County Extension Agent, 4-H & Youth Development

Kansas State Research and Extension will host the Biannual Wheat and Canola In-Depth Diagnostic School on May 8 and 9 in Garden City.

"In years past this was a wheat-only school," said John Holman, cropping systems agronomist with K-State Research and Extension, based in Garden City. "This year, we have added topics on canola production since canola acres in the region have rapidly increased in recent years. This will be a great opportunity for crop advisors and growers to view topics first-hand in the field. This is a chance to learn and refresh advisors' and producers' field skills and visit one on one with the specialists."

The school will be held at K-State's Southwest Research-Extension Center at 4500 E. Mary St. The May 8 session runs from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and May 9 from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Breakout sessions will be in the field looking at topics first-hand. Topics include Crop Growth, Development and Staging; Weed Control; Crop Herbicide Injury; Aerial Imagery and Crop Scouting; Canola Production; Commercial Pesticide License Recertification Core Hour; Weed Identification; Enhanced Efficiency Fertilizers and Methods; Entomology; Fertilizer Rate and Placement; Wheat and Canola Diseases; and Wheat and Canola Seeding Management and Tillage.

Professional development credits or hours are available for attendees, including Commercial Crop Advisor (11), Commercial Pesticide Applicator Credits (5) and Commercial Pesticide Applicator Core Hour (one).

Registration fee, which includes refreshments and lunch both days, is due May 1. To register, contact Ashlee Wood at, or 276-8286. (Source: K-State Research & Extension)

Crop diseases

With the recent snow still and the wheat just starting to green up in parts of Kansas, it may surprise some wheat growers to know that March is an important month for wheat disease development.

"It turns out that February and March are important because we often receive our first reports of disease activity from states to our south," said Erick De Wolf, plant pathologist with K-State Research and Extension. "This is particularly relevant for the rust diseases, which often survive the winter in these southern climates."

So far this year there are several reports of rust developing in Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi, De Wolf said. Stripe rust has been observed in all four states and appears to be spreading beyond the initial foci of infection. Leaf rust has been reported in Texas, but not the other states.

The reports of stripe rust and leaf rust from Texas are the most important for Kansas, because weather systems often transport the rust spores from Texas into Oklahoma and Kansas. Varieties such as Everest, Armour and TAM 111 are being affected in Texas this year. This is similar to what was observed in 2012 and there are no reports of new races of stripe rust to date.

De Wolf said that Bob Hunger, a wheat disease specialist with Oklahoma State University, reported no finds of rust in Oklahoma as of March 21.

"Growers in Kansas should be monitoring the situation in Texas and Oklahoma. If the disease continues to develop in Texas or is reported in Oklahoma, we will need to evaluate the need for fungicides to suppress rust development in fields planted to susceptible varieties," he said. (Source: K-State Research & Extension)

Why bunnies, eggs symbolize spring

Spring is the time when the earth comes to life after the long, dormant winter. Flowers bloom, birds lay eggs and rabbits do what they do best. Spring symbolizes regeneration, rebirth and fertility. Many spring traditions are rooted in ancient celebrations of the Vernal Equinox, when the sun passes directly over the equator and the hours of daylight and night are equal. Spring also is a time of great religious significance.

Here is the story behind some springtime symbols and traditions.

* Eggs: Eggs are ancient pagan symbols of life and fertility. In the days before commercial dye kits, people boiled their eggs with plants and flowers like onion skins, goldenrod or beets to achieve spring-like colors. It's said that you can balance an egg on its end during the Vernal Equinox.

* Bunnies: Rabbits, which are prolific breeders, are a fitting springtime symbol for fertility. If not for the Protestant Germans, we may have been welcoming the Easter chicken. While other regions of Europe attributed the hiding of Easter eggs to storks, foxes or cuckoos, folks in eastern Germany credited the Easter bunny. They brought their Easter tradition with them when they settled in the United States in the 1800s.

Easter safety risks

* Chick risks: Most patients reported purchasing chicks or ducklings from a national agricultural feed store chain that was supplied by a single mail-order hatchery. Since 1990, 35 outbreaks of human Salmonella infections linked to contact with live poultry have been reported.

Handwashing after handling animals, even cute ones, reduces risk of illness. Children can get sick by touching birds and then putting their hands directly in their mouths or touching food.

* Egg risks: Use food-grade dye if coloring eggs. If boiled eggs are used for an egg hunt, it is best to not consume as the shells may crack allowing bacteria to enter. If dyed eggs are to be consumed, keep them below 41 degrees F after boiling and dying and don't leave them unrefrigerated for more than four hours.

Eggs can carry salmonella and need to be cooked to 145 degrees F for 15 seconds to reduce risk, or until the yolk sets. Raw shell eggs should be stored in the refrigerator held at or below 45 degrees F. Use pasteurized eggs as a replacement in raw egg dishes to reduce risks.

K-State Research Extension Finney County is the front-door source to your everyday questions for information and knowledge. Every question is of value to you and us. Give us a call at 272-3670, email, visit or better, walk in our front door at 501 S. Ninth St., for information to help you make a better decision.