GEAPS, K-State Announce Credentials Program in Grain Operations Management
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – The Grain Elevator and Processing Society (GEAPS) and Kansas State University recently announced a joint credentials program for the grain-handling industry and related professions.
“This program offers opportunities for professional development that have never existed before,” said GEAPS International President Bill Lyster. People in the grain industry have taken courses and attended seminars and still do that. Often it has been very useful, but in the end educational programming in grain operations has lacked continuity. This path that we have laid out will help those that are willing to show the initiative to earn formal credentials.”
The credentials program, developed over the past two years by K-State faculty and GEAPS member-volunteers, builds on an existing distance-education curriculum offered by the two partners. The first credential is in grain-operations management. To earn it, participants must complete a structured series of six GEAPS/K-State distance-education courses. Those completing the Grain-Operations Management Credential will then have the opportunity to earn subsequent credentials in specialty areas such as grain-quality management, grain-handling equipment management and grain-operations safety — also available through the distance-education curriculum.
“This credentialing program provides opportunity for professional growth but requires commitment and effort,” said Dirk Maier, department head of K-State’s Department of Grain Science and Industry. “It will make them more effective and efficient at their jobs, and provide them with a well-earned sense of achievement. Advancing lifelong learning and professionalism are our main goals.”
The K-State/GEAPS curriculum currently consists of 14 distance-education courses, but that number is expected to increase by 10 or more over the next four years.
Students who have already completed one or more of the six required courses automatically receive credit toward the Grain Operations Management Credential.
For more details about program requirements, go to GEAPS.
Spring is a Good Time for Planting Alfalfa in Kansas
MANHATTAN, Kan. – Although most alfalfa is planted in the fall in Kansas, spring is also a good time for planting, said Jim Shroyer, K-State Research and Extension crop production specialist.
“Fall-seeded alfalfa will usually produce more first-year tonnage than spring-seeded alfalfa, but planting in April usually results in more reliable moisture conditions and less risk of poor stand establishment,” Shroyer said.
Before planting, producers should have the soil tested for pH, phosphorus and potassium. There is still time to get this done before a spring planting, and the results will pay off for the life of the stand – usually five to seven years, he said.
“Past research in Kansas has shown that applying and incorporating phosphate fertilizer, if recommended by a soil test analysis, results in large increases in productivity. In a no-till situation, phosphate fertilizer can be surface-applied and still have a long-term beneficial effect on yields,” he said
Lime may be needed before planting as well, Shroyer added.
“Alfalfa does best when the soil pH ranges from 6.5 to 7.5. If the soil pH is less than 6.5, production will be reduced. At very low pH levels, the stand may be thin and weedy. Applying lime, if needed, before planting alfalfa will pay big dividends,” he said.
Growers should make sure there are no weeds growing when alfalfa is planted and make sure there is no herbicide carryover from a previous crop that could injure the seedling alfalfa.
Seeding at the proper depth can help achieve good stands, Shroyer said.
“When seeding alfalfa, plant seed one-quarter to one-half inch deep. Plant about three-quarters inch deep in sandy soils, unless the field is irrigated. For dryland production, use a seeding rate of 8- to 12-pounds per acre in the west, and 12- to 16-pounds per acre in central and eastern Kansas. For irrigation production, use 15 to 20 pounds of seed per acre in all soils,” Shroyer said.
“It is also important to use certified, treated and inoculated seed,” he advised.