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Order trees this fall

By Richard C. Snell

Barton County Extension Agent, agriculture


If you want to get a bit of a head start, order your conservation trees now and get them planted this fall. The fall orders only run from the first of September through the second week in October. Only containerized evergreen trees are available right now, not the bare root and not any broadleaf species.

Stop by our office at Baker and 12th Street in Great Bend and pick up an order form or give us a call today at 620-793-1910.

Kansas Wheat launches yield contest

How do your wheat production techniques stack up to the average Kansas wheat farmer? Kansas Wheat wants to know and, with the launch of the inaugural Kansas Wheat Yield Contest this fall, your best wheat yields could net you a $1,000 cash prize.

You don't have to enter until January, so why am I telling you now? Well, in order to enter a field, it has to be planted with certified seed. Since you are getting seed now and planting soon, this is a "heads up."

The Wheat Yield Contest is designed to reward those farmers who pull out all the stops in achieving maximum wheat yields. Kansas farmers are the world's best wheat producers. The goal is to reward the best of the best.

The contest includes three regions: Region 1 (Western Kansas), Region 2 (Central Kansas) and Region 3 (Eastern Kansas). Farmers must enroll a 5-acre plot into the contest, and provide management information about that plot. Producers may enter more than once, but each entry must be submitted on a separate form. Those contestants achieving the top yield in each region will receive $1,000 in cash plus a plaque from Kansas Wheat. If the winning grower uses the services of a Certified Crop Advisor, that CCA wins a $500 cash prize.

The objective not only is to recognize top producers, but develop a list of best management practices that other farmers can use in their own wheat operation. We believe the Yield Contest will be a way for all wheat producers to learn new management strategies that could improve wheat yields and quality throughout the state.

Prospective contestants must submit a completed entry form and $50 per entry payment by Jan. 5, 2010. Contest winners will be announced at the Kansas Wheat Conference in late July, 2010.

Contestants must be wheat farmers at least 18 years of age and Kansas residents. Contestants must use certified seed. The contest is open only to dryland fields.

Kansas Wheat has developed a publication called, "Know Your Wheat 2009-10." This booklet, available at grain elevators and certified seed dealers across the state, contains a wealth of wheat management information and additional details about the Kansas Wheat Yield Contest. Farmers can use a postcard in the "Know Your Wheat" booklet to request the official contest rules, entry and management forms.

Establishment/renovation of cool season turfs

Most of us get "lawn-fever" in the early spring after having been cooped up inside all winter waiting for the cold weather tosubside. On the other hand, by September you may be growing weary of yard work. But hang on folks, now is the time to plant a new cool-season turf, or rejuvenate a "tired," thin one. Here are some tips:

If you are planning to establish a new cool-season lawn from seed, plant it as soon as possible! September is the best time to seed cool-season species, because weed competition is reduced, air temperatures are cooling, and soil temperatures are still warm for rapid germination.

First, get rid of undesirable perennial grasses like bermudagrass, if they are present, by spraying glyphosate (Roundup). Two applications, 7 days apart, may be required (you still may not get all the bermuda, but this is the best time to try).

Wait 4 to 5 days after the last glyphosate application before seeding. Sow tall fescue and perennial ryegrass at 6 to 8 lbs./1000 square feet, and Kentucky bluegrass at 2 to 3 lbs./1,000 sq ft.

Trust me, if you want cool season grass in our area, fescue will be your best bet over the "long haul."

Use good quality seed of improved cultivars. We used to really study the individual varieties, but the Kansas Premium blend that most seed suppliers handle have a mixture of several of the best tested ones. If you don't care about texture and are a low maintenance person, the old K-31 is not bad and is durable, but less eye appealing.

Be sure to keep the seed constantly moist until germination (if weather is hot, you will need to water several times per day). The young seedlings also will require frequent irrigation until they are well-established. Water daily at first, then gradually return to a normal watering schedule. This is the opposite of what we tell you about watering an established lawn.

Apply a starter fertilizer at the time of seeding, then apply an additional pound of nitrogen/1,000 sq ft, 4 to 6 weeks after the seedlings have emerged. For phosphorus and potassium, we recommend you take a soil test and bring it to our office. You will need to take several samples to a depth of 4- to 6-inches. Mix these together and bring one pint of soil for your sample. We send these to K-State and then I make the recommendations.

Probably the biggest factors for success are to provide good seed to soil contact by roughing up the soil surface and then keeping the seed wet.

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