Nebraska Extension in Knox County

Local Interest

Warmer than normal mid-April temperatures have allowed corn planting to jump ahead of the five-year average (11%) with 17% of acres planted and 1% emerged as of April 23.  Since then farmers in some areas have completed or nearly completed planting. Early-planted corn has emerged in some parts of the state.

While several areas of the state experienced lows below 28°F this week, widespread alfalfa losses are not expected at this time.

If you're concerned about whether your alfalfa may have suffered frost injury, remember that frozen alfalfa usually needs some time to recover before damage can be estimated.

At the Vernal Equinox, the Sun crosses the celestial equator on its way north along the ecliptic. For those of us without a sun dial or a farmer’s almanac, the previous sentence can be simply translated. Spring is here! March 20th marks the first day of spring for those of us living in the Northern Hemisphere. While some of us may still be covered in snow, spring marks the beginning of warmer temperatures, outdoor activities and spring cleaning. Spring cleaning is opportunity to clean up outdoors, wash windows, or mow your lawn for the first time. While those are important spring duties, I am interested in a different type of spring cleaning; cleaning up our diets.

For vegetable gardeners, it is time to think about cool season vegetables.  Focus on garden planning, seed buying, and soil preparation, such as incorporating compost, if the soil is not too wet.

Do not let air temperatures trick you into planting too early. It is soil temperature that needs to determine when planting begins. Gardeners who plant too early may end up harvesting later than those who wait. And some can end up reseeding or replanting.

Ward Upham, Extension Educator with K-State, says one of the most neglected tools for vegetable gardeners is a soil thermometer. And he is correct. If vegetables are direct seeded or transplanted into cold soil, seed can rot and transplants can just sit there and not grow.

Fruit trees are or will soon bud out. This is an important time to begin applying fungicides to trees that had a fungal leaf disease last season.

 Apples and crabapples are often infected by apple scab and cedar apple rust. Both cause spots to develop on leaves followed by leaf yellowing and dropping throughout the season.

 Neither disease will kill a tree in one or even a few seasons, but can reduce yield. For this reason, and because fungicides work best when applied just before and during the infection period, this spring is the time to treat trees that were diseased last season.

               Does rain often damage your high quality hay just before it’s ready to bale? There is a baling method that may help solve that problem.

                Rain plays havoc with hay quality.  Even when you study weather reports and do your best to cut when good drying weather is expected, just before your hay is ready to bale, it gets damaged by rain.

Nebraska Extension in Knox County

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Updated Beef Cow Basics-Plus course available to sharpen cow/calf management skills
May 5 – Those looking to take the guesswork out of cow/calf management are encouraged to enroll in the revised Beef Cow Basics-Plus home study course offered by Nebraska Extension. Read more
Nebraska part of project to enhance college student research experience
May 5 – The University of Nebraska – Lincoln’s Jing Zhang is part of a project to help enhance college student learning through course-based research experiences (CUREs). Read more