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On the Fence - August 2017

On The Fence, Nebraska Extension Acreage Insights August 2017.
On The Fence, Acreage Insights August 2017, http://acreage.unl.eduVisit your local fair and enjoy the many events. Photo from the Burt County Plaindealer.

August 2017

It doesn’t seem possible that another month has come and gone this summer. At the time I’m writing this (a couple of weeks ago) we were in the middle of sweltering heat and humidity and our county fair was looming ever closer! If your fair isn’t already over, I’d encourage you to attend your local fair.

County Fair Has Lots to Offer
This is the one event each year that brings everyone in a county together for a single event… all towns, all people (rural or urban, young and old), and all different interests. It gives an opportunity for everyone, young or just young at heart, to show off their special talents and to see what others have done… whether it be in 4-H, FFA or open class. Plus there are all those other attractions. No two county fairs are alike, each fair has something that makes it unique and special.

On The Fence, Acreage Insights August 2017, http://acreage.unl.eduSummer heat can take a toll on livestock.  

On the Farm...
Things have slowed down on most farms… those that can irrigate crops have been busy while those that rely on Mother Nature have been praying for rain in most areas. Otherwise a lot of farmer have been scouting their fields for diseases, insects and weeds and treating them if necessary. July was a critical month when the potential yields for corn are set while August is the critical month for soybean yields. Stress during this time can have a big impact on the final yield and profitability for crop farmers.

Heat can take a toll on livestock, too, because livestock won’t eat as much when it’s too hot (I wish I had that problem) and don’t gain as much. Also, livestock producers that have animals on pasture need some rain to keep the grass growing so they don’t have to purchase supplemental feed. Hopefully by the time you are reading this, we have had some significant, widespread rains.

A bee on a flower.

Eastern Nebraska Pollinator Field Day, August 18
Now what I really want to tell you about this month is a special day coming up on August 18. No, that isn’t my birthday, but it is a day that we’re going to talk about something that is very important to me. As you have probably guessed from past articles, I am very passionate about pollinating insects. This may go back to my days in 4-H when I collected insects.

On August 18, I will be hosting the Eastern Nebraska Pollinator Field Day and I’d like to invite you to join us. We will start at 9:00 a.m. at the First Northeast Bank of Nebraska meeting room in Tekamah. There we will talk about pollinating insects, why they are important, things we can do to promote pollinators, and programs that are available to help you develop pollinator habitat on your acreage, farm, or around your home.

On The Fence, Acreage Insights August 2017, http://acreage.unl.eduPollinator landscape plantings on my acreage. Photo by John Wilson, Nebraska Extension.

At about 10:30 that morning, we will carpool out to my farm, about 8 miles out of town, and you’ll be able to observe some of the things I’ve been doing on my place as well as some research that the University of Nebraska is conducting on bees. We’ll adjourn around noon or whenever the last person is done asking questions.

On The Fence, Acreage Insights August 2017, http://acreage.unl.eduWildflower planting on my acreage. Photo by John Wilson, Nebraska Extension.

I have some flowering plants in the landscaping around my home like many people do. But I’ve also planted a lot of flowering shrubs (450 trees and shrubs this spring) and I’ve established some pollinator habitat in my CRP. Although a lot of my wildflowers are in CRP, many people could do the same thing in odd areas around their home. I can tell you some things that worked for me and probably more import, some things that didn’t work!

Preregistration is not required, but if you’d like to RSVP, that will help us make sure we have plenty of materials for those that attend. You can let me know by dropping me an email at or giving me a call at 402.374.2929. If your plans change at the last minute and you haven’t RSVP’d, don’t worry, we’d be glad to have you join us. Just to give you a sneak preview, the two images above are some that I’ve taken around my place.

So until next month, hope for some rain, stay cool, and have fun on your acreage!

On The Fence, Nebraska Extension Acreage Insights August 2017.
On the Fence. Nebraska Extension Acreage Insights,
On the Fence with John Wilson
Extension Educator - Innovative Cropping and Water Systems
Nebraska Extension Educator John Wilson discusses life on an acreage.

Location: Based in Burt County with responsibilities in Thurston and Dakota counties; statewide responsibilities with soybean cyst nematode education
Program Areas: Crop Production, particularly corn, soybeans & alfalfa; integrated pest management, particularly insects, diseases & nematodes
Focus Area: Soybean cyst nematodes and soybean diseases
Education: BS and MS degrees in agronomy (crop production option) from University of Nebraska-Lincoln