several ways to reach our customers where they view information.
We had the opportunity to interact with National Institute of Food and Agriculture program leaders to express the critical needs for the people we serve in hopes of influencing where research and extension initiatives should be focused in future grant releases. We also spent a large portion of time discussing different bills of importance to all of our States and determining the key messages we wished to share on the Hill with our Congressmen and Senators.