2014-10-20 00:00:00.0 10/20/2014 In This Week's Journal
 
 
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ISSUE: 10/20/2014

No water: Not a matter of whether, but when


By Kylene Scott

News story after news story out of the Texas Panhandle reads like a broken record: It’s dry on the Plains, there’s less water to pump for irrigation and the Ogallala Aquifer is going dry. Recent rains in the Panhandle have helped, but the drought and the lack of pumping water has taken its toll on agriculture in the region.

At West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas, B.A. Stewart is the director of the university’s Dryland Agriculture Institute. He said agriculture in the Panhandle is changing, and as the former director of the USDA Conservation and Production Research Laboratory in Bushland, Texas, and past president of the Soil Science Society of America, Stewart knows a thing or two about agriculture and water in the region.

“(I) kind of started this on the basis that eventually we’re going back to dryland. It’s not a matter of whether, it’s just a matter of when,” Stewart said. “I personally think the irrigation’s going to last longer than a lot of us thought at one time, but it’s not going to last.”

Stewart has been in the Canyon/Bushland areas for nearly 45 years and has seen some changes in watering and agriculture.

“When I first came to the area, a lot of farmers were just beginning to realize that the water is going to disappear,” he said. “What hasn’t changed a whole lot is the bad news, good news. The bad news is you listen to the farmers, and we’re going to run out of water. The good news is it’s not going to happen this year.”


Alfalfa field day gives production tips, crop insurance information

By Kylene Scott

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"Thanks for sharing this story!"....Read the story... Join other discussions. Home >> Archives >> Stories Alfalfa field day gives production tips, crop insurance information Advertisement

By Kylene Scott

As the nation’s fourth most valuable crop, alfalfa is often overlooked compared to other commodities. At the Kansas Forage and Grassland Summer field day in mid-September, near Larned, Kansas, producers got some production tips as well as were involved in a crop insurance discussion.

Variety selection, machinery for harvesting alfalfa, alfalfa varieties, managing salinity and harvesting intervals were all part of the small plot tour of the field day. Dan Undersander of the University of Wisconsin discussed use of the different types of machinery available for harvesting alfalfa and their benefits.

“My purpose this afternoon is to make us think about the biology and physics of drying hay, and I think we’ve lost sight of some of that as we do this,” he said. “This whole idea of five to seven days to get hay off a field is really a big problem, and there are some really simple ways that we can change that.”

Roller conditioners are for alfalfa, and flail is for grass. If flail is used on alfalfa, Undersander said, there could be a 5 to 6 percent loss.

“We’re losing quality, we’re losing dry matter, and I’ve done this time and again, where we’ve had test strips side by side and you can go pick up the swath and see the loose leaves on the ground under a flail and you don’t see it under a roller,” Undersander said. “So, that’s a big deal.”






Kansas Junior Livestock Show draws youth from across Kansas

Youth from across the state entered 1,733 head of animals for the 82nd annual Kansas Junior Livestock Show (KJLS). A total of 760 4-H and FFA members from 90 cou

Report provides update on trichomoniasis, feral hog control

Kansas animal health officials reported during a recent Kansas Animal Health Board meeting that 11 positive cases of trichomoniasis have been detected in Kansas t

Rebuilding cow herds is among the topics at Nebraska State of Beef Conference

Cow-calf producers in Nebraska and surrounding states are facing a decision as their pastures recover from several years of dr

YSA members see all industry segments in tour of southern, western Kansas

The third installment of the KLA Young Stockmen’s Academy (YSA) was held Oct. 6 through 8, with the group touring various segments of

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