Educational oportunities in SW Nebraska

PicMonkey Collage - Jan 28

Below is a snapshot of 4 Educational opportunities in SW Nebraska. For more information contact Strahinja Stepanovic, email: sstepanovic2@unl.edu, phone: 402-318-1124

1. WC Cattleman’s Day

Joint Program of NE Extension and CSU Extension developed for cow/calf producers. This conference should help you find ways to reduce cost while helping to improve your overall profitability. Speakers and Topics:

  1. Robert Tigner, NE Extension Educator – Managing Replacements to Maximize Heifer Values. Can You Afford to Re-build your Herd?
  2. Randy Sander, NE Extension Educator – Increasing Reproductive Efficiency of the Cow Herd
  3. Chris Shelly, CSU Livestock Agent – From Mineral Supplementation to Cattle Transportation
  4. Troy Waltz, NE Extension Educator – Grazing System Management and Using Annual Forages
  5. Strahinja Stepanovic, NE Extension Educator – Forage kochia

Registration: $20 at the door, $15 if preregistered by Jan 28

Refreshments: supper included

Date

Time Location Address
3-Feb 5:00-8:00 pm MT Cross Roads Wesleyan Church

1710 Wesley Drive, Imperial, NE

2. On-farm Research Update

Find out results of 16 on-farm research studies conducted in SW Nebraska addressing issues such as growing field peas, fertility management in high ph soil, soybean row spacing, and testing growth enhancement products. Learn about projects from other parts of the state on topic such as: variable rate seeding, planting populations, Maize-N nitrogen rate decision tool for sidedress nitrogen, starter fertilizer, fungicide applications, row spacing, cover crops, foliar micronutrients, seed treatments, and others.

Registration: not required.

Refreshments: lunch included

Date

Time Location Address
8-Feb 12:00-4:30 pm CT West Central Research and Extension Center (WCREC)

402 W State Farm Rd, North Platte, NE

3. Irrigation scheduling tools and maximizing irrigation performance

Learn essentials on maximizing irrigation performance and utilizing various tools for irrigation scheduling such as evapotranspiration (ET) gauge and soil moisture sensors. You will also receive an update on our Extension programs that address water issues and have the opportunity to participate in them (we will give you ET gauges to try them out) so we can together contribute to the wellbeing of our community. Speakers:

  1. Strahinja Stepanovic, NE Extension Educator
  2. Chuck Burr, NE Extension Educator
  3. Dr. Daran Rudnik – UNL Irrigation Specialist

Registration: not required

Refreshments: provided

Date

Time Location Address

16-Feb

9:00-11:00 am MT Stumpf Wheat Center 76025 Road 329, Grant, NE
1:30-3:30 pm MT Chase County Extension Office

135 W 5th street, Imperial, NE

5:00-7:00 pm MT Dundy County Courtroom

112 W 7th Ave, Benkelman, NE

4. Weeds, Insect and Disease Resistance Workshop

Unique opportunity to learn from University specialists and local crop consultants from our region about the importance of herbicide, insecticide and fungicide resistance management, mode of action, and how to use this information to reduce spread of weeds, insects and plant pathogens in Nebraska. Speakers and topics:

  1. Stevan Knezevic, UNL Weeds Specialist
  2. Julie Peterson, UNL Entomology Specialist
  3. Anthony Adasemoye, UNL Pathology Specialist

Registration: required, online: http://agronomy.unl.edu/pest-resistance

Refreshments: lunch provided

Date Time Location Address
10-Mar 10:00-3:00 pm MT Stumpf Wheat Center 76025 Road 329, Grant, NE

 

 

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Crop and Water report 08-25 to 08-31

It has been three weeks since we had our last rain in SW Nebraska and we are seeing all dryland crops showing signs of drought. Reference evapotranspiration (ET) in the Upper Republican NRD ranged from 1.6 inches in Perkins Co to 2.9 inches in SW Dundy Co. This means that crops in SW Dundy Co used about 1.5 inches of water more than in Perkins Co. See image for more details on ET and rain data as well as crop growth stages and their water use coefficients for this period.

ET and rain data 08-25 to 08-31

According to US Drought monitor none of the Counties in SW Nebraska are in abnormal drought, which can means that these conditions are (believe it or not) normal in SW Nebraska this time of the year. According to 30-year weather data, average August precipitation and ET are 2.50 and 9 inches, respectively. This means that the area had the August weather conditions in very close proximity to long term average.

We had very good growing conditions in May, June, July and August, so crops used all that water and heat to produce large biomass and increase yield potential. Rain is much needed to keep up with high water demands during the grain filling period in September, otherwise we will have to be satisfied with the mediocre dryland yields at the end of the year.

Crop water use 07-27 to 8-13

Reference evapotranspiration (ET) in the Upper Republican NRD ranged from 4.18 to 5.24 inches in this 17 days period (from 0.25 to 0.31 inches/day), with area to the south and with less rain having larger ET. Two storm came through SW Nebraska on August 5th and August 8th, each carrying from 0.5 to 3.0 inches. Rain really helped all dryland crops as it came at the right time and after good growing conditions we had in June and July. Hopefully the trend will continue to produce outstanding dryland yields for this area.

To more accurately estimate rain and crop water use on your farm, look at the map (attached) provided, obtain weekly reference ET value from location closest to you and multiply that value by crop coefficient provided in the table.

ET and rain data

Crops and Water report 07-21 to 07-27

Weather and crop water use

Reference evapotranspiration (ET) in the Upper Republican NRD ranged from 1.70 inches at north parts of Perkins County to 2.20 inches in south Dundy County; we received between 0 and 1.70 inches in rain. To more accurately estimate rain and crop water use on your farm, look at the map provided, obtain weekly reference ET value from location closest to you and multiply that value by crop coefficient provided in the table.

ET and rain 7-21 to 7-27

Weeds control in wheat stubble

Strip of uncontrolled downy brome next to the wheat stubble will cause problems in the future
Strip of uncontrolled downy brome next to the wheat stubble will cause problems in the future

Time to control weeds in the wheat stubble! New Cropping systems specialist from Panhandle Research and Extension center, Cody Creech, suggested 3 steps to control weeds in wheat stubble: (1) Carefully identify weeds that are present in your field, (2) spray weeds kochia, Palmer pigweed, pricly lettuce, Russian thistle and other tough to control summer annuals with tank-mix of glyphosate, dicamba and/or 2,4-D to prevent seed development (3) monitor for winter annual weeds like rye, marestail and cheetgrass and plan timely herbicide application in fall and early spring. For more information click here.

Corn

Corn is at reproductive growth stage. Adults of Western Bean Cutworm have been emerging in past week and spraying has been done in the area. UNL’s recommended threshold for insecticide application is 5-8% of corn plants have egg masses and/or small larvae.

Western bean cutworm egmass
Western bean cutworm egmass

Other crops

Sunflowers are at V5 to butonization stage. Field peas harvest is done. Soybeans are at R2-R4 growth stage (setting pods). Milo is at booth stage. Potatoes in tuberization stage. Dry beans are at 80%-full cover. Sugarbeets are at full cover.

Crop water use 6-29 to 7-6

To estimate crop water use or crop ETc look at the map provided, obtain weekly ET value from location closest to your farm and multiply that value by crop coefficient provided in the table. Assuming your soil has enough moisture on the supply side this is how much water your crop used in a past week (June 29 to July 6). Reference ET values have been around 2.15 inches.

ET and rain 6-29 to 7-6

Crop water use June 22- June 29

To estimate crop water use or crop ETc look at the map provided, obtain weekly ET value from location closest to your farm and multiply that value by crop coefficient provided in the table. Assuming your soil has enough moisture on the supply side this is how much water your crop used in a past week (June 22 to June 29). Reference ET values were around 2.00 inches and similar among 15 locations in Perkins, Chase and Dundy Counties.

Et and rain 6-29

Schedule your irrigation based on crop water use

Nebraska Ag Water Management Network (NAWMN) is a collaborative group of farmers, crop consultants, NRD personnel and UNL Extension Educators that work together across the state of Nebraska to adopt water and energy conservation practices.

This is done by using simple WATER BUDGET equation. To keep up with WATER DEMAND (crop water use) we need to receive equivalent amount of moisture on WATER SUPPLY side of the equation, which includes soil available moisture, rain, and ultimately irrigation. Unfortunately, we can only control irrigation component of this equation. In the following paragraphs I will discuss how we can use newer technologies how to make every inch of water applied through irrigation to produce yield.

June 15 to June 21

This summer SW Nebraska adds about 15 locations collaborators (farmers and crop consultants) from Perkins, Chase and Dundy Counties to more accurately estimate WATER DEMAND (crop water use). Map of potential evapotranspiration (ETo) will be posted weekly in your newspaper, on radio, water.unl.edu website, on this blog, or twitter @agwithstrahinja. To estimate crop water use or crop ETc look at the map provided, obtain weekly ET value from location closes to your farm and multiply that value by crop coefficient provided in the table. Assuming your soil has enough moisture on the supply side this is how much water your crop used in a past week.

To accurately estimate WATER SUPPLY, first you need to know how much rain you received in the past week. Along with ET values we also provide rain data. However, keep in mind that rain can very much more from one place to other then ET.

Second, you need to know water holding capacity of your soil. For example, silt loam soil can hold 2.2 inches/ft while loamy sand can only hold 1.1 inches/ft. Research showed that plants start to loose yield due to water stress after soil water is more than 50% depleted. Therefore, in silt loam soil you have about 1.1 inches/ft more to manage then in loamy sand (4.4 inches if 4 foot profile). Chart with waterholding capacities of different soil type and trigger levels for irrigation can be downloaded here.

Second, you need to know how much water you have in your soil, and soil moisture sensors can help you with that. UNL did research that enabled us to use readings from Watermark sensors (in cb) and convert to inches/foot. Watermark sensors are very affordable (about $35 each) and accurate, and over years we learn to trust them. More about using Watermark sensors click here.

Example for irrigation scheduling based on ETc. Last week corn started with soil at field capacity and now is at V8 growth stage and it used 0.7 inches of water based on weekly reference ETo (1.5 inches) x crop coefficient Kc for V8 corn (0.5). Corn is grown on loamy sand that has waterholding capacity of 1.2 inches/foot, and at this time corn rooting depth is 2 foot. We want to keep our soil above 50% depletion to avoid water stress; thus, we have 1.2 inches in top 2 foot to manage (0.6 inches/foot x 2 foot). There was no rain last week, so there is 0.5 inches left in soil profile (1.2 inches/soil profile – 0.7 inches for ETc). In hot summer day corn at V8-V10 stage can easily take up 0.5 inches in 2 days; therefore, in this scenario (assuming there is no water allocation) irrigation is recommended to avoid water stress.