Deadline Approaching for K-State Sheep and Goat Conference Registration
MANHATTAN, Kan. -- The Kansas State University Sheep and Goat Conference and trade show is planned for May 4-6, 2012 in Manhattan, with a registration deadline of April 15.
The conference focuses on animal selection, health, nutrition, management, reproduction, carcass quality, marketing, guardian animals, hand spinning and dairy goat production, according to Brian Faris, sheep and goat specialist with K-State Research and Extension. The trade show will feature products and services related to nutrition, health, fencing, and other topics important to producers.
Participants will have the opportunity to sample lamb and chevon products, as well as enjoy Call Hall ice cream for dessert.
Speaker information, a conference schedule, registration and vendor forms, and lodging information are available at Sheep and Goats in Kansas. Questions may be directed to Faris at 785-532-1255 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Lois Schreiner at 785-532-1267 or email@example.com.
Kansans Urged to Support Military Families
MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State University fans typically have purple in their wardrobe. In recent years, it’s also become a fashion color, yet many who choose it may not realize its military significance.
In the U.S., the color purple combines Army green, Coast Guard and Air Force blues, Marine red and Navy blue, said Ann Domsch, who is urging all Kansans to wear purple on April 13 to show their support for military families, and, particularly, for children with one or more parents deployed.
Domsch, a retired K-State Research and Extension agent, currently serves as Kansas’ Project Coordinator for Operation Military Kids (OMK), which is part of a national effort to support military families.
“Purple Up! For Military Kids,” said Domsch, who urges individuals and communities to don purple, and:
* Encourage area schools, youth and community groups to join you in wearing purple to show their support.
* Encourage local businesses to encourage their employees and representatives to wear purple, and, where sales are made, to offer a discount to patrons or customers wearing purple to support military youth and families.
* Invite family, friends, co-workers, and others – parents and teachers, neighbors; 4-H, Scout, Boys’ and Girls’ Clubs, and families involved in other youth organizations are examples – to join you in supporting military families.
While the current push for a show of support is April 13, Domsch noted that military families need support throughout the year. For more information, and more about how you can help, contact Domsch at 785-532-5833 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kansas State Animal Science Faculty Honored
DES MOINES, Iowa -- Two Kansas State University faculty received honors recently at the awards ceremony for the American Society of Animal Science and American Dairy Science Association Midwest Sections meeting in Des Moines, Iowa.
Joann Kouba, associate professor in the Department of Animal Science and Industry, received the Outstanding Young Teacher Award. Justin Waggoner, beef systems specialist for K-State Research and Extension, received the Outstanding Young Scientist-Extension Award.
Kouba is responsible for teaching seven on-campus courses and two distance courses. She serves as the advisor for 40-65 students each year, is the faculty advisor for the KSU Horseman’s Association, and is the faculty coordinator for the Horse Teaching and Research unit. She has led equine study tours of Europe and Africa.
Waggoner works at K-State’s Southwest Research and Extension Center in Garden City. He developed the Wildcat Steer Futurity and K-State Cattle Feeders College, and helped develop the 5-States Beef Conference in cooperation with specialists from Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and Colorado. He helped introduce the Brands ration balancing program and developed spreadsheet decision tools to enable producers to calculate key ration components, and storage methods for wet distillers’ grains. Waggoner has authored over 60 Extension articles, including Focus on the Feedlots, a monthly publication summarizing closeout reports from 10 commercial Kansas feedlots.
The awards were presented March 21. Additional information is available in the ASAS newsletter, Taking Stock.
Earthworm Populations Reduced By Soil Cultivation
MANHATTAN, Kan. – Earthworm populations generally become reduced in cultivated agricultural fields, said Peter Tomlinson, K-State Research and Extension environmental quality specialist.
Several explanations for the decline and loss of earthworms have been proposed, he said.
“It could be that tillage implements cause physical injury to earthworms, resulting in mortality. Also, reductions in residue and soil organic matter associated with long-term tillage restrict the earthworms’ food supplies,” Tomlinson said
“A change in soil temperature resulting from the loss of insulation provided by the vegetation could also be reducing earthworm populations. Another possibility is increased predation from birds when the soil is turned over,” he added.
It is likely a combination of these factors leads to reduced earthworm populations, the K-State agronomist said.
In studies comparing adjacent cultivated and uncultivated soils, population reductions are wide-ranging, he said. In one five-year study, the population was reduced by 70 percent by tillage but in a different series of 25-year studies the population was only reduced between 11 and 16 percent, he said.
When tillage practices are reduced or eliminated as a result of conversion to a minimal or no-till system, earthworm populations generally begin to increase, Tomlinson said.
“Earthworms play an important role in no-till systems as they redistribute organic matter. They are important in soil fertility, and their burrows play an important role in soil aeration and drainage,” he concluded.
Funding Available to Plant Farmstead Shelterbelts
MANHATTAN, Kan. – The Kansas Forest Service is ready to help rural landowners qualify for funding to plant windbreaks (shelterbelts) around heated farmsteads.
The On-Farm Energy Initiative funds are part of USDA’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). The application periods for 2012 funds end March 30 and June 1.
To apply, landowners must schedule an appointment with the Natural Resource Conservation Service office in their local Farm Service Center. To qualify after that, however, applicants must prepare a tree planting plan that documents the energy savings their farmstead will realize from the proposed windbreak/shelterbelt.
“That’s where one of our district foresters can help. Research and experience both have shown all kinds of details can affect windbreak usefulness – its shape, distance from buildings, plant selections, moisture supply. Our foresters are willing to visit a farmstead, talk things over with the owner, and then prepare a design that should optimize the home’s long-term energy savings,” said Bob Atchison, KFS rural forestry coordinator.
The On-Farm Energy Initiative provides financial assistance to cover the majority of costs for buying and planting tree and shrub seedlings. Payment rates can vary from $1.49 per bare-root seedling and $2.57 per container-grown seedling up to $5.57 for balled seedlings greater than 18 inches. (The initiative does not cover other costs typically associated with establishing windbreaks, such as weed or grass control.)
“If an interested landowner happens to miss the 2012 deadlines, that’s okay,” Atchison said. “NRCS accepts Energy Initiative applications year-round. If it gets one after this year’s dates, NRCS will simply put it into the running for next year’s funds.”
Local NRCS contact information is available by accessing the Web or calling the Kansas NRCS Office at 785-823-4500. Contact information for Kansas’ district foresters is available or the KFS state office at 785-532-3300.