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Wildcat Extension District

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Crops & Soils Featured Topics

Soil Sample Procedures           Audio

Despite the current Covid-19 outbreak, K-State Research and Extension is still accepting and processing soil samples.

 Wendie Powell, Livestock Production Agent

- March 27, 2020


Insect Scouting in Wheat Starts Now        Article
Nothing loves spring more than insects. Out they crawl from the soil, emerge from their winter cocoons, or fly in from the south. No matter how they come, the green lush wheat fields are awaiting their arrival. Now is the time to start scouting for some of the more winter hardy and early spring emerging insects that are common in the four state area, including the Bird Cherry-Oat Aphid, the Army Cutworm, and the Winter Grain Mite. The Hessian Fly also has it’s spring hatching of brood but normally this pest is dealt with in the fall.

James Coover, Crop Production Agent

- March 24,2020


The Hype About Hemp             Article
In April 2018 the Kansas Governor signed a bill that enacted the Alternative Crop Research Act and lead to the production of industrial hemp being legal in Kansas. This bill made Kansas one of 42 states where industrial hemp is legal to grow. The Kansas Department of Agriculture reported that there were 207 growers in 2019. However, these growers faced challenges due to hemp production being new in Kansas and no available information regarding the best practices for growing industrial hemp in the Kansas climate and soils.

Adaven Scronce- Diversified Agriculture and Natural Resources Agent

- February 19, 2020


Common Ag Lease Misunderstandings     Article
January and February is a time when people look at their financials for the year, mostly for taxes, but this often brings up conversations about agricultural leases as well. The majority of landlords and leasers know what the payment terms are for their contracts but don’t realize that there are a number of other inherent terms in the contract as well, ones that are formed by the lease laws of Kansas.

James Coover, Crop Production Agent

- January 24, 2020


World Without Wheat                        Article
What’s Thanksgiving without stuffing, Christmas without gingerbread, Fourth of July without hamburgers, or birthdays without cake? A world without wheat looks a lot different when the most iconic of our foods are made from it. As every Kansan knows, we are the bread basket of the U.S. and produce the most wheat nationwide nearly every year. However, in recent years we are planting less of our namesake grain.

James Coover, Crop Production Agent

- December 31, 2019


Farm Succession: Estate Planning             Article
If you own a house, land, equipment, livestock, stocks, or really any asset, you own an estate. Someday, hopefully far in the future, you will die, and then someone else will own your estate. You get to choose who and how that is… but only if you plan properly.

James Coover, Crop Production Agent

-November 4, 2019


Making Compost                                      Article
You’ve probably thought about starting a compost pile, but hesitated because it seems to be a very involved process. Actually, it’s not at all complicated! All that’s needed is a place to create a favorable environment for the fungi, bacteria and other organisms to do their work turning fallen leaves, dead tomato vines, corn stalks and other yard and garden wastes into a valuable, soil-amending material.

-October 24,2019

Questions of Organic Matter                        Article
Soil organic matter is one of the oddest components of soil. Although it comprises a small percentage of total soil volume and weight, it completely changes the color, nutrient transfers, cation exchange capacity and water holding capacity.

- August 9, 2019


Soybean Insect Scouting                              Article
After seeing a soybean field nearly stripped clean from garden webworms, it’s obvious that the crop pests are building up their numbers this summer. We have a number of pests to watch out for and each has their own methods and habits.

-July 11, 2019


Nitrogen: A Farmer's Analysis in Soil Nitrogen Chemistry                 Article
In previous articles we have talked about (P) Phosphorus), we have talked about (K) Potassium, but now we continue on this journey to talk about the big one, (N) Nitrogen. This is good timing because nitrogen losses in corn production is currently a very relevant topic.

 -June 18,2019


 Aquatic Plant Control                                     Article
As summer draws near, many people find themselves drawn to cool and refreshing water. Often, this is either a swim at the lake or just sitting back and casting a line in their favorite fishing hole. Not only are mosquitos a pest, but it just isn’t near as fun to swim or fish when you are constantly fighting aquatic weeds. This time of year, aquatic plants begin to flourish in local ponds and water systems.

-April 22, 2019


Potassium: A Farmer's analysis in soil Potassium Chemistry              Article
A couple of months ago there was an article in Farm Talk about phosphorus and its chemistry in the soil. To continue on the soil nutrient journey, this time we are going to talk about phosphorus’ sister nutrient, potassium.While the two have similar aspects in the soil, they are certainly not the same. Understanding the function of potassium in the plant and its forms within the soil can help producers make long range soil fertility decisions. Focusing on the “why” of soil fertility, rather than the “how much.”

-April 18, 2019


Understanding Soil pH                     Article
Many producers are curious about the conditions of the soils they farm. Does the North 40 need lime? Is the Old Home Place low in phosphorus or potassium? Does the alfalfa look poor due to the soil or is it another factor?  Soil sampling can offer many benefits to better understanding the condition of the soil, but when the results come back, they may be hard to understand. Soil pH and buffer pH, in particular, can be difficult concepts to grasp.

-March 27,2019



Corn Planting- Timing and Rates          Article
Corn planting is nearly upon us. However, this year has been much colder and wetter than usual and a delay to planting is expected. Last year, the year before, and on the five-year average, corn planting begins in the southeast the last week of March. However, last year the soil temperatures were a littler warmer and it was sure a whole lot drier. Regardless, corn planting should ideally follow soil temperatures more than calendar dates.

-March 20, 2019


Phosphorus: A Farmer’s Analysis in Soil Phosphorus Chemistry          Article
Agricultural producers know their soil fertility. They know how much of what to apply and when to achieve the production yields they desire. Of course, the large part of yield is left to nature’s whims, but the capability of soil fertility is there. While there are some definite improvements that could be had, most crop producers have a good basis of their field soil fertility. Agronomist like myself often never get into the gritty details of soil chemistry with producers. We often focus on the “how much,” rather than the “why.” We don’t get into the gritty details of why because they are not really important to producer yields…but maybe we should.  Farmers are smart enough for it and maybe something can be found in the finer details.

-Feb. 20, 2019

New 2019 Dicamba Regulations on Soybeans     Audio
Dicamba. A complicated word with lots of possibilities but also frustrations, implications, and regulations. Dicamba has been around for a long time (under the names Banvel and later Clarity) but it wasn’t much of an issue until Xtendimax, FeXapan, and Engenia resistant soybeans and cotton came on the market and were The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved a few years ago. While it seemed that Dicamba was less of an issue last year than in 2017, many sensitive crops were still damaged.

- Jan. 23, 2019

 Soybean Sudden Death Syndrome               Audio             Article

Sudden Death Syndrome (SDS). This dramatic sounding disease can quite possibly warrant the name as SDS can really hurt yield and leave large areas of your soybean field black and withered. Sudden Death Syndrome is fairly common and can be problematic in wet years during the flowering period, especially in river bottoms and low areas of the field. The higher the yield potential of the soybean the more likely SDS will be an issue.

Dec. 27, 2018

Proper Forage Sampling Procedures          Audio                   Article
Hay bales can be an effective and reliable feed source for livestock as the weather turns cold and dreary. When it comes to feeding or selling hay through the winter, one thing that should never be neglected is to get the hay properly tested. The information gained from forage sampling will help to better determine the hay’s market value and ration formulation for livestock.

- Dec. 4, 2018