Weekly News Releases and Columns

May 21, 2018


Larry Howard

Extension Educator

Nebraska Extension

Serving Cuming County


Holding Pond Management during Periods of West Weather

As we move into the summer season we can experience rainfall events that are higher than normal and that exceed the 25 year, 24 hour storm event that livestock producers with lagoon and runoff holding ponds must be aware of.

During these events producers must be careful and watchful as they monitor the fluid levels of their lagoons and runoff ponds and avoid any dangers that could occur. In all cases, good recordkeeping is recommended and required for permitted operations of precipitation, storage basin management, and land application records. These records will help you manage the system before any emergency situation occurs.

During the high rainfall event, producers should do all they can to not allow the holding pond to overflow. If water does overtop the structure it is highly likely that you will compromise the berm which can cause a major discharge. If that concentrated material enters a body of water it is very likely to cause a fish kill.

If producers find themselves in this emergency there are a few recommended practices that they can do to manage the situation.

Usually when we reach this situation, the soils that you need to apply the pond effluent to is already saturated. So think about locations that can handle additional water that will reduce any chance of runoff. Those sites may be vegetated areas like pasture or hay ground or even areas with a high amount of crop residue. Select sites with minimal slope if possible and maintain all of the required separation distances to water bodies like streams, lakes, or impounded water like a reservoir or dam. For small or medium operations that would be no closer than 30 feet and for large concentrated operations it is no closer than 100 feet.

When the emergency situation does require pumping, make sure that it is monitored to minimize any issues. Also maintain complete records of application, pumping times, and pond levels.

In the event that there is a discharge take immediate measures to contain it and then contact the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (NDEQ) at 402-471-4239 within 24 hours. Leave a message if the call is not answered and then provide a written report within 5 days.

Livestock producers are good stewards of the land and their resources and will want to do all they can to manage their lagoon and holding pond structures, so hopefully they do not find themselves in an emergency situation.

A complete list of recommended practices is available at go.unl.edu/pond.

                                                                                                                  NEWS RELEASES
4-H Enrollment Still Possible

If you are a youth new to 4-H and are still interested in joining 4-H for the 2018 year, there is still time.  Though the traditional enrollment deadline has passed there is still time for new members to enroll in 4-H before the final/drop add deadline June 1 st .  If you are a youth ages 5-18 as of January 1 st , you are eligible for 4-H enrollment.  To join 4-H, complete your enrollment at ne.4honline.com .  Through 4-H, youth can join over 320 youth in Cuming County in as they explore a wide variety of interest and talents by choosing from the 150 different projects/areas that are provided through 4-H.4-H’ers can choose from areas that range from pets, photography, robotics, and rocketry to sewing, cooking, livestock, creative arts, woodworking and many more.  Youth can also participate in 4-H events including camps, judging, and fairs.  For more information about 4-H or how to join a club, contact Melissa Nordboe at the Cuming County Extension Office at 402-372-6006.


SOURCE:  Melissa Nordboe, Extension Assistant

RELEASE DATE:  May 14, 2018


Upcoming 4-H Clover Colleges

Summer is almost here and there are several great opportunities open to 4-H members this summer. Mark the upcoming dates and deadlines on your calendar to make sure you catch the exciting workshops for the following weeks!  A detailed pamphlet with prices can be found at cuming.unl.edu or in the Extension office.

  • Sewing Clover College – June 12. Pre-registration is June 5.  This Clover College will be geared to making ppajama bottoms.  Will be at the Country Kitchen from 9:00 - 2:00 p.m.  Details available in the office.  Need to be enrolled in STEAM 1.
  •  Photography Level 1 – June 13. Pre-registration is June 6. For those with some photography experience.  The morning session will include learning about settings on your camera, basic lighting techniques, and experimenting with creative ideas. During the lunch break participants will print fair worthy photos.  During the afternoon session you will complete 2 fair exhibits that will be ready for fair with completed data tags and entry tags.  You will need to attend both sessions. Must be enrolled in Photography 1.
  •  Photography Level 2 – June 18. Pre-registrations is June 11. For level 2 and 3 photography with at least 1 year photography experience.  The morning session will include learning about settings on your camera, basic lighting techniques, and experimenting with creative ideas.  During the lunch break participants will print fair worthy photos. During the afternoon session you will complete 2 fair exhibits that will be ready for fair with completed data tags and entry tags.  You will need to attend both sessions. Must be enrolled in Photography 2 0r 3.
  •  Let’s Paint – June 20. Pre-registration is June 13. Learn the step-by-step process of painting a picture.  Go home with a beautiful 11” x 14” acrylic painting to hang on your wall1  Be sure to enroll in Design Decision or Portfolio Pathways so you can exhibit this at Fair!
  • Wildlife Tracks - June 21 - Pre-registration is June 11.  Participants will learn how to identify and cast tracks in nature.  Materials will be provided.  Participants will leave with a cast of a track.  Wear older clothing. Need to be enrolled in Conservation and Wildlife.
  •  Home Environment – July 5. Pre-registration is June 28.  Learn the step-by-step process of recycling a serving tray into a unique menu board, chalk board, calendar, etc.  Bring your creative side! Suggested project enrollment is Pinterest, Design Decisions.
  •  Cake Decorating/Cupcakes- Beginners, July 17. Pre-registration is July 10. Beginners will learn basic frosting techniques, how to pipe simple boarders, as well as writing. Suggested project enrollment is Cake Decorating and Cupcake Fun.
  •  Cake Decorating/Cupcakes – Advanced, July 17. Pre-registration is July 10. Advanced will learn to pipe boarders and make flowers. Suggested project enrollment is Cake Decorating or Cupcake Fun.
  •  Sewing – July 18. Pre-registration is July 11. Youth will create a pillowcase. Bring an adult/parent with you. Suggested project enrollment is Sewing for Fun and STEAM 1.


Source: Melissa Nordboe, Extension Assistant

Release Date: May 21, 2018

  4-H Livestock Identification Deadline & ID Day

All Cuming County 4-H livestock members who will be exhibiting Sheep, Goats, Rabbits, Swine, Dairy Cattle, Breeding Beef, Cow/Calf, Feeder Calves, or Bucket Calves must enroll in the project by June 1 and meet all of the identification deadlines (June 15) in order to be eligible to exhibit their livestock projects.

All of the above projects (except Breeding Beef and Swine) must be verified at their respective Identification Day or arrangements made with the Extension Office.

All member exhibiting market and breeding sheep, feeder calves, and bucket calves, dairy goats, meat goats, pygmy goats, and rabbits will need to bring their project animals to the Identification Day that will be held on Wednesday, May 23, at the Cuming County Fairgrounds in West Point. The feeder calves and bucket calves will be processed from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon. The sheep will be processed from 3:00-5:00 p.m. The goats processed from 3:00-5:00 p.m., while the rabbits will be processed from 4:00-5:30 p.m.

The following projects will use the paper livestock affidavits (ID sheets) that are available at the Extension Office and are also due June 15: Dairy, Cow-Calf pairs, Cow-Calf Herd Builder project, and Swine.

For more information, please contact Nebraska Extension in Cuming County (402-372-6006).


SOURCE: Larry Howard, Extension Educator

Release Date:  May 21,, 2018

4-H Quality Assurance

 The Nebraska 4-H program requires all 4-H members exhibiting beef, bucket calves, sheep, swine, dairy cattle, goats, poultry, and rabbits to be trained or tested in Quality Assurance by June 15th by one of three options.

 Again this year youth of all levels can take advantage of the (Option #1) online Quality Assurance Training. This option allows youth to complete the quality assurance training at home. Youth will be able to print a certificate of completion. They will need to deliver or mail certificates of completion to the Extension Office.

Nebraska Extension in Cuming County will again offer training sessions (Option #2) for youth age 8-11 (4-H age). Youth in this age bracket can complete the training regardless of species enrolled in or year they joined 4-H. This option is a yearly requirement. The Cuming County training session will be May 24 beginning at 1:00 p.m. at the Cuming County Fairgrounds. Youth must pre-register online before attending.

For youth ages 12 and over the following options apply regarding testing out (Option #3). An intermediate level test will be available for youth age 12-14. If a youth takes this test at age 12-14 and passes they are done with training until age 15. A senior level test will be offered for youth ages 15 and over and if they take this and pass they are done with training.

Tests will be given in the Extension Office in West Point on May 22 from 9:00-12:00 noon and 1:00-4:00 p.m. Youth may come any time between these hours and take the test. There will be a study class given for Intermediates at 9:00 a.m. and Seniors at 10:00 a.m. in the Jury Room at the Cuming County Courthouse on May 23 rd .


SOURCE: Larry Howard, Extension Educator

Release Date:  May 21, 2018

Mulch Volcanoes-Compromising Tree Health

By Kathleen Cue, Nebraska Extension Horticulture Educator

You’ve seen this before—mulch piled so high around a tree that it resembles a volcano with a stick coming out of the center.  So goes the plight of trees trying to survive under such conditions.  Despite the research indicating how bad this is for trees, we see it time and again.

Exactly how do mulch volcanos compromise tree health?  There are two compelling reasons. First, tree roots need oxygen to survive.  In most soils, oxygen is found in the top 18 inches or so of the soil.  It’s no accident, then, that roots readily exist, thrive and grow in the top 18 inches of soil.  When mulch is heaped around trees, this puts the lowest tree roots out of the range of oxygen penetration.  Under these conditions, roots begin to die back, slowing tree growth and potentially causing tree death.

The second reason mulch volcanoes are a bad thing has to do with the tree trunk itself. To explain this, a better understanding of plant function is necessary.  Tree trunks over the millennia have evolved to be in sunlight and wind.  This conditioning has made bark thick and tree trunks strong to withstand some pretty fierce winds.  Now take that same trunk, heap mulch around the stem and watch how the highly competitive environment of constant moisture, no air circulation and abundant natural microorganisms decay the bark of the tree and the conductive tissues beneath.  When this happens, the tree is a candidate for breakage at the mulch line.  

The best way to mulch trees is with a 2-3 inch layer of wood chips or shredded bark and no landscaping fabric beneath. At a minimum, the circle of mulch should extend outward at least 3 feet away from the tree trunk. If you can stand to give up more lawn, a mulch ring extending further will have an even greater benefit to the tree.  Under no circumstances should mulch be piled against the trunk itself.  As mulch decomposes, more mulch can be added to maintain a 2-3 inch depth.

Mother Nature mulches correctly. On the forest floor, this accumulation of leaves and bits of twigs is called duff.  Duff benefits trees because, as it decomposes, it provides nutrients to trees and adds humus to the soil, making for a better environment for tree roots.  When we mulch trees, we’re replicating what nature does so well naturally.  

More information about tree mulching can be found on the Nebraska Forest Service website: https://nfs.unl.edu/publications/tree-planting#pub-section-82