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On the Fence - August 2018

On the Fence, Nebraska Extension Acreage Insights for August 1, 2018,

It hardly seems possible that the summer is almost over. The big difference between now and this time last year, is last year I was just getting ready for our county fair. This year the fair was two weeks earlier, so it is done now… well, done except for all the paperwork that needs to be finished afterwards and going through everything that accumulated on my desk while I was helping with the fair!

On the Fence - August 2018, Acreage Insights August 2018,

County Fair
Fairs take a great deal of planning, preparation and - most of all - great volunteers to make them work. I think the group of volunteers our fair has been blessed with in Burt County can’t be beat for their dedication and hard work to make our fair a success.

This year the theme for our fair was “Here’s Your Sign” and as the image at the right indicates, the fair brings the whole county together for one celebration of everyone’s achievements.

If you haven’t been to a county fair yet this summer, be sure to take one in. And if you like what you see and enjoy working with others, find someone affiliated with the fair and volunteer to help in 2019. I think the thing I enjoy most about our fair is all the people I see that I may not see again until the next fair. A county fair truly does bring town and country, young and old, together for one big celebration.

Rainfall & Crop Prices
Now, for what’s happening on the farm. We’ve been lucky in Burt County to receive timely rainfalls so those farmers have not needed to do a lot of irrigation. Other parts of Nebraska have not been so fortunate in rainfall, which adds to farmers' cost of production.

There have been a lot of helicopters and airplanes spraying fields. Most of these applications have been fungicides to control plant diseases although some areas have also been spraying to reduce insect damage to their crops.

On the Fence - August 2018, Acreage Insights August 2018,

One of the big news items everyone has probably heard a lot about in the last few months are tariffs and how they affect the prices of agricultural commodities, particularly soybeans. In recent years, China has purchased over half of the soybeans exported by the United States.

Soybean prices have dropped 15-20% since the “tariff wars” started this spring. Corn prices had similar declines, but China is not a major importer of U.S. corn.

Recently prices have strengthened a little and the administration has proposed financial support to help farmers through this period, but any farmer I know would rather receive a fair market price for his or her production rather than a bail out from the government. Hopefully the countries involved in this “tariff war” can come to terms agreeable to all countries involved.

Yellow Nutsedge Control
So things are pretty quiet on the farm right now. Actually the same is true on my acreage. There’s always a never ending list of things that need to be done, but nothing that I needed to have done yesterday. If you ask my wife, you might get a different response as to the urgency of things on our (read: MY) “To Do” list! There is one thing that I’m going to check off this weekend… and based on the number of calls I’ve gotten on it lately, it is, or should be, high on a lot of other people’s “To Do” list, too!

On the Fence - August 2018, Acreage Insights August 2018,

I have some weeds coming up in my lawn that grow about twice as fast as the turf grasses and are yellow-green in color. This is yellow nutsedge. Although it looks like a grass, it is in a complete different group of plants. One easy way to distinguish it from other turf grasses or grassy weeds is to look at the base of the stem. The part of the plant closest to the ground will be distinctively triangular in shape and the leaves will be “V” shaped.

You can pull it, but small nut-like tubers on the roots will break off and each will sprout a new plant. So your initial efforts may appear to make the problem worse rather than better. But, if you pull these new plants before they mature and produce tubers, you will kill them. I’ve tried pulling it with limited success. I just don’t keep after it like I should. I’d only recommend trying to control it by pulling if you are willing to be dedicated to pulling the new plants as soon as they emerge and you don’t have a lot of it.

I think I have enough of it that I am just going to spray those spots in my lawn where it shows up with a specialized lawn herbicide specifically for sedges. The two products I’m familiar with are SedgeHammer and Sedge Ender although there may be others. Both of these products will kill sedge, but will not kill other broadleaf weeds, grassy weeds (such as crabgrass), or the turfgrass.

On the Fence - August 2018, Acreage Insights August 2018,

A Leisurely Hen Turkey
Finally, my feathered or furry friend of the month is a hen turkey that makes a daily trip - sometimes several trips a day - underneath my bird feeders to pick up the grain that the squirrels and other birds scatter on the ground. She must have had a rough day when I shot this image because she didn’t even stand, she just laid down as she picked through the seed that fell in the wood chips. As I take this picture, I’m standing at my dining room window, about 15 feet away from her. (I’m just hoping her boyfriend is eating well and will be nice and plump by Thanksgiving!)

Well, that’s all for today… so until next month, get outside and have some fun on your acreage!

On the Fence, Nebraska Extension Acreage Insights for August 1, 2018,
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