Tag Archives: Kansas

WASHINGTON — Stripe rust is one of the most destructive wheat diseases in the world, especially in the United States. While the disease can be controlled by chemicals, those may be harmful to humans, animals, and the environment and the application can cost millions of dollars to wheat production. Rather than use chemicals, many farmers would prefer to grow wheat varieties that resist stripe rust and the development of such varieties is a top priority for wheat breeding programs.

To help develop these varieties, scientists from the US Department of Agriculture – Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) and Washington State University recently studied stripe rust resistance genes in 616 spring wheat varieties using the genome-wide association study approach. They used the GMS platform recently developed by the USDA-ARS Wheat Health, Genetics, and Quality Research Unit, which reduces the cost greatly compared to the Wheat SNP Chips.

“We tested the wheat varieties with five predominant strains of the wheat stripe rust pathogen under controlled greenhouse conditions and in field locations under natural infection of the pathogen, and characterized using a genotyping by multiplex sequencing (GMS) technique and molecular markers linked to previously reported stripe rust resistance genes,” explained Xianming Chen. “We identified 37 genes, including 10 new genes, that show resistance to stripe rust.”

Wheat growers should choose the resistant varieties identified in this study. Growing more and more resistant varieties will reduce chemical application and prevent stripe rust damage. These resistant varieties can also be used by wheat breeders to develop new varieties with improved stripe rust resistance and other desirable agronomic traits.

This study was possible due to the GMS platform developed by co-author Deven See’s lab, which was considerably cheaper than other platforms. Chen was initially concerned that the platform might not identify a large number of genes associated with stripe rust resistance but was surprised to report results that were better than expected.

For more information on this important study, read “Identification of Stripe Rust Resistance Loci in U.S. Spring Wheat Cultivars and Breeding Lines Using Genome-Wide Association Mapping and Yr Gene Markers,” which includes a large amount of data, such as which wheat varieties are resistant or susceptible to stripe rust and which varieties have which individual genes for stripe rust resistance. This article also includes methodology and techniques for studying important plant traits. This article was published in the August issue of Plant Disease.

TOPEKA, Kan. — All soybean growers in Kansas are invited to participate in the 2020 Kansas Soybean Yield and Value Contests. As harvest progresses, those interested in competing may collect relevant records for one entry per field, and submit entries postmarked no later than Dec. 1.

“The contests are an incentive for farmers to maximize soybean yield and protein and oil contents,” says Sarah Lancaster, chair of the Kansas Soybean Association contest committee. “They also provide an opportunity to share production practices that achieve high levels of yield and value.”

Per yield contest rules, one entry per field is allowed. Eligible fields must consist of at least five contiguous acres as verified by the Farm Service Agency, GPS printout or manual measurement. A non-relative witness, either Kansas State Research and Extension (KSRE) personnel or a specified designee, must be present at harvest and should ensure that the combine grain hopper is empty prior to harvest. Official elevator-scale tickets with moisture percentage and foreign matter included must accompany entries to be considered.

Four categories – conventional-till dryland, no-till dryland, conventional-till irrigated and no-till irrigated – are considered for the contest, with dryland entries further divided into eight districts based on field location. A farmer may enter multiple categories.

The Kansas Soybean Commission provides monetary awards to yield contest winners. The highest dryland and irrigated yields in the contest each will receive a $1,000 award. If an entry surpasses the previous record of 104.14 bushels per acre, they could earn an additional $1,000. In each district, first place receives $300, second will earn $200, and third will receive $100. No-till on the Plains supplies additional awards in the no-till categories.

The value contest allows for one entry per individual and is a statewide contest that recognizes the top three contestants. Entries consist of a 20-ounce sample of seed sent to KSA; these samples are analyzed by Ag Processing Inc. for protein, oil and additional qualities to calculate a value.

Farmers are welcome to enter just the yield contest, just the value contest, or both. The results are shared at the Kansas Soybean Expo, which is scheduled for January 6, 2021.

Rule and entry information is available to interested individuals by visiting www.kansassoybeans.org/contests, calling the Kansas Soybean office at 877-KS-SOYBEAN/877-577-6923 or checking with local KSRE offices.

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Nearly two dozen Kansas 4-H members have taken it upon themselves to educate residents in their local communities about their role in protecting nearby waterways.

Their message: Many things we do in our yards and businesses affect the quality of water in our community.

“It’s been eye-opening for these kids to see how industry and homeowners in cities can implement practices to help with runoff coming off our parking lots and streets or coming out of a factory,” said Cheri Nelsen, a Kansas 4-H youth development agent in the Wildcat Extension District in southeast Kansas.

In late 2019, Nelsen and representatives from six other states landed a grant from the National 4-H Council and Bayer Corporation to lead a project called the 4-H Ag Innovators Experience. In February, she and a volunteer accompanied three Kansas team leaders to training at Iowa State University, where they were given a challenge to reach 1,000 youth with a program titled ‘Water Connects Us All.’

“They showed us all of the various watersheds across the United States,” Nelsen said. “We live in the largest watershed in the country, the Mississippi watershed. All of that water from north to south runs to the Gulf of Mexico.”

Nelsen said the youth learned that pollutants from runoff can cause hypoxic zones in waterways, or conditions where the concentration of oxygen is so low that very few organisms can survive. These areas are also called ‘dead zones.’

Armed with their new knowledge, and a curriculum to match, the youth had plans to bring the message to their communities and their peers. Then, the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

“We were ready to go out and teach after-school programs and had all these things ready to do this spring and summer, and then we couldn’t do anything,” Nelsen said.

So far, the youth have given a virtual presentation during the 4-H Discovery Days in late May, and recently taught part of their curriculum at county fairs in Wilson and Crawford counties. A few youth have created videos teaching parts of the program. They hope to offer after-school programs this fall, and to take advantage of field days hosted by local conservation groups.

“The big thing we want to get across is that soil is like a sponge,” Nelsen said. “With a wetland project, if you have certain types of soil, it will act like a sponge to collect nitrates and other pollutants to prevent them from getting into our water.”

The lessons include teaching about such pollutant-absorbing engineering techniques as building a bio-reactor, bio-swails, saturated buffers or a rain garden.

“The rain garden, in particular, is something any of us can do in your yard at home to help with runoff coming off your lawn,” Nelsen said.

Rain gardens rely on plants or a naturally-engineered soil or medium to retain stormwater and filter pollutants – such as fertilizer or weed chemicals — carried by water runoff.

“These are the types of things all of us can do, even though we are just one person, to protect somebody down the line – or down the stream, you might say. The kids have really enjoyed learning about that.”

The 4-H Ag Innovators Experience was developed to help youth apply critical thinking and STEM skills to a real-world agriculture challenge. In recent years, Kansas 4-H members have taught lessons on improving the habitat for Monarch butterflies, and the importance of native bees as pollinators and their relationship to agriculture and the food we eat.

Learn more about opportunities available through Kansas 4-H online.

TOPEKA, Kan. — Educational sessions for the August 18 KLA/Kansas State University Ranch Management Field Day near Uniontown will include a panel discussion on the utilization of cover crop grazing systems, an outlook on the markets and the factors that affect them, optimizing cowherd efficiency and combating ag stress. The event will be hosted by G-Three Cattle Company, owned by the George family, in honor of Darrel George.

K-State extension beef systems specialist Jaymelynn Farney and Jared Pollock and Gale George, both of G-Three Cattle Company, will discuss the management considerations of utilizing annual forages as a grazing source and how to implement and incorporate these systems. Tanner Ehmke, CoBank manager of knowledge exchange, will talk about market trends and provide an outlook based on his team’s research. K-State extension beef breeding and genetics specialist Bob Weaber will discuss what criteria to consider in determining an ideal mature cow weight. Kelsey Olson, deputy secretary of the Kansas Department of Agriculture, will highlight resources to assist farmers and ranchers in managing stress, financial and legal challenges and more.

The field day will begin with registration at 3:00 p.m. and include a free beef dinner at 6:45 p.m. The event will be set up to accommodate social distancing protocol. Masks will be available and hand sanitizer will be provided to each attendee.
The first field day will be held this Thursday (8/13) near Smith Center at W & S Ranch, owned by the Weltmer family. Both events are sponsored by the Farm Credit Associations of Kansas and Bayer Animal Health. For more information and directions, click here. The educational sessions from each field day will be recorded and posted on the KLA website.