Nebraska Extension in Cheyenne, Kimball & Banner Counties

Effective Monday, March 23, and continuing until further notice the Cheyenne County Courthouse and all other County operated buildings are closed to the general public. The Cheyenne County Extension Staff will be working both in the office and remotely and can be reached at 308-254-4455 or email:
Office Manager:  Lynn McKinney (lmckinney3@unl.edu or cheyenne-county@unl.edu)
Extension Educators: Karen DeBoer (kdeboer1@unl.edu); Laura Narjes (lnarjes2@unl.edu); and Jason Weigle (jason.weigle@unl.edu)

NDA Order Eases Restrictions on Pesticide Applicator License Holders

LINCOLN – Due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation, Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) Director Steve Wellman has issued an order easing restrictions on pesticide applicators whose licenses are up for renewal. The order temporarily postpones certain training requirements outlined in the Nebraska Pesticide Act and extends valid pesticide applicators’ licenses if conditions are met. 

According to the order, people with valid commercial, non-commercial and private applicator licenses which expire on April 15, 2020, must notify NDA of their intent to renew their license and pay the required fees to NDA by May 15, 2020.  Upon receipt of payment, NDA will allow the applicator to defer the required training for license renewals until April 15, 2021.

“In these challenging times, Nebraska farmers and ranchers have a critical and essential role in keeping our food supply safe and strong,” said NDA Director Steve Wellman. “This order helps Nebraska pesticide applicators, that were unable to complete trainings due to COVID-19 crowd limitations, continue their work.”

The order also states that the time period will increase from 60 days to 120 days for a noncertified applicator to work under the provisions of the Nebraska Pesticide Act for exemption from certification.

Annual training for dicamba is still required for crop application of specific dicamba products.  Online training is available at www.nda.nebraska.gov.

The order can be found at www.nda.nebraska.gov/COVID-19

To receive an EXTENDED LICENSE per the NDA order of April 13, 2020; call 402-471-2351 to be put on the extended license list and to pay for the license.

Eligibility requirements for the 120-day exemption and how to apply, as well as requirements of the supervisor, are described in this brochure.

Your email address was either provided by you, obtained from our partner in pesticide applicator certification, the University of Nebraska’s Pesticide Safety Education Program, or for some government agencies, publically obtained on the web.

Recipients who registered multiple people for recertification sessions in the past are encouraged to forward this message to those colleagues. They can then subscribe to the newsletter by visiting this page.

You can also update your newsletter account by completing your information (name, email address, license type, license number) at the “update your preferences” link at the bottom of this message.

It is hoped this form of delivery will be easy to use and read, and accessed by more readers.

Army cutworm scouting urged in western Nebraska wheat, alfalfa

Julie Peterson, Extension Entomologist at the West Central REC
Jeff Bradshaw, Extension Entomologist at the Panhandle REC
Bob Wright, Extension entomologist, Lincoln

Army cutworms have been spotted in Kansas and Nebraska crop fields in March. This is an important time to scout for this pest, particularly in wheat and alfalfa

Of the many cutworm species in Nebraska, the army cutworm is the most damaging in western Nebraska. Economic damage from other cutworms, such as the pale western cutworm, dark-sided cutworm and variegated cutworm, is rare. The army cutworm damages alfalfa, wheat, sugarbeet, canola, and various rangeland grasses. There have also been reports of army cutworm feeding on pulse crop seedlings, such as field peas and chickpeas.

How army cutworm caterpillars spend the winter
Because army cutworms overwinter in Nebraska as larvae in the soil, they are one of the first caterpillars to be seen in the spring. Last year, in late September and October, army cutworm moths laid their eggs (females are capable of laying 1,000-3,000 eggs) directly on bare soil, such as in newly planted winter wheat or heavily grazed patches of range. After rainfall, these eggs hatched over an extended period, leading to a variety of caterpillar sizes that continued feeding and developing as long as temperatures were adequate (approximately higher than 45 degrees F).

When the weather turned colder, the caterpillars burrowed down into the soil to spend the winter. Now, caterpillars are emerging from the soil on warmer days to feed.

However, scouting fields for this insect in the coming days could be good prevention.

Army cutworm adults are miller moths
In 2019, moderate populations of the adult army cutworm moth (or miller moth) could be found in sheltered areas during the day in some locations in western Nebraska, although very low numbers were observed in Scottsbluff and North Platte. In fact, army cutworm populations have been quite low for the past five years. Our last large populations of larvae occurred in 2012 and high populations in turn contributed to patchy populations above threshold in spring 2013 and 2014. That said, it will still be important to scout fields into April as wheat breaks dormancy.

Army cutworm larvae are greenish-brown to greenish-grey caterpillars, approximately ½ inch to 2 inches in length.

Feeding damage from army cutworm larvae can vary from grazing leaf tips and chewing on the sides of wheat seedlings to complete stand reduction. In infested fields, there might be higher-than-usual bird activity, especially in the early morning; birds will often feed on army cutworm larvae when they are in high numbers.

Scouting and treatment recommendations
To scout for army cutworms, use a treatment threshold of 4 or more cutworm larvae per square foot of winter wheat or alfalfa. However, for stressed, thin stands of wheat or newly established alfalfa stands, use a threshold of 2 or more larvae per square foot. New or stressed alfalfa stands (for example, stands that suffered from some winterkill) require a lower threshold because they are more prone to damage from cutworms.

Army cutworms only feed at night and seek out dark, sheltered areas during the day. Turn over clots of loose soil and residue for accurate cutworm counts.

If army cutworm counts are above the threshold, consider an insecticide application.

Please refer to the 2020 Guide for Weed, Disease, and Insect Management in Nebraska, EC130, for current insecticide use information in wheat and alfalfa. Always read pesticide instructions carefully before use.

This article appeared in Nebraska Extension’s CropWatch website (https://cropwatch.unl.edu/), a central resource for Extension information on crop production and pest management. The website offers thousands of crop-specific articles for Nebraska producers and crop consultants, including a newsletter published weekly during the growing season and biweekly during the remainder of the year.

The University of Nebraska has released the following statement regarding COVID-19:

Nebraska Extension is fully committed to the health and well-being of Nebraskans. In a disease situation like COVID-19, the principle of social distancing is one of the main methods that can be used to help reduce the spread of the disease.

Chancellor Ronnie Green has issued guidance that all UNL classes will move to ‘remote’ modes. To be consistent with that guidance, Nebraska Extension will, whenever possible, provide Extension programs remotely (video or teleconferencing) but will not provide in-person Extension programs, at least until May 9. We recognize that this practice may create some level of disruption relative to the important information we provide to Nebraskans. In addition to our ‘remote’ course offerings, we encourage Nebraskans to visit extension.unl.edu to access a wide array of online information.

Due to concerns surrounding the spread of COVID-19 the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Nebraska 4-H have decided to postpone the following events:

• Progressive Agriculture Safety Day (April 23rd) 

We appreciate your willingness to volunteer/participate in Extension programs and we will communicate future plans for programs when available. Please reach out to the Cheyenne County Extension Office with any questions or concerns.

For more information about Extension's response to COVID-19 in western Nebraska please visit the Coronavirus Disease 2019 - Nebraska Panhandle website.

All Nebraska Extension activities have been cancelled until May 9th.  At that time re-evaluation of the COVID-19 situation will made.

Pesticide and chemigation applicator trainings have been cancelled.  Individuals who were needing to get their private, commercial and / or chemigation licenses renewed or first-time will need to do this online.

Due to the situation with COVID-19, Nebraska Extension has canceled all pesticide in-person trainings, starting March 16. The class fee of $80 will be refunded to the credit card that was used for the registration. We understand this is inconvenient, and we appreciate your patience and understanding at this time. Please see below for alternative certification methods. 

For initial commercial PSEP, visit: https://psep.education/cart/ to purchase the appropriate flipbooks. Our FlipBooks are enhanced digital versions of our traditional print manuals, and most also include the video training presented at our in–person training sessions. Internet access is required to use FlipBooks. You will still need to arrange for testing with Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA). You can contact NDA at 402-471-2351. 

Information on the pesticide applicator and chemigation applicator trainings  online can be found at:
https://extension.unl.edu/statewide/panhandle/pesticide-applicator-training-in-western-nebraska/

Information on the University of Nebraska 2019 Novel Coronavirus and COVID-19 can be found at https://covid19.unl.edu/

UNMC, Nebraska Extension offer tractor safety course to teens across Nebraska this summer
(Please check with your Extension Office as the date gets closer to see the status of this event taking place)

Members of the Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, College of Public Health will provide a tractor safety course in May and June of 2020 at 11 sites across Nebraska in partnership with Nebraska Extension. The course provides extensive training on tractor and all-terrain vehicle safety with a variety of hands-on activities. Instilling an attitude of ‘making safety a priority’ and respect for agricultural equipment are primary goals of the course.

Teens 14 or 15 years of age who work on farms, or others who are interested in learning about safe farming practices, are encouraged to register for the Nebraska Extension Tractor Safety & Hazardous Occupations Course. Anyone under age 14 is not eligible to take the class.

Federal law prohibits children under 16 years of age from using certain equipment on a farm unless their parents or legal guardians own the farm. However, certification received through the course grants an exemption to the law allowing 14- and 15-year-olds to drive a tractor and to do field work with certain mechanized equipment.

Susan Harris-Broomfield, University of Nebraska Extension Educator reports that a common cause of agricultural-related injuries and deaths in Nebraska is overturned tractors and ATVs. She emphasized that this course is designed to train students how to avoid these incidents as well as many other hazards on the farm and ranch.

Cost of the course is $60 and includes educational materials, instruction, supplies, and lunch.

The first day of class will cover the required elements of the National Safe Tractor and Machinery Operation Program, hands-on participation, concluding with a written test which students must pass to attend the second day of training.

The second day of training will include a driving test and equipment operation and ATV safety lessons. Students must demonstrate competence in hitching and unhitching equipment and driving a tractor and trailer through a standardized course. Instructors will also offer education about safe behaviors and laws for ATVs, utility-task vehicles (UTVs), and other off-road vehicles (ORVs).

Instructors for the course are members of the Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health: Aaron Yoder, Ph.D., Ellen Duysen, MPH; UNMC graduate student Alyssa Damke; and Nebraska Extension educators Troy Ingram, Randy Saner, Chandra Giles, and John Thomas.

Classes begin at 8 a.m. or 9 a.m., depending on location, and end times vary depending on the number of participants.  If classes do not fill to the minimum of 10 participants, an option will be offered to do Day 1 training online and Day 2 in person.

Dates, training site locations, and site coordinator phone numbers are below:

  • May 21 & 22 – Weeping Water, Fairgrounds, (402) 267-2205;
  • May 26 & 27 – Ord, Fairgrounds (308) 728-5071;
  • May 28 & 29 – Wayne, Fairgrounds (402) 375-3310;
  • June 1 & 2 – O’Neill, Plains Equipment, (402) 336-2760;
  • June 3 (first day is online) – Gordon, Fairgrounds, (308) 327-2312
  • June 4 & 5 – Ainsworth, Evangelical Free, (402) 387-2213;
  • June 9 & 10 – Geneva, Fairgrounds, (402) 759-3712;
  • June 11 & 12 – North Platte, West Central Research, Extension and Education Center, (308) 532-2683;
  • June 16 & 17 – Kearney, Buffalo County Extension Office (308) 236-1235;
  • June 18 & 19 – Hastings, Adams County Extension Office (402) 461-7209;
  • June 29 & 30 – Gering, Legacy Museum (308) 632-1480.

For more information or to register, contact the appropriate Extension office above. The registration form is located at kearney.unl.edu.

Helpful Publications and Information

Find publications and information on Custom Rates, Yearly, Rate information, Pesticide Safety Education, Chemigation and more.

Cropwatch - Winter Wheat Variety Test Results
Nebraska Farm Custom Rates
Cornhusker Economics - Trends in Nebraska Farmland Values and Rental Rates

Preliminary land values and rental rates are subject to change as additional surveys are returned. Final results from the survey will be published at a later date and will be available online via the Nebraska Farm Real Estate website: http://agecon.unl.edu/realestate

Rural Stress and Family Wellness - As one response to the immediate need for attention to stress and suicide prevention in Nebraska, Extension’s Rural Stress and Family Wellness work group has collected resources for farmers and ranchers. You can find the information here.

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Nebraska Extension showcasing 4-H’ers at county fairs

May 22, 2020
Nebraska Extension is working to make sure all 4-H’ers across the state have the opportunity to showcase their hard work come county fair time this summer.

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Nebraska Extension, UNMC to host discussion on impact of pandemic-related stress on farmers and ranchers

May 22, 2020
Nebraska Extension and the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s Rural Health Initiative will host a discussion about the impact of COVID-related stress on farmers, ranchers and others engaged in agriculture.

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