It was great to have in-person meetings last week! Even though the set up and planning was more taxing, I’m grateful we were able to have them. Also, wanted to thank those who responded to the Extension survey for me; your feedback is greatly appreciated!
In-person Extension meetings are ‘a go’ for this coming week for this part of the State. For Crop Production Clinics, groups are allowed to watch together at Coops or businesses if you prefer. You will still need to register individually. Your ‘ticket’ for recertification is to individually complete the program evaluation and provide the codes provided during sessions throughout the day. Please also know any of the area Extension offices will work with you regarding picking up weed guides regardless of where you said you’d pick them up. Thank you for your patience as we navigate all this together!
Farm Bill: Received a number of calls this week regarding 2021 election sign-up. Honestly, I haven’t had the opportunity to run numbers in the tools yet. Will provide more info. in a future column.
On-Farm Research: This past week, we also peer reviewed all the on-farm research studies conducted in 2020. There were 20 studies where farmers worked with me in this part of the State and I’m grateful to all of them for their efforts! My hope is to share research results in the coming weeks as reports are finalized. Our on-farm research updates will occur on Feb. 25 and 26 and I’m really pumped about the format! The meetings will be morning only, hosted by the local Extension educator, providing more discussion of studies shared by the farmers, and allow planning for the upcoming year. Those attending virtually will discuss as their own group. Please pre-register early to ensure a spot. Registration at: https://cropwatch.unl.edu/nebraska-farm-research-network-results-update-meetings-2021.
De-Icing Agents are sometimes needed for safety but can be harmful to plants. You may wish to check what you’re using at home. Common deicing compounds are listed below. These may be used alone or blended together to improve performance or reduce damage to concrete or landscapes. Also, keep products on hand that improve footing on slick surfaces, like sand, sawdust, or cat litter. They can be used instead of traditional deicing products, or blended with them to improve traction and limit deicer use.
- Sodium chloride, urea, and potassium chloride have high potential of damaging landscape plants.
- Calcium chloride is the most effective deicing product at low temperatures, working down to -25°F. It will not damage vegetation if used as directed.
- Magnesium chloride is sprayed on roadways before a snowstorm to prevent ice bonds from forming, making ice and snow removal easier. It causes very little damage to concrete or metal. It’s also gentle on landscape plants and pet safe if used as directed.
- Acetates can be found in three forms – calcium magnesium acetate (CMA), sodium acetate and potassium acetate. CMA is a salt-free product and is the safest product for use around pets and landscape plants. CMA is made from dolomitic limestone and acetic acid (the principal component of vinegar). Studies have shown the material has little impact on plants. It also has a very low level of damage to concrete or metal.
- Beet juice deicers, a newer organic option, are products derived from beet juice. They contain only 12% sodium chloride (salt), much less than traditional sodium chloride. Beet juice products are fully biodegradable, but shouldn’t be applied where melt runoff will move to aquatic areas.
Happy New Year! This past week I’ve received several questions about winter meetings so wanted to better clarify what to expect. Also, area winter program brochures were mailed out last week. If you no longer wish to receive this, please let us know and we’ll update our mailing list.
Risk Dial: For Extension programs, if the risk dial is ‘Red’, in-person events are cancelled. The risk dial is reset every Friday for many district health departments throughout the State. Thus, those who pre-register will be notified by Monday the following week of any cancellations and next options. This week, locally we are in ‘Orange’, so pesticide training in York on Jan. 7 and chemigation training in York on Jan. 8 (both at Cornerstone Event Center at Fairgrounds) are thankfully on! UNL guidelines require masks when the risk dial is ‘Orange’. Thank you to all who have called in to pre-register!
Crop Production Clinics: Technically these are all presented virtually whether you choose to watch online on your own or at an in-person location. I enjoy seeing people and catching up at winter meetings, so I’m grateful we still have in-person meeting options! The following website has the agendas and registration information: https://agronomy.unl.edu/cpc. There’s not an easy way to see where the in-person options are located unless you click on the ‘Register’ button and scroll. Thus, I will list them for you below. For those of you who’ve attended in the past, you know there’s two rooms which allow for various learning opportunities and CCA credits: certification/pest management room and a crop/soil/water room. When watching virtually, you will have the option to switch between the different rooms. There are specific ways built in to ensure those who need recertification and are watching virtually are accounted for and to account for those desiring various CCA credits. Some in-person locations like Hastings, Aurora, Central City are hosting both rooms. In York, on Jan. 14 and 21 at the Cornerstone building at the Fairgrounds, for specific reasons I’ve chosen to only host the pest management room. That works if you only need certification or wanted to watch only those topics. Otherwise, if you needed soil/water credits, it would work best to choose a different in-person location or watch virtually. I just wanted you to be aware of that. For the Nebraska Crop Management Conference, most of us are only able to provide two of the four rooms. When you register for CPC/NCMC this year, you will choose whether you have the weed guide shipped directly to you or to a nearby Extension Office where you can pick it up. In-person locations include:
Jan. 6: Central NE Locations: Hastings, North Platte, Kearney, Holdrege
Jan. 7: Eastern NE Locations: Lincoln, Geneva, Norfolk, Syracuse
Jan. 13: Central NE Locations: North Platte, Hastings, Central City, Holdrege
Jan. 14: Eastern NE Locations: Lincoln, Norfolk, York, Syracuse
Jan. 20: Central NE Locations: Hastings, Aurora, Holdrege, Kearney
Jan. 21: Eastern NE Locations: Lincoln, Norfolk, York
Jan. 27: Nebraska Crop Management Conference Locations: Hastings, Kearney, Seward, Holdrege, North Platte, Syracuse
Chemigation: For those desiring to apply fertilizer and/or chemicals through irrigation systems, you can obtain your initial or recertification for chemigation at an in-person training or online. The online version is also for both initial and recertification and can be obtained at: https://water.unl.edu/article/agricultural-irrigation/chemigation. There is no charge for chemigation training. For those attending in person, please pre-register and please bring a calculator (can’t use smartphone). Area January in-person trainings include: Jan. 8 at 9:30 a.m. at the Cornerstone Bldg. Fairgrounds in York; Jan. 21 at the Fairgrounds in Hastings; Jan. 25 at 1:30 p.m. at the Fairgrounds in Central City.
Crop Budgets are updated for 2021 and available at:https://cropwatch.unl.edu/budgets.
Extension Survey: It’s also that time of year for annual reporting. If you could please help me out by completing this 5 question anonymous survey, I’d appreciate it: https://app.sli.do/event/s8g48y8z. Thank you!
Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! May we continue to count our blessings as we are so blessed!
December brings another Extension winter programming season. Several have asked what this year’s season entails. Honestly, like much in the midst of COVID, it’s a moving target with adaptability and flexibility being key for us all. Had put together local plans allowing for both in-person and virtual programming. However, with a new set of restrictions, programming will depend on the risk dial going forward. I greatly prefer seeing people at meetings and field days, so still hoping for in-person meeting options for the future!
Risk Dial: As of 11/30/20, if either the district health risk dial Or state risk dial is Red, all Extension programming (including 4-H programs, meetings, and events) must be delivered virtually. Thus, for our part of the State, all December Extension programming is now virtual only. In-person programming with specific guidelines can only resume if the risk dial is not Red. The following are some upcoming December programs and connection info.
Dec. 2: Women Managing Ag Land Conference, 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., https://wia.unl.edu/WMAL. Learn about navigating challenges of owning/renting ag land, improve business management and communication skills.
Dec. 10: Farmers & Ranchers College Weather & Economics Unplugged w/ Dr. David Kohl, Professor Emeritus, Dept. of AAEC, VA TECH & Eric Snodgrass, Principal Atmospheric Scientist for Nutrien Ag Solutions, 9:15 a.m.-Noon, https://go.unl.edu/december10. Learn latest on global trade, government payments, supply & marketing chain disrupters, and updated weather trends that impact ag business.
Dec. 17: Nebraska Soybean Day and Machinery Expo, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., https://go.unl.edu/w8k9. Learn marketing strategies, about soybean gall midge, soybean weed control, and improving Nebraska’s soybean yield and quality.
Crop Production Clinics: The 2021 Nebraska Crop Production Clinics will feature research updates and information tailored to regional crop issues and grower interests. The Clinics will be offered virtually in 2021. (Depending upon directed health measures, there may also be limited opportunity for in-person viewing of Clinic presentations at various county locations).
Sponsored by Nebraska Extension, the programs will feature “live” presentations via zoom held on nine days throughout January. The clinics will be the primary venue for commercial and non-commercial pesticide applicators to renew their licenses in the following categories: ag plant and demonstration/research. The crop production clinics also will serve as a venue for private pesticide applicators to renew their licenses. Dates include:
Western NE Focused Clinics: Tuesdays, Jan. 5, 12, 19, 2021
Central NE Focused Clinics: Wednesdays, Jan. 6, 13, 20, 2021
Eastern NE Focused Clinics: Thursdays, Jan. 7, 14, 21, 2021
Individual clinics will be customized to address topics specific to that area of the state, allowing growers to get research-based information on the issues they face locally. Complete agendas and online registration for each site will be posted at http://agronomy.unl.edu/cpc. Pre-registration is required and costs $80. Certified Crop Advisor credits will be available in these areas: crop production, nutrient management, integrated pest management, water management and professional development.
*Next week I’ll share on private pesticide recertification and other certification program options.
Farm Bill: I need to clarify something I mentioned last week and I apologize for misunderstanding this. I heard the farm bill presentation for the third time this winter and after asking this question, realized I had misunderstood and incorrectly informed you all last week. This is in regards to base acres and which crops were planted the past 10 years. I incorrectly told you that (for example) if you had sorghum base acres and hadn’t planted sorghum the past 10 years, that your payments would be reduced. It is true that this idea was proposed in negotiations (so keep in mind for the future). However, that idea did not pass; the correct statement is if you planted a crop that is not approved for program payments, your base acre payments will be reduced. So, for example, if you planted industrial hemp instead, which currently is not an eligible crop for program payments, your base acre payments would be reduced. So just wanted to correct this on my end.
York County Corn Grower Tour Feb. 5: The York County Corn Grower’s Association is sponsoring a tour on February 5th. We will meet at the York County Extension Office at 6:45 a.m. and plan to leave for Grand Island by 7:00 a.m. Morning tour stops include the Case IH Axial-Flow Combine Plant followed by Hornady which produces bullets, ammunition, and reloading products. Lunch will be held at Kindaiders Brewery in which attendees will also receive a tour. The group will then tour Klute Manufacturing near Bradshaw which produces Warren dump boxes, Circle D and H&H trailers, pickup flatbeds, and vehicle accessories. The final stop will be the York Agricultural Education Program which was recognized as one of the top six programs in the nation by the National Association of Ag Educators. Attendees must wear closed toed shoes and be able to walk without a cane/walker based on the requirements of the places we’re touring. Please RSVP no later than Feb. 4th to the York County Extension Office at (402) 362-5508.
Nebraska Ag Technologies Association Conference: Learn about the latest developments in precision agriculture technologies January 31 at the Nebraska Agricultural Technology Association (NEATA) Conference. The group’s annual meeting and agriculture industry conference will be held at the Kearney Holiday Inn and Conference Center in Kearney. Conference topics will include precision economics, nutrient and water management, data collection, and precision equipment. Featured guest speakers include Brian Arnall, precision nutrient management extension specialist, Oklahoma State University; Jim Smith, executive director, Blueprint Nebraska; and Cathy Anderson, chief specialist, Nebraska State Farm Services Agency Office. Attendees will also be able to choose from 10 breakout offerings. The conference will be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. To view the conference program and register, visit https://neata.org/. The fee is $175 when pre-registering and $195 the day of the conference. Students may register for $25.
Managing Ag Land for the 21st Century: This workshop for current and future landowners and tenants will cover current trends in cash rental rates, lease provisions, and crop and grazing land considerations. There will be two meetings in the area. One on Feb. 12 at the Fillmore County Fairgrounds in Geneva. The other will be held on Feb. 25 at the Butler County Event Center at the Fairgrounds in David City. Both meetings will begin with registration at 9:15 a.m., with the program starting at 9:30 a.m., and ending by 3:00 p.m. There is no charge for these programs. To attend in Geneva, please RSVP at (402) 759-3712. To attend in David City, please RSVP at (402) 367-7410.
Hamilton County Ag Day will be held Feb. 13 with registration at 9 a.m. and program from 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. The program will include updates from Nebraska Corn Growers, Farm Service Agency, and Natural Resources Conservation Service. Additional topics include Managing Soil Microbes 101, Stalk and Grain Quality Concerns with Corn, Land Rental Considerations for 2019, Pivot Wheel Track Management, Corn Stalk Grazing Economics, Benefits of Corn Stalk Grazing, and a weather update from Al Dutcher. There is no charge for the program but please RSVP to (402) 694-6174 for lunch count.
Nebraska Cover Crop and Soil Health Conference will be held Feb. 14 at the Eastern Nebraska Research and Extension Center (former ARDC) near Mead. The program runs from 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. with registration at 8:30 a.m. Topics and presenters include: “Growing a Revolution: Bringing Our Soil Back to Life,” David R. Montgomery, professor of geomorphology, University of Washington; “Rebuilding and Maintaining Life in the Soil,” Jay Fuhrer, soil health specialist, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Bismarck, North Dakota; “How My Farm has Responded to Cover Crops and Crop Rotation,” Ray Ward, founder, Ward Laboratories; “Northeast Nebraska Farmer’s Perspective on Cover Crops,” Jeff Steffen, Crofton farmer; “How I Graze My Cropland Without Owning Livestock,” Scott Heinemann, Winside farmer; and a farmer panel. There is no fee to attend, but individuals must pre-register by 5 p.m. Feb. 8 to ensure meals and resource materials are available. Seating is limited. To register, call 402-624-8030, email firstname.lastname@example.org or use the form at https://go.unl.edu/tmj5.