Wildcat Connection May 2018 - Page 14

O

nce again, wheat scouting has been a dominant portion of my time this month. In doing so, I confirmed the presence of stripe rust on April 10 in southern Montgomery County. I was the first in the state to find it this year and utilized Twitter to spread the word initially. In addition, I used our Constant Contact email service to alert producers as well. Since, I have tried to find the disease across the district and I am happy to say that I have not found it widespread. Stripe rust likes cool (which we had in spades) and moist (which we did not have) conditions. While only a hypothesis, I truly believe our dry conditions have lessened the spread of the disease. In addition to scouting for diseases, I have spent ample time looking for freeze damage from the cold events of mid-April. I am happy to report that freeze damage is fairly difficult to find and, it appears, wheat producers dodged the dreaded freeze damage bullet.

On March 30, I attended the Crop Production Program Focus Team (PFT) spring meeting in Salina. As PFT State Co-Leader, we felt it was time to reevaluate what our PFT did and try and form where we are going. We have been encouraged to look for a statewide project that everyone in the PFT can participate in so that the statewide impact can be reported on. We struggle with this idea in Crop Production because what is an issue in Northwest Kansas has little to do with what impacts growers in the Wildcat District. However, we were able to settle on a project promoted by Ignacio Ciampitti, State Cropping Systems Specialist. The easy to explain version is essentially agents across the state will identify and categorize into growth stage spring crops across the state. In our area, I will find corn fields, for example, figure out the growth stage, and report that to Ignacio and his graduate student.

On April 18-20 I attended the Kansas Association of County Agriculture Agents (KACAA) Spring Workshop in Phillipsburg. This was a great meeting filled with professional development and networking with peers. I went on the Agronomy Tour which was excellent. It started at their Ethanol Plant. I had never toured one so this was a valuable tour for me. Our next stop was with an extremely progressive producer family. In addition to farming, they offer a seed handling (cleaning, treating, sales, etc.) business. These farmers were extremely successful and run an operation to envy. Our final stop was with a farmer producing a relatively new crop to Kansas, yellow peas. The weather conditions limited their progress this year but it was still a valuable discussion. In addition, the Wildcat District was able to bring home some awards. The Ag Agents newsletter, Timely Topics, sent over Constant Contact won the team newsletter category. In addition, my Crop Pest Alerts won the individual newsletter category.