Nebraska Extension in Cheyenne, Kimball & Banner Counties

Master Gardener Classes in Kimball

The Nebraska Master Gardener Program is offering classes for those interested in horticulture on Thursday nights, from September 29 through November 3.

Nebraska Extension is providing the classes at the Kimball-Banner County Extension Office at 209 E. 3rd in Kimball from 5:30 - 8:00 p.m. Class topics include: growing evergreen trees and shrubs, putting perennials to work, weed identification and control, plant identification and efficient landscape irrigation.

Nebraska Master Gardeners are trained volunteers who provide horticulture information to people in their communities. In return for the knowledge they receive through the classes, Master Gardeners volunteer 40 hours of their time to their community through various means such as helping with horticulture exhibits at the county fair, teaching youth about gardening, working in community gardens and other community related projects.

Participants must pre-register for the classes. For more information on the Master Gardener program, please see the brochure or contact Nebraska Extension in Kimball-Banner Counties at (308) 235-3122.

October workshops help cattle producers learn about risk management opportunities

Beef cattle producers face numerous risk factors: weather, prices, cattle performance and health can all impact their profitability. A pair of upcoming workshops by Nebraska Extension in the Panhandle District will provide information on programs and tools that can help cattle producers manage risk.

Risk management topics will include:

·         Livestock Risk Protection Insurance as a Price Risk Management Tool

·         Understanding Annual Forage and Pasture, Range and Forage Insurance

·         USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) Disaster Programs

·         Using Cost of Production as part of Risk Management

The first workshop will be held Oct. 3 from 5-9 p.m. at the Peppermill Restaurant, 502 East Hwy 20, in Valentine. A complementary meal will be provided. Please RSVP by Friday, Sept. 30, for a meal count.  Contact Jay Jenkins at 402-376-1850 or email

The second workshop will be held Oct. 4, from 5 – 8 p.m.: Prairie Winds Community Center, 428 N. Main St., Bridgeport. A complementary meal will be provided. Please RSVP by Monday, Oct. 3, for a meal count.  Contact Aaron Berger at 308-235-3122 or email

Funding for these workshops is provided in part by the North Central Extension Risk Management Education Center and the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture under award number 2015-49200-24226.

Nebraska 4-H Shooting Sports Leader Certification Workshop Offered in Bridgeport 

A Nebraska 4-H Shooting Sports Leader Certification Workshop is scheduled for October in Bridgeport, NE. It will be held October 29-30 at the Prairie Winds Community Center in Bridgeport. The deadline to register for the session is October 19th. 

Volunteers have the opportunity to become certified as an adult (21 years and older) or apprentice (14-20 years old) leader. Five project areas will be offered at the Bridgeport Workshop - rifle, shotgun, hunting skills, pistol, and archery. There is a minimum number of participants needed to offer these disciplines at the workshops. Workshop participants will learn under expert instruction from members of the Nebraska State 4-H Shooting Sports Training Team.  

The registration fee is $100.00 per person for initial certification and $90.00 per person that are currently a certified instructor and are adding an additional discipline. This fee includes meals, supplies and program materials. Participants must make their own lodging arrangements.  Registration on Saturday runs from 8:00 a.m. to 8:45 a.m.   
For more workshop information and registration link, go to the 4-H Shooting Sports web page at, contact your local Nebraska Extension Office or Steve Pritchard at (402) 395-2158 or (308) 536-2691.

Fall weed control options for winter wheat

Rodrigo Werle, Cropping Systems Specialist West Central Research and Extension Center, North Platte Nevin Lawrence, Integrated Weed Management Specialist Panhandle Research and Extension Center, Scottsbluff, Cody Creech, Dryland Cropping Systems Specialist Panhandle Research and Extension Center, Scottsbluff

Current market conditions, especially low crop prices, have Nebraska wheat producers considering options to reduce input costs. Although herbicide costs may seem prohibitive, it’s important to consider the long-term implications of limiting or eliminating the use of herbicides in crop production systems.

First, weeds that are left unmanaged following wheat harvest use valuable nutrients and water needed for the following year’s crop. Unmanaged weeds also produce seeds to replenish the soil seed bank. A study conducted in Tribune, Kan., by Kansas State researcher Alan Schlegel demonstrated this by looking at two wheat stubble heights and herbicide timings (as well as no post-harvest weed control).

Evaluating weed control in the previous year
Producers can start by reviewing the previous year’s herbicide applications, determining what worked well, what went wrong, and identifying any areas of particular fields that might need special attention to control some problem weeds.

Poor weed control could be related to a thin crop stand, planting date, crop rotation, weed size, dust, environmental conditions at time of spraying, plugged nozzles, improper application of herbicides and tank-mix partners, or herbicide-resistant weeds, among other things.

Weed management for this season’s winter wheat production should have been started two years ago after the wheat crop was harvested, during the after-harvest fallow period, corn growing season, and summer fallow. If growers were proactively managing weeds during this time, weed management for the 2016-17 winter wheat growing season should not be as challenging.

The vast majority of seeds from the most troublesome weed species in winter wheat typically don’t last more than two years in the soil seedbank, and as long as these species were not allowed to reproduce during corn and fallow periods, the weed pressure within a field should not be very high.

 Starting Clean
Similar to other crops, it is recommended to plant winter wheat into a weed-free seed bed. Once wheat has been planted and emerged, the available options for weed control are dramatically reduced.

Two major groups of weeds compete with winter wheat: winter annuals that emerge in the fall, such as downy brome, jointed goatgrass, feral rye, marestail, and blue mustard; and summer annuals, which start emerging in the spring.

Winter annual weeds are the most challenging to control because they start to grow at the same time as the crop, if not earlier. Management of summer annual weeds should not be very difficult because by the time these species are emerging, the winter wheat crop should be closing canopy and naturally suppressing these weeds.  

Remember to read and follow herbicide labels to avoid any potential injury from herbicide carryover.  

 Getting a jump now on winter annual weeds
Controlling winter annual weeds in the late fall is the key to success. Winter annual weeds can begin emerging as early as August and continue to emerge through early March. By emerging so early in the cropping year, winter annuals can become tolerant to herbicides by the time spring applications are made. With any winter annual weed, growers should consider an effective burndown program to start “clean.” And for post-emergence, keep in mind that the best time to apply herbicides is in the fall, when weeds are still small and relatively easy to control.

Limited post-emergence options are available for marestail control in the fall, as most synthetic auxin herbicides cannot be applied before tillering. However, dicamba is labeled in winter wheat for application from planting up until nodes are visible in the spring. Dicamba will provide control of both ALS- and glyphosate-resistant marestail.

For control of downy brome in the fall, Maverick, Olympus, and Powerflex all provide good control. Beyond is also a good option if Clearfield wheat was planted. The effectiveness off all herbicides labeled for downy brome control in winter wheat can be quite variable from year to year, with performance of fall applied herbicides ranging from moderate to excellent.

While downy brome control with any herbicide can be quite variable from year to year, multiple studies from UNL and other universities have demonstrated consistently greater levels of control from fall application compared with spring applications. Spring application of such herbicides can be highly influenced by weather conditions, weeds stage of development and growth rate.

Nebraska 2016 Wheat: High yields, low protein

 Cody Creech, Dryland Cropping Systems Specialist Panhandle Research and Extension Center Rodrigo Werle, Cropping Systems Specialist West Central Research and Extension Center

Nebraska’s winter wheat producers brought in a bumper crop in 2016, but some were docked for low protein levels. This was especially difficult this year, with profit margins already tight for nearly all producers.

Several factors influence grain protein levels. It’s possible for growers to attain respectable protein levels by actively monitoring the environment the wheat is growing in, estimating the expected wheat yield, and using recent soil samples to make decisions about when to apply fertilizer and how much.

Nebraska winter wheat production is estimated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service at 63.6 million bushels for 2016, an increase of 38 percent over 2015, and the average yield of 53 bushels per acre would be a Nebraska record.

Wheat producers did a much better job in 2016 applying fungicides to protect their crop from stripe rust that moved into the area. Much of the dryland wheat in western Nebraska was heavily infested with stripe rust in 2015, as few producers applied any fungicide. Because of that negative experience, the majority of producers were proactive and applied fungicides to protect their wheat crops in 2016.

Many wheat producers were surprised when delivering their wheat to the elevator that the crop had below-average protein levels. Producers with protein levels below the benchmark set by the elevator were docked more as the protein level dropped.

Producers needed high yields to be profitable this year, given the current market scenario of low prices. However, low prices also puts pressure on producers to lower their input costs. The primary inputs that can be easily reduced are herbicides and fertilizers. Unfortunately, reducing or eliminating nitrogen applications to winter wheat will typically result in low protein when yields are high.

One factor influencing protein in wheat is genetic differences among wheat varieties. However, these differences are usually minor and are not the primary driver. The biggest factor is the environment where the wheat is grown.

These environmental factors include excess rainfall, growing temperature, and soil fertility.

Because of the abundant precipitation this winter and spring, nitrogen in the soil would be moved deeper into the soil profile while the roots from the wheat plants grew laterally to access the abundant moisture near the surface. This moved nitrogen out of the root zone, reducing nitrogen uptake.

The high level of soil moisture and favorable growing conditions increased the tillering and yield of the wheat. As wheat yield increases, the requirement for nitrogen increases. Conversely, under heat and drought stress, yield decreases, as well as the need for nitrogen.

Wheat protein develops as the plant converts nitrogen from the soil into amino acids, the building blocks of protein. In order to increase protein levels in wheat, nitrogen must be properly managed in the soil and be available to be taken up by the plant.

Applying nitrogen too early can result in excessive wheat growth and lodging. The nitrogen will also be vulnerable to leaching if heavy rains occur. Typically, dryland wheat has sufficient nitrogen in the soil because yields are typically low.

To properly manage soil nitrogen, apply nitrogen fertilizer after tillers have formed. At this growth stage, potential wheat yield can be estimated and used to determine a nitrogen application rate based on a recent soil test. Applying nitrogen at that time also reduces the chance of the nitrogen leaching. As growing conditions change, yield goals need to be updated and evaluated. Have a realistic yield goal and apply nitrogen to meet that goal.

Other nutrients should be evaluated when making fertility plans as well. Sulfur is a component in grain protein production, and can limit protein levels if not available to the plant in adequate levels. Phosphorus helps with root development, tillering, plant vigor, and winter hardiness, which all contribute to yield.

Fall Seed Guide Available
The 2016 Fall Seed Guide is now available.  Results from the Cheyenne County Dryland Variety Test Trial are included in the guide. Variety trials from other locations can be found at the link listed above. 


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