K-State Updates Irrigation FUELCOST Software Program
MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State University has updated FUELCOST, the irrigation fuel cost-analysis software program designed for agricultural producers who irrigate cropland.
“Energy inputs are such a significant cost to producers and this tool can help them consider fuel source alternatives and analyze pumping costs to determine if they’re appropriate to the pumping conditions,” said Danny Rogers, agricultural engineer with K-State Research and Extension.
The FUELCOST program is on the Mobile Irrigation Lab website. By using their farm’s irrigation system characteristics and fuel information, the program can help producers evaluate how well their current irrigation pumping plant is performing, compared to a properly designed and operating system. Other options include estimating pumping costs for various conditions, comparing energy sources, and evaluating the economics of upgrades or repairs.
FUELCOST is a standalone program that is downloaded onto a farmer’s computer, Rogers said. It has been reorganized to allow the analysis features to be accessed in a much more user-friendly fashion.
“With the upgrades, a menu-driven program also allows the user to reach the desired analysis option before any field inputs are required,” Rogers said.
More information about crop irrigation in Kansas is available from K-State Research and Extension at county and district extension offices and online at Irrigation at K-State Research and Extension.
K-State Conference to Offer Cart Full of Ideas
MANHATTAN, Kan. – Summit meetings usually focus on shared issues, but not all are held in faraway places.
This year, Kansas State University will host the third in a series of rural grocery store summits, said David Procter, spokesperson for the upcoming conference, and director of K-State’s Center for Engagement and Community Development.
The 2012 edition is titled: “Strengthening Our Stores. Strengthening Our Communities” and scheduled June 5-6 at the Hilton Garden Inn Conference Center in Manhattan, Kan.
Access to food and the sustainability of a rural (or, in urban areas, neighborhood) grocery store is an issue that is shared by many in Kansas and elsewhere in the U.S., said Procter, who noted that previous conferences have attracted participants from more than a dozen states and generated international interest.
While a variety of food is key to personal and public health, a local grocery typically anchors a community’s business district, and that means that grocery shoppers also are likely to be customers of the local bank, restaurant, barber or beauty shop, gas station, hardware and other businesses.
A local grocery also offers local employment opportunities and generates sales taxes to support the community and its economic development, Procter said.
The upcoming conference is expected to generate discussion; provide opportunities for sharing ideas, resources and solutions that can turn challenges into opportunities that translate into take-home ideas. It should also include success stories and time for networking with others facing similar concerns, Procter said.
The Rural Grocery Summit is recommended for local grocery store owners and managers; government officials such as city and county commissioners; community development agencies, volunteer organizations, and interested citizens.
For information and registration, go to Rural Grocery Initiative or call: 1-800-432-8222 or 785-532-5569 weekdays during regular business hours.
Garden Starter Solutions’ Usefulness Fading
MANHATTAN, Kan. – Using a starter solution or “root stimulator” to help new transplants for the garden settle in has been standard practice for decades.
“Research has found, however, these products are only useful for a while. In Kansas, for example, I’d be hesitant to apply them after Mother’s Day,” said Ward Upham, K-State Research and Extension horticulturist.
“Stimulator” solutions are typically a weak fertilizer that contains nitrogen and phosphate, Upham said. Some gardeners actually make their own. Given the Internet, recipes are easy to find.
Good formulas can be a real boost for transplants moving into the garden while the soil is still cool.
“Early in the growing season, soil nutrients aren’t readily available to help plants develop roots and become established,” he explained. “So, applying a starter solution near a plant’s roots is like providing a substitute meal.”
As the environment warms, though, plants can access soil’s underground nutrients more and more easily.
“Unless your soil is nutrient-poor, you’re wasting time and solution if you apply a starter product after that,” Upham said. “In fact, if your soil is fertile and the weather gets pretty warm, your applying a starter solution might actually cause some plant damage by burning roots.”
Local Schools Show Support for Military Families
Photo Credit: Tim Hamblin, Derby High School
WICHITA, Kan. – Area students, faculty and staff, including representatives from Derby High School, were among many in the Sedgwick County area wearing purple in support of military youth and families recently, said Angela Edwards, school liaison officer based at McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita.
The national initiative, titled “Purple Up! For Military Kids,” generated widespread support and raised awareness about the service – and sacrifices – of military families, Edwards said.
And, while April 13 was selected as “the” day to “Purple Up!”, Edwards noted that any day is a good day to wear the color purple, as it combines Army green, Coast Guard and Air Force blues, Marine red and Navy blue.
Edwards, who works in cooperation with Kansas Operation: Military Kids (OMK), a statewide initiative to support military families, contacted local schools and urged support. In addition to Derby High School, participating area schools also include Beech, Seltzer, and Val Jackson elementary schools in Wichita; Sunflower Elementary (Andover); Augusta Middle School (Augusta); Wineteer Elementary, which also is in Derby, and Freeman Elementary (Haysville).
Kansas Operation: Military Kids (OMK) is part of National OMK, which is a collaborative effort to support the children and youth of active duty, National Guard and Army Reserve member families. K-State Research and Extension and several other organizations and agencies are collaborators in Kansas OMK.