Better Kansas – Ideas for Living, Growing and Succeeding

Tag: crop production

Better Kansas – Jan. 9, 2020

Header image for the Better Kansas BlogWelcome to Better Kansas, where every Thursday we shed light on events, resources and other information designed to make your life, businesses, communities and state better. This is a small glimpse of what K-State Research and Extension across the state has to offer. Share on social media and subscribe! – Mary Lou Peter

Better Living, Better Communities

FROM BASEHOR TO BAXTER SPRINGS AND LARNED TO NORTON, communities across the state are working to figure out how they can stay vibrant, determine what’s important to their residents, and how they can attract and retain businesses and visitors, not to mention residents. This year, the Kansas PRIDE program is celebrating 50 years of assisting local governments and volunteers through grants, recognition and other means of support as they make their communities better places to live and work. Kansas PRIDE is a partnership between K-State Research and Extension, the Kansas Department of Commerce, Kansas Masons and Kansas PRIDE, Inc. It fits right in with extension’s increasing focus on community vitality. Check out the most recent Kansas PRIDE newsletter. Look for more on the PRIDE program as the year unfolds.


FOR THOSE OF US WHO AREN’T SO GOOD AT WHIPPING UP TASTY MEALS ON SHORT NOTICE, or even if you are, this is the kind of resource that speaks to us: Making a Meal from What’s on Hand is a simple guide to putting together ingredients you likely have in your pantry or refrigerator. As a writer, I sometimes have writer’s block. This resource helps what I’ll call cook’s block. It provides ideas for your starch (pasta, rice, etc.), protein (beef, chicken, egg, seafood or beans), vegetable, sauce, flavor and toppings in a handy list. Or listen to an audio report on the topic.

Better Farming, Ranching and Gardening

WHETHER YOU LIVE IN THE COUNTRY, SUBURBS OR CITY, you likely encounter wildlife from time to time. I’m not talking about the birds from the kitchen window …. I’m talking more up close and personal, like a squirrel in the attic or a snake in the basement. My most memorable was a raccoon IN the birdfeeder (see pic). And then there’s that deer that literally ran into the side of my moving car last spring. I love animals and you probably do too, but not in the attic or taking in my garden like they are at the local buffet! Sometimes it’s helpful to have information about coexisting with animals, and in some cases managing the situation. Check out the K-State Extension Wildlife Management page for videos, fact sheets and links to even more resources on everything from bats to possums to voles. Note to self: Never again put a patio chair directly under the bird feeder.


IF YOU HAVE CATTLE ON PASTURE YOU MAY HAVE HEARD OF THE ‘TAKE HALF AND LEAVE HALF’ RULE. That involves that point when about 50% of the growing season’s top growth of grass is removed. It’s one of many considerations when you’re managing grazing cattle. Others include rotational versus continuous grazing and overgrazing. Take a look at Evaluating Rules of Thumb for Grazing Management in the Jan. 2 Beef Tips. Plus, there’s good information on genomics considerations when buying bulls, calving management, preparing for winter and nutrition information for feedlot operators.

WINTER ISN’T JUST A TIME TO THINK ABOUT PLANTING SEASON IF YOU’RE A FARMER … it’s time to grow yourself by taking in some professional development. Whether you grow corn, sorghum or other crops, the next few weeks offer opportunities to learn about the latest research, plus challenges and potential solutions for all kinds of crops grown in Kansas. Many of these are happening this month, so take a look now at:

Corn Management SchoolsWichita, Oakley, Salina and Olathe.

Sorghum Production SchoolsScott City, Great Bend and Hutchinson.

Soybean Production SchoolsSmith Center, Salina, Mulvane, Emporia, Atchison, and Marysville.

Cover Your Acres Winter Conference – Oberlin

Kansas Agricultural Technologies Conference – Junction City

Midwest Cover Crops Council Annual Conference – Kansas City


For more resources and activities, contact the K-State Research and Extension office in your area. Check out our other blogs and subscribe to our weekly emails here:

Better Kansas – June 6, 2019

Header image for the Better Kansas Blog

By Mary Lou Peter

K-State Research and Extension – 6/6/2019

Greetings! Today we launch a new way to give you a glimpse each week about cool things happening around the state, plus resources available for individuals, families, communities, farms and other businesses.

Again, it’s just a glimpse!

For many more resources and activities, check with the K-State Research and Extension office in your area.

Watch for Better Kansas again next Thursday. In the meantime, please share it with friends, family and colleagues. Email me at and let me know what you think.

Better Living, Better Communities

WATER WATER EVERYWHERE! Many Kansas communities are dealing with flooding, tornadoes and other disasters that hit the state this spring and the possibility for more. As of June 1, 33 of the state’s 105 counties were on the federal emergency declaration list. Dealing with basement cleanup? Flooded farm fields? K-State has helpful information on those topics and more, provided by our own specialists and partners at land grant universities across the country.

HAPPY TOGETHER AT HOME? Some call them creepy crawlies; I call them “corner spiders” and maybe a few other choice words, but whatever you call those multi-legged, fascinating creatures that hang out in your basement, bathroom, garden and other places in your home or office, you’ll likely find them in a new publication, Household Pests of Kansas. One of my favorites is the boxelder bug, but then, I digress. Check it out.

TIES THAT BIND: How long has it been since you sat down with family and friends and played checkers, Monopoly or another board game? Playing board games brings people together like few activities can and with the right game, almost anyone can participate. Unlike watching television or attending sporting events together, games encourage interaction among all the players. Sedgwick County Extension and other extension offices host “Bonding Thru Board Games” at different times of the year. Grab your favorite game or play one provided … and don’t forget the camera!

Better Farming, Ranching and Gardening

KANSAS NET FARM INCOME CLIMBS, BUT WITH A CATCH: Kansas net farm income rose last year to an average of $100,000 despite weather extremes, trade disputes and depressed market prices. That marked the third year in a row of gains after a steep slide in net income in 2015. However 63% of the 2018 income came from government payments and crop insurance. The data came from an annual summary of the records of Kansas Farm Management Association member farms. The data digs deep into income by type of farm and includes value of farm production, total farm expense, crop production costs, total family living expense and more, plus year-to-year comparisons. Check out more about the KFMA or call 785-532-8706.

DON’T PUT THOSE RAIN BOOTS AWAY JUST YET: K-State climatologists Mary Knapp and Chip Redmond with Kansas Mesonet have issued their take on the summer weather outlook. Think cooler and maybe rainier than usual in some parts of the state.

WET FEET: We often have weather extremes in Kansas … too dry, too windy, too much rain … this spring it’s been the latter, which delayed spring crop planting through much of the state.  As of June 2, 79% of the Kansas corn crop had been planted, compared with 96% last year and 93% average, while 26% of soybeans had been planted, well behind 77% last year and 53% average, according to the National Ag Statistics Service. Similar scenarios are happening across the country, with 67% of the corn planted across the 18 primary states, far behind 96% a year ago and 96% average. Just 39% of U.S. soybeans had been planted compared with 86% a year ago and 79% average. Recent K-State Department of Agronomy eUpdates have information about what this means for crops, tips to manage your situation and much more.

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