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2022 Nebraska Farm Production Expenditures Up 16%

Latest Updates from cropwatch.unl.edu - Fri, 08/04/2023 - 10:59
The total expenditures per farm or ranch in Nebraska averaged $644,018 in 2022, up 18 from 2021. The livestock expense category was the leading expenditure, at $151,242 per operation, 6.61 times the national average. Livestock expenses were the largest expense category, which increased 3% from 2021, but feed expenses represented the most dramatic difference, increasing 52% from the prior year.

This Week on N Field: Scouting Western Bean Cutworm

Latest Updates from cropwatch.unl.edu - Fri, 08/04/2023 - 10:46
Learn how to identify western bean cutworm eggs and larvae, and how to determine the economic threshold for insecticide applications in the latest N Field Observations.

Nebraska Approves Pass-through Entity Tax Bill

Latest Updates from cropwatch.unl.edu - Fri, 08/04/2023 - 10:36
The benefit to forming a pass-though entity is a federal tax deduction for the state tax paid; however, the entity will need to make estimated tax payments (even if it is a farming partnership), starting Jan. 1, 2024, if they decided to make this election. (Center for Ag Profitability photo) Whether or not the pass-through entity tax bill could benefit you will depend on your profitability level, current structure, the size of your operation, and more. Read this Center for Ag Profitability analysis to make an informed decision about the new tax option.

West Central to Host 19th Annual Water and Crops Field Day

Latest Updates from cropwatch.unl.edu - Fri, 08/04/2023 - 09:28
Producers, industry representatives and researchers are invited to attend the field day in North Platte, which will feature the latest technologies and practices in agriculture. This free field day will feature producer and industry panels on covers crops and USDA's Climate Smart Initiatives, and field tours and demos on irrigation sensing tools, cover crops, western bean cutworm and drones in pesticide application.

Ag Land Management Webinar to Offer the Latest on Cash Rents, Lease arrangements for 2023

Latest Updates from cropwatch.unl.edu - Fri, 08/04/2023 - 08:49
Offered since 2019, the Land Management Quarterly webinars address common management issues for Nebraska landowners, ag operators and related stakeholders interested in the latest insight on trends in real estate, managing ag land and solutions for addressing challenges in the upcoming growing season. The August webinar will cover recent findings from the 2023 Nebraska Farm Real Estate Report, including updates on average cash rental rates and land values and trends in flexible cash lease arrangements.

Pasture and Forage Minute: Corn Silage Harvest and Storage, Rejuvenating Thin Alfalfa

Latest Updates from cropwatch.unl.edu - Thu, 08/03/2023 - 21:27
Target silage storage moisture content should be 65%-70% moisture, as drier silage can overheat and spoil, and higher moisture content may cause loss of nutrients. Extension educators share recommendations on strategies for silage harvest and storage, and ways to improve thinning alfalfa fields without a complete reseeding.

TAPS Corn Fields Battered by Hail for First Time in Competition History

Latest Updates from cropwatch.unl.edu - Thu, 08/03/2023 - 20:05
Photos taken July 24 following the storm. Left shows one of the popcorn competition plots and at right is one of the sprinkler corn competition plots. (Photos by Krystle Rhoades) The TAPS team estimated there was approximately 35%-50% leaf defoliation and consequently, corn yield loss is currently anticipated to be 17%-31%.

Weekly Weather Update: Aug. 3, 2023

Latest Updates from cropwatch.unl.edu - Thu, 08/03/2023 - 17:17
In the last week, numerous areas in the eastern half of the state received upwards of five inches of rain, relieving severe drought conditions in several counties — particularly in central Nebraska.

2023 Corn Yield Forecasts as of Aug. 2

Latest Updates from cropwatch.unl.edu - Thu, 08/03/2023 - 11:45
There continues to be a high probability of near-average yields for most irrigated sites in the Corn Belt, while expectations for rainfed corn sites are diverse across the region.

Although at Low Levels, Soybean Aphids are in Nebraska

Latest Updates from cropwatch.unl.edu - Wed, 08/02/2023 - 16:00
With soybean aphid infestations, preserving natural enemies should always be a goal under an integrated pest management approach, and treating only when pest populations reach economic or treatment thresholds to let them do their work.

Soybean Aphid Scouting and Management

Latest Updates from cropwatch.unl.edu - Wed, 08/02/2023 - 14:52
Soybean aphids typically concentrate at the very top of the plant, but they will move onto stems and within the canopy as populations grow and/or the plant reaches mid- to late reproductive stages. Soybean aphids in Nebraska usually reach the economic threshold and require treatment in late July through August. Treatment during this time is usually enough to keep aphid populations from resurging before they leave fields for the season.

The Seven C's of Leadership Development and Community Change

In this series of articles, I’d like to introduce you to the Social Change Model of Leadership Development and the “7 C’s.” This model of leadership development defines leadership as a process to create change that will help other people. It was developed in 1993 by the Higher Education Research Institute of the University of California Los Angeles to encourage service projects and guide hands-on learning experiences for students. Most of the content for these articles will come from UCLA’s guidebook on the subject.

Nebraska Extension Provides Nebraska Corn and Soybean Clinics Aug. 29 at North Platte and Aug. 31 at Mead

Latest Updates from cropwatch.unl.edu - Tue, 08/01/2023 - 16:49
Content for the upcoming Corn and Soybean Production Clinics will be tailored to each location, to better represent the diversity of crop production concerns across the state. See a "growing season" all in one place, with hands-on interaction and field demos that will address corn and soybean production concerns for growers across Nebraska.

Crop Progress: Nebraska Crop Conditions Remain Stable

Latest Updates from cropwatch.unl.edu - Tue, 08/01/2023 - 15:24
Historical crop progress data for Nebraska is available at USDA. As of July 30, most Nebraska crops were in 50%-60% good to excellent condition.

Influence of Cover Crop Species and Termination Time on N Release

Latest Updates from cropwatch.unl.edu - Tue, 08/01/2023 - 13:31
Results of a UNL study evaluating the impact of cereal rye and hairy vetch cover crop termination times on their decomposition and nitrogen release.

Picture Books for Creative Preschoolers 

Latest Updates from child.unl.edu - Tue, 08/01/2023 - 08:00

Image Source: Canva

Busy caregivers may feel there is never enough time to do a little something extra. Yes, we all know that feeling of exhaustion!  When you are feeling in a creative rut, this is the time to get acquainted with your local librarians you may find your librarians’ enthusiasm and the humorous picture book illustrations will spark your creativity and energy! 

Reading books that inspire creativity and provide opportunities for children to explore their abilities can help development. When children have creative opportunities, their language skills and social skills develop rapidly. Children need to touch, see, explore, and manipulate objects and ideas to learn.  Creative activities can provide an emotional outlet and also focus a child’s attention on planning/problem-solving skill sets.  You can set the stage by providing the three basics for creativity:  time, encouragement, and materials.  You already know your child’s abilities and personality.  Now collect some basic, easily available materials that will appeal to your preschooler.  This can be a great start for skills they will need in the elementary classroom. 

These books are grouped by an emphasis on art, music, or folklore with a few suggestions for follow-up activities to spark children’s creativity and development. Let’s look at some books you can use as a springboard for creative activities.   

Image Source: Canva

Pocketful of Posies: A Treasury of Nursery Rhymes, illustrated by Salley Mavor.  2010.  Houghton Mifflin Books for Children.   

This book contains 64 familiar rhymes.  The pages are illustrated with fabric collages using colorful stitching, buttons, bark, shells, and bells to demonstrate various textures. 

Last Night, by Hyewan Yurn.  2008.  Farrar Straus Giroux. 

A young girl is sent to bed after refusing to eat supper.  She goes on a dreamlike, wordless adventure with her teddy bear.  Illustrations are linoleum block prints that evoke many emotions. 

In the Small, Small Pond, by Denise Fleming.  1993.  Henry Holt. 

Geese, minnows, and muskrats populate the pond with illustrations featuring hand-cut stencils and handmade-paper. 

Below, by Nina Crews.  2006.  Henry Holt. 

Jack’s action figure falls through a crack in the stairs and goes on a fantastic journey.  His adventures are illustrated by layered images combining photographs and line drawings.  

Art Activities 

Begin by reading the stories with your preschoolers and observing the illustrations they find most interesting.  Discuss those illustrations and the materials used to convey the stories.  Then, provide materials so they can create their own stories of fantasy world adventures.  The first time, you may want to keep it simple and just use photos from magazines.  If you circle back to this idea a few weeks later, your child will probably come up with their own ideas for other interesting materials to use.  

Another activity you could do is to make relief collages by layering various materials on a paper or cloth background.  Materials may include magazine pictures or print, construction paper, newsprint, felt, buttons, shells, leaves, and cloth that has been cut or torn. 

Children could also make prints using sponges cut into different shapes and dipped into tempera paint.  Let the prints dry and then add another layer in contrasting color.  This may provide an opportunity to point out colors that blend to form a new color where the prints overlap (Red + blue = purple, etc.). 

Books with Music Lyrics 

The Wheels on the Bus, adapted and illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky.  1990.  Dutton. 

The pull tabs and flaps used to narrate this story make it an interesting but also delicate book for children to handle.  

Sing, lyrics and music by Joe Raposo.  Illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld.  2013.  Henry Holt. 

A recording of the Sesame Street song is also included. 

Tweedle Dee Dee, by Charlotte Voake.  2008.  Candlewick. 

This story is based on the song “The Green Leaves Grew All Around.”  It follows two children as they interact with nature, observing animals, and learning about the world around them. 

There Was an Old Monster!   by Rebecca, Adrian, and Ed Pemberley.  2009.  Scholastic. 

“There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly” is rewritten to feature a monster with illustrations of the contents of his stomach! 

Image Source: Canva

Music Activities 

Preschoolers will enjoy singing along with these stories.  Record your sing-along session using a tablet, computer, or cell phone This might be a great way to showcase classroom learning with families by sending the recording electronically! Then, encourage preschoolers to compose original songs or illustrate scenes from these songs with pencil and paper. You may then want to write the line under your child’s drawing to encourage reading skills.  If you are doing this activity with a group, the children may enjoy combining their drawings to make a book of illustrations. 

Songs can be an introduction to rhyming. Ask preschoolers to listen for sounds that repeat. They can tap their chest every time they hear a sound or word that is similar.  Afterward, discuss the concept of patterns in music and art. Additionally, you could have children draw or create patterns by tracing around common objects or cookie cutters. 

Books Featuring Folktales 

Anansi the Spider:  A Tale from the Ashanti, by Gerald McDermott.  1972.  Henry Holt and Company. 

When Anansi gets in trouble, his children work as a team to save him. 

Thunder Cake, by Patricia Polacco.  1990. Philomel Books. 

This book tells the legend behind loud storms as related by a grandmother to her granddaughter. 

Moon Rope/Un laza a la luna, by Lois Ehlert.  1992.  Harcourt. 

Fox and Mole take a trip to the moon and a folktale explains the origin of “the man in the moon.” 

Joseph Had a Little Overcoat, by Simms Taback.  1999. Viking Children’s Books. 

  Preschoolers will enjoy this tale of making something out of nothing.  They will probably chime in where lines are predictable. 

Folktale and Cultural Activities 

Create a prop box or tote filled with costumes, puppets, props, and hats related to the stories.  Be on the lookout for items relating specifically to the cultures in the story.  Sometimes these items can be found inexpensively at a garage sale or in a store clearance cart. Neighbors and grandparents may be recruited to watch sales for books or cultural items.  Many small towns celebrate their heritage days with summer parades featuring colorful costumes; these celebrations could also be a good time to acquire cultural items.    

Choose an exciting time in your child’s life and retell it using something from the prop box.  Then suggest your child pick a recent event and tell his version using the props.  If you know an older person living nearby, they may be willing to talk about one of their childhood experiences.  Make a recording for later listening/retelling.  This could be the start of your own family folklore! 

Learn about different countries by sampling traditional foods found at your grocery store or specialty store. It might be fun to try out foods that are mentioned in the picture books! You may want to discuss two possible menus before shopping to better utilize your time in-store and keep entrees within your own abilities to prepare.   Also, grandparents and neighbors may be eager to share traditional recipes from their countries of origin. 

Introduce simple songs from different cultures.  You can probably locate some community resources through your librarian, elementary music teacher, or the community college teachers and students involved in English Language Learner classes. 

Display a world map at child level on the refrigerator.  Have stickers or magnets available so that with a bit of direction, your child can mark your hometown and the countries where the folktales originated. For more ideas check out Fit and Healthy Kids Discover and Design .   

Conclusion  There are so many other books that may provide a springboard to creativity.  Browse your local library to find the above-mentioned titles or ask your librarian to recommend other picture books!  Hopefully, your time involved in collecting books/materials brings rich rewards in the form of your child’s creative involvement in the arts, expanding awareness of community, and expansion of children’s language and social skills.   


Peer Reviewed by Lynn DeVries, Lisa Poppe, and Jackie Steffen, Extension Educators, Early Childhood Extension

Make sure to follow The Learning Child on social media for more research-based early childhood education resources!

Estimated Crop Water Use for July 31-Aug. 6

Latest Updates from cropwatch.unl.edu - Mon, 07/31/2023 - 11:42

The crop water use report is updated weekly. Visit PHREC AgLab for more information.

Despite rain forecast for the week, crops need more water right now — Nebraska Extension Educator Gary Stone weighs in on what producers can expect during this critical growth stage.

New Custom Rates for Livestock Services Published

Latest Updates from beef.unl.edu - Sun, 07/30/2023 - 09:41
Tuesday, August 1, 2023

A new report from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Center for Agricultural Profitability features current rates for custom services related to livestock production in Nebraska. It reflects the results of a statewide survey that was circulated in early 2023 to those who either provide or pay for custom work related to livestock.


Iron Powered Snack Mix

Latest Updates from food.unl.edu - Fri, 07/28/2023 - 16:56
Nutrition Software Used: ESHA Food ProcessorNewsletter/Program:  Family Fun on the Run Archive Link: https://food.unl.edu/free-resources/newsletters/family-fun-on-the-run/archiveSubscribe Link: https://food.unl.edu/subscribe-family-fun-run-newsletterContact Info: Cami WellsTaxonomy Term Description: 

Family Fun on the Run is a monthly newsletter designed to help families add physical activity to their already hectic schedules.


  • ½ cup cashews
  • ½ cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 2 cups oatmeal square-shaped cereal
  • 2 cups crunchy oat cereal (circle shaped)


  1. Wash hands with soap and water.
  2. Mix together and store in an air-tight container.
Category:  Snacks Yield: 8 servings Serving Size: 3/4 cupCalories: 260Total Fat: 10Saturated Fat: 4.5Potassium: 8Total Sugars: 23Iron: 45Vitamin D: 0Calcium: 6Protein: 5Fiber: 2Added Sugars: 5Total Carbohydrates: 42Sodium: 120Cholesterol: 0Photo by Marusa Jonas

Tracking Cost of Production During the Growing Season Using the Ag Budget Calculator (ABC) Program

Latest Updates from cropwatch.unl.edu - Fri, 07/28/2023 - 11:01
Glennis McClure, an extension educator and farm and ranch management analyst with the Center for Agricultural Profitability, will facilitate the workshops, which are free to attend and include Q&A sessions for participants. (USDA/Flickr photo) Ag finance professionals will guide participants through the process of creating customized crop budgets for owned and rented farms, determining costs on a per-farm or field basis and more.