Monthly Archives: February 2019
Change. Sometimes it can motivate us to move forward and sometimes we can allow unwanted change to cripple us. The theme of the Women in Agriculture conference last week was “Taking Charge of Change”. There’s a number of changes we all face, especially for those involved with agriculture. Many are outside of our control yet we can control how we respond. We were challenged to write down 2-3 changes currently occurring in our lives and then what parts of those changes, if any, we had any control over. The first keynote speaker then built off of that in speaking on “Getting Clear on our Impact”. He was talking about life’s changes and our yearly goals. In clarifying impact around our goals, he mentioned three steps including: thinking long term, clarifying values/intentions, and optimizing for the starting line. The first two were pretty intuitive for me, but I wasn’t sure what he meant by the last one till explaining. In optimizing for the starting line, it’s about taking the first step. How many of us have made goals that have seemed too daunting to achieve such as fitness, nutrition, or other personal goals? He gave the example of a man who made the goal to run 5 miles every day for a year. Even though it’s measurable, it may not be achievable every day. He said the past three years, he made the goal each year to play his fiddle. He had been a fiddle player before having children but failed to even play once in spite of the goal. “Optimizing for the starting line” is about taking the first step. For the first man, it became simply putting on his running shoes. Once the shoes were on, it was the first step to any type of exercise. For himself, it was scheduling a time each day to only ‘pick up his fiddle’. Once he picked it up, it was the first step to begin playing again and he has been successful at playing since. The thought of this is so simple yet profound. It makes a lot of sense. In these cases, it can be change that’s positive by taking the first step, including in changing negative habits. It goes along the lines of other things we’ve heard such as “just making one’s bed” to complete one task, etc. For me, it will be to pick up a note card which is the first step to writing long-overdue thank yous and notes of encouragement. What first steps would allow you to achieve some of the goals you have in life or more positively help you deal with change occurring in your life right now?
Women’s Farmers & Ranchers College Program: Another opportunity for women in agriculture is upcoming on March 14. Michele Payn, founder of Cause Matter Corp., will be speaking to women on “Gate to Plate” at the next Farmers & Ranchers College. This informative and light-hearted program will start with registration at 6:00 p.m., a light meal and program to follow. The venue will be Lazy Horse Vineyard & Brewery near Ohiowa, NE or at 211 Road 20, Ohiowa, NE. This program is for women involved in agriculture to learn strategies for sharing their story of agriculture to today’s consumers. This program is free, however space is limited so please RSVP to 402-759-3712 or at go.unl.edu/farmersrancherscollege. Cause Matters Corp. focuses on addressing food myths, developing science communication, and connecting farm to food. In each of these core areas, Michele helps organizations clearly identify issues, understand their audience and grow solutions. Michele’s goal is to help you communicate “why your cause matters” – whether you’re a scientist, dietitian or in agribusiness. Michele’s resources and website can be found at http://causematters.com. For those of you on Twitter, Michele also founded the weekly #agchat conversation.
CropWatch and BeefWatch Podcasts: Dr. Roger Elmore, Extension Cropping Systems Specialist joins Michael Sindelar, Extension Educator, to talk about Corn Planting and Early Growth Stages in this month’s CropWatch podcast. You can listen to it at: https://cropwatch.unl.edu/2019/cw-podcast-corn-planting-and-early-growth-stages. The monthly BeefWatch newsletter now has entire articles available via podcast. You can click here to subscribe if you’re interested: https://beef.unl.edu/beefwatch-podcast?platform=hootsuite.
Grain Marketing Workshop in David City: Are you getting the most profit out of your grain? A free Nebraska Extension Grain Marketing Workshop will help you build your own marketing plan for next year’s crops. The workshop will be 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday, March 5 in David City at the Hruska Memorial Public Library, 399 Fifth St. Austin Duerfeldt, Nebraska Extension ag economist and extension educator, will lead the morning session on how to develop a grain marketing plan. In the afternoon participants will get to test two scenarios using the Marketing in a New Era simulator. MINE is a commodity simulation game designed to help producers develop and improve their commodity marketing skills. Also speaking will be Eric Erickson, Risk Management Consultant at Thrive Ag LLC. The workshop, workshop materials and lunch are free. Seating is limited to the first 20 registrants and please RSVP to: Melissa Bartels at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We had our 4-H Festival tonight in York. Sometimes I need to be reminded how cool ag is and not take it so easily for granted. Watching the kids exclaim “that is so cool!” when looking at fungal spores under the microscope or seeing both youth and parents be amazed to see the root and early leaves with soybean dissection repeatedly brought a smile to my face. Any youth ages 6-18 are welcome to join me every month for Crop Science Investigation (CSI). At each meeting, the youth become detectives to solve a real-life problem about plants. Learning is hands-on, youth don’t have to be in 4-H to attend, and also can be from outside of York County. Our next meeting will be March 25th from 5-6 p.m. at the York Co. Extension Office and every third Monday of the month after that. Please contact me at email@example.com to RSVP or for more information.
On-Farm Research Brainstorming Meeting: Last week I shared about on-farm research and the updates that are occurring this week throughout the State. Because we cover so many research projects at those updates, there’s not a lot of time for growers to just brainstorm and talk about projects they’re considering for this year. So, I’m having an on-farm research brainstorming meeting on Monday, February 25th from 10 a.m.-Noon at the 4-H Building in York. I will also provide lunch at Noon for those attending in person. We will also have a distance connection available for Extension Offices in other parts of the State and I can share that link with anyone who is unable to attend in person. Please RSVP to me (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you plan on attending or if you would like to join us via weblink. Purpose: Brainstorm on-farm research topics to conduct this year and better determine who is interested in which studies to see if we can get several to conduct the same study. A number of growers have contacted me since harvest with project ideas. What has been shared thus far include: interseeding covers at V3-V5; biological products including some heard about during No-Till on the Plains; renewed interest in applying sugars; soy pop looking at impact on soybean stem borer; economics of lower corn pop with high flex hybrid under irrigation vs. current pop; second year for some on early vs. later maturity group soy planted early; Chris Proctor and my interest in small grain or other cover on soybean endrows (document palmer); comparison of sorghum vs. corn in non-irrigated setting looking at economics for Nebraska. Come with any topics you’re interested in discussing and looking forward to the discussion!
Soybean Seed Quality: The wet fall brought challenges with harvest and seed quality.
Not surprisingly, we’re hearing about reduced germination for soybean seed next year. There’s an article in this week’s CropWatch at http://cropwatch.unl.edu that goes into more details. Essentially in seeds infected with fungi causing purple seed stain and also phomopsis seed decay, reduced germination is occurring. Steve Knox, manager of the Nebraska Crop Improvement Association shared that while a few lots came in at or above 95% germination, results are averaging in the mid 80% range. In a typical year, soybean seed lots tested by the Nebraska Crop Improvement Association (NCIA) range from 88% to 98% germination. This year samples thus far ranged from 43% to 98% germination. The minimum germination for certified soybean seed is 80%, as set by the Association of Official Seed Certifying Agencies (AOSCA). The Nebraska Department of Agriculture has set a minimum germination standard of 75% for soybeans. On a phone call, Steve mentioned that all the moldy and dead seed were removed from the samples before conducting germination tests. They did test the purple seed stained soybeans and found little to no germination reduction in infected seeds. Purple seed stain is seed transmitted; thus, if you have seed lots that are infected at planting, you may notice it at harvest as well. You may also have noticed soybean seed last fall that had very tightly wrinkled seed coats. This was due to the continual wetting/drying process beans went through with rain and wind events. Steve said soybeans with those characteristics didn’t germinate at all thus far but there’s few soybeans with those characteristics in most seed lots tested thus far. Iowa State research found that adding a fungicide seed treatment to lower quality seed could increase the germination percentage up to 15%. However, a fungicide seed treatment won’t improve germination of dead or dying seeds. Seed treatments should be considered when germination rates are below normal and when you’re planting into cold, wet soils. It’s important for growers to check the germination rate of soybean seed this year. Regarding any adjustments for seeding rates, when we conducted on-farm research soybean seeding rate studies, we did not adjust for the germ on the bag (seeded 90K, 120K, 150K, and 180K with no adjustments). However, every seed lot had at least 90% germ in those studies. We’re not recommending to adjust for 80-98% germ if the grower seeds 150K+ because there’s already enough seed planted without adjustment based on our research. However, those planting less than 150K may wish to consider adjusting this year if germination for their seed is in the 80-89% range.
On the first day I started Extension nearly 15 years ago, I met two other Extension Educators and a farmer in a Clay County farmer’s field. The farmer was cooperating with us in an on-farm research project. It was great for me to see farmers answering their own questions by partnering with Extension to conduct field-scale, replicated research on their own farms. It also became a key tool for me to learn via field observations and build relationships with growers.
Any of you who know me know on-farm research is something in which I’m pretty passionate! The reason? You’re all going to meetings and reading information regarding various practices/products and you may wonder if any of those things will work on your farm. You may try various tests on your own, which can provide some information. But because fields are so variable, scientific tests can’t be conducted by just splitting fields in half or without true randomization and replication. Another reason I believe in on-farm research is because we answer much with minimal money invested! I think of numerous studies our farmers have partnered with us in which University faculty wouldn’t have been able to obtain grants because they were too applied. However, in farmers utilizing their equipment on their own ground partnering with Extension to collect and analyze data, we’ve been able to conduct these studies with minimal cost other than some additional time and travel to fields. We’ve tested numerous products including soybean inoculants, growth promoters, soil health, and nutrient management ones. We’ve tested various practices such as populations, planting dates, planting depths, nutrient timing, cover crops, and much more. A good portion of our results can be found at http://resultsfinder.unl.edu. That site is still missing the first 15-20 years of Greater Quad County on-farm research studies, but everything is there from 2010 on. (I hope to one day help get the rest added).
I’m so grateful for all of our on-farm research cooperators-especially to all of you who have worked with me-for your investment of time and trust in partnering! We can’t do this without you! And, I hope more growers consider partnering with us in on-farm research in the future!
On-Farm Research Updates: Next week will be our Nebraska On-Farm Research updates. It’s an opportunity to hear from the growers themselves who conducted studies in 2018 regarding why they chose their studies, how they conducted them, and what their plans are for the future. I really enjoy these meetings and learning from the discussions! While many of the studies may show there’s no differences, those are still answers to specific questions! Research projects include: cover crops, variable rate seeding, planting populations, starter fertilizer, fungicide applications, alternate crop rotations, seed treatments, and sidedress nitrogen management technologies including drone and sensor-based, variable-rate nitrogen management. Certified Crop Advisor Credits have been applied for and are pending approval. Call (402) 624-8030 or e-mail email@example.com to register. Locations and times are listed below. There’s no charge with lunch included due to the partnership of the following: Nebraska Corn Growers Association, the Nebraska Corn Board, the Nebraska Soybean Checkoff, and the Nebraska Dry Bean Commission.
- Feb. 18: Grand Island, Hall Co. Extension Office, College Park, 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. (Reg. 8:30)
- Feb. 19: Norfolk, Lifelong Learning Center, Northeast Com. College, 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. (Reg. 8:30)
- Feb. 20: Beatrice, Valentino’s Restaurant, 701 E. Court St., 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. (Reg. 8:30)
- Feb. 26: North Platte, West Central Research & Extension Center, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. CST (Reg. 8:30)
Soybean Yield Gap On-Farm Research Project: A number of you have helped through the years in providing field history information for Dr. Patricio Grassini for the Soybean Yield Gap project. That’s the difference between current farm yield and potential yield as determined by climate, soil, and genetics. An analysis of survey responses from over 2000 soybean producers indicated a 20%-30% yield gap for soybean. In Nebraska, three practices have been identified as being important for improving yield and producer profit: planting date, seeding rate, and the use of foliar fungicides and insecticides. An on-farm research study in eastern Nebraska is seeking 20 growers to test “improved” practices versus “baseline” practices in 2019 and 20 again for 2020. A PDF handout with the regions and more details can be found at: https://go.unl.edu/h8hc. Please let me or your local Extension Educator know if you’re interested in this!
Ag Land Management Webinars: Extension Ag Economists will be presenting quarterly webinars The first episode on February 18th at 6 p.m. CST will examine recent trends in Nebraska cash rental rates and considerations for updating agricultural leases for 2019. Future episodes will address landlord-tenant communication, lease decision-making issues, and seasonal lease considerations. The webinars will conclude with an “Ask the Experts” session where participants can get answers to their land or lease questions. The webinars can be viewed online at agecon.unl.edu/landmanagement. Webinar dates are: Feb. 18, May 20, Aug. 19, and Nov. 18.
RUP Dicamba Information: Several have asked this question: if you plan on applying RUP dicamba products this year, you do need to take RUP dicamba training again. It’s an annual certification which can be obtained through online or face to face training. NDA also shared the 2019 record keeping form which can be found at: http://www.nda.nebraska.gov/pesticide/dicamba/RUP_DicambaApplicationRecord2019.pdf. A team of us also updated a Frequently Asked Questions document which can be found at: https://cropwatch.unl.edu/2019/2019-faq-rup-dicamba.
Shark Tank Coming to UNL: If you’ve got an innovative idea or product you want to develop commercially, start prepping your sales pitch. ABC’s “Shark Tank” television show is coming to Lincoln on April 5-6, courtesy of the Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship program at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Entrepreneurs from across Nebraska and the northern Great Plains are encouraged to come to Lincoln to present their ideas and products to “Shark Tank” casting producers. The one- to two-minute pitches are the first step in being considered for pitching on the show’s 11th season. On the show, “sharks” — successful business people and potential investors — hear pitches and question presenters, seeking out those most likely to be successful and warrant investment. For the first time, an open Shark Tank Casting Call is taking place in Nebraska. This is your opportunity to help us showcase the entrepreneurial spirit of the heartland. The Heartland Shark Tank, presented by the Engler Program and local partners, is more than a simple pitch. It’s a unique opportunity to network with other small business owners, hear from local small business leaders, celebrate midwest entrepreneurship, and take your shot at Shark Tank. You can learn more at: https://heartlandsharktank.com/.
UNL’s 150th Birthday Celebration: The University of Nebraska was chartered on February 15, 1869 and charged with its land-grant mission of public education and service to Nebraska. In 2019, we mark a 150-year legacy of improving the quality of life for Nebraska and beyond. From February 11-15, UNL is celebrating Charter Week and Charter Day on Feb. 15. You can learn more about all the activities at: https://n150.unl.edu/. Specifically on the 15th is an open house at the Wick Alumni Center from 10 a.m.-Noon where attendees can enjoy a cupcake and view the Nebraska charter along with other historic items on display. Tune in to a live stream of the event on the official University of Nebraska–Lincoln Facebook page. Dairy Store N150 ice cream called “Nifty 150” will be served from 1-2 p.m. at the East Campus Dairy Store. Then at 7:30 p.m. is the Charter Day grand finale at the Lied Center for Performing Arts with a multimedia concert showcasing the university’s incredible history with over 300 artists, two world premiere musical works, fireworks and a toast to the next 150 years.
There’s also a new book ““Dear Old Nebraska U: Celebrating 150 Years,” published by the University of Nebraska Press that is available for sale. The book traces the history of UNL from one building in a small prairie town to more than 43,020 acres of campuses statewide. The book is available for purchase in the University Bookstore, local booksellers and through the University of Nebraska Press website at https://www.nebraskapress.unl.edu/university-of-nebraska-press/9781496211811/. A book signing is planned as part of the N150 Charter Day Open House, 10 a.m. to noon Feb. 15 at the Wick Alumni Center, 1520 R St.